Around Cook County
Taxpayers can once again help the state’s many wildlife species by donating to the DNR’s wildlife checkoff fund when they submit their taxes.
Donations made to the DNR’s wildlife checkoff fund are used by the DNR to help protect and manage the state's "nongame" wildlife species, which includes more than 800 kinds of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, butterflies and selected invertebrates that are not traditionally hunted or harvested. This also includes conservation efforts for threatened and endangered species.
Specifically, the species that have benefited from these efforts are loons, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, peregrine falcons, eastern bluebirds, Blanding's turtles, bats, timber rattlesnakes, great blue herons and other waterbirds like egrets and grebes. The money raised also helps acquire land and easements to protect habitat, manage prairies, forests and wetlands, create buffer zones along lakeshores, assist to private landowners and local governments with habitat management, and fund nature educational programs.
Contributions to the nongame wildlife checkoff fund can be made on the 2014 Minnesota tax form, or online at www.mndnr.gov/eco/nongame/checkoff.html.
The Grand Portage National Monument’s Heritage Center has reduced the hours it is open. The changes are necessitated by visitation and staffing concerns.
The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and closed Saturday and Sunday. Hours of operation will be extended to again include weekends on May 23.
However the site, which includes the historic depot grounds, Mount Rose Trail, and the Grand Portage Trail will remain open for snowshoeing and skiing daily from dawn to dusk. There will be park brochures available on the front porch of the Heritage Center.
Grand Portage National Monument was established in 1958 to commemorate and preserve a premier site and route of the 18th century fur trade that led to pioneering international commerce and exploration in North America as well as cultural contact between Ojibwe and other native societies and the North West Company partners, clerks and canoe-men. The monument was also established to work with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) in preserving and interpreting the heritage and lifeways of the Ojibwe people.
The site is of international and regional significance because it was the central hub of a once flourishing fur trade and here the bold economic strategy and exploration by the North West Company voyageurs and traders opened up a transcontinental trade route. Grand Portage was and remains a meeting ground of diverse cultures.
For more information about the historic site or programming, call (218) 475-0123.
Deer hunters are invited to attend listening sessions hosted by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA).
Leslie McInenly, DNR big game program leader said, “We’ve been hearing that deer numbers are too low and this year’s severe winter is exacerbating those concerns in many regions. These listening sessions will give deer hunters and the general public an opportunity to communicate directly with DNR staff who make deer management decisions.”
Mark Johnson, MDHA executive director, said, “We’re pleased to be able to offer these meetings so people regardless of their affiliation or interest can express their opinions on deer populations.”
Sessions will be 7-9 p.m. Upcoming meetings are scheduled in:
* Bemidji - March 24, Bemidji High School, 2900 Division St. West, auditorium.
* Morris - March 25, University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, 46352 Minnesota Highway 329, Ag Country Auditorium.
* Nicollet - March 27, Nicollet Conservation Club, 46045 471st Lane.
* Virginia - April 1, Mesabi Range College, 1001 Chestnut St. West, auditorium.
Online comments also will be accepted beginning Wednesday, March 19 at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
Some lakes in Cook County will have spear fishing allowed on them this spring, but just what lakes and how many walleye will be taken from them is still unknown.
The Fond du Lac of Lake Superior Chippewa recently announced that it will exercise its rights under the LaPointe Treaty of 1854 to allow its tribal members to spear walleye this spring in ceded territory lakes that lay in the Arrowhead region.
Fond du Lac spokesperson Ferdinand Martineau Jr., secretary/treasurer of the band said as many as 80 tribal members have asked to fish in the ceded territory.
There are over 2,500 lakes and nearly 5,600 miles of streams in the 1854 territory. Fond du Lac is working with the Boise Forte and Grand Portage Bands and the state of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to establish safe harvestable quotas for each lake it plans to fish.
Joe Mix, Minnesota DNR Assistant Regional Manager of Fisheries in Grand Rapids said, “The anticipated harvest is expected to be light.”
The National Park Service has issued results of the necropsy performed on the Isle Royale wolf that was found dead in Grand Portage in February. Veterinarians in Colorado determined that the wolf died after being shot with a pellet gun.
National Park Service Chief Veterinarian Margaret Wild said, “If the pellet had hit just a half inch to the left or right, the outcome may have been less significant.”
Isle Royale Superintendent Phyllis Green noted that interaction between wolves and humans is rare, but can be a problem, especially if homeowner’s pets are being threatened. If the wolf or wolves can’t be scared away, the National Park Service recommends that people contact their local Department of Natural Resources and make sure to obtain proper permits or permission in dealing with a nuisance animal before taking aggressive action.
Green said, “No matter how collared wolves die, citizens who inform local authorities of their location help us gain knowledge that may help us manage wolf/human interactions in the future.”
She added, “The citizens who let us know where this wolf died have helped us obtain the final chapter for this wolf, and we thank them.”