DNR Looking For Input on Carp Plan

DNR invites public input on Invasive Carp Action Plan

The Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input on a statewide plan to combat invasive carp threatening Minnesota rivers and lakes.

The Minnesota Invasive Carp Action Plan includes 35 measures for combatting the threat of bighead, black, grass and silver carp. Invasive carp, which feed on vital plankton, aquatic vegetation and mussels, reach weights of 40 to more than 100 pounds. Invasive carp populations compete with native species for food and habitat. Silver carp leap out of the water when they hear approaching watercraft, potentially injuring boaters and water skiers.

The plan updates a 2011 document and is focused on efforts to monitor, prevent, and slow the spread of invasive carp in major rivers and lakes, according to Nick Frohnauer, DNR invasive fish coordinator. “Since the 2011 plan was developed, we’ve made tremendous progress, including repairs to the Coon Rapids dam and the upcoming closure of the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock. The updated plan, developed by a broad range of stakeholders, will allow us to leverage new information and improved technology to monitor, prevent and manage these destructive species.”

Invasive carp have been progressing upstream since escaping into the Mississippi River in the 1970s. While no breeding populations have been detected in Minnesota waters of the Mississippi, individual fish have been caught near the Twin Cities and in the St. Croix River.

The DNR will accept public comments on the draft plan through May 8.

Action plan copy requests, questions and public input can be directed to Nick Frohnauer, DNR invasive fish coordinator, at nick.frohnauer@state.mn.us651-259-5670 or Box 25, Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN  55155.

The draft plan is also available on the DNR website: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/natural_resources/invasives/carp-action-plan-draft.pdf.

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Frog kills reported after spring ice-out

As the ice thaws across the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has received reports of dead frogs along the shoreline of several lakes and ponds. This is a natural occurrence, according to the DNR.

After ice-out there are often reports of dead frogs (winterkill), especially after winters with low water levels, like last winter. Northern leopard frogs are the species most susceptible to this phenomenon. The public is likely to see some turtle and fish winterkill in the next few weeks as well.

“Frogs may be relatively inactive barely move during the winter and can be vulnerable to low oxygen levels, particularly when they over-winter in a shallow bay that might be difficult to escape from,” said Carol Hall, DNR herpetologist. “Fish, on the other hand, are able to swim to more oxygen-rich water, if it’s available.”

More information on frog and toad issues may be found on the DNR website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/reptiles_amphibians/disease.html.

To report a frog kill event, submit the number of individual animals observed, the species observed (if known), and location (lake/pond and city/county) to nongame.dnr@state.mn.us. Photos of the site are also helpful.

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Question of the week
Q: I’d like to incorporate native plants into my home landscaping. How will I know what species to plant, and do you have any advice for getting started?

A: First of all, congratulations – using native plants will create better habitat for bees, butterflies, and other native animals in your yard, and can provide other environmental benefits such as soaking up storm water.

You will have the most success if you start by learning about your site and the surrounding landscape. It’s best to plant species that are adapted to your area and your conditions. You can use historical vegetation information, as well as current nearby natural areas, for reference.

For example, if you live in a part of the state that was historically prairie, and your site is sunny with appropriate soils, prairie plants are likely the right choice. On the other hand, if you live in a forested area, native forest vegetation might be the best choice. Local government offices such as soil and water conservation districts can often help make these determinations. Maps of current and historical vegetation for many counties can also be found at www.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/mcbs/maps.html. And you’ll find a statewide map of natural vegetation at http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/eco/mcbs/natural_vegetation_of_mn.pdf.

There are also many good books about landscaping with native plants. For the names of native plant nurseries, landscaping services and local organizations that specialize in native landscaping, visit the DNR website at: www.dnr.state.mn.us/gardens/nativeplants.

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