DNR makes progress on conservation and outdoor recreation goals

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The Department of Natural Resources continues to make progress on its goals spanning many areas of conservation and outdoor recreation, from hunter recruitment and environmental permitting to fire management and wildlife monitoring. 

“Our mission is to steward Minnesota’s waters, lands and habitats for current and future generations,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Through scientifically-based management of our natural resources and by setting ambitious but achievable goals, we can work with partners to achieve great outcomes.”

The DNR’s achievements are detailed on the agency’s performance and accountability reporting website, which tracks the DNR’s progress toward achieving conservation goals through 87 performance measurements and targets.

The DNR has been setting targets and tracking progress for most of these metrics for over a decade. Measurements on the website cover all aspects of the agency’s work.

Some examples of significant results include:

  • The number of visits and overnight guests to Minnesota state parks and recreation areas climbed 10 percent between 2015 and 2016 to 10.3 million visits. Sales of one-day and year-round permits continue to steadily increase. To strengthen the connection of Minnesotans to the outdoors, the DNR continues to innovate as the agency increases its understanding of recreational needs and motivations, builds partnerships, and expands successful programs.
  • Over 51,000 students participated in DNR’s safety courses during fiscal year 2016, a 19 percent increase from the previous year. The DNR provides a number of courses – like firearm and snowmobile safety – to introduce new and existing users to recreational opportunities, and encourage safe and responsible use of Minnesota’s resources.
  • Thirty-one homes and businesses were removed from floodplains to prevent flood damage between 2015 and the present. The DNR and communities are now spared the future expense and danger of protecting them when floods do occur. The cumulative number of buildings removed since 1995 is 2,826. In addition to providing funds to communities to buy and remove flood-prone buildings, the DNR provides data for flood forecasting and promotes sound land-use in floodplain areas.
  • DNR facilities and fleet emitted greenhouse gases totaling 23,429 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2016. Facilities and fleet emissions have decreased 14.5 percent since 2010. The DNR aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent from 2010 levels by 2020.
  • The DNR re-inventoried over 126,000 acres of its forest lands. Over the last decade, over one million acres have been inventoried. Forests change as they grow and age, and as they experience fire, windstorms, harvest, and other issues. An updated inventory is essential for tracking these changes and providing information for making sound forest management decisions.

The DNR updates the performance and accountability website annually, and the agency will work with interest groups, the public, and elected officials in providing important context for these measurements as well as strategic advice on how to best achieve Minnesota’s conservation goals and targets.

Explore the Performance and Accountability Reporting website.

View the Conservation Agenda: DNR’s 10-year Strategic Plan.

Source: Mn DNR

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Apply now to serve on DNR fish work groups

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Volunteers can apply to join one of the citizen-agency work groups that discuss how the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages fish.
There are individual work groups for bass, catfish, panfish and walleye, and one focused on both northern pike and muskellunge. New members are needed for all of these work groups except the panfish group.

“Fisheries work group members have valuable discussions about topics like fish habitat, bag limits, water quality, fishing’s ties to local economies and angler trends,” said Don Pereira, DNR fisheries chief. “These groups improve DNR’s relationship with citizens and they go in-depth on fisheries issues and angler points of view.”

Volunteers can apply to one of the groups from Monday, Oct. 2, to Monday, Oct. 30. Each group of about 15 people will include volunteers and DNR staff who meet two or three times per year to discuss new research, population, harvest trends and fisheries management. Meetings average three to four hours, not including travel time. Applicants must be Minnesota residents age 18 or older.

Participants will be selected by the DNR and can serve a term of either two or three years. The groups are advisory and do not make decisions on policy or fish management. For more information or an application form, visit mndnr.gov/fishgroups or call 651-259-5182.

Source: Mn DNR

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Michael Sieve wins DNR pheasant habitat stamp contest

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Rushford artist Michael Sieve won the Minnesota Pheasant Habitat Stamp contest. The painting was selected by judges from among 15 submissions for the annual contest sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Sieve is a first-time winner of the pheasant stamp contest and his painting will be featured on the 2018 pheasant habitat stamp.

The pheasant stamp validation for hunting is $7.50 and is required for pheasant hunters ages 18 to 64. For an extra 75 cents, purchasers can receive the validation as well as the pictorial stamp in the mail. It also is sold as a collectible. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to pheasant habitat management and protection.

Seven entries advanced as finalists and were selected Sept. 21 at DNR headquarters in St. Paul. Other finalists were Thomas Miller, second place; and Edward DuRose, third place.

The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work. The 2018 pheasant stamp will be available for sale in March.

Source: Mn DNR

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Zebra mussels confirmed in Grant County’s Elk Lake

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Numerous juvenile zebra mussels near public beach

The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Elk Lake, in west-central Minnesota’s Grant County. 

Maintenance staff with the city of Hoffman contacted the DNR when they found suspected zebra mussels on cement blocks anchoring buoys near a public beach. DNR staff confirmed juvenile zebra mussels scattered about a quarter mile from the initial report location.

Water from Elk Lake flows north toward Spring Lake, but the outlet is currently dry. As a connected water, Spring Lake and other connected lakes may also be added to the infested waters list.

Zebra mussels can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors, and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.

Whether or not a lake is listed as infested, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:

  • Clean watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
  • Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
  • Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody, especially after leaving infested waters:

  • Spray with high-pressure water.
  • Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two minutes or 140 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 10 seconds).
  • Dry for at least five days.

People should contact area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have found zebra mussels or any other invasive species that has not already been confirmed in a lake.

More information is available on the aquatic invasive species page.

Source: Mn DNR

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Drive through a Minnesota State Forest to view fall color

With 59 state forests that cover 4.2 million acres, Minnesota state forests are a great place to view fall color, according to the Department of Natural Resources. 

“Forests with a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees offer a wonderful fall color experience,” said Jennifer Teegarden, DNR forestry outreach specialist. “The dark green needles of conifers accent the yellow, orange and red leaves of deciduous trees.”

Here are a few routes to consider:

Late September

  • Bear Island State Forest From Ely head south on State Highway 1 toward Isabella for about 20 miles. Take a right on New Tomahawk Road toward Babbitt for about 17 miles. Turn right on County Road 21 for 15 miles back to Ely.
  • Kabetogama State Forest From Orr head north on State Highway 53 for 4 miles. Turn right on County Road 180 to head east for 16 miles. Turn right on Forest Road 203 to head east for about 4.5 miles. Turn right on Vermillion Falls road to head east for 8 miles. Turn right on County Road 24/23 and follow to Orr for 26 miles.
  • White Earth State Forest starting at Roy Lake head east on State Highway 200 for 1.5 miles. Turn right on Strawberry Mountain Road to head south for 5 miles. At Norris Trail turn left to head east for 3 miles. Turn left on Height of Land Road to head north back to Highway 200. For a longer loop follow Strawberry Mountain road to State Highway 113. Turn right on State Highway 113 to head east. Turn left on Height of Land Road to head north back to Highway 200.

Early to mid-October

  • Croix and Nemadji state forests loop. From I35, take Hinckley exit #183 and head east on State Highway 48 for 19 miles. Turn left to head north on County Road 24 and follow as it curves east and north for 7 miles. Turn right on County Road 25 to head east for 9.5 miles. At Markville, head north on County Road 31 for about 12 miles. Turn left on Park Forest Road/Park Truck Trail to head west for 13 miles. Turn right on County Road 171 to head north for 2 miles. Turn left onto County Road 154/Kerrick Road to head west for 5 miles. At Kerrick, head south on State Highway 23 for 18 miles to I35 exit #195.
  • Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest From downtown Red Wing head south on Highway 61 for 10.5 miles. At Frontenac take a right onto Country 2 to head east for 9 miles. Take a right onto County Road 3 to head east for 4 miles. Take a right onto State Highway 58 to head north for 1.5 miles. Take a left onto Hay Creek Trail to head north for about 4.5 miles. Hey Creek Trail turns into Twin Bluff Road at Pioneer Trail. Continue on Twin Bluff Road for 1.5 miles and turn left on East Ave to return to downtown Red Wing.

Visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_forests/fall-colors.html for additional scenic routes and state forest information. Entrance into a state forest is free. State forest campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis for $14 a night.

Visit the Minnesota state parks and trails Fall Color Finder at www.mndnr.gov/fall_colors to find areas in Minnesota with peak fall color. The Fall Color Finder is updated every Thursday through the end of October.


Source: Mn DNR

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Grand Rapids area waterfowl hunters successful despite wet weather

Hunter success was just slightly below average the five-year average on three popular waterfowl lakes for the 2017 waterfowl hunting opener in the Grand Rapids area. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife staff conducted waterfowl bag checks on opening day September 23rd on Big White Oak Lake, Mud Lake (both near Deer River) and Big Rice Lake near Remer.

Hunter success in terms of ducks bagged per hunter was 2. The average take the previous five years was 2.2 ducks per hunter.

Blue-winged teal, wood ducks and mallard ducks were the most common birds in the bag with blue-winged teal the most commonly bagged bird at all three lakes.

Based on vehicle counts at these lakes, hunter numbers were down about 25% from the five-year average.

“Hunters had to contend with an early morning thunderstorm which may have kept hunter numbers lower than in previous years. Some hunters delayed going out or decided to try another day because of the rain and lightning from the storm,” said Mark Spoden, acting area wildlife manager.

This year’s duck hunting season is 60 days in length. The duck bag limit is six ducks daily and may not include more than any combination of the following: four mallards (two may be hen mallard), three scaup, three wood ducks, one pintail, two redheads, two black ducks, and two canvasbacks. If not listed, up to six ducks of a species may be taken. The daily bag limit for coot and moorhen is 15. The daily bag limit for merganser is five, no more than two of which may be a hooded merganser.

More information about waterfowl hunting in Minnesota including weekly waterfowl migration reports can be found at online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl.

Source: Mn DNR

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Drowning On Lake Kabetogama

An Illinois man drowned and his fishing buddy was arrested Wednesday following a boating accident on Lake Kabetogama .

Stanislaw Kozaczka, 55, Harwood Heights, Ill., was arrested for criminal vehicular operation — alcohol (0.09, barely 3 beers)— resulting in death after Wlodzimierz Dziechciowski, 66, Chicago, fell out of the boat Kozaczka was driving.

Kozaczka was lodged at the St. Louis County Jail in Hibbing pending formal charges by the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office.

Kozaczka told the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office that at nearly 5 p.m. the boat struck the wake of another boat (did they check blood alcohol of the driver of the big boat that nearly swamped them?) and Dziechciowski fell overboard. He said with the help of a passerby, he was able to pull the unconscious Dziechciowski from the water and back into the boat, and they traveled to Park Point Resort where they made a 911 call for help.

Medical staff responded to the scene where they provided life-saving efforts, but Dziechciowski was pronounced dead at the scene.

The cause of death is pending autopsy results by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka.

The incident remains under investigation by the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, which was was assisted by the Kabetogama Fire & First Responders, International Falls Ambulance Service, Life Link air medical, St. Louis County Rescue Squad, Kabetogama Commercial Club, Rocky Ledge Bar and Grill, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Bill Roden, my dog and assorted others.

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DNR seeks comments on experimental northern pike and bass regulations on Pelican Lake near Orr

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be hosting open houses this fall to gather input on the future of northern pike and bass (smallmouth and largemouth) regulations on Pelican Lake near Orr, Minnesota.

The first open house will be on September 27 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. at the DNR Central Office, 500 Lafayette Rd, St. Paul, Minn.

The second open house will be held on October 17, 2017 from 7 – 9 p.m. at the American Legion Post 480 located at 4543 Highway 53, Orr, Minn.

The open houses are intended to provide background information, answer questions, and take public input on the future of experimental regulations on these waters.

Experimental regulations for northern pike and bass have been in place on Pelican Lake since 1998. The northern pike regulation requires the immediate release of all pike from 24 to 36 inches. One northern pike over 36 inches is allowed in a possession limit of three. The bass regulation protects fish from 14 to 20 inches, with one over 20 inches allowed in a possession limit. The current regulations expire on March 1, 2018. These regulations may be modified, extended or dropped.

Comments on these regulations can be mailed to Kevin Peterson, Area Fisheries Supervisor, DNR Area Fisheries, 392 Highway 11 East, International Falls, MN  56649, or sent by email to .  Comments will be accepted through October 31, 2017.

Source: Mn DNR

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Visitors to Tettegouche State Park advised to watch credit card accounts following August malware incident

State IT security specialists discovered malware (malicious software) on state computers at Tettegouche State Park in Silver Bay, Minnesota, Aug. 25.

Even though the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has no evidence that credit card numbers were accessed, out of an abundance of caution, it is advising those who visited the park and charged items from Aug. 22-25 to review their credit card accounts for suspicious activity.

About 400 credit card transactions took place at the park during this period. The DNR is unable to access credit card customer personal information, so is unable to contact those who made the transactions.

The DNR is advising that visitors who charged items at the park during this period monitor their credit card accounts for any unusual activity and report their concerns to their credit card issuer. Issuers have been alerted to the incident. Visitors should also be wary of any email communications from the DNR that request personal information.

The virus was isolated to computers at the park. No other DNR or state IT systems were affected, including the state park reservation system and the DNR website. Customers should not worry that their park reservation data was compromised.

IT experts noticed a spike of unusual activity on the computers around 4 p.m. on Aug. 25 and initiated actions to isolate the site, protect sensitive data, and replace equipment. The state is currently conducting a full forensic analysis to learn more about what happened.

DNR staff are working closely with Minnesota IT Services to aggressively investigate this incident and to discover if any sensitive information was accessed.

Source: Mn DNR

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Youth Waterfowl Day is Saturday, Sept. 9

Youth, ages 15 and younger, can go waterfowl hunting this Saturday, Sept. 9, on Youth Waterfowl Day, when accompanied by an adult who is not hunting. 

“This hunt is all about helping youth have positive experiences and hopefully developing an interest in waterfowl hunting,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

During Youth Waterfowl Day, hunters ages 15 and younger may take regular season bag limits of ducks, and five Canada geese statewide, when accompanied by an adult 18 or older who is not hunting. The accompanying adult does not need a license.

Hunters ages 13 to 15 must have a firearms safety certificate or apprentice hunter validation in their possession. Ducks, Canada geese, mergansers, coots and moorhens may be taken from a half-hour before sunrise to 4 p.m. Motorized decoys may not be used. All other migratory bird hunting regulations apply.

Visit mndnr.gov/hunting/waterfowl for more information on waterfowl hunting.

Two public input meetings on the proposed season already have taken place. To give input or find more information about the proposal, visit the DNR website at mndnr.gov/deer.

Source: Mn DNR

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