Garvin Brook Project

Project Outline:


Garvin Brook has long been an extremely productive brook and brown trout fishery, far beyond what might be expected given its small size, high visibility, easy roadside angling access, and proximity to the population center of Winona. The historically intense flooding that occurred in August 2007 severely impaired this stretch of Garvin Brook targeted for the work. In some places, whole trees and other woody debris jammed flows and caused channel braiding. In other places, the channel widened dramatically and became very shallow, causing detrimental warming in summer and freezing in winter. Long shallow pools have become choked with weeds which warm the water and threaten to deplete critical oxygen through eutrophication. Vegetation was torn from broad swaths of the flood plain, leaving bare areas which invasive species such as garlic mustard, wild parsnip, and buckthorn quickly colonized, posing threats to health of the State Forest lands here.

A water monitoring station which will determine a discharge – stage relationship necessary to guide proper design of the habitat enhancement work will be installed in November of 2011 followed by a thorough geomorphic survey of the 6,100 feet of stream. Woody debris and other flood damage will be removed, an engineered stream crossing will be installed, several flood-created riffles will be lowered by the MNDNR using heavy construction equipment, and the entire system will be allowed to stabilize for close to a year. Following analysis of the updated discharge –stage data and a re-survey, final design and implementation of the habitat enhancement project will take place in close pool-1-upstream consultation with two of our partners, MNDNR Fisheries and the Water Resources Center at Winona State
University. The enhancement project will narrow the stream channel, remove accumulated sediment as needed, re-slope and stabilize stream banks, install overhead cover for trout in selected locations, and re-establish native vegetation.

The project site is highly visible and accessible to the public via US Hwy 14 which runs alongside Garvin Brook down through this valley. The popular Farmers’ Park is located at the top end of the project site adjacent to State Forest land. Already in 2010, Win-Cres Chapter TU members have organized several work days to remove woody debris and invasive trees and clean up flood damage. This has resulted in nearly 400 hours of volunteer labor contributions, including many by 48 area high school students! In addition, the partnership with researchers at the Water Resources Center provides a unique opportunity to objectively assess the effectiveness of stream habitat improvement efforts, as well as broader watershed improvement measures in the Driftless area. The project has the potential to substantially advance the science of stream protection, restoration and enhancement, which should help improve work in all watersheds. MNDNR Fisheries is a major partner on this project. Other valuable partners include MNDNR Forestry, the Stockton-Rollingstone-Minnesota City Watershed District, the Winona County SWCD, local property owners, and area residents. The Win-Cres Chapter TU anticipates providing 640 hours of volunteer labor on the project.

Tentative Project Timeline:

  • June/July 2011: Awarded Funding from LSOHC and the MN State Legislature
  • November 2011: Install Water Monitoring Station
  • June 2012: Conduct Initial Geomorphic Survey in accordance with MN DNR standards.
  • August 2012: Lower Afflicted Riffles, Remove Flood Debris/Damaged Existing Habitat work.
  • March 2013: Conduct Post-Riffle Survey, Begin Project Design
  • May 2013: Begin Final Habitat Improvement Project
Lidar Image of Garvin Brook Project Reach provided by Lanesboro Fisheries Office

Google Earth and Garvin Brook:

For those of you who are technically savy we have uploaded a google earth document that can be downloaded and opened on your computer. This will allow you to navigate the reach of stream and see photographs that have been aligned with the creek. Open the file in google earth and use the sidebar to click on photographs or points of interest to learn more about the creek, as the project continues we will be adding images to show the progression of work. Look for new .KMZ files to add to these as project progress continues. Once you have downloaded the file (click the link below) you will be able to open it with Google Earth. Double click on a point of interest for more information, double click on the photo’s to see what the creek looks like and you can double click on the photo’s even further to zoom in on them. To get back click on the “exit photo” button in the upper right of the screen.

Garvin Brook Project Site

Other Project Documents: