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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
  • Dam removal at Granite Falls showing positive signs for healthier fishery

  • When the Minnesota Falls Dam on the Minnesota River near Granite Falls was removed last January, Chris Domeier, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources assistant fisheries supervisor at Ortonville, expected fish species that hadn’t been caught in that part of the river would eventually return. Some species have returned already.
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  • When the Minnesota Falls Dam on the Minnesota River near Granite Falls was removed last January, Chris Domeier, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources assistant fisheries supervisor at Ortonville, expected fish species that hadn’t been caught in that part of the river would eventually return. Some species have returned already.
    “The dam removal has been a tremendous positive for the fishery, the anglers, and of course other outdoors enthusiasts such as canoers and kayakers,” said Domeier.
    DNR Fisheries sampled the Minnesota River several times this year in Granite Falls from near the 212 bridge downstream to the Memorial Park boat access.
    “As expected, ‘new’ species were present that hadn’t been caught for a long time in this portion of the river because they had been extirpated by the Minnesota Falls Dam, said Domeier. “These species included black buffalo, mooneye, shortnose gar, longnose gar, sauger, and paddlefish. Unfort­unately we were unable to net the paddlefish. In addition anglers have reported catching shovelnose sturgeon and flathead catfish from the same portion of the river. Another noticeable change was the substantial increase in river loving species such as gizzard shad, bigmouth buffalo and river carpsucker. The number and abundance of fish overall increased substantially this first year after the dam’s removal, which was expected considering the reconnection of this previously isolated reach.  
    “I’m pretty confident that several other species have also ‘reappeared’ that we didn’t manage to catch, including lake sturgeon. As the river continues to heal from being impounded, expect to see a continued improvement in species diversity and abundances. The habitat had been altered by the dam for 100 years and I’d expect it to take at least 5 to 10 years for things to get back to “normal” (whatever that may be given the modern day hydrograph).

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