Proposal to raise the fee of fishing and hunting licenses

February 20, 2012

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund is in dire condition.

It is projected to be in the red by as early as July 2013.

This means the DNR will need to make significant cuts that affect the quantity and quality of hunting, fishing and natural resources law enforcement unless the state Legislature approves license fee increases during the 2012 session.

Much more information on the DNR proposal can be found on its web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

1) The Problem

With the support of many outdoor organizations, the Minnesota DNR is seeking a hunting and fishing license fee increase this legislative session.

Fees cannot be changed without action by the Legislature.

It has been 11 years since the last fee increase

2) The Impact

The DNR has reduced programs that affect the quantity and quality of hunting and fishing.

Reductions will be exacerbated if the state legislature does not take action this session.

This is the longest period of time without a fee increase in more than 40 years.

What will this mean to you? For answers go to the DNR web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us.

3) The Cost

Most license fees are proposed to increase but lower cost license options will be available.

View the DNR license fee proposals for resident anglers, resident hunters, non-resident anglers, non-resident hunters, and resident sports licenses at the DNR web site.

4) It’s Up To You

Your opinion matters. Please voice it. Contact information for your state senator and representative is available from the state legislative directory.

Direct questions about the license fee increase proposal to agency contact Jenifer.Wical@state.mn.us.

Fish and wildlife banquet March 3 in Glencoe

The McLeod Fish and Wildlife Alliance’s 11th annual banquet will be Saturday, March 3 at Pla-Mor Ballroom in Glencoe.

Cash bar and games begin at 3:30 p.m. – dinner will be served at 6 p.m.

DNR seeks input on three proposed hunting regulation changes
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will seek citizen input on three hunting and trapping issues at a series of public meetings this winter.

The DNR is seeking input on the following proposals:

• Requiring non-toxic shot for rail and snipe hunting.

• Adding a third waterfowl zone in southern Minnesota.

• Allowing snaring to begin earlier on private property in the farmland zone.

Meetings will be from 7-9 p.m. on the following dates:

• Tuesday, Feb. 23,Tandeski Center, 1200 Storr’s Pond Road, Winona.

• Tuesday, Feb. 28, Highland Middle School, 801 Central Ave. N., Crookston.

• Thursday, March 8, Nicollet Conservation Club, 46045 471st Lane, Nicollet.

• Thursday, March 8, Mille Lacs Energy, 36559 U.S. Highway 169, Aitkin.

• Thursday, March 15, DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

If the Minnesota Legislature approves and the governor signs a bill authorizing a wolf hunting and trapping season, a separate public input process will be conducted.

The DNR regularly conducts public meetings across the state to gauge hunter and trapper opinions about regulations, seasons and other wildlife management issues.

Those who cannot attend a meeting are urged to complete a questionnaire online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting starting Thursday.

Comments are also welcome via email at wildlife.dnr@state.mn.us.

Written comments may be addressed to: Season comments, DNR Section of Wildlife, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4007.

Clean Water Fund investments on track according to report
From the DNR

Minnesota agencies that receive Clean Water Fund dollars released their first collaborative report recently, indicating the state is on track with its investments so far, though many challenges remain.

For example, the report found that:

• For every state dollar invested in implementation activities such as improvements to municipal sewage plants and buffers to control agricultural runoff, an additional $1.45 was leveraged through local and federal partnerships.

• Although the pace of activities to restore polluted lakes and streams is being accelerated by Clean Water Funds, requests for clean-up funds are about three times greater than what is available.

• Drinking water protection efforts are on track, but there is a growing concern about nitrate levels in new wells and in certain vulnerable aquifers.

“This report reflects the acceleration and enhancement of water resource management made possible by the Clean Water Fund,” said Rebecca Flood, assistant commissioner at Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Money in the Clean Water Fund comes from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment that Minnesotans passed in 2008.

The Legacy Amendment increased the state sales tax by three-eighths of 1 percent beginning on July 1, 2009 and continuing until 2034.

Thirty-three percent of the revenue is distributed to the Clean Water Fund.

Approximately $152 million was invested in the first two years for water management activities like monitoring, planning and on-the-ground restoration and protection activities.

The report helps Minnesotans understand connections between Clean Water funds invested, actions taken and outcomes achieved in 2010-2011.

The 18 measures in the report provide a snapshot of how Clean Water Fund dollars are being spent and the progress that’s been made.

The measures are organized into three sections: investment, surface water quality, and drinking water protection.

These measures are part of a larger set that will be used to consistently track and report clean water outcomes over the life of the amendment.

Each measure has a status ranking and trend information.

Of the 18 measures, status and trends vary; six measures showed improving trends, 11 showed no trend or were too early to assess, and one showed a slightly declining trend.

“We understand that people want to see immediate results from Clean Water Fund investments,” said Julie Blackburn, assistant director at the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. “However managing Minnesota’s water resources is a long-term endeavor that will take the efforts of many – from state agencies, to local governments to citizens.”

It is important to note that the report does not include information on other ongoing water-related work as it would be impossible to measure everything in one report or project.

This report is the beginning of what is to come over the next 25 years in outcome-based water quality data and information.

To view the 2012 Clean Water Performance Report on the web, go to http://www.legacy.leg.mn/funds/clean-water-fund.

For general questions about the report, contact Jennifer Maleitzke at (651) 757-2549.

For more information about the individual measures in the report, contact:

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: Jennifer Maleitzke, (651) 757-2549
Minnesota Department of Health: Tannie Eshenaur, (651) 201-4074
Minnesota Department of Agriculture: Margaret Wagner, (651) 201-6488
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources: Andy Holdsworth, (651) 259-5536
Minnesota Board of Water & Soil Resources: Julie Blackburn, (651) 297-5617
Minnesota Public Facilities Authority: Jeff Freeman, (651) 259-7465
Metropolitan Council: Bonnie Kollodge, (651) 602-1357
University of Minnesota Water Resources Center: Deb Swackhamer, (612) 625-0279

CO Weekly Reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers during the past week.
CO Mies also worked on wetland complaint along with checking ATVs and litter complaints on the lakes.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) found angling activity on area lakes has slowed down over the week with the colder temps and high winds.
Reller worked on taxidermy inspections with a neighboring officer this week.
A litter case was completed with a citation issued.
Reller also attended the DU convention in Brainerd over the weekend.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) contacted fish house owners regarding ice safety and areas on the lakes to stay away from.
He inspected commercial fishermen nets for AIS issues.
A firearms safety presentation was given in Waconia.
Several animal calls were handled including swans, raccoons, coyotes and car injured deer.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Mound) continued to check fishermen on area lakes.
People are removing their fish houses off Hennepin County lakes due to the recent ban of motor vehicles on all county lakes.
With CO Kahre, she interviewed hunters who failed to register their deer from a special deer hunt in Carver Park.
She also completed computer training and spoke with local media regarding ice conditions and a recent TIP call.

• CO Wayne Hatlestad (Litchfield) checked angling and spearing activity.
Additional time was spent checking ATV and snowmobile activity on area lakes.
Hatlestad also enforced state forestry fire laws, checked a possible WCA violation, and assisted other agencies.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked angling and ATV enforcement since there isn’t a snowmobile in sight.
Time was also spent armoring division shotguns.
CO Oberg also followed up on phone calls related to firearms safety talks and injured animals.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: I recently saw a bald eagle sitting on the edge of a nest.
Isn’t it pretty early in the year for eagles to be nesting?
And if they are, how far away from the nest should I stay so as not to disturb the birds?

A: The first week in February is typically the time to look for bald eagles returning to their nests in Minnesota.

However, since many bald eagles do not migrate, they may show up at their nests even earlier.

Much more tolerant than previously thought, bald eagles are now nesting in urban areas.

To avoid disturbing nesting eagles, when observing with non-motorized recreational activity, it is best to maintain a respectful distance of about 330 feet away.