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MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #60                                                                              Aug. 8, 2013
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IN THIS ISSUE
Trout stream setback permit and silica sand
   reclamation rulemaking projects move forward
Minnesota DNR announces fall duck and goose seasons
Spruce needle rust appearing in northern Minnesota
DNR seeks public comments on proposed Miller-Black Bear Area ATV Trail in Crow Wing County


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Trout stream setback permit and silica sand reclamation rulemaking projects move forward

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is moving forward with two projects directed by recent silica sand legislation: the silica sand trout stream setback permit and rulemaking on the reclamation of silica sand mines and facilities.

Several laws were passed in the 2013 legislative session to address potential environmental and health concerns related to silica sand mining and processing.

The DNR was directed to create a new permit for silica sand facilities within an ecological region called the Paleozoic Plateau, which encompasses the southeastern portion of the state where silica sand bedrock is exposed at or near the surface. 

The area also hosts pristine watersheds that provide critical cold water habitat for trout.  Proposed silica sand facilities within 1 mile from designated trout streams must now apply for a DNR trout stream setback permit.

The permit application will require a hydrogeological evaluation to adequately assess potential impacts from a proposed mining operation to trout streams and other hydrogeological features, including private and public drinking water supplies.

“The department will use this permit process to ensure that trout streams in southeastern Minnesota are protected,” said Steve Hirsch, director of the DNR’s Ecological and Water Resources Division. “If springs or other sensitive resources are found during the evaluation, adequate buffers and setbacks will be required.” 

Written comments and requests for information about the setback permit can be directed to Tom Hovey, DNR water regulations unit supervisor, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4032, 651-259-5654 or tom.hovey@state.mn.us.

Mining reclamation
The rulemaking process for silica sand mining reclamation was initiated July 22 with the publication of request for comments in the State Register. The considered rules are intended to control possible adverse environmental effects of silica sand mining, protect natural resources and encourage planning of future land use. 

The rules may also address other reclamation issues that come up during the rulemaking process. “Silica sand is an important issue to Minnesotans,” said Jess Richards, director of DNR’s Lands and Minerals Division, “one that has grass roots beginnings, so public and stakeholder involvement is a vital component of the rulemaking process.”

Interested people or groups may submit written requests to receive a draft of the rules when the document has been prepared or may submit written comments and questions about the silica sand rulemaking process to Heather Arends, silica sand rulemaking coordinator, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4045, 651-259-5376 or heather.arends@state.mn.us

To stay informed on the rulemaking progress for reclamation of silica sand mines (Revisor’s ID Number R-04198), go to http://mndnr.gov/silicasand.

Several Minnesota state agencies, including the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Environmental Quality Board, are involved in implementing the 2013 legislation regarding silica sand mining, processing and transportation. An interagency website is in development and will be used to help track progress across all agencies. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                Aug. 8, 2013
 

Minnesota DNR announces fall duck and goose seasons

Minnesota’s waterfowl season will open a half-hour before sunrise on Sept. 21 and continue for 60 days under a north, central and southern zone structure with different season dates for each zone, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

This is the same structure the DNR used for the first time last year. The opener is one day earlier than last year and the earliest since 1945.

“Hunters had a good waterfowl season last year,” said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief. “We heard positive reports so we maintained the same season structure.”

The daily bag limit remains at six ducks per day. The mallard bag limit remains at four per day, including two hen mallards. The wood duck bag limit will remain at three per day. The only bag limit changes from last year are the daily limit for scaup which drops from four to three per day and the canvasback limit increases from one to two per day.

Telander said the other notable change is possession limits have increased from two times the daily bag limit to three times the daily bag limit for all migratory birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offered the increase to all states. Telander also noted this year’s opening date is based on a federal framework that enables Mississippi Flyway states to open their season on the Saturday nearest Sept. 24 each year. Next year’s season could open no earlier than Sept. 27.

Mallard abundance from a continental spring survey, including Minnesota, is used to determine overall duck season length. This year’s estimate was 10.4 million mallards, which was similar to last year’s estimate of 10.6 million mallards and 36 percent above the long-term average.

Steve Cordts, DNR waterfowl specialist, said breeding duck numbers were good for mallards and all other duck species this year and wetland conditions in the major waterfowl breeding areas were also favorable.

“In Minnesota, the population index of resident breeding mallards was also good, with an estimated 293,000 mallards in our survey area, Cordts said. “That’s 30 percent above the long-term average.”

Duck harvest in Minnesota last fall was up 19 percent from 2011, from 621,000 ducks in 2011 to 749,000 ducks in 2012. Most of the increase was due to increased harvest of blue-winged teal and wood ducks. “We’ve made some changes with duck hunting regulations the past few years to increase harvest opportunity, particularly early in the season,” Cordts said. “These changes seem to have worked as we have seen increased harvest of early migrating species like teal and wood ducks.”  

DUCK SEASON

  • In the North Duck Zone (north of Highway 210), duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 21 through Tuesday, Nov. 19.
  • In the Central Duck Zone, duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Nov. 24.
  • In the South Duck Zone (south of Highway 212), duck season will run from Saturday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 12 through Sunday, Dec. 1.

YOUTH WATERFOWL DAY
Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day will be Saturday, Sept. 7. Hunters age 15 and under may take regular season bag limits when accompanied by a nonhunting adult (age 18 and older, no license required). Canada geese, mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken from a half-hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Motorized decoy restrictions are in effect. Five geese may be taken statewide.   

OPEN WATER HUNTING
A small number of lakes will be open to open water hunting this fall. These new opportunities are an outcome of a DNR-led waterfowl hunter focus group and citizen input process. Lake Superior, Lake of the Woods, Mille Lacs Lake, and Lake Pepin will be open to open water hunting as long as boats remain at anchor. On the Mississippi River south of Hastings, with the exception of Lake Pepin, hunters must remain within 100 feet of shoreline, including islands. This matches the Wisconsin regulations on this portion of the river. Hunters should consult the 2013 Waterfowl Regulations for additional information.

Maj. Phil Meier, DNR enforcement operations manager, said these new open water hunting opportunities will require extra safety precautions. “Hunters should wear their life jackets not just have them aboard,” Meier advised, noting this type of hunting involves small shallow boats and some of Minnesota’s largest and most windswept lakes. “They’ll also have to be on the lookout for recreational boaters, large waves from barges and other commercial traffic and unfavorable changes in the weather. It’s a different type of hunting; it takes a different safety mindset.”

GOOSE SEASONS

August Canada goose
An August Canada goose management take will open Saturday, Aug. 10 and run through Sunday, Aug. 25, in the Intensive Harvest Zone only. Bag limit is 10 Canada geese per day. A $4 permit t is required. This is the first year Canada goose hunting has been allowed during August due to high populations of Canada geese and agricultural crop depredation.  Goose hunters should consult the DNR Web page for additional information at
http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/waterfowl/index.html.
  
Early September Goose Season
The early September Canada goose season will open statewide on Sunday, Sept. 1 and run through Friday, Sept. 20. Bag limits for Canada geese are 10 per day in the Intensive Harvest Zone and five per day in the remainder of the state. 

A $4 permit is required to hunt Canada geese during September season. The restriction prohibiting hunting within 100 yards of surface water remains in effect in the Northwest Goose Zone, Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area, Ocheda Lake Game Refuge, and an area surrounding Swan Lake in Nicollet County. Early season goose hunters should consult the 2013 Waterfowl Supplement for zone maps and additional details.

Regular goose season
Minnesota’s regular goose season will open in conjunction with the duck season statewide on Saturday, Sept. 21, with a bag limit of three Canada geese per day the entire season.  Goose season will be closed in the central and south duck zones when duck season is closed.

In the North Duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 21 through Monday, Dec.16.  In the Central Duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 29 and Saturday, Oct. 5, through Saturday, Dec. 21.  In the South Duck zone, goose season will run from Saturday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 12 through Friday, Dec. 28.

Sandhill Crane Season
The season for sandhill cranes will run from Saturday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 20 in the Northwest Goose and Sandhill Crane Zone only. The daily bag limit will be two sandhill cranes per day. A sandhill crane permit is required in addition to a small game hunting license. Cost is $3.

Additional details on the duck, goose, sandhill crane, and other migratory bird hunting seasons will be available in the 2013 Minnesota Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, available in mid-August on online at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           Aug. 8, 2013

Spruce needle rust appearing in northern Minnesota

Homeowners in northern Minnesota are noticing their spruce trees turning tan, yellow, orange or sometimes, pink. Most likely these trees are infected with the spruce needle rust fungus, which presents an aesthetic problem but seldom a tree health problem, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Spruce needle rust infects current-year needles of blue spruce but can also be found on white and black spruce. Infected needles will turn yellow and then shed in the fall. However, healthy buds on the ends of the branches will produce new needles the following year.

“Seeing favorite ornamental trees turn a rusty color and appear to be dying can cause concern, but homeowners shouldn’t rush to cut them down,” said Mike Albers, DNR forest health specialist. “The fungus only infects the current year’s needles, and does not spread from tree to tree.”

In some years, like this one, spruce needle rust is very common; but in most years it is difficult to find because it requires other plants and specific growing conditions to complete its life cycle.

In early summer, the rust fungus produces spores on the leaves of Labrador tea or leather leaf, which grow in peatlands, bogs and swamps.

Winds can blow these spores onto current-year spruce needles. If the weather is wet and cool, needles can become infected. Rust fungus produced by the infected tree can reinfect and overwinter on alternate host plants, but this is generally interrupted by changing weather conditions. A widespread infection one year can be undetectable the next.

Chemical control with a fungicide is usually not helpful and cannot cure the infected needles.

Albers recommends keeping spruce trees healthy during a spruce needle rust outbreak by:

  • Watering trees during dry times; avoid using sprinklers because the needles will stay wet and can lead to additional infections.
  • Mowing weeds and grass around small trees to keep needles dry and prevent infection.
  • Mulching around trees to maintain soil moisture and discourage weed and grass growth. Keep the mulch off the tree’s trunk.

Homeowners and other landowners can find information about tree care and tree diseases on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/backyard.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          Aug. 8, 2013
 

DNR seeks public comments on proposed Miller-Black Bear Area ATV Trail in Crow Wing County

Comments are due by Monday, Sept. 16, at 4:30 p.m.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invites public comment on an application for off-highway vehicle (OHV) grant-in-aid funding for a 20-mile long all-terrain vehicle trail in Crow Wing County. About 19 miles of the trail are in place on existing OHV trails or forest roads; the remainder would be new trail. 

Crow Wing County Land Services would sponsor the trail and would provide trail monitoring, development and maintenance in cooperation with the Cuyuna Iron Range Riders ATV Club.  Trail development and maintenance would be partially funded through the state off-highway vehicle grant-in-aid grant program.

The trail is primarily on Crow Wing County forest lands, with about 3 miles crossing state forest land. The trail is open to motorized recreation from May 1 through Oct. 31 each year, subject to closures as warranted for safety considerations or to prevent erosion or damage to the trail. 

Copies of the proposal and a project map are available for review at www.mndnr.gov/input (www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/mgmtplans/ohv/plans/miller_black_bear.html). To request a printed copy of the trail description, call Sam Johnson, acquisition and development specialist, at 218-999-7921 or call the DNR Information Center Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at 651-296-6157, toll-free at 888-646-6367 or info.dnr@state.mn.us.

The deadline for comments is 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16. Submit written comments via:

  • Email to sam.johnson@state.mn.us.
  • Fax to 218-327-4263.
  • Mail to Sam Johnson, DNR Parks and Trails Division, 1201 E. Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN  55744.

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