DNR NEWS RELEASE: Mentored Youth Waterfowl Hunts, Mountain Biking Basics, and more

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Learn mountain-biking basics at Cuyuna Country SRA

bike

Experience the fun of mountain biking during introductory programs on Saturday, July 25, andSaturday, Aug. 29, at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area in Ironton, about 140 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Three I Can Mountain Bike! sessions will take place each day, from 9 to 11:30 a.m., from noon to 2:30 p.m. and from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

During the first half of the program, participants will practice shifting, braking and body position
in a wide open setting. During the second half, they’ll take a guided ride and explore the single-track mountain bike trails.

Use of bikes and helmets will be included with the $25 per person registration fee. A Minnesota state parks vehicle permit ($5/day or $25/year) is also required to enter the park. Children must be at least 10 years old to participate and should be able to comfortably ride a bike on pavement prior to attending this program. Anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Reservations are required and can be made online or by phone.

I Can Mountain Bike! is part of a series of skill-building programs offered by the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. Other programs in the series introduce camping, fishing, rock climbing, paddling and archery to beginners.

“If you’d like to create some unforgettable outdoor experiences with your kids but don’t know how to get started, the I Can! skill-building programs are designed for you,” said Erika Rivers, Parks and Trails Division director. “Minnesota has amazing state parks, trails and water trails, and we want to spark interest in more families to get out and enjoy them.”

The I Can! programs are made possible with support from the Parks and Trails Fund, created after voters approved the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008. The Parks and Trails Fund receives 14.25 percent of the three-eighths percent sales tax revenue that may only be spent to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.

For more information about the I Can Climb! or any of the other I Can! programs, visitwww.mndnr.gov/ican or contact the DNR Information Center at info.dnr@state.mn.us or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           July 6, 2015

Wildlife Drive opening July 18 at Roseau River Wildlife Management Area

The 27-mile “Wildlife Drive” through the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), 20 miles northwest of Roseau, will be open to vehicular travel July 18-26 and the following weekends through Aug. 16. The drive traverses wetland, woodland, brushland and farmland habitats, providing visitors ample opportunity to see wildlife.

Roseau River WMA is one of the viewing stops along the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, which consists of 45 sites spanning a 223-mile corridor from pine to prairie in the northwestern part of the state. These sites offer some of the most spectacular birding in the state, along with scenic beauty and friendly communities.

The viewing route also cuts through the northern reaches of the Juneberry 3 wildfire, which burned an area in excess of 30,000 acres in October 2011. The fire opened up stands of woody vegetation, creating new foraging sites for birds and mammals and improving nesting cover for a wide array of birds for years to come.

Approximately 149 bird species breed within the Roseau River WMA. Yellow rails, horned grebes and Western grebes are a few of the rare breeding species found within the area’s vast wetlands. Along the drive visitors may encounter trumpeter swans, loons, white pelicans, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, eagles, a variety of ducks and other water birds, sedge wrens, yellow warblers, Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrows, black bears, deer, beaver, otter, muskrat, red fox, gray wolf and the occasional moose.

Aside from the chance to see wildlife, the WMA “pools” offer spectacular year-round northern pike fishing opportunities. Visitors typically fish along the dike roads or near the water control structures. When the dike roads are closed to motorists, visitors can bike to Pool 1 West or Pool 2 from the parking areas. During the waterfowl hunting season only, motorboats of 10 horsepower or less may be used on the Roseau River WMA.

The Wildlife Drive can be easily accessed at the main dike road, located one and three-quarter miles south of the WMA headquarters on Roseau County Road 3. Only motor vehicles licensed for use on public highways are legally permitted to operate on this road. Motorists are urged to use caution due to narrow roads, soft shoulders, deep ditches and two-way traffic. The speed limit on all WMA roads is 20 mph. Note that the wildlife drive may be closed due to inclement weather or road construction.

For more information, contact or stop by the Roseau River WMA office to pick up a bird list, maps, fishing regulations and additional information before your visit: 218-463-1130, 27952 400th St., Roseau, MN 56751, or visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/wmas/.

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                           July 6, 2015

Apply for mentored youth waterfowl hunts by Aug. 10

Youth ages 12 to 15 can apply for the chance to hunt waterfowl under the guidance of experienced mentors on Minnesota Youth Waterfowl Day, Saturday, Sept. 12.

“Mentored hunts teach youth the skills needed for safe and enjoyable hunting, and they gain an appreciation of the interconnection between land, water and wildlife,” said Mike Kurre, mentoring program coordinator with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR has teamed up with Ducks Unlimited, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club to offer the hunts, which will take place in six areas:

  • Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge near Detroit Lakes.
  • Southern Twin Cities metro area locations.
  • Morris Wildlife Production Area near Morris.
  • Sherburne County private land between Fairmont and Windom.
  • Private land in Fergus Falls.
  • Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Zimmerman.

Application forms must be received at the DNR central office by Monday, Aug. 10. Applicants will be drawn in a lottery, with preference given to novice hunters. Applicants will be notified within two weeks of the hunt, and those chosen must attend an orientation on Friday, Sept. 11.

More information and an application form can be found at www.mndnr.gov/discover by clicking on “Mentored Youth Waterfowl Hunt.”

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DNR NEWS – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                          July 6, 2015

DNR seeks comment on Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comment on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) prepared for the Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project in Becker County.

Solid Bottom Creek is a trout stream in Becker County that is eroding a steep hillside, contributing sediment to the stream and Elbow Lake. The DNR is proposing to move the stream away from the hillside to reduce erosion and improve habitat conditions for brook trout and other species. The agency will take comments during a 30-day public review from July 6 to Aug. 5.

A copy of the EAW is available online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/index.html. Under “Environmental Review,” select “Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project” from the scroll-down list. A hard copy may be requested by calling 651-259-5082.
The EAW is available for public review at:

  • DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
  • DNR Northwest Region, 2220 Bemidji Ave. Bemidji, MN 56601.
  • Minneapolis Central Library, Government Documents, 2nd Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall.

The EAW notice will be published in the July 6 EQB Monitor. Written comments must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5, to the attention of Kate Frantz, EAW project manager, Environmental Policy and Review Unit, Ecological and Water Resources Division, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

Electronic or email comments may be sent to environmentalrev.dnr@state.mn.us with “Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project EAW” in the subject line. If submitting comments electronically, include name and mailing address. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811.

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Question of the week

Q: I hear a lot about how zebra mussels are bad for Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. How are native mussels different from these invasive species?

A: Minnesota has about 50 native mussel species, and they are specially adapted to benefit our aquatic ecosystems. Some native mussels can live for decades, while zebra mussels live only a few years. Native mussel larvae must attach to a fish host for the early stage of life, as compared to zebra mussels that simply release larvae into the surrounding water. Using sticky threads, a zebra mussels attaches itself to native mussels or other underwater objects, while a native mussel uses a foot to burrow into the river or lake bottom.

Both native and zebra mussels can form large colonies, but their effects on the surrounding ecosystem are quite different. A key difference is that invasive zebra mussels filter out food that would ordinarily be consumed by fish. Native mussels, on the other hand, primarily filter out bacteria and fungus without intercepting food for fish. In fact, native mussel colonies create biological “hot spots” that favor other macroinvertebrates, which in turn provide food for fish. They essentially function like a freshwater coral reef.

Mike Davis, DNR river ecologist

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