CROW is awarded 319 funds

Feb. 4, 2008

by Chris Schultz

From the Crow River Organization of Water newsletter

In November, the Crow River Organization of Water (CROW) was notified that its application for 319 Implementation Funds was approved by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

The project, titled “Improving Rural Water Quality in the Crow River Basin,” received full funding and was the highest ranked implementation project received by the MPCA this year.

This project will continue the CROW’s goal of reducing nutrients and sediment from the Crow River and its tributaries.

The project will utilize $272,480 in grant dollars for implementation efforts in highly ranked priority management areas as identified in the Crow River Phase I Diagnostic Study.

The management areas cover portions of six counties: Renville, McLeod, Kandiyohi, Meeker, and small areas in Stearns and Wright Counties.

In addition to grant funds, the MPCA also awarded $770,000 in low interest loan money to be available for ISTS upgrades in the counties of Renville, Kandiyohi, and McLeod.

The CROW has recently submitted the work plan for this project and it is anticipated that funds will become available in late 2008. The grant period runs for three years.

Howard Lake Fishing Derby is this Saturday

The 62nd annual Howard Lake Fishing Derby will be Saturday, Feb. 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. on Howard Lake.

Along with the fishing derby will be a raffle, with the grand prize being a 6.5’x12’ King Crow fish house on wheels.

First price is a FL8 Vexilar depth finder; second and third prizes will be framed prints. Additional prizes will be awarded at the end of the derby.

Prior to the derby, stop by The Country Store in Howard Lake from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for hot dogs, baked beans, chips, and a beverage, all for free – all you need is a raffle ticket, which is available at the event.

There will also be a special prize awarded, a Red Flannel Pet Food $200 gift certificate to any fisherman who can land a dog fish.

For additional information on the event, contact Denny Decker at (320) 543-2992.

2008 volunteer monitoring workshops planned
From the Crow River Organization of Water newsletter

The CROW will once again be teaming up with the Middle Fork Crow River Watershed District and Minnesota Waters to offer free training opportunities to interested stream and lake volunteers in the Crow River Watershed.

The intent of the workshops is to provide volunteers with the knowledge and tools necessary to conduct monitoring on surface waters in the Crow River Watershed.

The 2008 training dates are:

• Monday, March 31 in Glencoe from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Saturday, April 12 in Spicer from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Contact Jenny Gieseke at (507) 766-0173 or Vanessa Glieden Henjum at (320) 796-08888 for additional information.

Surplus spring turkey hunt licenses go on sale soon
From the DNR

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., March 17.

“Applicants who were not chosen still have a chance to hunt this spring,” said Bill Penning, Department of Natural Resources (DNR) farmland wildlife program coordinator.

Penning said lottery winners should receive their permits this week.

Applicants also can determine if they received a license in the lottery by going to the turkey hunting section of the DNR Web site.

Penning said 4,565 surplus spring wild turkey hunt licenses are available.

A list of hunting dates, permit areas and the number of surplus permits available in each area is available in the turkey hunting section of the DNR Web site at mndnr.gov/hunting.

Surplus licenses will be available at any statewide Electronic License System agent or online at www.wildlifelicense.com/mn.

Beginning at 8 a.m. on March 24, all remaining licenses will be made available to anyone, whether or not they applied in the lottery.

Land donated for new west metro wildlife management area
From the DNR

Nearly 200 acres of prime wildlife habitat about half an hour from Minneapolis will be preserved as public open space thanks to the legacy of a Twin Cities leader who died more than three years ago.

Located between the cities of Delano and Independence on Highway 12 in western Hennepin County, the new Robina Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is a picturesque mix of wetlands and wooded uplands with old maples, oaks and basswood.

The WMA includes more than one mile of undisturbed shoreline on Robina Lake.

It will be open to the public for hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, birding and cross-country skiing.

The property, valued at more than $4 million, was donated to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) by the Robina Foundation, which was founded by the late James H. Binger to encourage and financially support significant and innovative projects at four institutions: Abbott Northwestern Hospital, the Council on Foreign Relations, the University of Minnesota Law School and Yale University.

A well-known philanthropist, former Honeywell chairman and theater entrepreneur, Binger died in November 2004.

“This is a gift of enormous value to the people of Minnesota,” said DNR regional wildlife Manager Tim Bremicker. “With the state’s population increasingly concentrated in the growing metro region, protecting wildlife habitat and outdoor recreational opportunities close to where people live is vital to the future of conservation.”

DNR, NWTF expand youth opportunities at 2008 spring turkey
From the DNR

As many as 460 first-time youth hunters can bag a wild turkey this spring during one of 32 special youth turkey hunts sponsored by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF).

“This is an opportunity for kids to learn by doing,” said Jay Johnson, DNR hunter recruitment and retention program coordinator. “And it’s a great chance for mentors to get out in the field with youths and help pass on Minnesota’s hunting tradition.”

Applications for the hunt are only available online from the DNR Web site at mndnr.gov by clicking the youth turkey hunt button on the home page.

Application deadline is Feb. 22, and participants will be selected randomly via lottery.

A map of areas open to special youth hunts and a listing of hunts can be viewed and printed from the Web site.

“The 2008 youth hunt represents a dramatic growth in the number of permits available and the areas open to hunting,” Johnson said. “Last year, 15 special youth turkey hunts accommodated 124 hunters. But an increasing turkey population, an expanding range and more youth hunt volunteers all add up to more opportunities for more youths and their mentors.”

All but one of the special hunts will occur April 19 and 20, the first weekend of the regular wild turkey season.

Johnson said most of the youths will hunt on private land thanks to the generosity of private landowners, who are giving the NWTF permission to use their land.

To be eligible, a youth hunter must be age 12 to 17 on or before April 19, have earned a valid Firearms Safety Certificate and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The program is for first-time turkey hunters only. Any youth who has ever purchased or been selected by lottery for a Minnesota turkey license of any type is ineligible.

Hunters and their parent or guardian will be assigned a NWTF volunteer guide, who must accompany them throughout the entire hunt.

“Without the support of staff and volunteers from the NWTF, this important opportunity for first-time hunters wouldn’t be possible,” Johnson said. “This is an example of sportsmen and sportswomen taking the lead in developing the next generation of safe, ethical and responsible hunter-conservationists.”

DNR seeking feedback on redesigned web site
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is preparing to launch a new Web site and is seeking additional feedback before the redesigned site goes live.

To preview the new look, go to mndnr.gov and click on the “Coming Soon” graphic in the upper right hand corner.

“Our current home page is more than five years old and needs to be updated and enhanced,” said Jed Becher, DNR web projects coordinator. “A recent usability study was done on the current site and many of the recommendations have been implemented.”

The new site will improve overall usability and make it easier for visitors to navigate and find the DNR information they are looking for, Becher said.

The organization of the content will not change, it’s mainly the look and feel of the site that will be different.

Kelly Randall, DNR Web designer said highlights of the new design include a home page slideshow featuring images of timely topics, pull down menus to help locate content quicker, a new comprehensive A-Z list of DNR topics, a Find-it-Fast section with links to the most popular pages, a revised recreation compass utilizing a Google maps interface and an updated office locator to make it easier to find local DNR offices.

The DNR Web site, which averages about five million page requests per month, provides outdoor enthusiasts 24-hour access to a wealth of information.

Visitors can purchase a hunting or fishing license, or find a variety of information including lake data, current winter trail conditions, state park camping options or the latest hunting and fishing regulations.

The public is encouraged to review and comment on the new DNR Web site design.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Cross-country skiers are required to purchase and possess a pass before skiing on state and Grant-in-Aid ski trails. What is the purpose of these passes?

A: Purchasing a ski trail pass is an investment in the sport of skiing. Ski pass funds support 1,800 miles of cross-country ski trails in state parks, state forests, and in the local grant-in-aid program.

The money collected goes directly into the grant-in-aid program to maintain and groom ski trails.

The DNR works with local units of government and ski clubs to maintain and expand skiing opportunities.

Local ski club volunteers or DNR staff do more than half of all trail work before the snow flies, such as clearing brush and preparing trail surfaces.

Even during winters of little snow, skiers that buy either the daily, annual or three-year pass help assure that the trails will always be there.

Additional information on cross-country ski passes and skiing opportunities in Minnesota is available on the DNR’s Web site: mndnr.gov/skiing.