Historic flooding in area

July 1, 2013

by Chris Schultz

“This is worse than it was in 1965.” That was a common statement from many longtime area residents last week. In reference, they are comparing the heavy rainfall and flooding our area received Sunday morning, June 23, to spring flooding that occurred in 1965.

Surveying the area, it seemed areas near Lester Prairie in eastern McLeod County and western Carver County got hit the worst. One farmer near Watertown noted he had never seen so much water standing in his fields.

Creeks and streams were well over their banks, portions of several roads in the area were underwater, hundreds of basements flooded, acres and acres of crop fields were underwater, and the South Fork of the Crow River swelled to create flooding concerns in Mayer, Watertown, and Delano.

I do not have an official rainfall report from the week and weekend of June 17 through the 23, but property I spend time on southwest of Lester Prairie along the banks of the South Fork of the Crow received well over 7 inches of rain during that period.

With the ground already saturated from a wet spring and early summer, the rainfall we received early Sunday morning of the 23rd simply had noplace left to go – the amount of surface water was amazing.

I know, in my lifetime, I have never seen that much standing water in our area.

Wildlife also felt the swell of water. I actually had the opportunity to watch and video a mother skunk with three of her young climb out of the flooded river bottom and head across a field looking for higher ground. I had never seen baby skunks before. You can watch the video at www.heraldjournal.com.

Pheasant and pheasant nesting probably felt the greatest impact from the flooding. With limited nesting habitat, and an already wet and cool spring creating poor nesting conditions, the local pheasant hatch may have been devastated.

Lake levels across the area were also significantly impacted, with a few reports indicating some lakes had water levels increase by 8 to 10 inches.

Compared to 1965, many people do feel this was an historic flooding event for our area.

Who’s knows what we will say about the June flooding of 2013, 48 years from now? Only time will tell.

Fisheries and cormorant/Pelican information meeting for Meeker County lakes Tuesday

The DNR will be hosting a fisheries and cormorant/Pelican Lake information meeting Tuesday, July 2 at the DNR offices in Hutchinson starting at 6 p.m.

The agenda includes the most current fish assessment information for lakes in the vicinity of Pelican Lake.

Also, the results from the 2012 fish population assessment on Lake Washington, the area lake cormorant/Pelican impact assessment, and the Lake Vermillion decision and supporting information will be discussed.

MN native elected to Ducks Unlimited national board of directors
Press Release

David Flink, of Hutchinson, was elected to Ducks Unlimited Inc.’s national board of directors during the organization’s annual convention held recently in Portland, OR.

“The leadership of our board of directors ensures we are fulfilling our mission to conserve, restore and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North America’s waterfowl,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “Our board members are not paid for their work; rather they volunteer their time and resources because they feel so strongly about conservation. I welcome each new member and look forward to working with them in the years to come.”

David Flink

Flink brings a wide breadth of experience to his position on the board, having served in a number of state-level positions in Minnesota including that of state chair.

Flink enjoys anything related to the outdoors, but is especially passionate about waterfowling and waterfowl conservation.

Flink grew upon the prairies of southern Minnesota and observed first hand the impact of wetlands drainage on the prairie landscape.

Dave and his wife Shari reside on a shallow lake near Hutchinson.

In 2006, Dave and Shari donated a 50-acre easement to DU’s Living Lakes Initiative.

“I grew up in a family that valued volunteering and making a difference. Through my continued service, I hope future generations have the continued opportunity to experience the great traditions of waterfowling. ”

For a complete list of DU’s volunteer board of directors, please visit www.ducks.org.

Declare your independence; go fishing
From the DNR

This Fourth of July, I encourage you to declare your independence from the taxations of life by launching a patriotic action.

Go fishing!

It’s as American and Minnesotan as apple pie and the state fair.

An army of others have already enlisted. Join them. Do so by fighting the urge to mow the lawn, weed the garden or organize the jetsam and flotsam into garage sale piles. These things can wait. A summer fishing trip can’t.

I say this because too often we surrender to some self-imposed guilt. This concession simply kicks the can of fond memories further down the road. Kick that can too often and you’ll find yourself scratching your head in September wondering where the summer went. That won’t feel good and you’ll regret missing out.

So strike back. Arm yourself with rod, reel and bait and launch your fight on the water by boat or foot. You will prevail.

You can’t lose. Even a bad day of fishing is darn good.

Recently, my son and pals and I drove north to the Boundary Waters for a quick fishing trip. Was it work? Yes, a bit. But, we caught fish, and we canoed and we had a wonderful time. For years to come, this memory will blink on and off in our lives like the twinkling of the fireflies we also enjoyed. It will shine again for us all when we gather in the kitchen, dredge walleye fillets through seasoned crumbs and plop them in a frying pan.

Though we traveled the north, do know that Minnesota offers good fishing in almost every corner. It’s hard to beat the gorgeous trout streams of the southeast and along the north shore. The lakes of southern and southwestern Minnesota are overlooked gems. In central Minnesota, the walleye bite has been good on Lake Mille Lacs and the other “Big Six.”

Many northern lakes were locked in ice when the fishing season began. They have been fished less than normal because of the late ice-out and cold rainy spring. Fish are still there. You should be too.

So get a fishing license and get out. You’ll discover there’s a magic in Minnesota’s waters. More importantly, you’ll discover the freedom that comes from staring at the water rather than your watch. And you should take a moment to enjoy the freedoms we celebrate as part of this Great American Holiday!

Now is the time to take a hunter safety course
From the DNR

With the fall hunting seasons just around the corner, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) urges hunters to sign up now for a hunter education class.

“Though classes are held throughout the year, their numbers peak in the summer and early fall,” said Capt. Mike Hammer, DNR Enforcement Division education program coordinator. “So now is the time to sign up and complete a course, because once the hunting season gets rolling, it might be too late.”

Besides ensuring the ability to hunt this year, taking the class sooner rather than later means more time for scouting hunting locations, sighting-in rifles, practicing shotgun skills and securing permission to hunt on private lands.

Minnesota hunters born after Dec. 31, 1979, must take a DNR hunter education firearms safety training course and receive a certificate of completion before buying a license for big or small game.

Classes are taught by DNR certified volunteers in their local communities.

Students, depending on their age, have a few options to become certified.

Regardless of which option they choose the course provides them with basic safe firearms handling skills, wildlife identification, outdoor skills and responsibility that accompanies hunting and firearms use.

Classes fill-up fast. To find a class, visit http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/firearms/index.html, (651) 296-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367.

DNR accepting applications for 2013 Camp Ripley archery hunts
From the DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is accepting applications between July 1 - Aug. 16 for the 2013 regular archery deer hunts at Camp Ripley near Little Falls.

Because of military training needs, the dates for this year’s hunts are being held about a week later than usual.

Hunters may pick from only one of two hunting seasons, Oct. 26-27 (Sat.-Sun., code 668) or Nov. 2-3 (Sat.-Sun., code 669).

A total of 5,000 permits, 2,500 per two-day hunt, will be made available.

Successful applicants must purchase a valid archery license at least two days before their hunt to participate.

The bag limit is two and bonus permits may be used to take antlerless deer.

Additional rules and instructions for this year’s hunt can be found on DNR’s deer hunting Web page.

Hunters may choose from four options to apply for the Camp Ripley archery hunts:

• Through the DNR’s computerized Electronic Licensing System (ELS) at any one of 1,500 ELS agents located throughout Minnesota.

• By telephone at 888-665-4236.

• Through DNR’s Internet licensing link at www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/index.html.

• At DNR License Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

The application fee is $12 per applicant. Those who apply by phone or Internet will be charged an additional convenience fee of 3 percent ($0.36) per transaction.

To apply, resident hunters 21 and older must provide a valid state driver’s license or public safety identification number.

Residents under 21 may also provide a DNR firearms safety training number to apply.

Nonresident hunters must apply using a valid driver’s license number, public safety identification number, or MDNR customer number from a recent Minnesota hunting or fishing license.

All applicants must be at least 10 years old prior to the hunt they apply for.

To obtain a license to hunt or trap in Minnesota, anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1980, must have a firearms safety certificate or other evidence of successfully completing a hunter safety course.

Hunters may apply as individuals or as a group, up to four individuals.

Group members may only apply for the same two-day season.

The first group applicant must specify “Create New Group” when asked, and will receive a group number.

Subsequent group applicants must specify they want to “Join an Existing Group” and must use the same group number supplied to the first group applicant.

The archery hunt at Camp Ripley is an annual event.

The DNR coordinates the hunt with the Department of Military Affairs, which manages the 53,000-acre military reservation.

CO weekly reports
From the DNR

• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) spent most of the week working security for the Stillwater bridge project.
He attended a District 13 meeting and training at Fort Snelling State Park.
He worked a AIS detail on Lake Waconia.
Officer Walter worked a boat and water detail on Lake Minnetonka with officer Vang Lee.
Enforcement action was taken for angling without license in possession, angling without a license, angling with extra lines, riding on transom of watercraft, no personable flotation devices onboard watercraft, slow no wake violations, no watercraft safety certificates, and unregistered watercraft.

• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) worked local lakes for angling and boating activity.
Time was spent on AIS compliance on a Kandiyohi County Lake.
Officer Mueller spoke at a FAS class in Spicer.
Enforcement for the week included failure to have license in possession, expired registration on a watercraft, and failure to remove the drain plug.
Officer Mueller assisted the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office with a Class II ATV roll-over with injuries.
She also worked with another officer in the BWCA.

• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) worked mainly angling and boating enforcement this week.
Officer Oberg reports bass fishing is really starting to pick up in the area.
Oberg also spent time working with a student doing an internship with the DNR.

Question of the week
From the DNR

Q: Because of their flat hulls, canoes and kayaks can navigate just about any body of water, but are there trails specifically designated for these types of activities?

If so, where are they located and where can a person find information about them?

A: Minnesota has more than 4,500 miles of routes mapped and managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping.

There are 33 state water trails with a network of more than 1,400 public water accesses, campsites and rest areas.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages the first and largest water trails system in the nation, which started 50 years ago.

A variety of opportunities are available - ranging from placid rivers ideal for beginners to challenging whitewater rapids to sea kayaking the North Shore of Lake Superior.

In fact, there is a state water trail within an hour of most homes in Minnesota.

Remote camping on state water trails is generally free and nonreservable.

There are also 34 state parks and recreation areas on state water trails where people can reserve a campsite for a fee.

Free maps, river level reports and other trip planning information can be found on the DNR’s website at www.mndnr.gov/watertrails.