|From the DNR
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DNR to hold 3 public meetings on draft rules for Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will hold three public information meetings in July to present information and receive comments on proposed rules for the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area (MRCCA), a land corridor along the metro portion of the Mississippi River that receives special protection for its unique economic, ecological, recreational and scenic values.
The meetings, which all run from 6:30 to 9 p.m., are scheduled for:
Each meeting will have the same format and information, with a presentation and discussion scheduled from 7 to 8 p.m., and opportunities to visit with DNR staff the rest of the time. Visitors will be able to learn more about the draft rules, including key topics such as vegetation management, land alteration, setbacks, nonconformities, and shoreline facilities. DNR staff will be available to explain how the draft rules might affect individual properties. Comments at these meetings are not part of the formal rulemaking record, but they will be considered as draft rules are revised.
Stretching 72 miles from Dayton to Hastings, the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area was designated via executive order in the late 1970s. No formal rules were ever adopted, though, and over the past decade, the executive order has become increasingly outdated and difficult for state and local governments to administer. In 2009 and 2013, the Legislature directed the DNR to replace the executive order with rules establishing new districts and updated land development standards that sustain key natural, scenic, cultural and economic resources and features.
The DNR will accept comments on its working draft of rules for the MRCCA through Aug. 15. The comment period is intended to gather feedback on the draft rules before they are revised and proposed for formal rule adoption, anticipated this fall or winter. More information is available on the DNR’s project website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/rules/mrcca/index.html.
DNR reminds those bowfishing for carp to plan for carcass disposal
With bowfishing for rough fish such as carp growing in popularity, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that they need a plan for what to do with any fish harvested – a plan that doesn’t entail disposing of the carcasses in a ditch or at a public access.
“We’re seeing a few too many cases where people are just dumping the fish,” said Capt. Greg Salo, DNR central region enforcement supervisor. “Not only is that pretty disgusting, it’s littering, a misdemeanor that carries a $150 fine.”
Curt Cich, president of the Land of Lakes Bowfishing Association, said the practice also gives bowfishing and the people who enjoy it a bad image. “These activities by a few people don’t reflect the practices of the majority of bowfishers, who practice their sport ethically and responsibly,” Cich said.
Cich recommends that all bowfishers have a disposal plan before practicing the activity.
Because bowfishing often is practiced at night in shallow, near-shore waters using bright lights powered by generators, misunderstandings between the anglers and lakeshore owners can sometimes arise. The practice is legal, Salo noted, if the noise generated between sunset and sunrise does not exceed 65 decibels, and no arrows are discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure, or within 300 feet of a campsite. Lakeshore residents should not harass anglers who are legally bowfishing.
3 DNR conservation officers promoted
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has promoted three conservation officers to lieutenant and district supervisor.
State Conservation Officer Larry Francis of Remer was named the Park Rapids area enforcement supervisor, which includes Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Hubbard, Itasca, Morrison, Todd, and Wadena in north-central Minnesota. Officer Robert Gorecki of Baudette is the new Mille Lacs area enforcement supervisor. The area includes Aitkin, Crow Wing, Mille Lacs, and Pine counties in east-central Minnesota. Officer Mike Martin of St. Cloud will be the Cambridge area enforcement supervisor encompassing Benton, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Sherburne, Wright counties in central Minnesota.
“Each of these officers possesses courage, leadership, and ability,” said Col. Ken Soring, DNR enforcement director. “I am confident that they will continue the proud tradition of the department. My sincere congratulations go out to them for these well-deserved promotions.”
Francis started with the DNR in 1998 after serving three years with the Ely Police Department. Prior to joining Ely PD, Francis served three years with the Winona Police Department. He has served as a field officer in Mankato, Northome and Remer. He is married and has two children.
Gorecki started with the DNR in 2007 after serving two years with the Benton County Sheriff’s Department as a deputy sheriff. He has also served for the last six years as a part-time deputy with the Lake of the Woods Sheriff’s Department. Gorecki is married and has three children.
Martin started with the DNR in 2007 after serving with the Fargo Police Department. Prior to his law enforcement career Martin taught school at the West Fargo School District. He served four months as the field officer in International Falls, before transferring to the St. Cloud station. At present, Martin has been assisting at the Conservation Officer Academy at Camp Ripley, as well as a use of force instructor. Martin is married and has two children.
Q: What are the reasons for removing dams, and what role does the DNR play in this process?
A: Some older dams no longer provide sufficient benefits to compensate for their public safety hazards, environmental damages, or repair and maintenance costs. In these cases, the state may provide grants for removal. Removing or altering these dams can restore stream function and stability, improve water quality, increase property values, and reduce drowning risks associated with the dams.
The DNR gets involved with permitting, project development and funding of dam removals, depending on who owns the dam. DNR engineers identify dams that pose a safety hazard, and DNR biologists identify dams that have a critical impact on fish and wildlife populations.
–Jason Boyle, state dam safety engineer