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Visit the DNR exhibit at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair

August 17, 2009

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invites people to stock up on memories by visiting the popular DNR building and exhibit during the State Fair in Falcon Heights.

The historic DNR log building, which opened in 1934, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

The DNR building and exhibit offers a wide range of family favorites in addition to new events and activities for State Fair visitors.

A must-see stop at the fair for folks of all ages is the DNR fishpond — one of the most popular attractions at the Fair.

Visitors can also explore the indoor exhibits, enjoy entertainment at the outdoor and garden stages, or take a relaxing stroll around the DNR park.

Waverly Gun Club upcoming events

A conceal and carry class will take place Tuesday, Sept. 15 and Wednesday, Sept. 16 at the Waverly Gun Club.

For additional information, go to www.waverlygunclub.org.

Youth conservation field day at Gopher Campfire Grounds

The 2009 Youth Conservation Field Day at the Gopher Campfire Grounds will take place Saturday, Aug. 22.

Doors open at 9 a.m. for registration with events begining at 10 a.m.

Sessions include trap shooting, air rifles, .22 pistols, .22 rifles, archery, conservation education, black powder, and sporting clays.

Participants must be 6 to 17 years old and have a parent or legal guardian with them at all times during the event.

Parents or legal guardian must sign an authorization form.

For information, contact Roxanne Godejahn at (320) 693-8840.

The Gopher Campfire Grounds are located northwest of Hutchinson.

Moose advisory committee to announce recommendations
From the DNR

Minnesota’s Moose Advisory Committee will announce its recommendations for management practices and research opportunities that may help forestall the decline of Minnesota’s moose population at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18, in Duluth.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) created the committee in September 2008 in response to growing concern about the long-term future of this iconic species of the north.

Committee members represent a cross-section of moose interests, including land managers, wildlife managers, tribal staff, conservation organizations and tourism.

Northwestern Minnesota’s moose population has declined severely. Population decline also may be occurring in northeastern Minnesota.

The DNR will use the committee’s recommendations as a basis for drafting a moose management and research plan.

The DNR will also seek additional public comment on the plan.

Advisory committee and DNR representatives will be available to answer media questions after the committee’s presentation, which is scheduled in room 301 of the Natural Resource Research Institute, 5021 Miller Trunk Highway, in Duluth.

Information about the committee and its process is available on the DNR Web site at www.mndnr.gov/moose.

Camp Ripley receives national National Resources Award
From the DNR

Natural resource conservation staff from Camp Ripley, a Minnesota Army National Guard facility near Little Falls, received the Natural Resources Conservation Award at a Environmental Awards ceremony at the Pentagon recently.

Among those accepting the award were Nancy Dietz and Brian Dirks, animal survey staff, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Camp Ripley natural conservation program partners include the Guard, the DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and St. Cloud State University.

Camp Ripley has been a protector of the Mississippi River and its ecosystem for many years, with 53,000 acres of land.
Lands devoted to conservation include about 28,000 acres of forest land, 8,800 acres of wetlands and 7,700 acres of grasslands.

These areas support 565 plant species, 126 bird species, 41 species of fish, 107 types of aquatic invertebrates, 65 species of butterflies, 51 mammal species, 23 reptiles and amphibians, and 8 mussel species.

Wildlife species of particular interest include the bald eagle, white-tailed deer, black bear, gray wolf, red shouldered hawk and fisher.

Wildlife studies show compatibility between military activities and wildlife.

For example, Dietz said a radio telemetry study found that the Camp Ripley gray wolves are adaptable and breed and raise their young relatively close to military activities. Two wolf packs live within Ripley’s borders, she said.

A study of black bears was initiated at Camp Ripley in 1991.

The study is part of a statewide research project conducted by the DNR.

The principal objectives of this study include monitoring of reproduction and cub survival and examination of habitat use and movements with GPS telemetry.

The study showed a population of 20-25 bears, of which 11 are currently radio-collared.

The DNR began monitoring the deer population at Camp Ripley in 1954, the first year of the annual white-tail bow hunt.

Over 5,500 hunters visit Ripley every year during special hunts for deployed soldiers, disabled American veterans and youth.

The hunts are administered in partnership with the DNR.

The Blandings turtle is a species of special concern in Minnesota, and Camp Ripley’s natural resources staff have worked to enhance turtle habitat and protect them from impacts, increasing their survival rates.

The animal survey staff are also studying song birds, fisher and Red-shouldered hawks.

The study found 30 to 40 nesting pairs of these hawks at Ripley.

“These birds like big blocks of undisturbed land for hunting prey like small mammals, frogs and toads,” said Dirks.

Forest management is a big part of the natural resources conservation program.

All Ripley forestry activities are conducted in partnership with the DNR, including harvests, rehabilitation,replanting, nursery development, and invasive species control.

Special legislation returns state timber revenues to Camp Ripley for its reforestation and forest management program.

The DNR and TNC work with Camp Ripley personnel to conduct prescribed burns and combat wildland fires.

Prescribed fires reduce fuels, minimize the spread of invasive species, and encourage natural diversity on nearly 11,000 acres every year.

The Camp Ripley Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program helps prevent encroachment and further fragmentation of lands, which can contribute to loss of habitat and subsequent decline in threatened or endangered species.

Since the program’s inception in 2004, approximately 5,000 acres have been acquired through purchase or permanent easement.

St. Louis Park artist wins 2010 MN Trout and Salmon Stamp designt contest
From the DNR

Richard Goodkind of St. Louis Park has won the 2010 Minnesota Trout and Salmon Stamp design contest, the first time Goodkind has won the Minnesota contest.

He had entered the contest many times before and was a previous finalist.

His winning entry features an autumn scene depicting a brook trout feeding on a mayfly within the waters of a beaver pond in northeastern Minnesota.

Goodkind, who used oil paints for his design, is an avid angler and especially enjoys fishing for brook trout.

The design was selected from among 29 entries in this year’s trout and salmon stamp contest, held Aug. 6 at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) headquarters in St. Paul.

Other finalists were Stephen Hamrick, Lakeville; and Steven Trofka, Maple Grove.

The contest, which is conducted annually by the DNR, offers no prizes.

The winner, however, retains reprint reproduction rights to the work, which is usually reproduced as a limited edition wildlife print.

A Minnesota trout and salmon stamp is required for those who fish in designated trout streams, designated trout lakes, Lake Superior, or who possess trout and salmon. Anglers must also purchase a Minnesota fishing license.

The DNR sells approximately 95,000 stamps every year.

The 2009 trout stamp costs $10, with proceeds going toward trout stream habitat restoration projects, stocking trout, purchasing angling easements, and the management of Lake Superior, said Mark Ebbers, DNR trout and salmon program consultant.

Judges were Tom Helgeson, Midwest Fly Fishing Magazine; David Hoff, University of Minnesota; Maria Manion, Lake Superior Steeelhead Association; Jonathan Stone, CTI Paper USA; and Vaughn Snook, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division, Assistant Fisheries Area supervisor, Lanesboro.

Youth can experience Pheasants Forever mentor program
From Pheasants Forever

Pheasants Forever and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) remind Minnesota youth that they have until Monday, Aug. 24th to submit their applications to participate in the Mentored Youth Pheasants Forever Hunt this autumn.

The hunts, which will take place Saturday, Oct. 24 over much of the southern two-thirds of the state, provide an opportunity for youth and an accompanying adult to have a safe and enjoyable first pheasant hunting experience.

Lottery applications for the hunt are available by contacting the DNR Information Center at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367), and must be submitted to the DNR no later than 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24.

Applicants must specify a first and second choice of county in which county they would like to hunt by referring to a map of the counties where Pheasants Forever has hunts established.

The map is included with the application.

Youth selected in the lottery will then be paired with guide-mentors from Pheasants Forever chapters.

Last year, over 200 youth participated in the first-ever DNR-Pheasants Forever partnership, and the DNR and Pheasants Forever hope to increase that number this year.

“Hunting is really just one part of the experience,” said Eran Sandquist, Pheasants Forever Regional Wildlife Biologist in Minnesota, “Our goal is to provide a safe environment where youth can learn about all the aspects that go into creating a successful pheasant hunt, from talking to landowners, to learning about habitat, to working with bird dogs. Requiring a parent or guardian to accompany youth participants also provides social support for the new experience.”

To be eligible to participate, youth must be 12-17 years old as of October 24 and possess a valid firearms safety certificate.

They also must have a parent, guardian, or adult authorized by a parent or guardian accompany them as a non-firearm-carrying mentor to the pre-hunt orientation and the hunt.

The lottery will be conducted Thursday, Sept. 3. Successful applicants will be notified by Saturday, Sept. 26.
Unsuccessful applicants will not be notified.

The winner’s notice will contain specific information about hunting license requirements, equipment and contact information for the hunt coordinator.

Youth winners must contact their hunt coordinator after receiving their notice.

To create more hunting opportunities for more youth, Pheasants Forever is seeking permission to conduct the youth hunt on additional private land.

Those who have pheasant-friendly property or know someone who does are asked to contact Pheasants Forever’s Eran Sandquist at (763) 242-1273 or via email at esandquist@pheasantsforever.org or Scott Roemhildt at (507) 327-9785 or via email at SRoemhildt@pheasantsforever.org.

First national sign-up for new conservation stewardship program
Press Release

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) started a continuous sign-up for the new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) this past week with the first signup period cutoff scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 30.

CSP is a voluntary program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional ones on their operations.

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) authorizes CSP.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers CSP.

Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie, improved pastureland, rangeland, managed non-industrial private forestland, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe.

Eligible applicants may include individual landowners, legal entities, and Indian tribes.

Agricultural and forestry producers must submit applications by Sept. 30 to be considered for funding in the first ranking period.

Congress capped the annual acreage enrollment at 12,769,000 acres for each fiscal year nationwide.

To apply for CSP, potential participants will be encouraged to use a self-screening checklist first to determine whether the new program is suitable for them or their operation.

It will be available on NRCS Web sites and at NRCS field offices.

For information about CSP, including eligibility requirements, producers can visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/new_csp or visit their local NRCS field office.