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Editorial: Vermillion is a valuable resource

It can be easy to forget as Farmington and Rosemount start to look more and more like suburbs, but there is still a significant amount of undeveloped space in this part of Dakota County. Much of that land is still being used as farmland, but there are some valuable natural resources as well.

One of those resources got a bit of a boost earlier this month when the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced the purchase of two properties along the Vermillion River. The purchases will add new property for hunting, trapping and bird watching, among other things. More important, though, is the access they will provide to the river itself, a rare urban stream with a reputation for producing trophy-size trout.

The Vermillion is easy to overlook if you don’t know what you’re looking at. It’s not a big river in this part of the county, and it’s had a troubled past with pollution and farmers straightening its rambling channel in some places, speeding up its flow and degrading its banks. But the river’s future looks bright.

When the trout fishing season opened April 12, fishermen and fisherwomen flocked to the river’s shores despite gloomy weather. They came from across the Twin Cities because there are precious few other places they can find good fishing on less than a tank of gas.

Efforts are under way to make sure the river continues to be a good resource for anglers. In addition to its recent purchases, the DNR has put considerable effort into restoring some of those rambling curves that give the river its nickname. They, along with the Southern Dakota Sportsmen’s Club, regularly stock the water with fish. Most recently, the DNR added 1,000 rainbow trout April 11.

That is important. It gives local residents a recreational outlet, and it gives other people a reason to visit the area. And that makes it a good resource to have.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606