At last Monday's SW Metro Tea Party meeting exploring the Property Rights Alert: MN Land & Water Grab, Southeastern Minnesota Irrigators Association officer and organizer Nora Felton bashed brown trout as an "invasive species," going on to imply a parallel between the fish and "another issue" affecting the United States.
We presume the speaker implies children born in the United States of immigrant parents are a problem.
Discussing listening sessions conducted this spring by the DNR for the Vermillion River watershed, Felton said:
. . .I call this the Minnesota delta smelt situation, because the other thing you need to know is that brown trout are not only not native to Minnesota, they are not native to America. Period. So we are holding back water for a species that really should be considered an invasive specie [sic], and then someone had the gall to say, well, once they spawn in a river, the offspring are no longer invasive species.[Laughter]
Felton puts her finger her lips and looks around, eyes rolled upward.
Kind of reminds me of another problem that we have in this country [shrugs] but I won't go into that. [muffled sounds from the audience]
So anyway, at which point I suggested to them then that we don't really have a problem with the zebra mussels or any of the other problems that we have on the Mississippi River, right, and I can't remember, the walking fish, but you know what I mean.
Here's the clip below; full video of Felton's talk can be found here.
According to the DNR's website:
Brown trout were introduced more than a century ago and have become naturalized. . . .
The other trout now in this state are brown trout and rainbow trout. Both were introduced to Minnesota in the late 1800s. The rainbow is native to western North America and the brown is native to Germany. Brown trout are the hardiest of the trout species and as a result can tolerate water warmer and less clear than rainbows and especially brook trout require.
Perhaps that term "naturalized" is what prompted her to confuse trout with people 9maybe she's just deeply xenophobic). She certainly seems confused about naturalized game species like brown trout--the ring-necked pheasant of Minnesota's rivers and creeks. Pheasants were imported to Minnesota from China in 1881; neither naturalized species is considered invasive. That is: neither has adverse affect on native fish or birds.
Like the exotic pheasant and native species like deer, ducks and walleye, Minnesota's brown trout are encouraged by public dollars and private groups. In the Vermillion River watershed, Trout Unlimited's Twin Cities has put three years of Legacy Funds to work to improve trout habitat. Statewide, Trout Unlimited has received over $7 million for various trout habitat projects from the Lessard funds, while Pheasants Forver has received $45.5 million.
Not surprisingly given the company she keeps, Felton objected to the Legacy Amendment, which passed overwhelmingly in 2008, because it would created "too much bureaucracy," according to her letter-to-the-editor published in October that year.
Felton, who sources indicate is married to Doug Felton, chairman of the board of directors of the $83 billion co-operative lending institution Agribank, made the statement in a rambling presentation about state Department of Natural Resources and Department of Agriculture programs.
A frequent contributor to conserative causesand politicians, Nora Felton contributed $300 to Freedomworks For America this year, and has contributed to Michele Bachmann's congressional campaign (2012, 2010), Sarah Palin's PAC, Allen West's Deep Strike PAC, and Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign.
According to the Cannon Falls Beacon (where Felton contributes as a journalist), Felton is running for the Goodhue County Board of Commissioners seat opened by the retirement of Richard Samuelson. There will be a primary in the five-person contest.
Her talk was followed by remarks by Warren Formo, Minnesota Agricultural Water Resource Center executive director. Ironically enough, one of Felton's targets was the Minnesota Water Sustainability Framework. Formo co-chaired the Agricultural Use Technical Work Team Report for the Framework project.
We'll have more gems from this SW Metro Tea Party event as we unpack Felton and Formo's statements and audience questions. As one might expect, some among the SW Metro Tea Party audience attributed DNR and EPA policies to Agenda 21.
Representative Cindy Pugh (R-Chanhassen) introduced the speakers.
Video still: Nora Felton speaking at the SW Metro Tea Party.
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