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Legacy-funded prairie restoration benefits trout stream

Mon, Aug 25th, 2014
Posted in Spring Valley The Great Outdoors

A trout stream in the far southeastern part of the state is benefitting from Minnesota’s approval of the Legacy Amendment nearly six years ago.

Earlier this year, an 18-acre area within the Etna Creek Aquatic Management Area (AMA) was burned, treated with herbicide, then re-seeded with prairie grasses and other native plants. The former agricultural field had become overgrown with buckthorn, wild parsnips and other invasive weeds. Future work will include mowing and additional prescribed fires.

Located two miles west of Cherry Grove in Fillmore County, the 63-acre AMA includes the headwaters of Etna Creek, a designated trout stream that has undergone recent brook trout re-introductions. It also features three ponds leftover from a former mining operation. The restoration will help to reduce soil erosion, limit weed growth and improve the stream’s water quality.

Funding for the Etna Creek AMA prairie restoration, which cost about $12,000, came from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The constitutional amendment increased sales tax by three-eighths of 1 percent, with one-third of that dedicated to restoring, protecting and enhancing habitat for game fish and wildlife.

AMAs provide angler access, facilitate stream management, protect critical shoreland habitat, and provide areas for education and research. They are managed by the DNR and are open to the public.

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