Groundwater sampling planned for Clay County

Water samples from about 90 wells in Clay County will be collected and analyzed for water chemistry this spring by hydrogeologists from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Samples will also be tested to learn how long the water has been underground.

The data are being collected for the Clay County Geologic Atlas, an effort involving the Minnesota Geological Survey, the DNR Ecological and Water Resources Division, Clay County, and Moorhead Public Service.

DNR staff will contact Clay County residents to request permission for well sampling, which involves collecting a water sample and measuring the depth to water in each well. The selection of wells will be based on geology, location, well depth, and well construction. The samples will come from wells drawing water from aquifers at varying depths. Owners of wells sampled will receive a report of the laboratory results for their well.

Preserving the long-term quality of the region’s surface water and groundwater requires that policy makers have access to accurate information based on sound scientific principles. A county geologic atlas is a valuable tool used by county planners, resource managers, and other local government staff when making general planning, land use management and water resource protection decisions.

The Minnesota Geological Survey has already published Part A of the atlas, which illustrates details of each county’s geology. In 2017, the DNR Ecological and Water Resource Division will publish the groundwater portion of the atlas (Part B). The Part B reports will include maps and descriptions of the hydrogeology, cross sections illustrating groundwater conditions, and the pollution sensitivity of groundwater in the county.

The DNR County Geologic Atlas Program is funded in part by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. Funding also comes from the Clean Water Fund, which receives 33 percent of the sales tax revenue from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment, approved by voters in November 2008.

A full description of this program and status reports for atlas products can be viewed on the DNR website.

For more information, contact Jan Falteisek, DNR county geologic atlas program supervisor, at 651-259-5665, jan.falteisek@state.mn.us or Jim Berg, DNR hydrogeologist, 651-259-5680, jim.a.berg@state.mn.us.

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Women can learn how to catch bass, muskie from a pro

Women who want to take their fishing beyond the basics can learn from pro angler Mandy Uhrich in a class called Learn to Sport Fish, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, at Cabela’s in Rogers.

“This class for women, taught by women, is a great way to learn how to catch more than panfish this year,” said Linda Bylander, coordinator of the Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “We’ll focus on techniques and gear selection for bass, muskellunge and other gamefish.”

The class is free and registration is requested. Women who attend have the opportunity to register for a guided bass fishing trip in the Brainerd lakes area, or a guided muskie fishing trip in the Twin Cities metro area. Those trips are in mid- to late summer, and women must attend the April 11 class to register for the guided trips.

To register for the April 11 class or for more information, contact Linda Bylander at 218-833-8628, linda.bylander@state.mn.us. For more information on BOW, visit the DNR website.

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Be bear-aware this spring as bears begin emerging from dens

Wildlife managers remind homeowners who live near bear habitat to be bear-aware and check their property for food sources that could attract bears this spring.

Bears usually begin emerging from their dens in late March and early April. Allowing bears to forage for food in a yard can present dangers to bears and people, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“While one homeowner may not be bothered by the presence of a bear in their yard, it can cause conflicts between neighbors, as well as public safety concerns, when human-related food is easy to find and the bears stop seeking their natural foods,” said Jeff Lightfoot, DNR northeast region wildlife manager. “These bears eventually get into trouble because they return again and again.”

As bears emerge from hibernation they are not immediately hungry, but over the following weeks their metabolism ramps up and they will begin looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce. Bears may be tempted by dog food, livestock feed, birdseed, compost or garbage.

“Bears are normally shy and usually flee when encountered,” said John Williams, DNR northwest region wildlife manager. “However, they may defend an area if they are feeding or are with their young. Never approach or try to pet a bear. Injury to people is rare, but bears are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and speed.”

The DNR does not relocate problem bears. Relocated bears seldom remain where they are released. They may return to where they were caught or become a problem somewhere else.

“In metro areas, a person who is concerned about a problem bear presenting a threat to public safety is advised to first call local law enforcement,” said Jami Markle, DNR central region assistant wildlife manager. “Leaving anything around that might be attractive to a bear could present a danger to the bear and people. When living in an area with wildlife, even the occasional bear requires some extra precautions to avoid conflict.”

The DNR offers some tips for avoiding bear conflicts.

Around the yard

  • Do not leave food from barbeques and picnics outdoors, especially overnight. Coolers are not bear-proof.
  • Replace hummingbird feeders with hanging flower baskets, which are also attractive to hummingbirds.
  • Eliminate birdfeeders or hang them 10 feet up and 4 feet out from the nearest trees.
  • Use a rope and pulley system to refill birdfeeders, and clean up seeds that spill onto the ground. Where bears are a nuisance, birdfeeders should be taken down between April 1 and Dec. 1.
  • Store pet food inside and feed pets inside. If pets must be fed outdoors, feed them only as much as they will eat.
  • Clean and store barbeque grills after each use. Store them in a secure shed or garage away from windows and doors.
  • Pick fruit from trees as soon as it’s ripe, and collect fallen fruit immediately.
  • Limit compost piles to grass, leaves and garden clippings, and turn piles regularly. Adding lime can reduce smells and help decomposition. Do not add food scraps. Kitchen scraps can be composted indoors in a worm box with minimal odor.
  • Harvest garden produce as it matures. Locate gardens away from forests and shrubs that bears may use for cover.
  • Use native plants in landscaping whenever possible. Clover and dandelions will attract bears.
  • For bee hives, elevate them on bear-proof platforms or erect properly designed electric fences.
  • Do not put out feed for wildlife (like corn, oats, pellets or molasses blocks).

Garbage

  • Store garbage in bear-resistant garbage cans or dumpsters. Rubber or plastic garbage cans are not bear-proof.
  • Keep garbage inside a secure building until the morning of pickup.
  • Store recyclable containers, such as pop cans, inside. The sweet smells attract bears.
  • Store especially smelly garbage, such as meat or fish scraps, in a freezer until it can be taken to a refuse site.

People should always be cautious around bears. If they have persistent bear problems after cleaning up the food sources, they should contact a DNR area wildlife office for assistance. For the name of the local wildlife manager, contact the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367, or visit the DNR website to find a local office. For more information, visit the DNR’s Living with Wildlife page.

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Burning restrictions extend to more northern Minnesota counties

The Department of Natural Resources will extend burning restrictions in parts of north-central and northeastern Minnesota beginning April 1. Under these restrictions, open burning of brush or yard waste is prohibited.

Spring burning restrictions coincide with increasing fire potential throughout much of the state due to the early snow melt and dry fuels like grass and leaves. With the snow gone, exposed dead grass and brush can light easily and fires can spread quickly.

Debris burning is especially dangerous during April and May when most wildfires occur in Minnesota. Restrictions last until sufficient green vegetation forms, normally from four to six weeks.

Minnesota firefighters have already responded to several wildfires this spring. Grass fires can easily burn out of control. On March 23, a landowner burning grass near Cook lost control of a fire and lost a garage. Fortunately, the local fire department was able to save the home.

“Each year, we lose more outbuildings and homes to small 1- to 2-acre fires than to the big fires,” said Ron Stoffel, DNR wildfire suppression supervisor.

Counties can be quickly added to the restrictions list during dry, windy days when fires could easily burn out of control. Therefore, residents are encouraged to visit the burning restrictions Web page at or call their local DNR forestry office to obtain up-to-date information on fire danger and burning restrictions.

Many counties and municipalities have specific burning regulations or restrictions. Check with local authorities to obtain proper permits before burning.

The burning restrictions do not apply to campfires; they are still allowed. Clear an area around the campfire, watch it continuously, and make sure it is out and cold to the touch before leaving.

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Hutchinson man named 2014 Youth ATV Safety Instructor of the Year

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has named Paul Kruse of Hutchinson the 2014 Youth ATV Safety Volunteer Instructor of the Year.  Full Story

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DNR seeks volunteers for frog and toad calling survey

The Department of Natural Resources’ Nongame Wildlife Program is seeking volunteers to participate in the Minnesota Frog and Toad Calling Survey to help track population changes in the state’s 14 frog and toad species. Frogs and toads are one of the best indicators of wetland health.  Full Story

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DNR urges state forest and off-highway vehicle trail users to check for temporary closures

With warm weather on the way, many off-highway vehicle (OHV) riders may be eager to hit the trails, but state forest roads and trails are typically wet during the spring, so the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will need to close some areas temporarily.  Full Story

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Death of two bull elk under investigation in northwestern Minnesota

Two bull elk were illegally shot and killed near Grygla in an area that holds Minnesota’s smallest elk herd and has been closed to hunting since 2012, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Full Story

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Comments sought on proposed Minnesota deer population goals

Comments on proposed deer population goals recommended by citizen advisory teams in 40 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas will be accepted Thursday, April 2, through Wednesday, April 15, on the Department of Natural Resources websiteFull Story

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Spring burning restrictions take effect this week in much of Minnesota

The Department of Natural Resources will restrict debris burning in many northwestern, southern and central Minnesota counties this week, beginning Wednesday, March 25, and in other parts of the state beginning in April.  Full Story

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New well provides fresh, safe water at Blue Mounds State Park

A new well will provide campers with fresh, safe water at Blue Mounds State Park after another well was sealed due to the presence of E.coli, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  Full Story

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Nongame Wildlife Program seeks to understand piping plover peril

By Kristi Coughlon
DNR information officer

“Peep-lo!” The high-pitched whistle pierced the air at the Pine and Curry Island Scientific and Natural Area (SNA) on Lake of the Woods. Christine Herwig scanned the sandy beach and dunes, squinting to find the source of the cry. Full Story

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Learn to camp, paddle and more at Minnesota state parks

Registration for I Can Camp! and other skill-building programs begins March 20, the first day of spring

People who lack the experience or equipment to go on a camping, canoeing or fishing trip should consider signing up for one of the many introductory programs offered at Minnesota state parks and trails in 2015. Reservations are now being taken for the following beginner-level programs, which start in June and continue through the end of August:  Full Story

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Governor’s budget proposal would help maintain vitality of state parks

More than 8 million people visit Minnesota state parks each year with nearly 1.3 million of them traveling from other states or countries. This year, Gov. Mark Dayton has recommended a much-needed boost in funding for Minnesota state parks and recreation areas to ensure that they remain well-maintained attractions. Full Story

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Sutherland named 2014 TIP officer of the year

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Thomas Sutherland of Grand Rapids was named the 2014 Turn in Poachers (TIP) “Joe Alexander” Conservation Officer of the Year during the annual TIP banquet held March 14 in Grand Rapids. Full Story

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Minnesota likely to see early start to fire season

With the recent warm weather, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources fire behavior analysts are predicting an early start to the spring fire season. Full Story

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Ice ridges on area lakes generate interest and concern

Many home and cabin owners are noticing the spectacular ice formations, or ice ridges, that are pushing up on the shorelines of our lakes this winter. Some lakeshore property owners are not so impressed, as these ice ridges are causing damage to their shorelines and property. Full Story

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DNR seeks comments on Canisteo Mine Pit project environmental assessment worksheet

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments from March 16 to April 15 on an environmental assessment worksheet prepared for a temporary dewatering project within the Canisteo Mine Pit Complex, near the cities of Bovey and Coleraine in Itasca County. Full Story

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Minnesota DNR alerts public to spring burning restrictions

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will soon determine when to start spring burning restrictions. This year, with little snowpack and an early start to spring, restrictions are likely to take effect earlier, maybe as soon as next week.  Full Story

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Survey reports 131 elk, 3 herds in northwestern Minnesota

Three distinct herds totaling 131 animals that roam portions of far northwestern Minnesota comprise the state’s elk population, according to results of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ annual aerial population survey. Full Story

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Bald eagles on spring migration back to Minnesota

Bald eagles are migrating back to Minnesota and may be seen in large numbers across parts of the state over the next few weeks, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  Full Story

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New campground, other changes proposed at Whitewater State Park

Open house scheduled for March 31 at Whitewater State Park Visitor Center

The Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division is seeking public comments on a proposal to develop a new campground at Whitewater State Park in southeastern Minnesota. The project would convert the existing Gooseberry Glen campground to a day-use area, and redevelop the former park manager’s residence into lodging for visitors. Full Story

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DNR seeks public input on forest management plan for northeastern Minnesota

A report that identifies major forest management issues for the Northern Superior Uplands in northeastern Minnesota is available for review, according to the Department of Natural Resources. The report is available online. Full Story

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Whitewater River project environmental review document available

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments during a 30-day public review period from March 16 to April 15 on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW)  prepared for Whitewater River channel restoration project, located near the town of Elba, in Winona County. Full Story

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DNR plans to modernize website, improve online technology

To better-serve the people of Minnesota, the Department of Natural Resources this session is requesting the Legislature’s help to meet new and increasing online technology demands from individuals and businesses across Minnesota. The DNR’s Citizen Engagement in Natural Resources initiative, which was recommended in Gov. Mark Dayton’s recently-released budget proposal, would modernize the agency’s website and help develop user-friendly online and mobile tools designed to: help people find the information and services they need to enjoy the state’s great outdoors; and conduct business in Minnesota. Full Story

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Surplus spring turkey hunt licenses go on sale

Hunters who applied for a spring wild turkey hunting license but were not selected in the recent lottery are eligible to purchase a surplus license on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 5 p.m., Monday, March 16. A total of 2,789 surplus licenses are available. Full Story

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Warning: Ice is not safe; flowing water is dangerous for kids

With warming temperatures and melting snow, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone that ice conditions on bodies of water are deteriorating quickly in the southern half of the state and will soon be deteriorating in the north. Water flowing into lakes and moving in rivers can quickly create areas of thin ice. Flowing water in ditches and creeks is also dangerous to children who can slip in and be swept into a culvert or under the ice. Full Story

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March 16 deadline approaches for ice fishing shelter removal from northeastern MN lakes

Ice anglers in northeastern Minnesota are reminded of ice shelter removal dates on lakes located north of Highways 200 and U.S. Highway 2, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said. Full Story

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DNR seeks comment on International Falls area lake and stream management plans

Citizens interested in commenting on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources strategies for managing International Falls area lakes are encouraged to review draft management plans and ask questions or submit comments by Friday, March 27. Full Story

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New members appointed to Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr, Metropolitan Council Chairman Adam Duininck, and Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission Chairman Al Lieffort have appointed seven new members to the committee that advises on the use of Legacy Amendment funds for Minnesota’s state and regional parks and trails. Full Story

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Back from cancer, Kevin Lines will battle decline in pheasants

Longtime conservationist and cancer survivor Kevin Lines knows a thing or two about beating the odds. Doctors told him in 2012 that he needed a bone marrow transplant to survive. Full Story

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DNR wildlife to hold second open house for proposed Gull River WMA

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting a second informational open house to discuss the proposed Gull River wildlife management area (WMA) near Pillager. The open house will be held Saturday, March 21st from 2 – 4 p.m. at the Sylvan Town Hall located at 12956 24th Avenue SW, Pillager, Minn. Full Story

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DNR seeks comment on Tower area lake management plans

Citizens interested in commenting on Minnesota Department of Natural Resources strategies for managing Tower area lakes are encouraged to review draft management plans and ask questions or submit comments by Friday, March 20. Full Story

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Ice fishing shelter removal dates fast approaching

Deadlines for removing fish houses, dark houses and portable shelters from state waterways are rapidly approaching, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Anglers are advised to remove shelters earlier if ice conditions warrant.  Full Story

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New fishing regulations, more opportunities for anglers

Anglers will have more opportunities to fish for bass, sturgeon and trout this year thanks to changes in Minnesota’s fishing regulations. Full Story

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DNR officer honored for dedication to state’s natural resources

The Minnesota Chapter of The Wildlife Society (MNTWS) has recognized a DNR conservation officer for his dedicated work in game, fish and wetlands protection.  Full Story

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Proposed rule change would protect fish from viral disease

The public has until 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 27, to send written comments on simplifying rules designed to control a contagious fish disease. The rule change would also better protect fish spawning beds and fish preserves.  Full Story

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2015 spring light goose hunt begins March 1

A spring conservation hunt on light geese will open Sunday, March 1, and run through Thursday, April 30. Light geese are snow geese, blue-phased snow geese and the smaller Ross’s goose. Full Story

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Learn how to make maple syrup at Minnesota state parks

Ever wonder how pure maple syrup gets from tree to table? Find out how to make a batch with tips from the experts at Minnesota state parks. Free demonstrations — and tasting opportunities — will take place March 7 through April 11. Full Story

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Volunteer safety training instructors honored

Two Minnesota hunter education instructors are being honored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for 50 years of volunteer service to the program. Full Story

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DNR offers outdoor skills programs for women and families

Women and families wanting to learn how to hunt, fish and develop skills in other outdoor recreational activities can find a wide range of hands-on learning opportunities in the 2015 Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) catalog. Full Story

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Minnesota’s moose population remains at low levels

Data from the aerial moose survey just completed indicate that the downward trend in the statewide moose population continues, even though there has been no statistical change in the population during the past few years. Full Story

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It’s easy to help the birds and bees at tax time: Just look for the loon

Carrol Henderson is puzzled.

On the one hand, he’s seen ample evidence that Minnesotans love the outdoors and nature. But he also knows that when it comes to a simple step people might take this time of year to help wildlife, many don’t.  Full Story

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Truck driver cited, fined for transporting zebra mussels near Winona

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has issued a civil citation and a $500 fine to a construction company truck driver for transporting zebra mussels.  Full Story

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Officers find too many cases of ice anglers leaving trash behind

Recent weekly activity reports from conservation officers (COs) with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are full of evidence of various types of refuse being discarded along frozen waterways. Full Story

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