The Minnesota DNR is seeking public comments on its forest classification and motor vehicle route designation proposal for Mississippi Headwaters State Forest.
The Mississippi Headwaters State Forest is part of the greater West Central Forests planning unit that includes six state forests within a 10-county planning area. The West Central Group is divided into two subunits.
The North Unit includes Mississippi Headwaters and White Earth State Forests and scattered forest lands in Becker, Beltrami, Clearwater and Mahnomen counties. The South Unit includes Huntersville, Lyons, Smoky Hills and Two Inlets state forests and scattered forest lands in Clay, Douglas, Otter Tail, Pope, Todd and Wadena counties.
The DNR will have a public meeting on the proposal from 6-8:30 p.m. Jan. 16, 2008, in the Beaux Arts Ballroom, Hobson Memorial Union, Bemidji State University, 1500 Birchmont Road, Bemidji, MN.
The DNR's West Central Group-Mississippi Headwaters State Forest classification review and route designation proposals are available on the DNR Web site at www.findthetrails.com.
Conservation groups earn $476,000 for projects
The Minnesota DNR will grant nine conservation clubs a total of $476,000 to improve prairies, grasslands, brushlands and wetlands on state wildlife management areas.
The grant dollars are provided through the Heritage Enhancement Grants to the Local Outdoors Clubs program, which is funded from a portion of the sales tax generated by Minnesota State Lottery sales. This is the seventh year grants will be awarded through the program.
This year's grant recipients and their projects include:
Ducks Unlimited, Inc., wetland habitat improvements, $90,000.
Hiawatha Land Pheasants Forever, woody cover development, $1,975.
Minnesota Sharp-Tailed Grouse Association, brushland management, $123,900.
Minnesota Waterfowl Association, wild rice seeding, $6,500.
Padua Conservation Club, prescribed burns, $10,000.
Pheasants Forever, prairie/grassland management and prescribed burns, $181,625.
Ruffed Grouse Society, woodcock openings, $15,000.
St. Paul Audubon Society, prairie/grassland management, $10,000.
The Nature Conservancy, prescribed burns, $37,000.
The DNR received 29 grant applications seeking a total of $848,538. DNR staff reviewed each application then awarded grants based on dollars available, project value, location and other factors.
New DU specialist to help protect shallow lake shorelines
Carrie Mellesmoen is Ducks Unlimited's new lands specialist for Minnesota.
Mellesmoen has joined the Living Lakes Initiative team in its efforts to protect shallow lake shorelines using easements and other land protection tools in Minnesota.
Mellesmoen is an attorney with an undergraduate degree in environmental studies and political science. After establishing a private law practice with specialties including real estate, she worked as a senior realty specialist for the Minnesota DNR. Mellesmoen also holds a real estate sales license.
Mellesmoen is active in the conservation community, serving as vice president of the Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance and on the boards of directors of North American Bear Foundation and the Minnesota Chapter of Safari Club International.
DNR question of the week
Q: Large numbers of loons were recently spotted gathering on a number of lakes. However, they were not feeding and not fighting; they appeared to be partying. Why is this? Is this part of the fall migration?
A: Loons are territorial when they are nesting and raising chicks. But starting in mid-summer, groups of non-mated loons, or loons that were unsuccessful with nesting, begin to gather and move around between lakes. I call these "loon parties" because they are indeed socializing and not fighting. Sometimes the loons will circle and actively interact.
As the summer wanes on, these groups get larger and blend into the pre-migratory behavior of gathering on larger lakes. In September, many adult loons that successfully raised chicks leave those lakes, and their chicks, to join the loon groups. In 1998, loon counts completed on Mille Lacs and Winnibigoshish lakes documented a peak of more than 1,500 loons on each lake in the third week of October.
On Oct. 19, 2006, a new high count of 2,729 loons on Mille Lacs was reported by Peder Svingen, a birdwatcher from Duluth.
These groups are made up of adult loons and young-of-the-year. After gathering on these larger lakes, the loons head south on a north wind in late October or November. Loons spend the winter on the ocean and young loons will remain there for two or three years before returning to Minnesota.
- Pam Perry, DNR nongame wildlife lake specialist, Brainerd
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