FOR PLANNING PURPOSES ONLY
April 18, 2006
For more information: Duke Welter, 715-831-9565 or Kathleen Campbell, 571-274-0597
Governors, U.S. Department of Agriculture vow to work together to help restore the Driftless Area to the benefit of all
ARLINGTON, VA – The governors of four states have joined with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture in agreeing to work cooperatively to restore and enhance the streams, rivers and watersheds of the Midwest’s Driftless Area.
The cooperative agreement, which was written in the form of a joint resolution, was signed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the governors of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
The resolution will be unveiled at a news conference on Wednesday, April 19, 2006, in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The news conference will be held at 10:00 a.m. in the Iowa Room at the Radisson Hotel La Crosse at 200 Harborview Plaza in La Crosse.
Attending the news conference on behalf of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture will be Mark Rey, USDA’s Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. Also attending will be the Lt. Governor of Wisconsin, Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and senior conservation officials from the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
Following the news conference will be a tour of two Driftless Area streams – Minnesota’s Mill Creek (12:30 p.m.) and Iowa’s North Bear Creek (2:30 p.m.). (See below for background and directions.) The two creeks highlight the opportunities that exist for cooperative restoration of streams in the region to the benefit of not only fisheries, but also landowners and communities.
The Midwest’s Driftless Area is considered by many to be a national treasure with its unique limestone formations, springs and small streams. Bypassed by the last glacier, the region lies within the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Land use practices in the mid 1800s and early 1900s led to wide-scale erosion, flooding and the altering of its streams and valleys. Though conditions have improved, impact from past damage continues in many forms.
Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, with more than 160,000 members – including over 10,000 members in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois – dedicated to the protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.
Background on and Directions to Mill Creek, MN, and North Bear Creek, IA
Mill Creek (12:30 p.m. stream tour):
Mill Creek is a popular trout stream located near Chatfield, Minnesota. The Mill Creek restoration project, initiated in May 2005, is intended to stabilize severely eroding stream banks and significantly improve habitat. Minnesota DNR biologists worked with private landowners, volunteers from Trout Unlimited, and the City of Chatfield to complete 16 high quality pools and riffles with over 1000 feet of overhead bank cover.
This project will benefit trout anglers by providing additional access and high quality fish habitat. This project also benefits several businesses and residences on the southeast border of the project, which were threatened by severe bank erosion. The Mill Creek project will serve as a prototype for stream restoration and trout habitat improvement work in southeastern Minnesota.
Directions from Radisson Hotel La Crosse to Mill Creek, Chatfield, MN (~1 hour):
1. Turn right out of the hotel parking lot proceed about two blocks south.
2. Turn left on Jay Street.
3. Turn right on 3rd Street heading south.
4. Turn right on Cass St., which is also Hwys 14/61/16 and head west.
5. You will cross the Mississippi and into come into La Crescent, MN.
6. Follow Hwy. 14 West/ 61 North to I-90 heading west.
7. Continue on I-90 about 40 miles and take exit 233 Hwy. 74 St. Charles/Chatfield.
8. Turn left off the exit ramp and follow Hwy. 74 south into Chatfield. Hwy. 30 will merge with 74 a few miles out of town.
9. At the stoplight in Chatfield turn right onto Hwy. 52 and proceed about 1 mile. Keep your eye out for the Dairy Queen.
10. Turn left and head west on Hwy. 30. The stream project area will be on the right.
11. Cross the stream and turn right on the gravel road – Mill Creek Rd. Proceed to the second gate.
North Bear Creek (2:30 p.m. stream tour):
North Bear Creek is located in Winneshiek County and bears more angling pressure than perhaps any other trout stream in Iowa. Its trout populations historically were supported solely through stocking. However, in response to a series of best management practices, wild trout have returned to the creek. A 2004 fishery survey documented 1154 wild brown trout per mile of stream, ranging in size from six to twenty inches.
The Iowa Driftless Chapter of Trout Unlimited has worked closely with NRCS and Iowa DNR on a series of sediment reduction projects including the installation of five flood control structures, six sediment or grade control structures, five acres of grass waterways, and 45,450 feet of terraces. The project also included 4,700 feet of trout habitat improvement and stream bank stabilization and 4,635 feet of stream corridor cattle exclusion fencing.
Directions from Mill Creek to North Bear Creek, Winneshiek Co., IA (~1 hour):
1. From the Mill Creek stop go back to the main drag in Chatfield (Hwy. 52) turn right and head south on Hwy. 52.
2. Continue on Hwy. 52 past Fountain, MN.
3. Outside of Fountain, follow the Hwy. 52 detour through Wykoff and back to Preston. Continue on Hwy. 52 south.
4. A few miles west of Canton Hwy 52 turns right and continues south. DO NOT CONTINUE on Hwy. 52.
5. Continue straight on MN-44 towards Mabel.
6. About 3 miles west of Mabel turn right and head south on County Road 8.
7. About 1-mile across the Iowa State line turn left onto 380th St and head east. It is a gravel road. (The other side of the intersection is County Road A14.)
8. Follow 380th St. about 3.5 miles. (Before you come to the creek you will come to a stop sign on 380th – continue straight.) Cross the bridge on N. Bear Creek and park immediately on the right side of the road or turn right onto the lane by the creek.
Directions from North Bear Creek to Radisson Hotel La Crosse
1. Continue to head east on 380th St.
2. At the stop sign turn left and head north on Dorchester Dr. (A16).
3. Turn right at the stop sign in Spring Grove and head east on MN-44 through Caledonia and Hokah.
4. In Hokah continue straight and follow MN-16 east toward La Crescent.
5. In La Crescent turn right at the stop light and head east on Hwys. 14/61/16.
6. Cross the causeway and bridge to return to La Crosse.
7. After crossing the bridge turn left and head north on 4th St.
8. Turn left on Main St. and return to Radisson Hotel.