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MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #58                                                                               Aug. 1, 2013
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DNR offers livestock producers emergency haying on 43 WMAs
Zebra mussels found in Lake Mary in Douglas County             



DNR offers livestock producers emergency haying on 43 WMAs

A severe livestock forage shortage has prompted state wildlife managers to identify 922 acres on 43 wildlife management areas (WMA) in 22 Minnesota counties where emergency haying will benefit wildlife, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.

“Haying opportunities on state wildlife management areas will only occur where habitat enhancement plans already are in place to disturb grasslands through burning, mowing or grazing,” said Bob Welsh, DNR wildlife habitat program manager. “The DNR is glad to help livestock producers during a time of need while long-term wildlife habitat conservation and improvement remains the primary goal.”

Because of a forage shortage due to winter kill of alfalfa and the late spring, Gov. Mark Dayton in June sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking that all federal conservation lands in Minnesota be considered as potential sources of emergency forage. He also asked state officials to identify similar grazing and haying opportunities on state conservation lands where consistent with the purpose of those lands.

The conservation grazing opportunities are located throughout Minnesota where haying could be allowed and would accomplish habitat conservation management objectives. Identified sites include areas in need of prescribed fire where burns were not accomplished; areas where haying or mowing can be done sooner than originally planned; and areas where haying can replace or enhance other planned grassland disturbances such as mowing or grazing.

Welsh said wildlife managers were not able to identify any other conservation grazing opportunities beyond those already planned because of the limited time and lack of existing infrastructure such as fencing and water supplies.

Only Minnesota livestock producers who need forage for their own livestock are eligible to cut hay on WMAs. Counties with potential sites include Blue Earth, Clearwater, Cottonwood, Faribault, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Jackson, Kittson, Le Sueur, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Mille Lacs, Nicollet, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Roseau, Sibley, Wabasha, Wilkin and Winona.

Availability of haying opportunities was delayed to August to get beyond the peak wildlife nesting season. Specific conditions will vary depending on conservation needs of a site but, generally, sites will not be hayed after Sept. 13; areas hayed will not contain tree plantings, food plots, water control structures, wetland basins or stream banks; and cutting should begin in the center of the area to be hayed so animals have an escape route.

Livestock producers have until Friday, Aug. 9, to contact area wildlife managers about emergency haying opportunities. Contact information for area wildlife managers by county is available at 




DNR NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         Aug. 1, 2013

Zebra mussels found in Lake Mary in Douglas County             

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake Mary in Douglas County near Alexandria.

After lake residents reported finding a zebra mussel attached to a rock in the northeast bay, DNR crews searched the area July 29 and found another adult zebra mussel.

“We take reports from the public seriously, and thoroughly investigate every incident,” said Joe Eisterhold, DNR northwest region aquatic invasive species specialist. “With more than 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, we need help from the public to locate new infestations.”

Lake Mary and several other lakes will be designated as infested waters and signs will be posted at all public accesses as soon as possible. The designation begins with Lake Mary and continues downstream, eventually reaching Lake Brophy and the rest of the Alexandria chain which is already infested with zebra mussels.

Connected waters include:

  • Skoglund Slough. 
  • Unnamed (21047900). 
  • Grill. 
  • Mill. 
  • Lobster (East Bay). 
  • Lobster (West Bay). 
  • Mina. 
  • Unnamed (21044000).

This new infestation underscores the need for continued diligence in complying with the state’s laws to prevent and curb the spread of invasive species. Boaters and anglers need to be extra vigilant in ensuring their boat and equipment are clean before leaving a lake access and to contact the DNR right away if they find suspicious aquatic animals or plants.

It is legal to transport suspected aquatic invasive species (AIS) in a sealed container to the DNR for reporting and identification purposes. If it’s not possible to bring in a sample, boaters are encouraged to take a picture and note the exact location where the specimen was found. Early detection is critical in preventing the spread to other waterbodies.

Anglers, boaters and other recreationists must remove all aquatic plants, zebra mussels, and other prohibited invasive species, drain water from all water equipment including portable bait containers, and drain bilges and livewells by removing the drain plug before leaving the boat landing.

More information about zebra mussels, how to inspect boats and other water-related equipment, and a current list of designated infested waters is available on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/ais.


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