January 20th, 2003

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
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How Dare They...!
By Steven H. McGarthwaite

How dare they! Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that an additional 20 miles of water on the Vermillion River (and tributaries) is now under protection as a "Designated Trout Stream."

Trout Anglers are happy at the news, developers are outraged. Vermillion was a trout stream (brook trout) before people moved into the area, but over the years, the trout stream died. Minnesota Chapters of Trout Unlimited and the Minnesota DNR working together recovered 25 miles of the upper portion of the Vermillion River and tributaries. It has been a "Designated Trout Stream" for many years, now the next 20 miles of the Vermillion and it tributaries, have been classified clean enough to support trout.

Vermillion River runs through the rich farmland of Dakota County. It starts just west of Farmington, Minnesota, and travels for over 60 miles through rich farm land and hardwood forest to Red Wing, Minnesota where it's water joins the Mississippi River.

Dakota County farm landscape is quickly disappearing as developers are buying up property and building high priced hobby-farm homes. Land developers are upset that this trout stream will cut into their profit margin. No more easy quick way to get rid of rainwater from Shopping Malls, and streets. The area of useable land to build on just became smaller and the standard for land usage just became a lot more complex. With the "Designated Trout Stream" classification, there is protection for the water sources for the river and includes all springs that feed into the river. Most developers just assume they can build and drill for water in the aquifer, now that has come under the "Designated Trout Stream" classification too.

The Metropolitan Water Treatment Plant at Rosemont will now have to build a 13-mile viaduct pipeline to transport the treated wastewater to the Mississippi River.

Presently the wastewater is released into the Vermillion to travel downstream to the Mississippi River. The temperature of the released treated wastewater would raise the rivers water temperature above the temperature level for trout to survive. No more are our rivers and streams sewers for human-waste products, even if it is clean treated wastewater.

Minnesota was the vanguard for Clean Air and Water legislation, long before the Federal Government joined the cause. Even after the Federal Government passed its versions of Clean Air & Water Regulations, Minnesota's regulations were more stringent. It was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, that Minnesota did not have to reduce its standards to the U.S. Governments. As long as Minnesota met the U.S. Government standards, Minnesota because of "States Rights" under the U.S. Constitution, could exceed the U.S. Government Standards.

So fly anglers are happy over the news and land developers are angry. The Twin Cities metro area has over 200 lakes, three major rivers (Minnesota, Mississippi, and St. Croix), and 12 "Designated Trout Streams." We love our waters, and that is why we are the "Land of 10,000 Lakes."*

*Note: Actually we have 15,453 Lakes, but that would be bragging. ~ ~Parnelli

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