DNR adds more open burning restrictions

April 26, 2010

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) increased restrictions on open burning at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April 23 because of hazardous fire conditions created by very dry weather over much of northern Minnesota.

The restrictions affect all burning, including campfires, fireworks, outdoor welding, and prescribed burning.
The 37 counties included are: Aitkin, Anoka, Becker, Beltrami, Benton, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Isanti, Itasca, Kanabec, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Polk (that portion east of County Highway 6 and south of State Highway 92), Pope, Roseau, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, St Louis, Todd, and Wadena.

Burning permits will not be issued, with very limited exceptions, and only by state and federal forestry offices.

Under the new restrictions, fireworks will not be allowed outside municipalities and devices with open flame, such as welders and acetylene torches, will be prohibited in forest and grass areas, except under special permit.

Railroads may conduct normal maintenance operations, provided the welding sites are shielded and adequate fire suppression equipment is readily available.

Campfires are still allowed, however, the burning period has been restricted to 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

The fire must be in a fire receptacle designed for such use and associated with a residence, resort, or developed public and private campgrounds.

In all situations, there must be an adequate source of water immediately available for extinguishing the campfire.

The DNR is no longer allowing prescribed burning and running fires until conditions improve, except in areas outside the aforementioned counties where the DNR regional director may authorize prescribed burning as necessary.

Restrictions will remain in place until sufficient precipitation is received to moderate fire danger.

If normal precipitation is not received in the near future, additional restrictions may be imposed.

Celebrate Arbor Month by exploring seeds
From the DNR

What can be smaller than a pea, but grow as big as a tree? A seed!

In Minnesota, May is Arbor Month and Arbor Day, Friday, April 30, marks the beginning of an entire month of celebrating trees.

The theme for Arbor Month is “From Small Seeds Grow BIG Dreams.”

The idea is to demonstrate that seeds are packed with everything they need to get a good start in life.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offers these reasons for planting trees:

• Plant trees or sow seeds to create a windbreak or shelterbelt, which will help reduce energy consumption and provide privacy.

• Mixed plantings of trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals provide excellent cover and a source of food for a wide variety of animals, big and small.

• Roots of trees and shrubs stabilize the soil and reduce soil erosion from water and wind.

• Trees play an important role in mitigating climate change by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

• In an urban setting, trees and shrubs provide soothing green spaces and flowers add a splash of color.

Ways people can celebrate Arbor Day or Arbor Month include:

• Attend a local Arbor Day ceremony or plant a tree or shrub.

• Find examples of seed formation, seed dispersal and seed germination.

• Collect a variety of seeds and create a display.

• Grow a plant or tree from a seed.

• Attract wildlife and add beauty to the landscape by planting annuals in a container.

The DNR sent out more than 2,500 Arbor Month packets consisting of the “From Small Seeds Grow BIG Dreams” poster and a packet of red pine seeds to educators and natural resources professionals statewide.

To obtain an Arbor Month packet, poster or red pine seed packet, contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us, (651) 296-6157 or 888-657-3929.

In 1876, Minnesota became the fourth state to adopt the tradition of celebrating Arbor Day.

Since 1978, May has been Arbor Month in Minnesota.

The warmer weather in May allows newly planted trees to get off to a good start.

Be aware of deer ticks
From the DNR

Deer ticks, also known as blacklegged ticks, are just one of thirteen known tick species in Minnesota.

They are most common in the east and central areas of the state and are found in hardwood forests and wooded and brushy areas.

Deer ticks are potential carriers of Lyme disease, human anaplasmosis and babesiosis.

Risk timeframe

Primarily risks are from mid-May through mid-July when the smaller nymph stage of the deer tick is feeding.

Risk is present, but lower, in early spring and again in the fall (late September-October) when the adult stage of the deer tick is active.

Deer tick bites prevention

Check and re-check for ticks when you are in tick-infested areas.

• When in deer tick habitat, walk in the center of the trail to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush.

• Wear light colored clothing so ticks will be more visible.

• Create a barrier to ticks by tucking pants into socks or boots and tuck long sleeved shirt into pants.

• Use a repellent containing DEET or permethrin, and carefully follow the directions on the container.

• After being outdoors in tick habitat, get out of your clothes immediately, do a complete body check, shower and vigorously towel dry. Wash your clothes immediately as to not spread any ticks around your living area.

• Pets should also be checked for ticks.

Tick removal

The risk of getting a tick-borne disease is small if the tick is removed soon after it becomes attached.
Deer ticks must remain attached one to two days to transmit Lyme disease, and about one day for the other diseases.

• Take precautions when in tick habitat, but don’t panic if you find a deer tick on you. Not all ticks are infected, and prompt tick removal can prevent illness

• Use tweezers to grasp the tick close to its mouth.

• Gently and S-L-O-W-L-Y pull the tick straight outward.

• To avoid contact with the bacteria, if present, do not squeeze the ticks’ body.

• Wash the area and apply an antiseptic to the bite.

• Watch for early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.

Lyme disease signs, symptoms and treatment

Visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s Web site for more information on this topic.

Upper Red Lake’s mid-season slot adjustment remains for 2010
From the DNR

Regulations that require Upper Red Lake anglers to release smaller walleye during the first month of the open water season will remain in effect for 2010, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

From Saturday, May 15, through Monday, June 14, anglers must release all walleye 17-to 26-inches long.

Effective Tuesday, June 15, anglers must immediate release all walleye 20-to 26-inches long.

During both time periods, anglers can possess no more than four fish and only one of those fish can be longer than 26 inches.

The walleye size limit will revert back to the 17- to 26-inch protected range on Wednesday, Dec. 1, for the winter angling season.

The possession limit will remain at four fish.

“One year-round regulation would be less complex but this set of regulations provides a good balance of resource protection and angler opportunity on Upper Red Lake,” said Gary Barnard, DNR Bemidji area fisheries supervisor.

A more restrictive size limit is necessary for the early season when angler catch rates are high and mature spawning walleye are extremely vulnerable.

During the first month of the season, anglers must sort for smaller “keeper” size males and immature walleye.

As the open water season progresses, catch rates and fishing pressure decline, reducing the impact of harvesting larger walleye.

The adjustment back to a more restrictive size limit in winter is necessary due to consistently high ice fishing pressure.

“This regulation package, which has been very popular with anglers and local businesses, effectively manages walleye harvest within established safe harvest levels,” Barnard said.

Tree seedlings from state forest nurseries still available
From the DNR

Tree seedlings in a limited number of species are still available from state forest nurseries, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“Red pine, jack pine, white spruce, balsam fir, black spruce, tamarack, white cedar, silver maple, black walnut, bur oak, red oak, mixed oak and some shrub species can still be ordered from General Andrews and Badoura nurseries,” said Craig Vansickle, a DNR nursery supervisor.

If ordered before May 10, the seedlings can be shipped by common carrier at a charge of $23 per thousand seedlings, or portion thereof, or picked up at the nearest state forest nursery.

After May 10, remaining supplies of tree seedlings can be obtained through over-the-counter sales.

People have to go to one of the two state forest nurseries to place a seedling order, which they can take home the same day.

Over-the-counter sales will be offered until all seedling supplies are exhausted.

“Customers should call one of the nurseries before ordering to check out the tree species still available and from which nursery,” said Vansickle. “Not all available species will be stocked at both nurseries.”

A minimum order of 500 trees is required.

The price varies from $90 per 500 trees to $175 per 500 trees, depending on the species ordered.

By state law, seedlings purchased from state forest nurseries must be used to establish or reforest wood lots, windbreaks and shelterbelts or used for erosion control, soil and water conservation or permanent food and cover for wildlife.

General Andrews Nursery, near Willow River, can be reached at (218) 372-3183. Badoura Nursery, near Park Rapids, can be reached at (218) 652-2385.

Commercial minnow dealers convicted
From the DNR

The commercial minnow licenses of two Baudette men have been revoked for three years following an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

John D. Hult, 69, and Kim D. Barsness, 55, convicted in Beltrami County District Court on April 14 for the attempted illegal selling of wild animals (minnows), also face fines and court costs of $1,500 each.

A six month jail sentence was stayed pending no similar incidents, but both men were placed on two years probation.

Their equipment was forfeited to the state.

Prior to the 2009 fishing season, the men were reported to be using invasive species infested equipment from Lake of the Woods to take minnows from Upper Red Lake.

To prevent the spread of invasive species, such as spiny waterflea, to U.S. – Canada border waters, the DNR has implemented regulations on Rainy Lake, Namakan Lake, Rainy River and Lake of the Woods that prohibit the transport of water, prohibit harvest of bait for personal use, and restrict the commercial harvest of bait from those waters, similar to zebra mussel-infested waters in Minnesota.

Commercial harvest of bait is still allowed at Lake of the Woods and the Rainy River by licensed minnow dealers who have received special training and permits.

Spiny waterfleas can disrupt the food chain by eating small animals (zooplankton), including Daphnia, which are an important food for native fishes. In some lakes, they caused the decline or elimination of some species of native zooplankton, causing a reduction of food for fish in the lake.

They can be a nuisance and foul fishing tackle by collecting on fishing line, eyelets of fishing rods and downrigger equipment.

DNR staff is continuing prevention efforts for spiny waterfleas by vigorously inspecting commercial minnow dealers in Minnesota to ensure they’re complying with storage and sale standards and possess the required licenses and permits for such operations.