Projects in Driftless area informing approaches to future efforts

By Duke Welter

TU and partners continue to work together to improve trout streams — and to improve trout fishing — in the Driftless Area. Lessons learned along the way are being used to inform future efforts.

Kiap-TU-Wish Trout Unlimited, Wisconsin DNR, NRCS and other TUDARE partners recently completed a project on the Trimbelle River near Ellsworth in Pierce County.

Last week a workshop on the stream drew contractors, agency planners, equipment operators, volunteers and biologists to the site. They discussed design requirements and how sites are assessed for habitat needs and watch some habitat features installed.

Across the Driftless Area, streams vary in their soils, gradients, level of degradation and vulnerability to intense weather systems, so designing projects with a “one-size-fits-all” approach can limit the effectiveness of restoration.

In Minnesota, numerous design approaches are being used on different projects, and innovation is a key element to develop more ways to restore degraded streams.

By Mark Taylor. A native of rural southern Oregon, Mark Taylor has lived in Virginia since serving a stint as a ship-based naval officer in Norfolk. He joined the TU staff in 2014 after a 20-year run as a newspaper journalist, the final 16 as the outdoors editor of the Roanoke Times. A graduate of Northwestern University, he lives in Roanoke with his wife and, when they're home from college, his twin daughters.