MN Trout Stream Fish Kill

Northwoods Labs

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Pretty sad to see this over in Minnesota's driftless area. Contaminated runoff will continue to be a major issue for our waters. I think these issues are solvable, but will probably take some regulations and changes in practices. Unfortunately many rural politicians and the farm lobby would deem this anti-agriculture. One of the brown trout found dead was 27 inches, fish a of lifetime for a small stream

https://www.outdoorlife.com/fishing/fish-kill-minnesota-trout-stream/
 

BrentD

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I believe in Iowa the state is working with farmers with some sort of conservation program to put in more buffer zones. My neighbor put some in along his creeks and streams approximately 30 yards wide.
Actually, the Republicans just made it impossible to sue farmers for damage and losses as a result of stream and air pollution caused by agriculture. It's getting worse. Not better.
 

Gellar

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The Driftless Area
I believe in Iowa the state is working with farmers with some sort of conservation program to put in more buffer zones. My neighbor put some in along his creeks and streams approximately 30 yards wide.

Everyone is happy! The Nrcs can say they are doing their job, the governor is doing something for clean water and farmers are getting paid to redo a buffer strip they had in place until corn became 8$ a bushel and they ripped it out for an extra $1000
 

westbranch

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Based on conversations I have had with friends and some relatives that fish warm water rivers and streams in southern MN and NW IA they feel there has been a large drop in quality in the last 10-15 yrs. Tearing out buffer strips, windrows, and adding many miles more of tile across the ag land seem to be anecdotal contributing causes.
 

BrentD

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Based on conversations I have had with friends and some relatives that fish warm water rivers and streams in southern MN and NW IA they feel there has been a large drop in quality in the last 10-15 yrs. Tearing out buffer strips, windrows, and adding many miles more of tile across the ag land seem to be anecdotal contributing causes.
Yup. No doubt about it.
 

Dougfirtree

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Adirondacks
Based on conversations I have had with friends and some relatives that fish warm water rivers and streams in southern MN and NW IA they feel there has been a large drop in quality in the last 10-15 yrs. Tearing out buffer strips, windrows, and adding many miles more of tile across the ag land seem to be anecdotal contributing causes.
I fished some of those rivers in MN about 20 years ago, when I lived out there. I don't recall seeing much in the way of buffers at all. My memory is cow fields that went right to water's edge.
 

Gellar

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I fished some of those rivers in MN about 20 years ago, when I lived out there. I don't recall seeing much in the way of buffers at all. My memory is cow fields that went right to water's edge.
There is a fly shop in Viroqua that their logo is a Cow painted like brown trout.

Streams in the Driftless Area are on a mix of public and private. At least in Iowa the private streams have an easement for public fishing. This unique partnership has been going on for as long as I have fished for trout in Iowa, which is my whole life, 38 years. These agreements have opened up some of the best streams to public access. The land owner has the right to use the surrounding land for whatever they see fit and often times it is pasture ground. It is not uncommon to see cows wading in the stream next to where you are fishing. Most of these easements with the Iowa DNR or the County Conservation Board are simple handshake agreements that have been honored through respect of all parties. Unfortunately as lands change ownership or anglers disrespect the property some of the easements have been lost. Because of the loss of these easements some very good cold water streams in the Driftless Area no longer have public access. When the public access is denied the DNR no longer stocks trout in the stream either, but most of the streams have a viable brown trout population.
 

westbranch

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ID Panhandle
I fished some of those rivers in MN about 20 years ago, when I lived out there. I don't recall seeing much in the way of buffers at all. My memory is cow fields that went right to water's edge.

I lived and worked in central/south central MN for about 10 years but did a very small amount of fishing around there. Grew up west of Duluth and the lakes and rivers down there were not as appealing. The large increase in tile going in and windrows getting removed seemed to really start around 2011. My in-laws farm in NW IA and similar story there. There are is a little more hilly and there are some terraces but with much higher density of feedlots and hog confinements it doesn't do a whole lot of good. We were considering moving to NW IA before moving to Idaho and could not convince ourselves to do it.

Between MN and IA it seems like the amount of terraces, buffers and other protections really varied from county to county. Probably varied with local NRCS offices and SWCD. Reducing flooding and improving water quality are just not good enough incentives.
One farmer friend said that since he saw some minnows in a creek where his tile drains that there was no harm being done to the water.
 

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