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DNR highlights science and management actions during Climate Week

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Thermometer Shows and Highlights science and management actions during Climate Week - Ice Fishing Digest

Minnesota’s climate is becoming warmer and wetter, and the Department of Natural Resources is taking action to identify climate-related changes, understand the impacts of these changes on the state’s natural resources and recreation, mitigate the impacts as much as possible, and adapt to those impacts that cannot be avoided.

These actions range from measuring changes to alerting Minnesotans to the effects of climate change, to planting tree species that will survive better in a warmer climate, to installing renewable energy options, like solar panels, at state parks and DNR buildings.

“We want people to know that Minnesota’s climate is already changing and will continue to do so. Across state government, we are working together and with our partners to reduce our contributions to those changes and adapt to the changing climate and reduce negative impacts to Minnesota’s resources and people,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “Climate Week is a great opportunity to talk with Minnesotans about what we’re doing to manage for climate change.”

The DNR will highlight its management actions during Climate Week (Sept. 23-Sept. 28), when leaders across the country and world showcase efforts to address climate change. Now in its 11th year, Climate Week began in New York City in 2009 and this year will include a United Nations Climate Action Summit.

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The DNR has been working hard to communicate the changes state climate experts are seeing. Toward that end, the DNR recently created a new website describing how Minnesota’s climate is changing, the impacts to natural resources and recreation, and what DNR is doing to address it.

The DNR is part of group of state agencies working on climate change adaptation and mitigation. It also collaborates with other partners, such as universities, federal agencies, local governments, and tribes, on climate change issues.

Climate change impacts
Data from the State Climatology Office indicate Minnesota’s temperatures are increasing – especially in winter – and large, more frequent extreme precipitation events are occurring. Minnesota has warmed 2.9 F between 1895 and 2017, while receiving an average of 3.4 inches more precipitation annually.

Climate changes are already impacting Minnesota’s wildlife, plants, waters, historic resources, infrastructure, and available outdoor recreation activities. Here are some examples:

  • As a result of warmer winters and longer growing seasons, some 535,000 acres of tamarack forests have been affected by Eastern larch beetle, an insect that Minnesota’s historically colder winters kept in check.
  • Lake ice seasons have shortened. For example, Lake Osakis—an average-sized lake in central Minnesota—now has “ice out” more than a week earlier now than it did in the 1940s. Early ice-out dates negatively affect a variety of winter recreation opportunities, such as ice fishing and cross-country skiing.
  • With warmer winters and more precipitation, rough fish are gaining a foothold in waters that provide important duck habitat. Rough fish degrade water quality, reducing the food available to migrating ducks.

DNR adapting to and managing for climate impacts
Minnesotans can see how the DNR is managing for climate impact in state parks and state forests, along lakeshores and in wildlife management areas, and in the infrastructure that the DNR builds and operates.

For example, at Blue Mounds State Park, a 2014 “mega-rain” event destroyed a dam, causing the Lower Mound Lake impoundment to drain. To avoid future destruction, and after extensive review with stakeholders, the DNR restored the creek to help the park handle future extreme precipitation events.

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Other examples:

  • Foresters in southeastern Minnesota are planting swamp white oak, shagbark hickory, and bur oak in the understory of woodlands because forestry experts predict these species will thrive in Minnesota’s warmer, wetter climate.
  • The DNR is working with shoreland owners to maintain tree cover and thereby help curb rising water temperatures in certain lakes. This is critical for cisco (or “tullibee”), an important fish species that is prey for game fish and loons.
  • Since 2009, the DNR has installed 40 renewable energy systems at 31 locations across Minnesota. These systems generate 714,000 kilowatt hours of electric power. Also, the DNR has added more than 125 hybrid or electric cars to its vehicle fleet, increasing average fuel efficiency from 28.6 MPG to 38.3 MPG between 2014 and 2018.

Strommen said there is still a lot of work ahead for the DNR. The agency has made climate change a key priority and intends to work closely with stakeholders, other government agencies, and all Minnesotans to address climate change.

“We know that, by working closely with Minnesotans, we can better adapt to this significant challenge,” Strommen said. “We all have a stake in the future of our natural resources and recreation opportunities. By learning, adjusting, and doing our part individually, we can help Minnesota’s public lands, and the people who enjoy them, address and adapt to climate change.’’

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Minnesota

DNR Fish and Wildlife Almanac : Jan 11, 2021 | News Release

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Ice Fishing on Lake In Winter Ice Fishing Digest Magazine

Learn how to ice fish with angler Mandy Uhrich

The Becoming an Outdoors Woman program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is presenting an ice fishing webinar from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14. During the webinar, pro angler Mandy Uhrich will teach the basics of ice fishing and demonstrate the equipment and techniques used for this winter tradition. The webinar is free, open to the public and registration is required.

Provide input on 2020 deer populations and observations

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is seeking public input on 2020 deer populations and observations using an online survey. The survey includes questions about experiences hunters had during the deer hunting season, issues related to damage deer might do to crops, landscaping or gardens and other deer-related issues. This year the DNR will also ask for input on several proposed deer permit area boundary changes and will use the feedback to shape regulations for the 2021 hunting season. The survey is open through Friday, Jan. 29, and further details are on the DNR website.

Reminder: Deer feeding ban in effect

Deer feeding and attractant restrictions remain in place in Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Rice, Scott and Washington counties. These counties were added on July 1, 2020, to the bans already were in place in the following counties affected by chronic wasting disease: Aitkin, Cass, Crow Wing, Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Hubbard, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Olmsted, Steele, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena and Winona. Keeping food and attractants away from deer helps limit interaction and close contact among deer that can spread chronic wasting disease, especially this time of year when artificial sources of food may draw deer.

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DNR Fish and Wildlife Almanac

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Frozen Lake in Winter with Snow - Ice Fishing Digest

Funding and training available to start archery in the school’s programs

Schools and nonprofit organizations interested in introducing students to archery can apply for a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources program that pays for some of the cost of archery equipment. Through the program, teachers can also receive training on how to teach archery in their schools to students in grades 4-12, using a curriculum designed by the National Archery in the Schools Program. Funding is awarded on a first-come-first-served basis, with an application deadline of Wednesday, April 1. Some matching funds are required by applicants. Details about the program are available on the DNR website.

Common angler question: Does my ice shelter need a license?

As more anglers prepare for ice fishing, the DNR sometimes receives questions about ice shelter licenses. Minnesota fishing regulations recognize two types of shelters: portable and nonportable. A portable shelter is one that collapses, folds or is disassembled for transportation. Portable shelters only need licenses and identification when left unattended, which is defined as all occupants being more than 200 feet away. In contrast, all non-portable ice shelters must be licensed. Wheeled fish houses are not considered portable and must be licensed.

An annual shelter license costs $15 for residents and $37 for nonresidents, not including issuing fees that may be charged. An ice fishing shelter license is valid from March 1 through April 30 of the following year, and a shelter license is not required on border waters between Minnesota and its neighboring states (Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota). Licenses can be purchased in person, by telephone or at mndnr.gov/buyalicense. No ice can ever be considered “safe ice,” and DNR ice safety guidelines can be found at mndnr.gov/icesafety.

Apply by Jan. 9 for grants that help kids engage with the outdoors

Public entities and nonprofit organizations have until 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, to apply for funding from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in the second phase of the No Child Left Inside grant program, which supports getting more children outdoors. Grant funding is available to assist with work including teaching kids about nature outside or getting them to recreate outside, integrating fishing and hunting programs into school curriculums, and supporting high school fishing leagues. The Minnesota Legislature authorized the No Child Left Inside grant program in 2019. For more information on the grant program and a link to the application, visit the DNR website.

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State records topple for 2 species of Minnesota fish

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State records topple for 2 species of Minnesota fish

Anglers have set new Minnesota state records for whitefish and golden redhorse.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources certified a record 13 pound, 9 ounce whitefish caught by an Oklahoma angler ice fishing on Lake of the Woods, and a 4 pound, 13 ounce golden redhorse caught by an angler who beat his own state record.

The DNR certifies state record fish in two categories: for fish caught and kept; and for caught and released northern pike, muskellunge, lake sturgeon and flathead catfish.

Whitefish
The Oklahoma angler, Billy King, was getting an introduction to Minnesota ice fishing with two other anglers April 6. They were catching walleye, sauger, and tulibee, and in the evening were fishing near a sandbar for the sunset walleye bite on Lake of the Woods.

Despite the others initially catching more fish, King stuck to his spot on the ice and was rewarded with not only the biggest walleye of the day, but soon after, the huge whitefish.

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“This turned out to be the trip of a lifetime and I have to say that everyone was so nice. Not just in relation to the potential new state record but everyone was so polite and welcoming. It made the trip all the more enjoyable,” King said.

Golden redhorse
Ethan Rasset – already a state record holder for golden redhorse – was fishing for redhorse March 24 on the Otter Tail River with a friend from college.

Rasset caught the record 4 pound, 13 ounce fish with a chartreuse curly-tail artificial lure, on a shallow flat with rubble that had produced a few smaller golden redhorse earlier in the morning.

His previous record was a 4-pound, 8-ounce golden redhorse he caught in April 2018 on the Otter Tail River. Rasset said he was quite excited when he suspected he may have broken his own record.

“Very few people can say they have broken a state record twice!” Rasset said.

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Current records and information about how to submit documentation for a record fish are available at mndnr.gov/recordfish.

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