Unique concept may help wild brown trout
Three organizations looking to preserve the Straight River wild brown trout population have used an atypical approach to keep its habitat secure. Volunteers and staff members with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Trout Unlimited and the...
Three organizations looking to preserve the Straight River wild brown trout population have used an atypical approach to keep its habitat secure.
Volunteers and staff members with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Trout Unlimited and the Straight River Trust Committee spent the day along the Becker County Line Road Friday inserting jack pine trees into the river - by helicopter.
The peculiar sight may have baffled passersby, as the contracted helicopter lifted the trees by rope from DNR forestry land a half-mile to the Straight River.
"The concept is not unusual, but this is the first time we have tried this kind of procedure using a helicopter in the state of Minnesota," said Doug Kingsley, area fisheries supervisor for the DNR.
Twenty 60-foot trees were cut to a smaller size so the helicopter could easily lift them. They were dropped in a 1,000-foot section of the river, said Kingsley. Much smaller trees are usually used in this procedure, so helicopters are unnecessary.
The helicopter lifted the trees to the designated river areas, and staff members and volunteers helped lower them and used stakes to hold them in place.
The purpose of the trees, Kingsley explained, is to prevent the river from widening, which has been a problem recently. A narrower river moves deeper and faster. Silts would settle out among branches of trees.
We are hoping the trees will help slow the water," he said. "In some problem areas, it (the water) is a foot or two."
Kingsley said that although brown trout are neither rare nor endangered, they are not native to the 14.7-mile river.
"They are an exotic species that have done more good than harm," he said. "They are reproducing in the Straight River and a number of streams in the southeastern part of state."
The fish were introduced to the river many years ago by the state game and fish commission. Anglers can fish for brown trout following standard regulations.
A foundation for the project was funded by the Straight River Trust Committee.