GARRISON -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has hired a longtime fisheries specialist to oversee Lake Mille Lacs. Central Region Fisheries Supervisor Brad Parsons says Lake of the Woods Fisheries Supervisor Tom Heinrich has been tabbed to fill the new position in Garrison.

Heinrich will be overseeing field operations to assess walleye populations and harvests, working with fisheries research on Mille Lacs and coordinating other work needed to answer complex questions about the lake.

Parsons says Heinrich brings valuable experience to the position...

Tom comes with a wealth of information...experience on Lake of the Woods.  Lake of the Woods was one of our first major lakes with spiny water fleas.  Tom has worked in the past, even before this position (was created), on our fisheries research group on research ideas that can be done on Mille Lacs.

The DNR has been working to understand and improve the declining walleye populations on the lake over the last two decades. The infestation of zebra mussels, spiny water fleas and Eurasian watermilfoil have changed the lake's aquatic food web and further complicates the efforts.

Heinrich began his career in New York as a fisheries technician on eastern Lake Erie. In 1991, he was hired as a large lake specialist for Lake of the Woods in Baudette, Minnesota.  He held that position until he took over in Garrison Wednesday.

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