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MINNESOTA DNR NEWS #37                                                                                May 13, 2013

IN THIS ISSUE
DNR adds burning restrictions to 4 additional counties
Forest tent caterpillar population is building
Turtles now crossing roads to reach nests
Shingobee Bay public water access will be closed through June 28 for improvements
Arbor Month celebration in Duluth Wednesday
DNR safety instructors honored
Mountain bike trails open at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area
Apply now for Minnesota elk hunt
DNR to conduct aerial sandhill crane survey in northwestern Minnesota


DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                  

DNR adds burning restrictions for 4 additional counties

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is placing burning restrictions on four additional counties in northern Minnesota because receding snow cover has created conditions conducive to wildfire.

The restrictions took effect at 8 a.m., Monday, May 13, for Cook, Koochiching, Lake, and St. Louis counties.

Here are the counties now under burning restrictions: Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Dakota, Douglas, Hennepin, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Pope, Ramsey, Roseau, Sherburne, Stearns, St. Louis, Todd, Wadena, Washington, Wright  and the part of Polk County that is south and east of County Road 6 from the Manhomen County line to state Highway 92 east to the Clearwater County line.

Minnesota has had numerous wildfires so far this spring, but most have been small. 

While debris burning will be curtailed, the use of campfires, if smaller than 3 feet in diameter and 3 feet in height, are allowed.

Fire conditions may change quickly. If conditions warrant, DNR foresters may restrict local burning on short notice. For more information and maps, and to check fire conditions, see www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         May 13, 2013

Forest tent caterpillar population is building

Forest tent caterpillar populations have been rising in some northern and west-central Minnesota counties since 2007, and that trend is expected to intensify, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said. 

Data suggests forest tent caterpillar populations and the associated defoliation of trees could be building towards a 2014 or 2015 peak.

The forest tent caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria, is a native defoliator of a wide variety of hardwood trees and shrubs. Its range in North America extends from coast to coast and from the tree line in Canada to the southern states.

“These insects feed primarily on the leaves of aspen, birch, oak and basswood trees,” said Jana Albers, DNR forest health specialist in Grand Rapids. “The only hardwood not regularly fed upon is red maple.”

Defoliation normally begins in mid-May in central Minnesota and late-May in northern areas and is usually completed by mid- to late-June. The heavy snowfall and late arrival of spring may delay the egg hatch, but will have little impact on the survival of eggs laid last year.

Defoliation has little long-term impact on healthy trees, but can result in temporarily slowed growth. However, if trees are under stress from prolonged drought or have root system damage, secondary infestations by other pests can further weaken or kill those trees – particularly oaks and birches.

Outbreaks can result in dramatic swaths of defoliation in areas with abundant aspen, birch, oak or basswood stands. They occur at intervals of 10 to 16 years and last three to five years. They begin over large areas simultaneously, often occurring in Ontario, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. Locally, outbreaks normally last two to three years. Widespread outbreaks peaked in Minnesota in 1922, 1937, 1952, 1967, 1978, 1989 and 2001.

Since it is a native insect, lack of food supply, as well as native parasites and predators ultimately push an outbreak to a crashing halt, Albers said. After a few years of population buildup, the large numbers of caterpillars need more foliage than is available. Up to 95 percent will die from starvation. A native, parasitic fly kills most of the remaining pupae in their cocoons, ending the outbreak.

Dealing with forest tent caterpillars can be frustrating.

“While the caterpillars don’t cause a health risk to humans, the presence of hundreds (or thousands) of them can be a real headache,” Albers said. “The effects of defoliation on shade trees, ornamental plantings and gardens can also be of concern to homeowners.” The DNR website offers tips for managing the nuisance of large numbers of forest tent caterpillars.

Although homeowners may want to use insecticides to protect trees and preserve their appearance, the DNR encourages people to first consider the type of insecticide and its effectiveness, and discourages the use of treatments that may pose any environmental concerns. Insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis var kurstaki can be effective against forest tent caterpillar defoliation when applied while the caterpillars are small. The DNR strongly recommends it over other insecticides because of its environmental and human safety.

More information about the biology and management of forest tent caterpillars can be found at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/treecare/forest_health/ftc/. The DNR also provides technical advice on this website to homeowners and land owners interested in treating their vegetation.
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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                May 13, 2013

Turtles now crossing roads to reach nests

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is asking people to leave turtles alone as the turtles cross roads to reach nesting areas.

Each year at this time, many female turtles move from lakes, ponds, wetlands, rivers and streams to nesting areas, where they deposit their eggs in self-excavated nests. 
 
Unfortunately, many nesting areas are separated from the turtles’ wintering areas by roads they cross as they make their way to nests. 

“Many turtles and other species are killed on Minnesota roads each year, especially during the nesting season,” said Carol Hall, DNR herpetolo
gist.

People can help reduce turtle road death in these ways:

  • Allow unassisted road crossings. When turtles can safely cross roads unaided due to a lack of oncoming traffic, allow them to do so. Observe from a distance and avoid rapid movements. Doing otherwise may cause turtles to change direction, stop, or seek shelter within their shells. 
  • Avoid excessive handling. Excessive handling can disrupt normal behavior. Prolonged examination of turtles should be limited to only one or two turtles of each species.
  • Maintain travel direction.  Always move turtles in the same direction they were traveling when encountered. Turtles should always be moved across roadways in as direct a line as possible.

People who see a turtle or other animal on the road, should slow down, and safely drive around it. Many people want to help turtles cross the road but the best approach is to let the turtle cross on its own. There are nine turtle species in the state, some of which are protected. 

For more information on Minnesota turtles: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/reptiles_amphibians/turtles/index.html.
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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           May 13, 2013

Shingobee Bay public water access will be
closed through June 28 for improvements

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will expand and improve the Shingobee Bay public water access site south of Walker, beginning Monday, May 13. The site, located off Highway 371 in an old rest area, will be closed during construction. The DNR expects it to reopen by Friday, June 28. 

Planned improvements include ramp renovations, new storm water retention ponds, better drainage, an expanded paved parking lot with accessible parking, a portable toilet and facilities for preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.

“This access will be expanded to make it much more functional, to serve as an overflow lot when other nearby sites become full and also as a sheltered access from high winds,” said Tony Walzer, acquisition and development specialist for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. "The upgrades will greatly improve the parking and launching facilities for many years to come."

For alternative places to fish, the DNR suggests Walker City Park and Erickson’s Landing, both off Highway 371. Additional nearby access sites can be located on the Cass County public water access map at a local DNR office or online at www.mndnr.gov (http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/water_access/counties/cass_north.pdf). 

Information is also available by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157, toll-free at 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                            May 13, 2013

Arbor Month celebration in Duluth Wednesday

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the city of Duluth invite the public to the state’s Arbor Month celebration in Duluth on Wednesday, May 15 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Chester Bowl Recreation Center in Chester Park.

This year, Minnesota’s Arbor Month theme is “Plant Trees for a Brighter Minnesota.” Minnesotans are encouraged to replace trees lost during the past year’s floods, tornadoes, blowdowns and snowstorms.

The DNR and the city of Duluth encourage residents in the greater Duluth area to join in the recovery effort. Chester Park lost many trees during the 2012 floods and needs restoration.

“Eventually trees planted at this celebration will help minimize flooding impacts by slowing down raindrops, intercepting rain water and keeping the soil in place,” said Jennifer Teegarden, DNR forestry outreach specialist. “Arbor Month is a great time to plant trees and go outside to explore nature.”

Speakers at Wednesday’s event include Barb Naramore, DNR’s assistant commissioner; Forrest Boe, Forestry Division director; and Duluth Mayor Don Ness. While the celebration starts at 12:30 p.m., the actual ceremony and tree planting is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Students from Lester Park and Lakewood school forests will help with planting seedlings, and there will be archery lessons and musical performances by Matt Wahl. An information tent hosted by DNR foresters, city of Duluth staff and the U.S. Forest Service will provide participants with information on tree planting, care and maintenance.

This event is free. Registration is not required.

Visit the DNR’s Arbor Month Web page at www.mndnr.gov/arbormonth/celebrations.html for more information about the state’s Arbor Month celebration in Duluth or to find a local celebration.

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DNR NEWS - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  May 13, 2013

DNR safety instructors honored

Three hunter education instructors with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are marking their 50th year of service.

Judith Schultz of Verndale, Stuart Anderson of Deer River, and Stanley Heldt of Mayer have donated thousands of hours and taught thousands of students hunting ethics, wildlife conservation, survival and firearms safety.
 
“These individuals’ commitment to the future of Minnesota’s outdoor recreation heritage serves as example to the more than 4,700 dedicated volunteer DNR safety education instructors throughout the state,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR hunter education program coordinator. “Minnesota’s hunters and motorized recreation enthusiasts owe them a debt of gratitude.”

The agency presented an engraved watch to each instructor to commemorate 50 years of service.

Schultz, Anderson, and Heldt join 611 firearms safety, snowmobile safety, turkey clinic, bow hunter, and advanced hunter education instructors recognized this year for five, 10, 20, 30, and 40 years of service totaling 7,135 years of instruction. DNR’s safety programs train 23,000 students annually.

“Volunteer instructors are the heart and soul of the hunter education program in Minnesota,” Hammer said. “The service of these dedicated men and women has made a significant difference in ensuring safe, ethical, and responsible behavior while enjoying Minnesota’s outdoors. No one knows how many injuries have been prevented and lives saved because of their efforts.”

DNR is always looking for experienced people who want to pass on the tradition of outdoors safety and responsibility to the next generation. People interested in joining the DNR in this volunteer activity, should call 800-366-8917, ext. 2504 or visit the DNR website at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/instructors/index.html.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  May 13, 2013

Mountain bike trails open at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area

The mountain bike trails at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Crosby opened for the season on Friday, May 10. The area features 25 miles of single-track trails for bikers of all skill levels, from beginners to experts. The trails wind through 800 acres of deep-red soil, birch and aspen forests and scenic vistas overlooking turquoise mine lakes.

“Because of the late spring, we’re getting a later start than we would like, but our volunteer work crew has done a fantastic job of getting the trails in shape, and the riders are excited to get out there,” said Park Manager Steve Weber. “We are entering our third season, and it just gets better every year.”

The Portsmouth Campground is open for primitive camping, but the shower building and drinking water sources will not be available until later in May. The campground has 18 electric and seven nonelectric campsites that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. One group campsite may be reserved in advance through the DNR’s reservation service at mndnr.gov/reservations or 866-857-2757 (TTY 952-936-4008).

Funding sources for the development of the mountain bike trails included state bonding dollars, the Federal Transportation Enhancement Fund and the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008.

More information about the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area, including a map, directions and a video tour of the trails, can be found on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov(http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/cuyuna_country/index.html). Information is also available by calling the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                May 13, 2013

Apply now for Minnesota elk hunt

Hunters have until June 14 to apply for one of 23 elk licenses offered this year by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The licenses will be available in Kittson County’s central and northeast zones. The Grygla area will be closed to enable that area’s elk population to rebuild to goal levels.

“The number of hunting licenses available reflects the goals of the state’s elk management plan,” said Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader. “That plan aims to balance the interest of hunters, landowners and others.” 

McInenly said aerial surveys conducted during the winter in the Grygla area identified 28 elk, slightly below the pre-calving goal range of 30-38 animals. She said this year’s closure is likely to return the herd to goal range.

Hunters interested in applying for a license can find maps of the two hunting zones and other pertinent information on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/elk.

This year’s hunt will provide increased opportunities in Kittson County, with two early seasons and two late seasons. The first season, which will be held in both zones, runs from Saturday, Sept. 14, to Sunday, Sept. 22 (Season A). The second, third, and fourth seasons will be held only in the Kittson County Central Elk Zone. They will run from Saturday, Sept. 28, to Sunday, Oct. 6 (Season B), Saturday, Dec. 7, to Sunday, Dec. 15 (Season C), and Saturday, Jan. 11, to Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014 (Season D).

All applications must be filed electronically at any DNR license agent, the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul, www.mndnr.gov or by telephone at 888-665-4236. Hunters may apply individually or in parties of two. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $4 per hunter. License cost is $287. Landowner licenses will be available in each season in the Kittson County Central Elk Zone but are not available in the Kittson County Northeast Elk Zone. 

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                       May 13, 2013

DNR to conduct aerial sandhill crane survey in northwestern Minnesota

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) plans to start an aerial survey of sandhill cranes, Monday, May 13, in an area from Crookston, north through Thief River Falls to the Canadian border.

The survey will count both nesting pairs and nonbreeding cranes in the Minnesota hunting zone to better monitor breeding populations. It’s timed to count the cranes while most are incubating eggs in their nests.

Because the gray cranes are difficult to see, researchers will use the DNR aviation program helicopter, which allows them to fly at a low level. Flights, which will consist of four-kilometer-square plots, should be completed within one or two weeks.

The survey, funded jointly by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the DNR, will continue for two years.

For more information on sandhill cranes, go to www.dnr.state.mn.us/birds/sandhillcrane.html.

The sandhill crane hunting zone can be found in the waterfowl hunting regulations at www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/hunting/index.html.
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This email was sent to editor@woodsnews.com on behalf of: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources · 500 Lafayette Road · Saint Paul, MN 55155 · 1-888-MINNDNR  

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