News release: Get Out MORE funding includes critical fixes at hatcheries, streams

June 11, 2024

Crystal Springs Hatchery in Winona County is showing its age. Concrete infrastructure built there in the 1930s is crumbling. Clay waterlines that bring 48-degree artesian spring water into the facility are cracked and could fail at any time, putting the hatchery’s entire operation at risk. It’s a precarious situation at a hatchery that is essential for raising trout and stocking fish across Minnesota.

The hatchery is also a success story in the making. Minnesota’s once-in-a-generation Get Out MORE (Modernize Outdoor Recreation Experiences) investments are providing $19 million for upgrades at Crystal Springs, including constructing a new hatchery building and replacing degraded raceways and waterlines.

“We’re shining a light on how essential Get Out MORE funding is to maintain and create opportunities for anglers today and in the future,” Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Sarah Strommen said. “Crystal Springs Hatchery is a great example of how this funding addresses a critical need to ensure another generation of Minnesotans enjoy quality angling opportunities.”

On a media tour on Tuesday, Strommen and others showed off the hatchery’s infrastructure used by the DNR to raise more than 50,000 pounds of  brook trout, rainbow trout and steelhead  each year for stocking in lakes and streams across Minnesota.

After the hatchery tour, members representing Minnesota Trout Unlimited, Student Angler Tournament Trail, Woman Fly Fishers of Minnesota and other guests participated in a “Fish with the Commish” event, casting for trout in the Whitewater River in Whitewater State Park.

They fished at the site of a stream restoration project, where about 1,800 feet of the Whitewater River channel was stabilized to enhance ecological function, reduce water quality impairments, and improve aquatic habitat and public safety. 

This project included rerouting approximately 700 feet of altered stream channel to its former alignment, restoring stream banks and installing a series of rock riffle structures.

“Stream restorations like this one at Whitewater River, and also dam modification projects and culvert replacements, are a key piece of the Get Out MORE investments,” Strommen said. “These projects will not only enhance aquatic habitat and recreational opportunities, but will also make these areas more resilient to climate change.”

Funding five key areas

These historic, one-time Get Out MORE investments total $149.9 million and center on five key areas:

  • Enhancing fisheries and fishing infrastructure ($60 million).
  • Enhancing access and welcoming new users to public lands and outdoor recreation facilities ($35.4 million).
  • Modernizing boating access ($35 million).
  • Restoring streams and modernizing water-related infrastructure to support outdoor recreation ($10 million).
  • Modernizing camping and related infrastructure ($9.5 million).

To learn more about how these investments will improve outdoor experiences in the state, go to the Get Out MORE webpage of the DNR website.

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