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DNR encourages homeowners to complete necessary open burning

April 15, 2013

by Chris Schultz

From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages homeowners to complete necessary open burning now, as restrictions will take effect shortly after snowmelt occurs.

“Warm temperatures will continue to erode the snowpack in the next few weeks,” said Larry Himanga, DNR fire prevention coordinator. “This will expose last year’s leaves and other yard waste. The safest way to dispose of this vegetation is to recycle or compost it.”

Homeowners who choose to burn should do so under the safest conditions, which is when snow is still on the ground.

In addition, a DNR burning permit is not required when there are three or more inches of continuous snow cover.

This cover drastically reduces the chance a fire will escape and burn unintended areas.

Check local city and municipal regulations as many are more stringent.

Spring fire restrictions will soon take effect and will severely limit open burning until summer green-up occurs.

Traditionally, most wildfires occur in April and May.

More than 95 percent of these fires are caused by human error.

Due to the high fire incidence during this period, the DNR initiates burning restrictions to coincide with this annual “fire season.”

The restrictions are weather dependent, but normally last from four to six weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs.

Historically, spring fire restrictions dramatically decrease the number and size of accidental fires.

By burning prior to snowmelt, homeowners can reduce the potential for an escaped fire, which could endanger homes and property.

And, if the DNR or a fire department has to respond to an escaped fire, the homeowner is responsible for the cost.

LP Sportsmen’s Club opens soon for trapshooting

Weather permitting, the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club will open the trapshooting season Wednesday, April 17.

For more information, call (320) 395-2258.

Ducks Unlimited banquet in Winsted today (Monday)

The Crow River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited will have its banquet at the Blue Note in Winsted Monday, April 15 starting at 6 p.m.

This is a family-friendly event, with raffles and games for everyone.

For additional information, contact (612) 875-8158.

New test results show no DNA evidence of Asian carp
From the DNR

New analyses for Asian carp DNA in water samples from the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers showed little evidence of bighead and silver carp, researchers announced in a report released today.

The joint effort by scientists from the new Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota (MAISRC), U.S. Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also concludes that while recent captures by commercial fisheries show these invasive fish are present in Minnesota, their numbers are likely still relatively low.

Studies in 2011 using this technique, which detects DNA fragments released to the environment (eDNA), showed positive results for silver carp eDNA in up to half of the samples collected from the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers.

The new report documents what is considered to be the most rigorous study of Asian carp eDNA in Minnesota waters to date.

It used a large number of experimental controls and techniques recently developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for use in the Illinois River and Great Lakes that include DNA sequencing as a final verification step.

According to the researchers, while the new study consistently detected silver carp eDNA in Iowa where the fish are abundant, it detected no silver carp eDNA in the sampling areas just above and below St. Croix Falls in the St. Croix River or in the sampling areas above and below the Coon Rapids Dam or below Lock and Dam No. 1 in the Mississippi River.

In contrast, no bighead carp eDNA was detected at any location, including in Iowa where this species is known to be present.

“The differences between the 2011 and 2012 eDNA testing results may be partly attributable to the evolving technology,” noted Peter Sorensen, MAISRC director, and leader of the research team. “As the bighead results show, this particular technique needs to be refined for detecting this species in open waters.”

Sorensen believes that despite the lack of eDNA evidence reported in this study, there are very good reasons to believe these fish are routinely entering Minnesota waters from the south and could eventually breed here.

“These results support the conclusion that bighead and silver carp have not yet become established in Minnesota,” said Steve Hirsch, director of the DNR’s Ecological and Waters Division, adding that “the threat of Asian carp is nevertheless an urgent issue for the state, requiring immediate action.”

The research study was coordinated by the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota, and was funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

The complete report is online at http://www.maisrc.umn.edu/

The report will also be available at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/asian-carp/index.html under “plans and studies.”

Wet, snowy conditions will require temporary road and trail closures
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will need to close many roads and trails temporarily in state forests, state parks, recreation areas and wildlife management areas, due to wet, snowy conditions.

Road and trail conditions are deteriorating rapidly this spring, and many are not yet firm enough to support vehicle traffic without being damaged.

The temporary closures could remain in effect until sometime in May, depending on weather conditions.

“These are normal spring closures that happen when roads and trails become wet and fragile,” said Richard Peterson, recreation program coordinator for the DNR’s Forestry Division. “We ask that people use good judgment, obey the closures and frequently check the DNR website for updates.”

Road conditions can change quickly. The DNR advises people to check individual state park, state trail or state forest Web pages before planning trips to avoid being surprised and disappointed by temporary closures.

Road and trail users should pay particular attention to state forest closures.

Generally, all roads and trails in a particular forest will be closed, but not always.

Those that can handle motor vehicle traffic will remain open but may be restricted by gross vehicle weight.

Signs will be posted at entry points and parking lots.

Online road and trail condition information is updated every Thursday by 2 p.m.

Changes are added as soon as possible to the “Current Conditions” page on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov (www.dnr.state.mn.us/trailconditions/index.html).

Signs may be in place before the website is updated. All signs must be obeyed.

Road and trail closure information is also available by calling the DNR Information Center at (651) 296-6157 or toll-free, 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

For information on roads and trails on county land, contact the county directly.

Burning restrictions take effect April 21
From the DNR

Even though much of Minnesota received late season snowfall, fire danger is expected to rapidly increase when the weather warms up, the snow melts and winds dry the dead standing grass and brush in open areas.

Because of that, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is placing burning restrictions over the east-central part of the state beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 21, for the following counties: Anoka, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Pine, Ramsey, Sherburne, Washington and Wright. Additional counties will be added as conditions change.

The burning restrictions mean the state will not issue permits for burning brush or yard waste.

The restrictions limit open burning until summer green-up occurs.

Traditionally, most wildfires in Minnesota occur during April and May. More than 95 percent of these fires are caused by human error.

“Because of the high fire incidence during this time period, the DNR initiates burning restrictions to coincide with this annual fire season.” said Larry Himanga, DNR wildfire prevention coordinator.

The restrictions normally last from four to six weeks until sufficient green vegetative growth occurs.

“Spring fire restrictions have resulted in a dramatic decrease in both the numbers and sizes of accidental fires,” Himanga said. “Campfires are still allowed. Be sure to watch the fire continuously and make sure it is out and cold to the touch before leaving.”

Fire conditions may change quickly. For more information and maps, and to check fire conditions, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/forestry/fire/firerating_restrictions.html.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Last night I heard and saw what I believe was a flock of cranes.

It was a dark night, with bright stars shining, but only a little moonlight.

Is it common for cranes to migrate at night?

A: Sandhill cranes normally migrate during the day, but in some circumstances they have been observed migrating after dark, especially if there is a bright starlit or moonlit night sky.

A Florida field naturalist reported migratory sandhill cranes flying overhead at 10:30 p.m. and another two flocks flying overhead at 3 a.m. on the same night near Gainesville, Fla. on Nov. 25-26, 1984.

Sandhill cranes from eastern Minnesota winter in Florida and would be migrating to Florida in November.

CO weekly reports
From the DNR

• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) checked anglers this past week.
CO Mies also gave a law talk at the Maple Lake firearms safety class.
CO Mies worked on a fire investigation along with some wildlife complaints.

• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) reports you never know what some people have up their sleeves.
This was the case CO Reller found out while checking anglers coming off a local lake.
CO Reller observed anglers take over limit of crappies and when confronted about the violation the anglers first showed CO Reller only 15 fish, but CO Reller had first-hand knowledge that they had more than that.
CO Reller found 15 more crappies in a rod holder bag and most surprising, 21 more crappies stuffed down a sleeve of a
coat.
The two anglers were 31 crappies over the legal limit.
Enforcement action was taken for over limit.
Reller also gave a presentation at a Firearms Safety class in St. Michael with approximately 100 students in attendance.

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) responded to a call of a dead bald eagle which turned out to be a Canada goose.
A TIP call was investigated finding deer hanging in a garage from last hunting season that were never butchered or registered, also found were fish that were in buckets outside and spoiled.
Bags of fish were found dumped in the ditch on Vega Ave. near New Germany.
Any information on who did it would be appreciated.
Several possible waters violations were investigated.

• CO Jackie Glaser (Metro Water Resource Enforcement Officer) attended Lake Service Provider training in Rochester.
An interview to a local television station was given during this LSP training.
She also participated in Level One Watercraft Inspection training and answered questions about AIS laws.
She met with wetland specialists with the local watershed district to determine damage caused by ATVs operating in a wetland.
Questions were answered about AIS laws at a booth at the Arrowhead Home Show in Duluth.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) investigated three dumped deer north of Hutchinson.
She continued doing commercial inspections throughout the week.
Mueller and a neighboring officer worked an area in Sibley County for illegally taken Canada geese.
Enforcement action was taken on geese out of season, use of lead shot and littering.
Mueller also attended a sportsmen’s show in Hutchinson.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) had a booth at the annual sportsmen’s banquet in Hutchinson.
Several questions were answered ranging from trapping to aquatic invasive species.
Time was also spent checking rivers for anglers and working ATV enforcement in the area.