DNR reminds taxpayers to donate to help wildlife

January 25, 2010

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Nongame Wildlife Program urges Minnesotans to remember to help wildlife by donating to the Nongame Wildlife Fund on their Minnesota tax forms.

The survival and future of Minnesota’s nongame wildlife depend on donations.

The Nongame Wildlife Program is unique since 80 percent of its funding comes from donations to the Nongame Wildlife Fund.

The program is unlike other government programs that are supported primarily by general tax dollars or license fees.

The number of people donating to the Nongame Wildlife Fund decreases every year, with less than one person in 35 households remembering wildlife at tax time. This year the average donation has been about $10.

These tax deductible, voluntary donations fund more than 80 conservation projects.

They include monitoring of wintering eagle roosts; surveys of wood turtles ospreys and timber rattlesnakes; a new statewide dragonfly survey; frog and toad research; habitat restoration and protection; monitoring of heron rookeries; and protection and management of important wildlife habitat for bald eagles, piping plovers, and other wildlife at risk.

The recovery of the bald eagle, trumpeter swan and other species such as the peregrine falcon were made possible in part by the donations by Minnesotans to the Nongame Wildlife Fund on their state income and property tax forms.

Minnesota has the second highest bald eagle population in the U.S. and boasts the largest common loon population in the lower 48 states.

Carrol Henderson, DNR Nongame Wildlife Program supervisor, said imagine what life would be like without the 800 species of nongame wildlife that inhabit Minnesota.

Imagine people not hearing the haunting call of the loon on northern lakes, or failing to spot the regal silhouette of a bald eagle at it perches atop a tall tree.

Minnesotans can help by reminding their tax preparer that they would like to make a donation.

This opportunity to donate to help wildlife first appeared on state tax forms in 1981.

Firearms safety class registration at the Waverly Gub Club

Hunter education youth firearms safety class registration will be Tuesday, Feb. 2 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Waverly Gun Club.

The Waverly Gun Club is located at 4465 Desota Ave. SW in Waverly.

Classes will be on Tuesday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for 10 weeks, plus a field test Saturday, April 17.

A parent or guardian must attend the registration, and there will be a fee.

If you have any questions, contact Mike Dongoski (320) 543-3515 or Jim Woitalla (763) 658-4272.

Kingston Lion’s fishing contest Feb. 6

The Kingston Lions are hosting their 22nd annual fishing contest Saturday, Feb. 6 from 1 to 3 p.m. on the northwest side of Lake Francis.

The cost is $4 per person to fish, and there will be several prizes given out.

First place will win $100, second will win $50, and third will win $30.

There will also be prizes awarded for the biggest walleye, northern, and bass caught, plus $25 prizes for the largest crappie and sunfish.

Participants will automatically be entered to win an assortment of door prizes, and can also purchase raffle drawings for a chance to win an 8-inch ice auger or $250, two $100 drawings, and two $50 drawings.

The cost per raffle ticket is $1, or 25 for $15.

Concessions will also be provided by the Kingston Lions Club.

Rainbow Sportsmen’s Club ice fishing contest

The Rainbow Sportsmen’s Club is hosting its annual ice fishing contest Sunday, Feb. 14 on Brooks Lake in Cokato.
It runs from 2 to 4 p.m. and is free to all.

Raffle tickets are $1 each for cash and merchandise prizes.

Minnows and hole drilling are free.

There will be a lunch wagon on site for food and beverages.

For additional information, contact Tim (320) 980-0460 or Dave (612) 670-1916.

Da Shiver ice fishing tourney Feb. 6

The Da Shiver Ice Fishing Tournament is back again to raise money for the Crow River Youth Hockey Association.

The day, which includes the ice fishing tournament, games, giveaways and more, is Saturday, Feb. 6, from noon to 3 p.m. on the west end of Lake Sarah. The cost is $40.

The day’s activities include a bonfire, ice skating, and games, such as minnow races, musical buckets, and a hole-drilling race.

The prize list includes a Polaris Sportsman 500, a portable fishhouse, ice auger, ice rod combos, gift certificates, hockey gear, clothing, a signed Gophers jersey, Minnesota Timberwolves tickets, YakTrak, fishing gear, hunting gear, cash, hats, a Mr. Heater, and more. Music will be provided by Dean-o-mite Entertainment.

There will also be a raffle drawing for an Ice Castle fishhouse. Go to www.crtiger.com for raffle tickets.

For more information on Da Shiver, contact Doug Lawman at dashiver@yahoo.com or by phone at (763) 479-1206 or (612) 991-5159.

64th annual HL Fishing Derby is Feb. 13

The 64th annual fishing derby on Howard Lake is set for Saturday, Feb. 13 from 1 to 3 p.m.

There are plenty of chances to win cash and prizes.

In addition to cash awards for the biggest northern, walleye, bass, and panfish; other awards include the grand prize of an Ice Castle fishhouse (6-1/2 foot by 12 foot V front, on wheels), first prize of a FL-8 Vexilar Depth Finder, and framed prints for second and third prizes.

Raffle tickets are $2 each, and can be purchased at Joe’s Sport Shop or The Country Store in Howard Lake.

Tickets are now available by Ducks Unlimited Crow River Chapter for their pre-event ice fishing raffle.

Drawing to take place Saturday, Feb. 13, 3 p.m. on Howard Lake. Tickets are $10 a chance, with only 200 chances sold.

Contact Ken Durdahl (320) 543-3372.

Jr. duck stamp contest calling all young artists
Press Release

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is now accepting entries for the 2010 Minnesota Junior Duck Stamp Contest, which is administered by the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Entries must be postmarked by Monday, March 15.

This dynamic educational program uses both conservation and design principles to teach wetland habitat and waterfowl biology to students in kindergarten through high school.

The program provides an opportunity for students to artistically express their knowledge of the diversity, interdependence and beauty of wildlife.

Students may submit artwork featuring one of the following species: whistling ducks, swans, geese, dabbling ducks, diving ducks, sea ducks, or Hawaiian ducks.

A full list of permitted species is available online at www.fws.gov/juniorduck.

Judging will be open to the general public, and will begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 23 at Burnsville Civic Center.

Artwork entries will be judged on the basis of original design, anatomical accuracy, artistic composition and suitability for reproduction on a 1” by 1.5” stamp.

The Best of Show will then go on to be judged in the National Junior Duck Stamp contest.

A downloadable entry form and information on contest rules and regulations for teachers and supervising adults can be found online at www.fws.gov/juniorduck.

For additional information or if you have any questions, please contact your Jr. Duck Stamp State Coordinator, Mara Koenig at (952) 858-0710 or mara_koenig@fws.gov.

Entries and reference forms must be postmarked by Monday, March 15, and mailed to: c/o Junior Duck Stamp Coordinator, Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, 3815 American Blvd E, Bloomington, MN 55425.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws/gov.

DNR awards $3.4 million in new Parks and Trails Legacy grants
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has awarded $3.4 million in grants to 21 local communities from the new Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program.

These projects will help local governments acquire, develop, restore, and maintain parks and trails of regional or statewide significance across Minnesota.

Funding for this program comes from the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment approved by voters in 2008.

“These projects will provide more opportunities to connect the citizens of Minnesota to the outdoors,” said DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten.

Projects funded represent the diversity of park and trail recreation opportunities across Minnesota.

The DNR received 76 applications with requests for more than $30 million.

Local units of government receiving grants are required to provide at least 25 percent in matching funds.

Information on the projects selected for funding can be found on the Parksk and Trails Legacy Grant Program web page (go to www.mndnr.gov and enter “Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program” in the search box).

Questions related to the grant program can be directed to the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, (651) 259-5642.

Funding available for wildlife projects
From the DNR

Local conservation organizations and outdoors clubs that want to improve wildlife habitat have until Friday, Feb. 12, to apply for a Heritage Enhancement Grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“These grant dollars are available for large and small projects, so we’re encouraging proposals from all size organizations,” said Leslie Tannahill, conservation grants coordinator for the DNR. “Eligible projects include activities such as grassland plantings, brushland shearing, wetland restoration and oak savannah plantings on state wildlife management areas.”

In addition to the $445,000 available for Heritage Enhancement grants, a new Turkey Stamp Habitat Grant program makes an additional $15,000 available to local conservation organizations for projects to improve turkey habitat on either public or private lands.

Private individuals are not eligible to apply for either of these funds.

This is the ninth year the DNR is offering Heritage Enhancement grants, which are funded by a special account within the Game and Fish Fund. Dollars from turkey stamp sales fund Turkey Stamp Habitat grants.

The DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Division administers both grant programs in cooperation with local DNR wildlife managers.
Work funded by either grant program must be completed by June 30, 2013.

Applications and information packages are available now on the DNR Web site at www.mndnr.gov/grants/habitat/heritage.html, via e-mail at leslie_tannahill@state.mn.us, or by calling (651) 259-5242.

Volunteers add $8.8 million in value to DNR
From the DNR

More than 32,000 citizens donated services valued at $8.8 million during 2009 to assist the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) with a variety of projects and programs.

That’s the equivalent of an extra 209 full-time staff.

DNR managers, professionals and technicians work alongside volunteers to help manage the state’s diverse natural resources.

“We’re fortunate to have so many dedicated Minnesotans who are willing to donate their time and talents for conservation projects,” said Renée Vail, DNR volunteer programs administrator. “We’re extremely grateful for their efforts. Many of our projects would not be possible without their help.”

Volunteer positions can range from specialist jobs requiring extensive skill and experience to work requiring little or no previous experience.

For example, Allen Schmitz was one of the DNR’s youngest Lake Level Minnesota Program gage readers when he began assisting as a volunteer 33 years ago.

Since 1977, he has submitted more than 4,750 lake level gage readings during the open water seasons on Big Fish Lake in Stearns County.

The information provided by volunteers is used consistently by decision-makers and lake users for a better understanding of Minnesota water resources and its influences from year-to-year.

All reported historical lake levels for more than 1,300 lakes are available for all to view and use on Lake Finder on the DNR Web site: www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/

What are you interested in?

Volunteer opportunities are available at state parks, state forest campgrounds, WMAs, fisheries and hatcheries, as well as at DNR area, regional and headquarters offices.

Special event sites offer great volunteer experiences too.

More than 700 volunteers assisted the DNR at the Minnesota State Fair last August.

They acted as Smokey Bear, helped at the laser shot booth and archery range, dispensed lake data reports and provided entertainment and environmental education presentations on the DNR volunteer outdoor stage.

Elsewhere around the state, volunteers helped with firearms safety instruction, state park campground hosting, loon monitoring, snowmobile safety instruction, trail clearing, precipitation observing, river cleanups, issuing burning permits and doing wildlife research.

Volunteers work individually and in groups, and DNR staff provides all training.

The DNR volunteer programs office also works with the DNR Alumni Volunteer Association, a program that allows retired DNR employees to participate in special projects statewide.

For more information about DNR volunteering opportunities, visit the DNR Web site at www.mndnr.gov and click on the word “volunteering,” or contact the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 in the Twin Cites metro area or toll free at 888-646-6367.