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DNR launches effort to fight spread of aquatic invasive species

Fri, 05/04/2012 - 4:31pm

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has 
announced its new strategies to fight the spread of aquatic invasive 
species across the state.
The efforts take a two-pronged approach: to increase inspections and 
decontamination of boats at and near water bodies, especially those 
infested with aquatic invasive species; and to increase awareness that 
the public must do its part not to spread invasive species.
"The DNR cannot be at every boat ramp this summer, making sure 
boaters, anglers and other water users are not bringing zebra mussels 
and other invasive species to public waters," said DNR Commissioner 
Tom Landwehr. "Our message is these waters belong to everyone - so 
everyone needs to be responsible for not moving these invaders."__
In 2012, the DNR will institute new invasive species check stations, 
hire more watercraft inspectors, deploy more decontamination units and 
increase its public awareness efforts - all to stop the spread of 
zebra mussels and other aquatic invaders.
In addition, a new law passed in 2011 (Minnesota Statues 86B.508) that 
requires a watercraft owner or operator to obtain and attach an 
aquatic invasive species rules decal to all types of watercraft prior 
to launching on, entering into, or operating on any waters of the 
state. The decals are available at DNR offices, Deputy Registrar 
offices where licenses are sold, and large sport shops, as well from 
DNR Watercraft Inspectors and conservation officers. They will be 
included in the envelopes of new and renewal watercraft licenses 
mailed from DNR. They are free.
There is no penalty in effect at this time, but a warning can be 

Gunflint Green Up focuses on Gneiss Lake Trail at Chik-Wauk Museum

Thu, 05/03/2012 - 12:03pm

The 5th annual Gunflint Green Up event will be held on Saturday, May 5 on the Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center grounds. Volunteers will focus on planting and releasing trees along the newly re-established Gneiss Lake Trail.
The first Gunflint Green Up event was in the spring of 2008, when volunteers and officials from the U.S. Forest Service gathered to replant the area of the Gunflint that had been burned by the Ham Lake Wildfire in 2007. Over the years, the event has been modified to include releasing the previously planted trees—cutting away undergrowth to let the sunshine in and allow the young trees to grow tall.
This year’s event will help re-establish the Gneiss Lake Trail, a 1.5-mile trail that once ran from Chik-Wauk Bay to the Granite River. The trail was closed after the July 4, 1999 blowdown storm because of all the fallen trees. The Ham Lake Wildfire burned through the Gneiss Lake Trail area and burned many of the fallen trees. This winter, the U.S. Forest Service gave the Gunflint Trail Historical Society permission to clear and maintain the trail to Blueberry Hill, about half a mile. Green Up participants will plant and release seedlings along the trail.
Volunteers have different options this year. Gunflint Lodge is the primary sponsor of the 2012 Gunflint Green Up and the lodge offers accommodation and meals or just meals. To look at Gunflint Lodge’s options, call (800) 328-3325 or visit Information on Gunflint Green Up is on the home page.
Participants may also attend at no charge and do not need to pre-register. Just gather at Chik-Wauk Museum at 28 Moose Pond Drive at 10 a.m. on May 5 to be assigned a task. Volunteers not registering through Gunflint Lodge are asked to bring their own water, lunch and equipment such as shovels, planting bars, pruners, nippers and handsaws. Organizers add, “No chain saws please.”

Moose hunt lottery application deadline is May 4

Thu, 05/03/2012 - 11:59am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that it will offer a limited bulls-only hunting season this fall.
The DNR explained that although hunting mortality of bulls is not a significant factor in the moose population decline, the state's moose plan, which addresses habitat, climate change, disease and other moose population factors, identifies specific thresholds when moose hunting should cease. The DNR is following that plan by closing two hunting zones in northeastern Minnesota, but continuing to allow limited hunting in other zones.
Minnesota's moose population is estimated at 4,230. This compares to last year's estimate of 4,900 and is down significantly from the 2006 estimate of 8,840. The DNR estimates about 50 bulls will be taken by state hunters this fall.
Erik Thorson, acting DNR big game program leader, said the DNR's limited hunting season will have no significant impact on the moose population. That's because the bull-cow ratio is sufficient to ensure that all cows can be bred, thereby creating the next generation of moose. The state's moose management plan recommends using bull-cow ratios as a measure to determine whether a bulls-only hunt should continue. DNR biologists base the harvest level on 5 percent of the estimated bull population.
The announcement means Minnesotans who want to hunt bull moose this fall can now apply for 87 available licenses. The state's moose hunting season is open to residents age 10 or older. Application deadline is Friday, May 4.

Anishinaabe Way: Anna Deschampe & Alan Aubid

Thu, 05/03/2012 - 9:16am

Anna Deschampe and Alan Aubid are the parents of two young sons. They live on the Grand Portage Reservation in northern Minnesota. In this segment of WTIP's ongoing series "Anishinaabe Way: Lives, Words, and Stories of Ojibwe People," they discuss raising children to have traditional values while living in mainstream society, and the role of the community and elders in parenting. They also share the lessons they've learned along the way and the dreams they have for their kids.

Attached file
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Highway Department buildings discussed at county board work session

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 12:14pm

Cook County Highway Department buildings are in dire need of replacement, according to Engineer Betts.  At a Tuesday, April 24 work session, Betts told the county board that the main building is rusting at its foundation and doesn’t provide nearly enough working space.  Contractors come in for pre-construction meetings and have to sit on countertops.  The meetings cannot easily be held elsewhere because they refer to documents and computer programs that are housed at the Highway Department.  “Pure and simple, we need at least twice the space we have in the office right now,” Betts said
The shops in Hovland and Tofte are “falling down around them,” said Betts.  The sewer gas at Hovland is “overwhelming” and “the ceiling is hanging,” he said.  “There’s no clean space to have computers at either of the buildings. ...They are actually going to fall down if we don’t do something.”
The department is not able to store salt properly, and much of its equipment sits outside where it is vulnerable to the elements.  The Goble building has so much moisture in it that the employee break table gets wet, Betts said.  The fuel stations need to be replaced.  Employees are getting sprayed with fuel when they fill up their trucks.
“How much good money do you throw after bad?” said Klegstad.  He said making day-to-day plans is difficult without knowing what the long-term plan is.
Betts said fixing all three sites would cost over $6 million.  “I’ve been told it’s not the right time, but I question when is the right time.”  He said he has some funding ideas that include using some of their state aid. 
No decisions were made, but the group discussed the possibility of bonding to fund the improvements.

Forest Service to Re-open Areas Affected by Pagami Creek Wildfire

Wed, 05/02/2012 - 8:16am

Beginning today Superior National Forest Managers will allow public use in all but a small portion of the area in the BWCAW that was affected by last year’s Pagami Creek wildfire.

The decision to adjust the closure area is based on recent field assessments of conditions in the fire area and rehabilitation work that was accomplished by crews this spring. 

Some campsites are posted closed as well as portages accessing Horseshoe, Brewis, Harbor, North and South Wilder Lakes and the Pow Wow Trail and Pow Wow Trail Entry Point.

The Forest Service is warning campers to beware of snags.  Standing trees may look solid but the root system may have been burned away and they could fall at any time.

Firewood is also limited, so using a cook stove is advised. Some of the campsites may not have sufficient trees to hang a food pack.  An alternative such as a bear resistant food container is suggested.