2010s Habitat Projects

Stones Bridge 2019

Twenty-three volunteers spent two Saturday mornings restoring 2 more of the spawning areas downstream of the Stone’s Bridge Canoe Landing.  This year’s work involved transporting nearly 19 tons of washed gravel from the landing to those sites. The gravel was shoveled into wheelbarrows and then off loaded into small dingy type boats which were then towed by canoe to the spawning areas. The furthest site was 0.7 miles from the landing while the other was a short distance downstream of the landing. Gravel was then spilled from the boats in the upper ends of the rock wing throats to restore spawning habitat. This year’s project was largely funded by a memorial to Ed Saindon by his family.

Click on Stones Bridge to view a video of the project provided by Seaquest Photography of Duluth, Minnesota.

Click for Stones Bridge gallery for a series of photos of the project beginning with the reconstruction of the stone wing dams.

Stones Bridge 2018

Twenty volunteers split into 2 groups to restore 2 trout spawning habitat areas originally built by the club and the DNR more than 20 years ago.  The projects involve moving the spawning gravels placed by the club and the DNR in the 1990's back upstream to where it was originally located (spawning trout move the gravel downstream slightly each time they build a nest). Volunteers met at 9 AM with waders and gloves and worked until about noon. A 'Sloppy Joe lunch' was provided by the club at noon back at the landing.

Click on Stones Bridge to view a video of the project provided by Seaquest Photography of Duluth, Minnesota.

Click for Stones Bridge gallery for a series of photos of the project beginning with the reconstruction of the stone wing dams.

Little Brule 2017

Project involved cutting tag alder along a thousand-foot section of stream. The alder was tipping into the stream, choking the stream habitat, and shading streamside evergreen forest growth. DNR staff used chain saws while the club’s volunteers cut alder with loppers and removed cut stems from the stream. The project should help maintain trout habitat and assist evergreen growth, promoting a forest that will eventually be unfavorable beaver food. This stream reach had been inundated by beaver in the late 1970s and was the first habitat project conducted by the Club in 1979 - 1981 (click on First Project to read about what what was done then).

Click for Little Brule photos.

Rainbow Bend Woody Cover 2016

Large woody cover, comprised of cut sections of trees and clean (dirt free) root wads, was installed to increase instream cover in an outside bend where Cutler/Castle Creek empties into the Brule River. Four complex "log jam" structures were installed using a jet pump and anchored into the stream bottom. All wood was installed below the waterline so as not to obstruct canoe traffic.  These structures will provide more diverse habitat in this section of stream for both invertebrates and fish, especially in winter when instream weed beds have died back.

Click for Rainbow Bend photos.

East Fork Repairs 2015 and 2021

The 2015 project involved repairing DNR/BRSC spawning areas originally built 19 – 22 years ago. On July 18th and August 1st, maintenance was done on the east fork of the Brule where 4 spawning areas were repaired. Two of the 4 restored sites were so remote that the gravel had been originally placed there by Wisconsin National Guard helicopters in 1995. Since then, spawning trout and salmon had moved the gravel 10 - 20 feet downstream. This gravel was moved back upstream in small boats. Three of the 4 spawning sites also had been damaged by beaver activity, and that damaged was repaired. Additionally, bankside alder and willow was cut back to reinvigorate valuable bank vegetation.

On July 24, 2021, 14 volunteers spent the morning restoring 11 spawning sites on the East Fork of the Brule by adding about 4 yards of ¾-inch to 1 ½-inch washed gravel. The gravel had been stockpiled near the project 16 years ago when the spawning sites were first built by the DNR. We moved the gravel to the stream by wheelbarrow where it was dumped into a small boat and floated to the various spawning sites.

Click for Brule East Fork photos. To see a short video provided by Seaquest Photography of Duluth, Minnesota regarding the 2021 East Fork work, click on East Fork Video.

West Fork Repairs 2015 and 2021

On August 15th, work was done on the Brule’s west fork where stream flow over 3 brook trout spawning sites built by DNR/BRSC efforts in 1994 and 1996 was improved.  Over time, water leaking around a water control structure had reduced flow over the habitat areas.  West fork repairs involved removing the boulders of the failing structure and rebuilding a new one about 20 feet upstream.  Alder and willow growing along a spawning channel was also removed to improve the growth of other more valuable tree/shrub species.

On July 31, 2021, 13 volunteers spent the morning repairing 2 water diversion devices These were designed to direct water to brook trout spawning areas that the Club and the DNR had built in 1995 and 1997. This maintenance work restored water flow to the spawning sites.

Click for Brule West Fork photos. To see a short video regarding the West Fork work, click on West Fork Video.

Beaupre Springs Restoration 2012 to 2014

Beaupre Springs Creek receives its water from a 1.5-acre spring pond locally known as Beaupre or Rifle Range Springs, and it flows for an estimated 1,500 feet through an open alder/willow meadow and a series of beaver impoundments.  Historically, this stream likely flowed through a cedar/spruce/tamarack forest that probably was cut away during the logging days in the early 1900’s.  We believe that shortly after the cut over, beaver moved into this area, feeding on the young growth of willow, alder and aspen.  Repetitive beaver use since drowned out any chance of a natural re-growth of the evergreen forest.  Beaver occupation has severely degraded the stream’s trout habitat.  Their impoundments raise summer water temperatures and reduce volume of flow due to evaporation off the ponds and sediments burying spawning gravels.  In fact, the stream channel below the impoundments was dry when the project began in 2012.  We've attempted to reverse the long-standing losses by first gradually removing the dams and dewatering the impoundments.  We've removed small woody debris plugs in the channels which should begin the process of uncovering and restoring the historic channel.  We also repeated this process on the small unnamed east fork tributary.  Good water flow has been restored to the channel below the lowest dam site since 2012.

Click for Beaupre Springs photos.

Beaupre Springs Maintenance 2021

On Saturday August 7th, 17 volunteers returned to Beaupre Spring Creek to do maintenance work on the 2012 - 2014 restoration project. We spent the morning cutting back speckled alders and willows that were encroaching on 2 overgrown sections of the creek. This work was needed to ensure constant water flow from Beaupre Spring Pond to the East Fork of the Brule.

Click for Beaupre Springs photos.

Rocky Run Channel Rehabilitation 2010 and 2011

Work to restore habitat on Rocky Run began in 2010.  The project is similar to the one completed for Sandy Run in 2009. DNR crews first cut problem brush, primarily alder, along the stream.  The club then removed 2 beaver dams and selectively removed woody debris from the center of the stream channel.  This should will help narrow the channel and flush built-up sediment away.  As for Sandy Run in the past few years, 4 work days were held in July and August.

The stream channel has flushed through much of the accumulated streambed sediment as a result of the 2010 habitat work, especially in the area of the beaver impoundment.  Maintenance work in 2011 removed additional debris that had been uncovered due to the flushing.

Click for Rocky Run photos and on Project Description for the project proposal.

Sandy Run Channel Rehabilitation 2007 to 2011

During the summers of 2007 - 2009, the club worked on a habitat project on Sandy Run from Hwy 27 to the Little Brule.  Prior to the club project, DNR personnel worked to improve spawning habitat in the upper reaches of Sandy Run.  In spring of 2007, DNR personnel cut stream-side alders in the project area.  Club members spent 4 mornings in July and August each year removing small woody debris from the stream channel to provide living space for trout.

By 2011, the stream channel had flushed through much of the accumulated stream bed sand.  Maintenance work in 2011 removed additional debris that had been uncovered due to the sand flushing occurring since 2009.

Click for Sandy Run photos.