MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #48 June 26, 2014
IN THIS ISSUE
DNR NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reports a major drop in drunken boating arrests and accidents around the state. This news comes as the DNR, county sheriff’s offices and federal agencies are stepping up patrols for impaired boaters this weekend — June 27-29.
So far this year, 10 people have been arrested for boating while intoxicated BWI on Minnesota waters — compared to more than 20 arrests this time last year.
In 2013, 89 people were arrested for BWI compared to 158 in 2012— a 50 percent drop.
And one of the three boating fatalities in 2014 has been alcohol related.
Alcohol use was a factor in about 8 percent of fatal boating accidents in 2013 compared to 33 percent in 2012.
“We have zero tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs on our waters,” said Capt. Greg Salo, DNR enforcement, central region manager. “Drinking alcohol and boating has serious, even deadly, consequences and our goal is to make sure everyone makes it home after a day on the water.”
Weather has played a role in the decline in alcohol-related incidents, he said. Due to a late spring, in combination with heavy rains, fewer boaters are on the water. But boaters are also making safe decisions. DNR conservation officers and water patrol deputies are seeing more boaters with designated sober operators.
Operating a boat with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is against the law. Boaters caught operating under the influence will find their day on the water come to an end and their boat will be impounded. Additional penalties can include arrest, fines and loss of boating privileges.
This weekend’s enforcement is part of Operation Dry Water, a national weekend BWI education and enforcement aimed at reducing alcohol and drug-related accidents and deaths. It’s sponsored by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.
DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 26, 2014
Flooding could be harmful for ground-nesting birds
For ground-nesting birds, high-water levels present another threat to their survival, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.
In southern Minnesota, grassland ground-nesting birds like pheasants, meadowlarks, dickcissels, bobolinks, native sparrows, and ground-nesting ducks like the blue-winged teal lay their eggs on or near the ground. When nests become submerged, the eggs get too cold and incubation is aborted. If there are very small chicks already in the nest, they too could become too cold and wet and die from hypothermia or drowning.
"Wet conditions during nesting times are always rough, but this year has been an exceptionally difficult one,” said Carrol Henderson, Nongame Wildlife Program supervisor. “After the long, cold winter we had, the birds didn't have much time to take advantage of mild, dry conditions they need for success."
If the nests are flooded before the eggs hatch, the birds will likely re-nest and hatch a brood of young later in the summer. If the chicks have already hatched and die from exposure from being soaked by the rains, the birds typically will not re-nest and they are done for the year.
Early-nesting waterfowl like Canada geese and Trumpeter swans should be hatched by now and the young should be old enough to survive higher water conditions. However, overall it is a tough year for ground-nesting wildlife as well as for the farmers, landowners, and communities affected by the heavy rains.
DNR land sale slated for Aug. 1 in Kittson County
DNR NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 26, 2014
Teamwork is what best describes Dave and Nancy Lanners of Royalton, who have been named the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 2013 ATV Volunteer Instructors of the Year.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be able to bestow this award on the Lanners,” said 2nd Lt. Leland Owens, recreational vehicle coordinator, DNR enforcement. “They are well-deserving of the award.”
Avid ATV’ers, the husband and wife team leads the instruction for youth ATV safety classes in the Pierz area, organizing up to three classes and certifying an average of 100 kids each year.
While Nancy coordinates the logistical side of the training, Dave heads up the team of classroom instructors. The combination has been effective for students, said Conservation Officer Paul Kuske of Pierz.
“Their welcoming nature, their ability to reassure and comfort nervous kids, instructing with a gentle voice and hand, all the while with a smile attracts participants from across the state,” said Kuske.
And they have lots of support.
The Lanners currently have 16 certified instructors, along with seven potential instructors who help out with classes. They also make it a point to involve parents of students in the classroom instruction. Even the Lanners children are involved with safety classes.
The Lanners, who have a family farm, applied for and were selected for a community youths programs grant through the agricultural company Monsanto. The $2,500 grant was donated to the Eastern Morrison County 4 – Wheeler Club to be used for ATV safety training.
DNR conservation officers work closely with 825 ATV volunteer safety instructors. Through the efforts of these volunteer instructors, about 3,000 ATV’ers have graduated from ATV safety education courses annually since 1985.
“Without the work of volunteer instructors, educating ATV operators would be an impossible job,” Owens said.
Minnesota law requires anyone born after July 1, 1987, must have a certificate if they are 11 or older and want to ride on public land, trails, and frozen waters. The course also is available for adults.
Minnesota has nearly 350,000 registered ATVs.
For more information on ATV Safety Training go to: www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/vehicle/atv/index.html.