IN THIS ISSUE
A state list first established nearly 30 years ago to highlight and help protect plants and animals at risk of disappearing from Minnesota has received its first official update since 1996.
Following a series of five public hearings, an 86-day comment period and review by an administrative law judge, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on Monday, Aug. 19, adopted a new list of endangered, threatened and special concern species. Twenty-nine species, including the bald eagle, wolf and snapping turtle, were removed from the list; 180 species of plants and animals were added; 91 species had their status either upgraded or downgraded while remaining on the list. The changes were based on large amounts of new information gathered by DNR and other researchers.
Minnesota’s endangered species law requires the DNR to create and periodically revise such a list, and it prescribes three levels of concern. An endangered species is one that is at great risk of extinction within the state. A threatened species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. A species of special concern, though not at immediate risk, is considered vulnerable because of its rarity or highly specific habitat requirements.
The law prohibits the taking or possession of endangered and threatened species except in certain situations. If a proposed project cannot avoid a protected species, the state can issue a “taking permit” that is combined with mitigation, such as funding for research or acquisition of other sites to protect the species. Over the past decade, DNR has received 23 applications for development-related taking permits and it has issued all but one.
“The ultimate goal of putting a plant or animal on the list isn’t to put up walls around it; it’s to restore its health and get it back off the list,” said Rich Baker, DNR endangered species coordinator. “There are plenty of examples of that happening, and it doesn’t have to come at the expense of sustainable economic development.”
More information on Minnesota’s endangered, threatened and special concern species can be found on the DNR’s website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/ets/index.html.
DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Aug. 19, 2013
The meetings will include reviews of walleye regulations on Leech Lake; largemouth bass regulations on Cass County’s Stony and Thirteen lakes; a catch-and-release muskellunge regulation on Clearwater County’s Elk Lake; walleye regulations on the Fish Lake Reservoir near Duluth; a 17- to 26-inch protected slot for walleye on 12 Itasca County lakes; and panfish regulations on five Rochester-area waters.
The goal of experimental and special regulations on individual waters is to expand opportunities for anglers to experience quality fishing that can be sustained in light of increasing angling pressure and improved angler efficiency. During the past 26 years, fisheries managers have monitored a variety of regulations across Minnesota.
“Much has been learned from our efforts to improve fish populations with length and bag limits,” said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries program consultant. “If experimental regulations are successful, then regulations can be replicated on similar waters where fisheries managers and anglers agree they would help improve or maintain quality fishing.”
Experimental regulations are in effect for a specific period of time, typically 10 years. Before the regulation ends, fish managers must evaluate the regulation and then gather input from public meetings to help determine whether to extend, modify or drop the existing experimental regulations.
“Fisheries managers welcome the opportunity to hear opinions from anglers,” Stevens said. “Public participation is critical in determining whether proposed and existing regulations are meeting angler expectations.”
Waters being evaluated this year were posted at public access points in the spring. Public notices for each meeting will be published in local newspapers. For more information about a specific meeting, check online at www.mndnr.gov/fishing/meetings or contact the local DNR Fisheries office using the online listing at www.mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries.
Written or verbal comments also will be accepted at local fisheries offices up to 10 days following a local meeting. Telephone numbers and addresses of local fisheries offices can be found online at online at www.mndnr.gov/areas/fisheries or on page 94 of the 2013 Fishing Regulations handbook.
For those unable to attend a local meeting, there will be an open house at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul on Wednesday, Sept. 25, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No formal presentations will be made but fisheries staff will be available to take comments on any proposal. Comments will be accepted through Monday, Oct. 7, and also may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 651-259-5239.
Open houses, which can be viewed on the DNR website by following the angler alert link at www.mndnr.gov/fishing, are scheduled for:
As summer progresses and lake water levels drop, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds boaters using public accesses to check ramp conditions before launching any boat and to refrain from “power loading.”
Power loading is a phrase that describes using the motor thrust to load and unload a boat onto and off a trailer. The method is dangerous and can damage boats.
Instead of power loading, boaters are encouraged to use a winch to load and unload a boat.
Power loading creates blow holes and prop mounds when sediment, gravel and sometimes large rocks are blown beyond the ramp. Power loading can also cause damage to launch ramps that may not be visible from the surface of the water. Erosion under the concrete ramps and dock wheels can cause them to become uneven and, in some cases, fall into the blow holes.
The practice can also lead to expensive boat motor and trailer repairs. Motors can incur damage if the boat or lower unit runs aground on the mound. At shallow accesses, boat trailer frames can get hung up when trailers are backed off the end of the concrete ramp into the blow outs. Smaller vehicles may be unable to get the trailer out.
“We recommend that before launching, boaters look beyond the ramp for shallow water caused by prop mounds and ensure the water is deep enough for the boat and motor,” said Dave Schotzko, DNR northwest region Parks and Trails Division supervisor. “This is especially important for those with larger boats and pontoons.”
The DNR Parks and Trails Division manages about 3,000 public boat accesses statewide. DNR crews stay busy in the summer maintaining public water accesses. The added tasks of removing prop mounds and repairing docks and ramps become expensive and time consuming, making it impossible to level every boat landing to accommodate all sizes of boats at every lake. These repairs also take funding and time away from efforts that could be spent on other improvements.
Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Any entry that contains photographic products will be disqualified.
Entries will be accepted via mail and in person at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul. Mailed entries should be addressed to 2013 Pheasant Stamp Contest, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020.
Designs should be securely wrapped and enclosed in an envelope or other container. The words “Pheasant Stamp” should be clearly marked on outside of the container. Late entries will not be accepted.
The contest, which offers no prizes, is open to Minnesota residents only. Winning artists usually issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to pheasant management-related activities.
A contest entry form and reproduction rights agreement, which grants the DNR the right to use the design for the stamp image and other promotional, educational and informational purposes related to waterfowl, must be signed and submitted with the design.
Judging is at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
Complete contest criteria and information are available from the DNR Information Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155, and online at www.mndnr.gov/contests.
Families, youth and women can go afield with upland bird mentors
“Participants are offered a hands-on approach that shows them hunting techniques, outdoor skills, safety and how wildlife habitat plays a big part in upland bird management and hunter success,” said Mike Kurre, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) mentoring program coordinator.
Co-sponsored by the DNR, hunt participants are paired with mentors from Pheasants Forever, Woodcock Minnesota and the Ruffed Grouse Society. After discussing safety, habitat, ethics, scouting for places to hunt and securing landowner permission when necessary, mentors take participants into the field.
A limited number of family hunts allow all family members to actively participate. For youth hunts, parents or guardians must accompany youth hunters at all times and at all events but cannot carry a firearm.
To participate, youth must be 12-17 years old as of Oct. 19; have earned a valid firearms safety certificate; possess a small game license if required; and have a parent, guardian or adult authorized by a parent or guardian accompany them as a nonfirearms carrying mentor. The adult must accompany the youth during the orientation and the hunt.
A small game license is not needed for youth younger than 16. A $5 reduced-price license is required for youth 16 and 17.
Up to four family members can participate in a family hunt. Adult and youth family members must meet all eligibility requirements. Applicants who apply for a family hunt but are not selected in the lottery can opt to allow their children to participate in the youth hunt if spots remain open.
All applicants must specify the county or area they want to hunt, if they are willing to travel farther if their choice is not available and the distance they are willing to travel.
Applications are due Monday, Sept. 16. They are available online at www.mndnr.gov/discover or by contacting the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157, toll-free 888-646-6367 or email@example.com. Successful applicants will be notified via mail or email by the end of September.
The winner’s notice will contain specific information about hunting license requirements, equipment and hunt coordinator contact information. All winners must contact their hunt coordinator after receiving their notice.
Landowners with pheasant or grouse-producing property interested in allowing youth or novice families or women to hunt on their land can help out by contacting Pheasants Forever’s Eran Sandquist at 763-242-1273.
Eurasian watermilfoil has been discovered growing in Clear Lake near the town of Watkins in northern Meeker County, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
An initial discovery was made by DNR Fisheries specialists on the west side of the lake. A plant sample was brought to Hutchinson DNR office. A subsequent inspection of the lake showed Eurasian watermilfoil growing primarily along the western shore of the lake, but also found sparse growth of plants in the north bay of the lake and along the northeast shore.
Eurasian watermilfoil can form dense mats of vegetation and crowd out native aquatic plants, clog boat propellers and interfere with water recreation.
Clear Lake covers 529 acres and has a maximum depth of 18 feet. t has DNR public accesses on north and south ends of lake.
“Boaters and anglers who use Clear Lake are urged to be extra thorough when looking for and removing aquatic plants from their boats, trailers, anchors, decoys and other equipment,” said Nicholas Brown, DNR aquatic invasive species specialist. “It is unlawful in Minnesota to transport aquatic plants or prohibited invasive species or to launch watercraft with them attached.”
Eurasian watermilfoil has now been discovered in more than 260 lakes, rivers or streams in Minnesota.
The lake will be designated as an infested water and the public access will be signed to alert boaters.
More information about aquatic invasive species, how to inspect water equipment, and a current infested waters list can be found at www.mndnr.gov/ais.
Q: The ash trees in my yard are producing lots of seeds this year, more than in previous years. How unusual is this? Is it weather related?
A: Trees produce large amounts of seed for a couple of reasons. Trees under stress from drought, soil compaction, or planting “off-site” may produce more seed to ensure another generation. Weather can also impact the number of seeds a tree produces. Ash are wind-pollinated, so if there are heavy rains during flowering, pollen is unable to travel by wind, and seed set and production can be reduced.