May is the month when most fawns are born. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is urging people to leave fawns alone.
While a new fawn may appear helpless, it’s important not to interfere with the doe’s natural instinct for raising its young, DNR officials said.
A doe’s method of rearing offspring is different from a human’s, especially for the first few weeks.
Wildlife officials explained it this way: Within hours of birth, the fawn is led to a secluded spot and the doe lets it nurse. Then the doe leaves to feed and rest herself, out of sight but within earshot. In four or five hours, she will return to feed her young and take them to a new hiding place. Only when the fawns are strong enough to outrun predators, do the young travel much with their mother.
For the first week of life, frightened fawns instinctively freeze, making full use of their white spotted coats, a protective coloration. Newborn fawns are not fast enough to outdistance predators, so they must depend on their ability to hide for protection.
A fawn’s curiosity may entice it to approach a person who comes upon on it. The DNR urges people not to try to catch a fawn if they encounter one. Walk away. Never feed or collar a fawn.
Feeding deer can concentrate animals in feeding areas which makes them more susceptible to predation, vehicle collisions, or other unwanted human interactions. What begins as a good intention to help the animal ultimately lessens the animal’s ability to survive independently.
For questions about an interaction with a wild animal, contact a DNR area wildlife office for suggestions. In most cases, letting nature take its course is the best advice.
Celebrate the end of the school year with a potential angler-to-be by fishing for free with a child 15 or younger, June 7-9, during Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
“This is a great opportunity to discover fishing,” said Mike Kurre, the DNR’s mentoring program coordinator. “Minnesotans 16 or older who take a child 15 or younger fishing don’t need a license that weekend. Opportunities for beginning anglers abound throughout Minnesota.”
Getting started is easy. A boat isn’t needed and there’s even loaner poles and tackle in some areas.
Start by learning some terms, basic techniques and shore-fishing locations. DNR fisheries offices throughout Minnesota also offer some good, old-fashioned angling advice about fishing spots that will keep young anglers happy and safe.
The DNR’s Fishing in the Neighborhood (FiN) program provides urban shore-fishing opportunities across the metro with family-friendly settings, piers, loaner equipment at some locations and a real chance to catch quality fish.
Four of Minnesota’s nine state parks that are offering this summer’s weekly I Can Fish! program have sessions scheduled during Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend. Sessions at each park explore the basics of fishing, fish identification and angling tips and tricks.
Even when it’s not Take-A-Kid Fishing weekend, Minnesota residents may fish in a state park without a fishing license if the body of water doesn’t require a trout stamp. Anglers must fish from shore or wade in water within the state park or from a boat or a float on a designated lake within a Minnesota state park.
“Fishing is one of the easiest and most-accessible outdoor activities in Minnesota,” Kurre said. “Take a kid fishing and, come the end of the trip, you’re both likely to be hooked.”
The public is invited to the dedication of a new wildlife management area (WMA) southwest of Blooming Prairie that will conserve 500 acres of gently rolling hills containing 100 acres of wetlands, the highest point in Freeborn County, remnant prairie and remnant bur oak woodland, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
“Early in my field career, Freeborn County was in my work area,” said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner. “The Dakota name of this new WMA – Wo Wacintanka, which means ‘to persist in spite of difficulties’ – aptly reflects this new tract’s importance and the tremendous habitat it contains.”
The dedication ceremony is scheduled at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 6, off Freeborn County Road 35 inside the north entrance of the new WMA at 87911 320th St., 17 miles northeast of Albert Lea.
“This new WMA is large enough to provide significant opportunities for public hunting, hiking and wildlife watching in southeastern Minnesota,” said Ed Boggess, director of the DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Division. “Its natural resource value is evident by trumpeter swans that use the wetlands as well as bald eagles and sandhill cranes regularly seen in the area.”
John C. Goetz of the Minneapolis law firm of Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben donated the land, valued at $664,000. The gift marks one of the largest individual donations DNR ever has received. It also is the first land donation to include a clause on the deed prohibiting the sale, transfer or conveyance of the donated property without the prior written approval of the donor or his heirs, executors, administrators or assignees.
An equal, matching amount from the state’s Reinvest In Minnesota program, which is funded by the sales of critical habitat license plates, will be used to acquire or develop other habitat elsewhere in Minnesota.
The Wo Wacintanka WMA will be managed to conserve wildlife, habitat and provide hunting, hiking and wildlife watching activities. The land is now open for public use subject to WMA rules but all borders may not yet be posted.
Driving directions to the dedication site
It is nearly the end of the 2013 legislative session, and time for an update on MEP’s collaborative legislative priorities: Clean Water Accountability, Transit for a Stronger Economy, and Clean Energy Jobs bills.
The Clean Water Legacy Accountability Act is crafted to address certain gaps in Minnesota’s water pollution tracking and cleanup laws, and specifically to nonpoint pollution. Nonpoint pollution – largely runoff from large agricultural operations – is the single largest source of water pollution in Minnesota today, and is responsible for six out of seven (86%) of water quality impairments to Minnesota waters. To review the CWLA language in the Senate Legacy Finance bill go to lines 58.1-61.10 of the bill.
The conference committee today is attempting to bridge the gap between the House bill, which is a lights-on bill that does not provide increased funds for county roads and bridges, or for transit system completion, and the Senate bill, which includes several sources of additional funding needed to complete a modern 21st century transit system in the metro area and improve greater Minnesota transit service. For more detail, see the Senate Transportation Finance bill, Article 2.
Landowners have an extra two weeks to enroll in the Walk-In Access program, as the deadline has been extended to June 14, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
“We extended our enrollment period to coincide with the deadline for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) general sign-up,” said Marybeth Block, Walk-In Access coordinator. “The programs work well together for landowners and for wildlife.”
The Walk-In Access program pays landowners in 35 western Minnesota counties to allow public hunting on their private land. The program targets privately owned parcels of 40 acres or more, which are enrolled in a conservation program such as CRP or Reinvest In Minnesota. River bottoms, wetlands and other high quality habitat can also be considered for the program.
“The Walk-In Access program guarantees extra revenue on land that is difficult or impossible to farm,” Block said. “It rewards landowners who are willing to let the public hunt on their high quality habitat.”
Landowners can contact their local soil and water conservation district office for program details and enrollments. The program goal is to enroll 25,000 acres for 2013.
Walk-In Access land is open for public hunting only, from Sept. 1 to May 31 each year. No target practice, trapping, dog training, camping, horseback riding or fires are allowed. Enrolled acres are for walk-in traffic only; no vehicles are allowed on conservation land.
Locations of parcels enrolled for 2013 will be on the DNR website in August. More information on the program can be found at www.mndnr.gov/walkin.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is moving ahead with a proposal for adaptive reuse of historic buildings overlooking Fort Snelling State Park by a group planning to create a new charter school.
The proposal, submitted by Upper Mississippi Development LLC, would use about 200,000 square feet in nine historic buildings on the Upper Post to house the Upper Mississippi Academy, a new prekindergarten-12th grade charter school that includes in its curriculum a focus on environmental education.
Their plan was one of five ideas submitted to the DNR this spring in response to a request for proposals for restoring and reusing 28 historic buildings that were part of a military facility that has sat mostly vacant for the past 40 years. The DNR is working with several partner agencies that have formed a joint powers board, including the National Park Service, Hennepin County, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Minnesota Historical Society. The coalition is seeking diverse uses at the Upper Post that enhance the DNR mission of connecting people to the outdoors, helping people learn more about the environment, learning more about history and cultural traditions, and promoting active healthy lifestyles.
Proposals also were submitted by AirSpace Minnesota, the American Indian Community Development Corporation, Legacy Management and Development and Global Athlete Village. Projects were evaluated based on their consistency with strategic plans for the DNR and the Upper Post; the qualifications, experience and financial capacity of the proposer; the soundness of plans for implementation and for long-term management of historic properties; and financial attractiveness to the state. While the Upper Mississippi Academy is the only project moving ahead at this time, the DNR may continue discussions with several other proposers regarding potential reuse of other parts of the Upper Post.
The DNR will now begin negotiations with Upper Mississippi Development on a lease and design plans. Because the site is part of the Fort Snelling National Historic Landmark, the National Park Service must approve the design. Because the project would rely on a long-term lease of state property, it will need to be approved by the Executive Council, which consists of Minnesota’s governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor and secretary of state.
Anyone seeing a rare Blanding’s turtle in southwestern Minnesota is asked to report that sighting to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), to help with ongoing research on the species.
Blanding’s turtles have a domed, dark upper shell with many scattered yellow flecks. The bottom of the shell is yellow with black splotches. Perhaps most distinctive is their bright yellow chin and throat.
The distribution of Blanding’s turtles is shrinking and remaining populations are fragmented. Because of this, since 1984 they have been classified as a threatened species in Minnesota and are considered a Minnesota Species in Greatest Conservation Need.
“Citizen reports are important because Blanding’s turtles are difficult to survey,” according to Laurinda Brown, DNR nongame wildlife specialist. “There could be populations that we don’t know about.”
Blanding’s turtles have been studied in southwestern Minnesota since the mid-1990s. Brown is part of a research team that has been studying the Blanding’s turtle population in Martin County since 2007. She said that although these turtles can live to be 80 years old, they have been hit hard by the loss of wetland and upland habitat through the years, drastically limiting their ability to reproduce. Road mortality is another significant risk. Even small changes in their environment or the loss of a few individuals can have a big effect on the population.
“Late May through June is prime time to spot Blanding’s turtles as females leave the protection of wetlands to nest on dry, sunny hillsides,” Brown said. “Sightings could occur in a variety of locations such as crop fields, yards or on roadways.”
If a person spots a Blanding’s turtle, they should not disturb it, but record the location and time it was seen and take a photo if possible. Information should email Brown. She can also be reached at 507-359-6039. Timely reports help the nongame wildlife program to follow up on sightings.
Brown said that the health of Blanding’s turtles is directly related to the health of a watershed. Efforts to improve watersheds through integrated, cooperative conservation practices will positively impact water quality as well as habitat for numerous wildlife species, including the Blanding’s turtle.
For more information on Blanding’s turtles, visit the DNR Rare Species Guide.
An angler bowfishing on the Mississippi River north of Sartell last week shot a 25-pound grass carp, an exotic species that previously has been found only much further south in Minnesota, including lower portions of the Mississippi, according to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Because DNR fisheries biologists believe the fish could not have gotten past the dams at Coon Rapids, St. Cloud and Sartell, it likely escaped via flood waters from a private pond, or was released intentionally.
Possession of grass carp is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. It is legal for reporting purposes to possess specimens, as the angler did.
There are state regulations in place to prevent the importation of these species and transfers between lakes. As a result, the DNR has not seen a lot of invasive fish spread though overland transfer compared to other animals and plants.
“Minnesota has strong laws against introducing exotic species into our public waters because it’s a serious matter,” said Steve Hirsch, director of the DNR’s Ecological and Waters Division. “Invasive species like this can pose a significant threat to our native fisheries, recreational opportunities, and ecosystems.”
While the problems caused by bighead and silver carp are raised more frequently, grass carp is another species that can cause environmental harm. They are voracious consumers of aquatic vegetation, can grow to 70 pounds, and can cause water quality problems. Brought to the U.S. from Russia and China in the 1960s to control unwanted vegetation in reservoirs and aquaculture farms, they escaped and are now reproducing in some southern states.
Grass carp previously have been found in southeastern Minnesota, but they are not known to reproduce in Minnesota. A preliminary examination of the 36-inch female grass carp arrowed near Sartell, however, found what appeared to be viable eggs.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) started 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.
Read more about sandhill cranes.
The sandhill crane hunting zone can be found in the waterfowl hunting regulations.
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. Check fire conditions and find maps.
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 on the DNR website. The DNR also provides technical advice on this website to homeowners and land owners interested in treating their vegetation.
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
People can help reduce turtle road death in these ways:
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.
Find more information on Minnesota turtles.
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. 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.
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 for more information about the state’s Arbor Month celebration in Duluth or to find a local celebration.
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 .
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 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. 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.
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 or the DNR License Center at 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul 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.
Clean Energy & Jobs Legislation Passes the Minnesota Senate
Legislation Establishes Solar Energy Standard; Represents Good First Step Toward Creating Jobs, Making Solar Cheaper and More Accessible for All Minnesotans
[SAINT PAUL, MN] The Minnesota Senate today passed clean energy and jobs legislation that establishes a solar energy standard of 1 percent by 2025. The bill – which will create jobs in the state and will make solar energy more affordable and more accessible for all Minnesotans – passed the Senate by a vote of 37-26. The Minnesota Clean Energy & Jobs campaign released the following statement:
“This legislation is the good first step forward in the effort to create good jobs, to make solar energy more affordable and more accessible, and to protect Minnesota’s air, land and water for generations to come. We have a responsibility to compete in the marketplace for clean energy and compete for the jobs that come with it.
“We must act this year on legislation that establishes a strong solar energy standard, which will catalyze investment, creates new jobs, and show that our state is open for renewable energy business. We look forward to working with Conferees as they negotiate a strong solar energy standard for the state of Minnesota.”
The legislation includes the following provisions:
The Minnesota Clean Energy & Jobs campaign mobilizes more than 60 energy, labor, youth, faith, environment, and conservation groups, as well as clean energy businesses to answer Governor Mark Dayton’s call to establish Minnesota’s clean energy future – by advancing renewable sources of energy while creating and supporting good jobs for Minnesotans. For more information: Visit http://www.cleanenergyjobs.mn/
A number of river reaches in northwestern Minnesota will be closed to fishing when the fishing opener arrives May 11. Most closures will extend through midnight May 17 and are necessary to protect concentrations of walleye, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
The closures, due to late ice cover, include the following portions of the Mississippi, Tamarac, Clearwater, Turtle and other rivers:
Closed through May 17
Closed May 9 until further notice
Closed through May 24
No fishing will be allowed during these periods in the specified areas. Signs will be posted at access points within the closed areas.
“The closures are necessary to protect adult walleye that have concentrated around historic spawning sites,” said Henry Drewes, DNR Northwest Region fisheries manager. “It’s always a difficult decision to close the areas and restrict recreation. Our first responsibility is to the long-term health of the fishery.”
This is the first time since 2008 that so many locations have been closed on the opener, Drewes said. Prior to that, extensive closures occurred in 1996 and 1997. There are likely to be concentrations of spawning fish in other areas and anglers are encouraged to practice catch-and-release.
Although closed to fishing, there are no restrictions on boat travel through these areas.
For more information, contact the Northwest Region fisheries office in Bemidji, 218-308-2623.
A list of seasonal closures: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/recreation/fishing/seasonalclosures.pdf.
Burning restrictions are in place for several counties in northeastern Minnesota and residents are reminded that permits are required for open burning, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said.
Northeastern counties current or anticipated burning restriction dates are:
• April 21: Pine County.
• May 6: Aitkin, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, Kanabec, and southern Cass counties.
• May 13: Itasca, southern Cass, Carlton, and southern St. Louis counties.
• Later in May: Koochiching, northern St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties; watch for dates.
Traditionally, most wildfires occur in April and May. More than 95 percent are caused by human error. Because of high fire risk during those months, the DNR initiates burning restrictions to coincide with the annual “fire season.”
The restrictions are weather dependent, but normally last from four to six weeks until there’s sufficient green vegetative growth.
An open burning permit is required for any fire larger than 3 feet in diameter and if there is less than 3 inches of snow on the ground.
Burning permits can be obtained by contacting a DNR forestry office, a local fire warden, or online through the DNR website. Within a municipality that controls open burning, local permits or more stringent regulations may apply. The permits must be activated each day before any burning, and may be restricted if weather conditions warrant.
“What you can and can’t burn is simple,” said Jon Handrick, DNR northeast regional fire staff forester. “If it’s natural, untreated, vegetative material, it can be safely burned. Anything chemically processed or treated should not be burned.”
Open burning should be limited to trees, tree trimmings, brush and clean, unpainted, untreated lumber. Unacceptable materials include oils, rubber, plastics, tires and chemically treated materials such as railroad ties, treated lumber, composite shingles, tar paper, insulation, sheet rock, laminate flooring, wiring, paint, hazardous materials and industrial solid waste; most household garbage falls into this category.
Illegal burning is a misdemeanor, but larger financial penalties often result from escaped fires. People can be held personally and financially liable for the costs associated with loss of property, firefighting expenses and cleanup and proper disposal of burnt materials.
Any suspected unauthorized, escaped or illegal fires should be reported by dialing 911. An early report of a fire enables a shorter response time and helps keep fires small.
For more information regarding safe burning or obtaining a burning permit, contact a local fire department or the area DNR forestry office. Answers to frequently asked questions, current fire restrictions and conditions are posted online at www.mndnr.gov.