Zebra mussels confirmed in Pimushe Lake in Beltrami County

Careful monitoring by a county invasive species specialist led to the confirmation of zebra mussels in Pimushe Lake in Beltrami County.
The Beltrami County aquatic invasive species staffer contacted the Department of Natural Resources after finding one adult zebra mussel on a settlement sampler hanging on a dock. Settlement samplers are solid surfaces placed in the water that people can regularly check for attached zebra mussels.
Pimushe Lake is just north of the Cass Lake chain of lakes, where zebra mussels were first confirmed in 2014.
The DNR continues to urge everyone to do their part to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. For lake property owners and lake service provider businesses, this includes carefully checking boats and trailers, docks and lifts, and all other water-related equipment for invasive species when removing equipment for seasonal storage.
It is especially important to follow Minnesota’s law and keep docks and boat lifts out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them into another body of water.
Anyone transporting a dock or lift from a shoreline property to another location for storage or repair may need a permit, to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

The DNR recommends these steps for lake property owners:
* Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.
* Hire DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses to install or remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment. These businesses have attended training on Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.
* People should contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have found zebra mussels or any other invasive species.

Whether or not a lake is listed as infested, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:
* Clean watercraft and trailers of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
* Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
* Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody:     
* Spray with high-pressure water.
* Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).
* Dry for at least five days.
Zebra mussels can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.
More information is available at mndnr.gov/ais.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Swans aren’t always in trouble in icy water

The Department of Natural Resources asks Minnesotans to carefully consider the situation before reporting trumpeter swans or other waterfowl that appear to be trapped in ice or rapidly freezing water. While they may initially appear to be distressed, they most often are not.
Just like humans, animals behave differently when the seasons and temperatures change. It is important to not assume the worst when observing a wildlife situation. It is easy to mistake unusual animal behaviors for an animal in distress. Stop and closely observe before attempting to find help.
“Trumpeter swans are a classic example of this,” said Erica Hoaglund, central region nongame wildlife specialist. “People see them this time of year resting on frozen water or swimming about in small pockets of open water within ice. Observers assume they’re trapped when most of the time they’re not and move on in either a few days or a few weeks. It usually is not the emergency it can first appear to be.”
The DNR provides these reminders to people concerned about the fate of swans or other waterfowl they see in or near water during the early parts of winter:
* Often birds that seem trapped in ice or in a shrinking area of open water are fine and not trapped. When the weather is cold, animals move around less, just like people, and observers are often not used to seeing them inactive or alone.
* On the rare occasion an animal is actually in distress, it is often physically impossible to reach them safely across thin ice and open, frigid water. Frequently in these situations, the bird or animal has been unable to leave the area for some underlying reason such as illness or injury and it may be impossible to rehabilitate the animal even after its rescue. Do not risk a human life to save a wild animal.
In the case of trumpeter swans in Minnesota, the DNR Nongame Wildlife Program is happy to report that after years of hard work and restoration efforts, the trumpeter swan population in the state is now stable and large enough that natural mortality is not cause for alarm.
Animals that die outside in the winter are an important part of the food chain. Their carcasses will provide crucial winter food sources to a wide range of wildlife, including invertebrates, mice and even bald eagles.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee seeks applicants

The Department of Natural Resources, the Metropolitan Council and the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission are seeking qualified applicants to serve on the Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee.
The mission of the Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee is to “champion the 25-year Parks and Trails Legacy Plan by providing recommendations to enhance promotion, coordination, and accountability throughout implementation of the plan.”
More information about the committee, as well as a copy of the legacy plan, can be found on the committee's website.
“The Parks and Trails Legacy Advisory Committee plays a critical role in helping us achieve the vision Minnesotans have for use of Legacy funds,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen.  “Recently, committee members helped engage thousands of visitors to the DNR building at the Minnesota State Fair about how Legacy funds have supported state and regional parks and trails throughout Minnesota.”
At least six seats on the 17-member committee are open for 2020. The deadline for application is Friday, Dec. 13.
Among the expertise and perspective desired for committee members are backgrounds in youth programs, natural resource and outdoor skills building education, resource management, marketing, new technology, tourism and business.
Terms are two years with the option of being re-appointed for a maximum of three terms. The committee meets every two months around the state, with an option to attend remotely. Meetings often include tours of state and regional parks and trails and provide opportunities to learn first-hand about projects and programs supported by the Parks and Trails Legacy Fund.
Interested individuals may complete the application form online on the Legacy Funds website or print it out and return it to Darin Newman, Department of Natural Resources, Box 39, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155. Anyone with questions can contact Darin by phone at 651-259-5611 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Teamwork leads to major illegal deer harvest case in Vernon County

VIROQUA, Wis. - The Vernon County Circuit Court on Nov. 6, ordered two local men who led a 2018 illegal shining and shooting operation of deer to pay thousands of dollars in fines and banned them from hunting, fishing and trapping for 15 years nationwide, concluding a case investigated by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation warden Shawna Stringham and a team of wardens, citizens and court officials.
The two men - Jacob Menne of Readstown and Monte Mabb of Ferryville - are repeat violators and coordinated the operation that recruited a few others at times. However, it is Menne and Mabb who were the leaders and are responsible for the illegal shooting of 20 deer - including 9 bucks.
"This is a case of two people who are not hunters by any stretch of the imagination, and determined to steal wildlife from the public - wildlife observers and those who are ethical and law-abiding hunters," Stringham said. "Their actions were not only against the law, they also demonstrated a lack of safety and concern for any person or home or anything that may have been behind the deer they were illegally shining and shooting."
With support from Vernon County District Attorney Tim Gaskell, the court delivered five criminal charges plus $12,250 in fines and 15 years of revocation to Menne while Mabb received 4 criminal charges, $9,872 in fines and 12 years of revocation from the DNR privileges of hunting, fishing and trapping. Three others who were less involved - Jacob Yearous of Viola, DJ Bannister of Viola and Damon Peterson of La Farge - each were given single criminal charges, $2,500 fines. Yearous and Peterson also were given one-year revocations of privileges while Bannister was given a two-year revocation. As part of the investigation, 9 bucks and a crossbow were confiscated.
Under the terms of the Interstate Wildlife Compact, any person whose license privileges are suspended in a member state - of which Wisconsin is - are suspended in all other member states. There are 48 members states with the remaining two in the process of joining. Read more about the compact on the DNR Website.
"It must be stressed that without the support of the community and the court officials who share a common bond to protect our state's natural resources from illegal activities, this case may have taken much longer - or perhaps not have had the successful conclusion," she said. "Ninety-nine percent of hunters are ethical hunters who do abide by our laws. This case in no way reflects the hunters I serve in Vernon county or Wisconsin hunters statewide."
Lt. Tyler Strelow, who heads the Mississippi Warden Team that includes Stringham, echoed her comments.
"This case was a direct result of concerned citizens calling their local conservation wardens with information," he said. "Citizens are our eyes and ears when it comes to knowing what is going on out in the field."
If you have information regarding natural resource violations, you may confidentially report by calling or texting: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay information to conservation wardens.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Water sample reveals zebra mussel larvae in Lake of the Woods

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussel larvae in water samples taken from one of three sites in Lake of the Woods on the northern Minnesota border.
While no adult or juvenile zebra mussels have been reported, the number of larvae is substantial.
The Minnesota portion of Lake of the Woods will be added to the infested waters list for zebra mussels, so that people who harvest bait, fish commercially or use water from the lake take necessary precautions. Other lake users should follow the same “Clean, Drain, Dispose” steps that are always legally required on all Minnesota water bodies, regardless of whether they are on the infested waters list.
Recent DNR analysis of large lake zooplankton monitoring samples showed from 4 to 186 zebra mussel larvae, called veligers (VEL-uh-jers).
“We don’t know if the lake’s water chemistry is conducive to zebra mussel survival,” said DNR research scientist Gary Montz. "It is possible that calcium levels or other factors might prevent propagation.”
The DNR and other agencies will continue to monitor the lake, in part to learn more about how the lake’s water chemistry affects zebra mussels.
The invasive species spiny water flea was confirmed in Lake of the Woods and connected waters in 2007. Invasive species are sometimes introduced in a lake from connected waters or tributaries rather than human transport directly into the lake.
The 70-mile long and wide Lake of the Woods is the sixth largest freshwater lake located in or partially in the United States, after the five Great Lakes. Most of Lake of the Woods is in the Canadian Province of Ontario, and a portion extends into the Province of Manitoba.
Lake property owners should carefully check boats and trailers, docks and lifts, and all other water-related equipment for invasive species when removing equipment for seasonal storage.
It is especially important to follow Minnesota’s law and keep docks and boat lifts out of the water for at least 21 days before putting them into another body of water.
Anyone transporting a dock or lift from a shoreline property to another location for storage or repair may need a permit to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The DNR recommends these steps for lake property owners:
* Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.
* Hire DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses to install or remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment. These businesses have attended training on Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.
* People should contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have found zebra mussels or any other invasive species.

Whether or not a lake is listed as infested, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:
* Clean watercraft and trailers of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
* Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
* Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access. To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another waterbody:     
* Spray with high-pressure water.
* Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).
* Dry for at least five days.
Zebra mussels can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.
More information is available at mndnr.gov/ais.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


DNR Celebrates America Recycles Day

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is recognizing 10 recycling programs from a mix of businesses, schools, nonprofits and local governments with the 2019 Wisconsin Recycling Excellence Awards.
In honor of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, the DNR is recognizing four entities for "overall operations of a recycling program," four entities for "special projects and initiatives" and two entities for program "innovation."
"It is exciting to see communities and businesses find new ways to reduce waste and recycle," DNR Waste and Materials Management Program Director Joe Van Rossum said. "We want to promote these efforts and share how we divert materials from landfills in Wisconsin."
The Overall Program Awards recognize efforts that are robust and continually improving while demonstrating a commitment to improving the overall recycling or diversion program.
* 7 Rivers Recycling in Onalaska developed methods to enable the recycling of old mattresses. 7RR deconstructs the mattresses primarily for the steel, foam and wood. The company smelts the steel for other steel products, makes the foam into carpet backings and grinds the wood into wood mulch for a variety of uses. The company estimates they will recycle more than 12,000 mattresses this year.
* The Purdy Elementary School Green Team in Fort Atkinson is made up of teachers and students in fourth and fifth grades. They are working hard to reduce waste from their school destined for the landfill. While caring for nearby Brietzke Educational Wetland, they recycle trash and compost organic materials. They are also working on ending the single-use plastic problem, recycling milk cartons and many other classroom initiatives.
* The city of New Richmond went through a comprehensive update of its residential recycling services, which the city had not revisited since 1996. In 2018, the city began round table discussions with recycling contractors and utilized an online and paper survey to solicit input from the community. The analysis led to a conversion to automated single-stream recycling. The city also works with TerraCycle to recycle cigarette filters in its downtown district.
* The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point has a long history of waste reduction, recycling and sustainability. UW-SP was the first UW campus to have recycling chutes in all residential buildings and offer composting in every academic building on campus. The school also vermi composts - using worms to digest food waste and produce nutrient-rich castings, which are spread as a soil supplement on campus gardens. Other waste diversion initiatives include a student-run food pantry, elimination of plastic straws and the University Surplus reuse program.

Projects and Initiatives Awards recognize specific projects that increase materials recycled or diverted through a particular action or project.
* Aldo Leopold Elementary School in Madison created and maintains a waste reduction and recycling program in their cafeteria that focuses on easy waste reduction techniques to divert waste and promote sustainability. By merely educating students on how and why to recycle milk cartons and sort and stack the food trays, lunch waste volume has been reduced by about 75%.
* Alliant Energy developed a waste management and recycling program for its construction of the West Riverside Energy Center (WREC) near Beloit. The program manages tons of materials generated during construction at the 90-acre project site and includes an active training component and collaboration with local organizations. As of July 2019, their data shows that 87% of waste generated from the WREC project site has been diverted from the landfill.
* Digital Bridge, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit, collects and refurbishes business computers and redistributes the devices to low-income individuals and nonprofits. The company has redistributed over 1,000 computers. Digital Bridge is providing access to affordable technology as well as setting up computer labs for communities that need them.
* Edgar School District science teachers from the middle and high schools created a step-by-step plan to enhance their recycling program. Working with administration and maintenance, the number and sizes of recycling bins were evaluated and increased. Staff also focused on better placement of the recycling containers for easier access and proper use. The district put training in place and adopted a goal of an effective district-wide program that "reduces, reuses and recycles while minimizing the footprint our community leaves."

The Innovation Award recognizes programs that demonstrate unique and innovative approaches to recycling.
* Dynamic Lifecycle Innovations is a comprehensive electronics recycling company and registered E-Cycle Wisconsin recycler. Dynamic began as a small operation in Onalaska, which now serves as the company's headquarters, but over the past 12 years has grown to include a Tennessee operation. In addition to handling over 200 million pounds of material since opening, Dynamic is receiving an Innovation Award for their work as a participant in the Tennessee Material Marketplace. Between the two locations, they work with companies like porcelain tile producer Florim USA and JM Smucker Company to pick up materials in Tennessee, recycle electronics and refurbish products in Wisconsin, then remarket resources back in Tennessee.
* ERbin, a startup based in Wausau, was founded by CEO Michelle Goetsch and co-founder (and brother) Charles Kijek on the idea that an app could help residents figure out what to recycle. In the past two years, ERbin has developed a phone app that will allow residents to scan barcodes of items in their homes and learn if the materials are locally recyclable. Currently in beta testing in the village of Weston and piloted this summer with an organics collection project in Madison, ERbin strives to provide easily accessible information on how to recycle right.

More information on the Recycling Excellence Awards is available on the DNR website, or by contacting Jennifer Semrau at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-267-7550. For more information on recycling in Wisconsin, search keyword "recycling."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

 

DNR, Red Lake Band specialists provide update on zebra mussels

Since confirming zebra mussel larvae in Red Lake in Beltrami County earlier this year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Red Lake Band Department of Natural Resources have conducted additional plankton surveys in Upper and Lower Red Lake.
In 2019, 105 samples from 10 sites were collected by Red Lake tribal biologists and processed by the Minnesota DNR. Four samples contained zebra mussel larvae, called veligers (VEL-uh-jers) - two from Upper Red Lake and two from Lower Red Lake. Zebra mussel veliger numbers ranged from one to six per sample.
Repeated occurrences of multiple veligers strongly suggest that zebra mussel reproduction is occurring in the lake. There is no viable explanation for seeing multiple veligers in two different sites in both Lower and Upper Red Lake other than an established zebra mussel population.
No adult zebra mussels have been confirmed in Red Lake. They may be very difficult to find, given the large size of the lake. The Minnesota DNR has observed a similar situation in Leech Lake. Some veligers were found in water samples over several seasons, with adult zebra mussels only recently being reported by Minnesota DNR fisheries specialists.
The Minnesota DNR will be coordinating closely with the Red Lake Band to develop a comprehensive and aggressive response to these most recent findings. This work will also include a focus on preventing introductions of other aquatic invasive species.
Red Lake natural resources staff have conducted water sampling on Red Lake and several other lakes since 2012.  

Whether or not a lake is listed as infested, Minnesota law requires boaters and anglers to:
* Clean watercraft and trailers of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species.
* Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport.
* Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
Some invasive species are small and difficult to see at the access.

To remove or kill them, take one or more of the following precautions before moving to another water body:     
* Spray with high-pressure water.
* Rinse with very hot water (120 degrees for at least two minutes or 140 degrees for at least 10 seconds).
* Dry for at least five days.

Zebra mussels can compete with native species for food and habitat, cut the feet of swimmers, reduce the performance of boat motors, and cause expensive damage to water intake pipes.
People should contact a Minnesota DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if they think they have found zebra mussels or any other invasive species.
More information is available at mndnr.gov/ais.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR