From the DNR
America’s national bird, the bald eagle, is about to become a regular visitor in homes, offices and classrooms across the state, thanks to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ nongame wildlife program and the citizens who donate to it, either directly or when filing their income taxes.
That’s because the DNR is now streaming live video of a nesting pair of bald eagles on its website at www.webcams.dnr.state.mn.us/eagle.
DNR biologists believe it’s the same pair of birds that used the nest last year, but their eggs failed to hatch, probably because they were laid too early and froze.
This year, the birds have laid two eggs in the last five days.
“We’re excited they came back, and grateful that they’ve waited until a little later in the season to lay their eggs,” said Lori Naumann, DNR nongame specialist. “With the thaw this week, we’re really hoping the birds will be more successful this year.”
Located in the Twin Cities, the exact location of the nest is being withheld to prevent it from drawing crowds that might disrupt the eagles.
Once pushed to the brink of extinction, the American bald eagle has made a remarkable comeback with help from endangered species laws and a ban on the pesticide DDT.
While less than 300 breeding pairs could be found in Minnesota in the 1980s, there now are about 1,300 active nests more than any other state in the U.S. except Alaska.
With three major rivers and an abundance of wooded areas, lakes and wetlands, the Twin Cities metro region is home to many bald eagles that find the habitat perfect for them.
“We’re lucky to live in a major metropolitan area that has such awesome natural areas and outdoor recreational opportunities,” said Erica Hoaglund, DNR nongame wildlife biologist. “We’re hoping people will get excited watching this eagle family and get out to one of our many state, county or city parks to experience nature first-hand.”
In addition to live video on the DNR’s website, information on the eagles’ activities will be regularly updated on the nongame wildlife program’s Facebook page.
People also can subscribe to the DNR’s Twitter feed for regular updates.
If people would like regular updates to their in-box, they can sign up for eagle cam email updates.
The eagle camera was paid for by DNR’s nongame wildlife program, which is largely funded by donations, especially those made when Minnesotans file their state income taxes.
Line 21 of the Minnesota income tax form, marked with a drawing of a loon, gives taxpayers the option to donate to the program, a feature often referred to as the “chickadee check-off.”
The nongame wildlife program works to protect, maintain, enhance, and restore native nongame wildlife resources, helping more than 700 species of Minnesota wildlife thrive.
LPSC to offer firearm’s safety training this spring
The Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club will be offering firearms’ safety training this spring, every Tuesday and Thursday in April.
The first class and registration night is Tuesday, April 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lester Prairie Sportsmen’s Club.
Classes, which are on Tuesdays and Thursdays, will be April 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, and 28.
The test will be Tuesday, May 6.
All classes begin at 6:30 p.m.
For additional information, contact Doug Minnick at (320) 395-2143.
Firearms safety training offered at Watertown Rod and Gun Club
Firearms safety training will be offered at Watertown Rod and Gun Club in Watertown.
Registration will take place Sunday, March 2 from 2 to 3 p.m.
Class dates will be Tuesday, March 4; Thursday, March 6; Tuesday, March 11; Thursday, March 13; Tuesday, March 18; and Thursday, March 20, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. each night.
Field day will take place Saturday, March 22, starting at 8 a.m.
For more information, contact Pat at (612) 709-1243, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fundraising clay shoot set for March 22
Minnesota Lady Slippers Pheasants Forever, and Bird Bustin’ Babes sporting clay teams are hosting a fundraiser event Tuesday, March 22 at the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club, located at 3300 220th Street East in Prior Lake.
The sponsoring women’s groups are accepting donations until the day of the event.
All proceeds go to help purchase a 600-acre parcel of land destined to be the publicly-owned Veterans Memorial WMA in Wright County.
Check in starts at 9 a.m. Admission is $60 for adults; $35 for children ages 12 to 18; and $200 for a team of four shooters (includes 50-target shoot and lunch).
“This is a fun sporting clay shoot for all experience levels,” explained Kristi Backer Palmer, one of the event’s organizers. “We’ll award prizes to the winners of the shoot, share lunch, and accept bids on silent auction items that have been donated by generous businesses and individuals.”
The Minnesota Lady Slippers Pheasants Forever, and the Bird Bustin’ Babes sporting clay teams are a group of women who enjoy shooting, hunting, and fishing together. They are passionate about the outdoors and preserving access for these activities.
For more information and to get tickets, email email@example.com, or call (612) 423-4402.
CO weekly report
From the DNR
• CO Brian Mies (Annandale) last week checked anglers.
CO Mies gave a law talk at the Kimball firearms safety class.
CO Mies checked sleds and ATVs in Stearns, Meeker, and Wright counties.
• CO Rick Reller (Buffalo) checked anglers and snowmobilers in the Wright County area.
Anglers were still having luck with the northern pike bite and a few nice Walleyes were also seen.
Snowmobile activity was slowed with the colder weather, but the trails are still in good shape.
Enforcement action was taken for angling with extra lines, possession of marijuana, litter and underage consumption of alcohol.
• CO Steve Walter (Waconia) conducted aeration inspections on area lakes for proper signs displayed.
The Carver County Sheriff’s Department was assisted with fish house vandalism on Reitz Lake.
An injured trumpeter swan in Corcoran was captured and brought to the rehabilitation center.
State trails and parks were patrolled for ATV and snowmobile activity.
Anglers were checked daily and fish houses were documented for litter, identification and reflectors displayed.
• CO Jen Mueller (Hutchinson) patrolled snowmobile trails and checked snowmobilers and anglers during the week.
Mueller also conducted aeration inspections and attended a district meeting in New Ulm.
• CO Brett Oberg (Hutchinson) continues to have very minimal fishing success in the area.
Oberg has mainly worked snowmobile enforcement with an emphasis on registration issues and speed.
Oberg has also been following up on a couple active cases.
Division armoring was also done last week.
Ice fishing shelter removal dates approaching
From the DNR
Snow, cold and a slow bite has some ice anglers removing permanent fish houses from Minnesota waterways earlier than normal, report conservation officers (CO) with the Department of Natural Resources.
Dark houses, fish houses and portables must be off the ice of inland waters no later than 11:59 p.m. on March 3 in the southern two-thirds of the state and 11:59 p.m. on March 17 in the northern third.
Conservation officers in Brainerd, Detroit Lakes, Evansville and Wadena are reporting that ice shacks are being removed from the ice now in preparation for the removal deadlines.
“Some anglers are using the slow fishing and ease of getting around on the lakes to remove their houses,” said CO Chris Vinton of Detroit Lakes.
“Ice anglers are out, but many anglers are removing permanent houses because of difficult conditions and a slow bite,” said CO Randy Posner of Brainerd.
There are other reasons ice anglers are pulling their sheds off the ice.
“A cold winter has cemented some houses into the ice, requiring hours of prying, chiseling and pulling necessary to remove them,” said Maj. Roger Tietz, DNR Enforcement operations support manager, and an avid ice angler. “Some ice anglers are trying to get ahead of that by removing permanent shelters now.”
The March 3 removal deadline applies to waters south of a line starting at the Minnesota-North Dakota border near Moorhead along U.S. Highway 10, then east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway 2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border near Duluth. The March 17 deadline applies to waters north of that line.
Conservation officers patrolling the Detroit Lakes area advise fish shelter owners along Highway 10 to pay special attention to the deadlines.
“A line runs down Highway 10 from Fargo/Moorhead to Detroit Lakes; then it’s Highway 34 from Detroit Lakes,” said Vinton. Fish shelters located north of that line have to be off the ice no later than midnight, March 17.
For border waters, the shelter removal deadlines are: Minnesota - Iowa, Feb. 20; Minnesota - Wisconsin, March 1; Minnesota - North Dakota and South Dakota, March 5; Minnesota - Canada, March 31.
Those not removing shelters will be prosecuted. Conservation officers may remove the structure and confiscate or destroy it. It is also unlawful to store or leave a shelter at a public access.
After removal dates, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended.
It is unlawful to improperly dispose of ice fishing shacks anywhere in the state.
Anglers should check with local refuse providers or landfills for disposal.
Register now for DNR beginners fly-fishing weekend for youth-adult pairs, May 2-4
From the DNR
An opportunity to learn the basics of fly fishing from experienced mentors is being offered to adult and youth pairs during a special fly-fishing weekend at the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center near Lanesboro, May 2-4, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Participants will also try their hand at tying flies and learn how anglers catch more fish when they understand fish habits and habitat.
There will be time for fish tales and a campfire.
To qualify, the youth/adult pair must have little or no fly-fishing experience.
Both should have a sincere interest in learning.
Eligible youth include Minnesota boys and girls who will be between the ages of 11 and 17 on May 2.
The cost is $120 per youth/adult pair and includes meals, lodging, guiding services, equipment and additional materials.
Each youth and adult will set up and fish with a new fly rod that is theirs to keep.
Sponsorships to offset registration fees may be available from angling and conservation organizations.
The event is sponsored by MinnAqua, a statewide educational program through the DNR, designed to connect youth and families to Minnesota’s waters through fishing.
Activities begin after check-in Friday night and wrap up by 2 p.m. Sunday.
This event is limited to 20 youth/adult pairs.
Application form and program information are available online at www.mndnr.gov/minnaqua (on events calendar, click on MinnAqua Fly-Fishing Weekend) or by contacting Deb Groebner, DNR regional MinnAqua specialist, (507) 359-6049, firstname.lastname@example.org.
DNR offers aquatic invasive species training to businesses
From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species (AIS) training to owners of lake service provider businesses so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state.
Businesses such as resorts and outfitters that rent, lease or decontaminate boats and other water-related equipment are now required to attend AIS training and acquire a permit under a state law change that took effect last July.
These businesses are considered lake service providers, which means that every three years they must attend training session, apply for a permit, and pay a $50 application fee to comply with Minnesota law.
“Before this change, the law applied only to businesses such as marinas, dock haulers, lawn irrigators and others who install or remove equipment from state waters for hire,” said April Rust, DNR AIS training coordinator. “The law change means many more businesses will need to attend training to learn about the threat of zebra mussels and other invasive species, and how to prevent their spread.”
Employees of lake service provider businesses which now include boat rental businesses also need to complete a short online training course before providing services.
However, employees of businesses, such as some resorts, who only work with boats, equipment or structures that remain on their property in the same body of water are exempt from the employee training and certification.
Seventeen AIS training sessions are planned around the state.
Registering for the winter and early spring sessions will give businesses time to attend training and get a permit before ice-out.
Registration deadlines are one week prior to each training.
To register for training, find out if the business needs a permit, or for more information, visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/lsp.
A list of all 2014 training sessions and locations is available at http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/rlp/permits/lsp/lsp-ais-training.pdf.
MN scientific and natural areas debuts Facebook page
From the DNR
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is expanding its use of social media with the launch of a Facebook page www.facebook.com/MinnesotaSNAs for its scientific and natural areas (SNAs).
The DNR now has 11 Facebook pages and four Twitter accounts.
The SNA Facebook page is part of a larger scientific and natural area outreach initiative to increase interest, understanding, and support of SNAs by building long-lasting and action-based conservation ethics.
The Facebook page is just one method the DNR is using to increase awareness, interest, understanding, and support of natural areas. Others include:
• Reaching interested readers with Nature Notes e-News.
• An expanding network of volunteer site stewards.
• An updated website.
• And a variety of events each month at SNAs across the state.
SNAs preserve natural features and rare resources of exceptional scientific and educational value that encompass:
• Undisturbed plant communities.
• Rare or endangered species habitat.
• Seasonal habitat for bird or animal concentrations.
• Natural geologic formations and features.
• Plant communities undergoing succession as a result of natural processes.
Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.
Learn more about SNA’s at www.mndnr.gov/snas.
For more information about the new Facebook page or other outreach initiatives, send email to: email@example.com.
See the DNR’s social media community at www.mndnr.gov/social-media.
DNR, MDHA to conduct deer listening sessions statewide
From the DNR
Listening sessions on deer population management scheduled later this winter throughout Minnesota will provide citizens an opportunity to voice their perspectives.
The Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association (MDHA) will co-sponsor the meetings. Meeting dates and locations will be announced later this month.
“We’ve been hearing from hunters who are concerned about current deer numbers and potential population impacts as a result of this winter,” said Paul Telander, DNR wildlife section chief. “These listening sessions provide an opportunity for direct interaction and communication.”
The sessions will be open to the general public.
Anyone interested in deer management is encouraged to participate.
In addition to the public sessions, comments will be accepted on the DNR’s deer management Web page at www.mndnr.gov/deer.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with the DNR and bring this discussion out to the different regions of the state,” said Mark Johnson, MDHA executive director. “In many areas of the state, our members are seeking changes to the deer hunting regulations that will increase the state’s deer population. We plan to work with the DNR to increase deer numbers in those areas and improve hunter satisfaction.”
Johnson said changes in harvest strategies are needed in the short-term.
For the long-term, MDHA also will continue their work with the DNR and others on efforts to enhance deer habitat.
Information on the upcoming listening sessions will be announced to the media and posted online at www.mndnr.gov/deer and www.mndeerhunters.com.
Individuals who subscribe to the DNR’s email lists for deer management and hunting information will be notified.
To become an email subscriber, sign up online at www.mndnr.gov/emailupdates.
Question of the week
From the DNR
Q: Do I need to put my name on my fish house if I’m not leaving it on the lake?
A: All shelters, except for occupied portable shelters, placed on the ice must have one of the following: complete name and address; driver’s license number; 9-digit DNR number.
A person using a portable shelter on the ice that does not display identification must remain within 200 feet of the shelter.
A shelter may not be left unoccupied or unattended anytime between midnight and one hour prior to sunrise unless the shelter is licensed.