Zebra mussels confirmed in Itasca County's Bowstring Lake

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has confirmed zebra mussels in Bowstring Lake, located mostly within the Leech Lake Reservation in Itasca County.
Itasca County invasive species staff contacted the DNR after finding two adult zebra mussels attached to old, submerged tires in separate locations outside reservation waters on the northeast side of the lake. DNR invasive species specialists determined that at least one of the mussels had likely been in the lake for more than one year.
A subsequent survey of the entire north shore of Bowstring Lake by Itasca County invasive species staff revealed a number of adult zebra mussels. Their distribution was described as “widespread but not numerous,” suggesting early detection.
Water from Bowstring Lake flows into Sand Lake and eventually into the Bigfork River and north to Hudson Bay. Zebra mussels were confirmed in Sand Lake in 2013 and have been confirmed downstream nearly 20 miles in recent years. Navigation from Sand Lake to Bowstring is not common, due to the nature of the connecting river and water levels. The DNR and Itasca County invasive species programs have paid close attention to Bowstring Lake because of its close proximity to waters where zebra mussels were previously confirmed.   
The DNR has contacted the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe with information about the confirmed zebra mussels.
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.
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

Green Tier program celebrates milestone anniversaries

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is celebrating the milestone anniversaries of its Green Tier participants.
Companies that participate in Green Tier help the DNR work toward its vision of protecting and managing our state’s natural resources while supporting the economy and well-being of Wisconsin residents. Participating organizations use a systematic approach to minimize the environmental risks of their work and align their business objectives with environmental stewardship.
“I am impressed by the ingenuity of Green Tier participants in finding opportunities to reduce their environmental impacts while finding efficiencies and value for their business,” said DNR Secretary Preston D. Cole. “These organizations not only meet their environmental requirements but they also went above and beyond in finding ways to improve their footprint and protect Wisconsin’s natural resources.”
We celebrate the milestone anniversaries of the following Green Tier participants:

15 years
Holsum Dairies LLC – Irish Dairy, Hilbert
Veridian Homes, Madison

10 years
3M, Cumberland Cardinal IG (SGIG), Spring Green
Cortec Spray Technologies, Spooner
Cortec Coated Products, Eau Claire
Legacy Communities Charter, Statewide
Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, Statewide

5 years
Durr Universal, Inc., Stoughton & Muscoda
Kimberly-Clark – Neenah Cold Spring Facility, Neenah
Michels Corporation, Brownsville
Waupaca Foundry, Waupaca
Wisconsin Printing Industry Superior Environmental Performance Charter, Statewide

View the full list of Green Tier participants and learn about their continual environmental improvement efforts on the DNR website.
The DNR would like to thank those celebrating these milestones this year and all participants for their efforts supporting Green Tier and protecting Wisconsin’s natural resources.
Green Tier is a voluntary program for Wisconsin organizations. The program empowers and provides credible recognition to organizations who are on the path to sustainability by helping them use a systematic approach to minimize environmental risk. Green Tier adds value by helping align business objectives with environmental stewardship.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR awarded $1.1 million federal grant to protect coastal resources

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will use a $1.1 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support the work of Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program, fund three significant local projects and continue the program’s quarterly Short Term Action Request (STAR) grants.
Project funding includes:
* Shore Protection Structure Assessment. The DNR will work with a contractor to complete an assessment of shore protection structures along the coast. The assessment will examine the effectiveness of structures like seawalls and breakwaters, and their performance under different lake level and storm scenarios.
* Lake Superior Coastal Erosion Outreach. Soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) in Cook and Lake counties will host a series of erosion workshops for contractors, landowners, local governments and realtors. Both SWCD offices will have four days with a coastal engineer during which they will also offer onsite visits with landowners who need advice to address erosion issues.
* H2O: Watersheds at Work. The Great Lakes Aquarium will create a new exhibit about key watershed concepts. The exhibit will include a working scale model of the Great Lakes basin and three water activity stations.
* Short Term Action Request (STAR) grants. The Coastal Program will award at least $100,000 for small, non-construction grants. Projects must protect coastal resources or support their sustainable use. Communities and organizations may apply for $2,500 to $10,000. The DNR will post application materials online in August. First round applications are due Sept. 1.
Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program is a federal-state partnership working to better the state’s coast. Since its start in 1999, the program has awarded more than $13.5 million in grants to more than 650 projects.
More information about the program, its service area and grant applications is available on the DNR website at mndnr.gov/mlscp. Direct questions about the grant process to Cynthia Poyhonen, grants specialist, at 218-834-1447 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Wisconsin Natural Resources Board special virtual meeting July 30

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will host a special meeting virtually to reconsider the Board’s action on Agenda Item 4.C. on June 24, relating to antlerless deer harvest quotas, antlerless permit levels and a deer hunting season framework for 2020.
If reconsideration passes, the Board’s June 24, decision will be reconsidered.
The meeting will begin at 7 a.m. Thursday, July 30, originating from Room G11 of the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St. Although the public will not be allowed to attend the meeting in-person from GEF 2 due to COVID-19 public health advisories, the July board meeting will be live-streamed. The complete July board agenda is available on the DNR website.
Remote Public Testimony and Written Comments are welcome. Only remote testimony (no in-person appearances) will be offered at the July special meeting. You must be pre-registered to testify. The submittal deadline for remote public appearance requests and written comments for the July 30, 2020 Natural Resources Board special meeting is 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 29.
Confirmed speakers will receive meeting logistics via email. Those confirmed to testify on a specific agenda item will testify on that item prior to vote. You may lose your opportunity to testify if you are late. Each speaker will have three minutes, or as designated by Board Chair, to give their testimony.
Board meetings are webcast live. You can watch the live-stream of the June NRB board meeting online by clicking on this month's meeting. You may visit the NRB agenda webpage on the DNR website and click "NRB webcasts" under the Related Links column on the right side of the page. From there, click on this month's meeting. After each board meeting, the webcast will be available on demand.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Rare Plant Monitoring Program makes record discoveries

MADISON, Wis. – A rare carnivorous plant last documented in Ashland County along with 59 never-before-seen populations of other rare plants in Wisconsin are among discoveries made by volunteers of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Rare Plant Monitoring Program last year.
Their discoveries are featured in the program’s recently released annual report.
Wisconsin has 2,366 native plant species and 344, or 14.5% of the total are considered rare, meaning they are listed as endangered, threatened or special concern. Sixty trained volunteers dispatched to locations around the state last year submitted over 250 reports of rare plants they found, including 59 populations in areas of Wisconsin where they have not been documented before.  
“This is the most productive year we’ve ever had from the standpoint of volunteers finding rare plants in new locations,” said Kevin Doyle, a DNR Natural Heritage Conservation botanist, who coordinates the program. “These new discoveries are very exciting. They help increase our understanding of the number and locations of rare plant species so we can better monitor and protect them.”
Since 2013, the Rare Plant Monitoring Program coordinated by the DNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program has trained and sent volunteers to check on the health and size of rare native plant populations. In fact, the volunteer program is the largest source of rare plant data in Wisconsin and unique in the Midwest for its breadth of surveys statewide.
“The information these trained volunteers collect for us is critical for understanding how rare plant populations are doing in Wisconsin and informs our next steps like research projects or management action to sustain these rare plants,” Doyle said.
Some rare plant populations observed by volunteers last year included English sundew (Drosera anglica) (pictured), an insect-eating plant seen for the first time in 40 years in Ashland County as a result of good teamwork by RPMP volunteer Don and Judy Evans and the Northland College students of Dr. Sarah Johnson.
Volunteer surveys in the last year have also given the DNR a better understanding for how prairie turnip (Pediomelum esculentum), a rare legume confined to high-quality prairies, is doing in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, populations have dwindled as its habitat is neglected and degraded and the species is now regarded as imperiled.
Unfortunately, volunteers didn’t find 63 previously documented plant populations. Some have likely disappeared only temporarily as many lakes experience their highest water levels in decades and have submerged the vegetation. Regrettably, others have likely disappeared as part of a global trend in biodiversity loss.
Information RPMP volunteers have collected in past years documenting declines has spurred DNR efforts to reverse those trends. Projects include efforts to hand-pollinate rare eastern prairie white fringed orchids to boost genetic diversity and population survival, to collecting seed from some of Wisconsin’s rarest plants for long-term storage and working with local nurseries to grow federally listed plants like the northern monkshood to reintroduce to the wild.
“These efforts to address biodiversity declines can occur only because our team of rare plant monitors collect the information that tells us where to direct our efforts,” Doyle said.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Next phase for DNR cleanup of Portage Canal to start by fall

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will start construction later this summer or early fall on Segment 2 of the Portage Canal, located in the city of Portage.
Dredging of the nearly three-quarter mile long portion of the Portage Canal was delayed earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic which prevented the necessary on-site work needed to maintain the project’s original timeline for completion.
The project is a continuation of remediation work on the approximately 2.5-mile canal, which connects the Wisconsin River to the Fox River in the city of Portage. Previous work completed during the summer of 2016 included dredging of Segment 1 of the canal, coinciding with the construction of the Columbia County Administration and the Health and Human Services Buildings.
“The project has been delayed by a season because of work restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Scott Inman, DNR Water Resources Engineer. “The good news is the project is ready once again to move forward. The necessary contracts, permits and agreements are on track to be complete and for efforts to start this summer or early fall. With this year’s preparation work, a full season of dredging should take place in 2021.”
Work planned for this year includes preparation for next year’s dredging, such as a preconditions survey, installation of erosion controls and the installation of a security fence around a sediment processing pad on DNR-owned property located near the Canadian Pacific Railroad bridge. Crews will also raze the existing DNR buildings at that site, install temporary facilities, clear utilities and prepare temporary roads.
“The most time-sensitive part of this year’s work is to pave a sediment processing area for next year’s dredging,” Inman said. “The paving is the last critical item because it cannot be done after asphalt production facilities routinely close for the winter season.”
DNR’s cleanup and associated work is part of a larger plan to transform the Portage Canal area into a usable, local resource that places the Ice Age National Scenic Trail along the canal. Completion of the remediation will support the city, its partners and Department of Transportation efforts to construct the multi-use path, to be completed in 2022.
As the owner of the Portage Canal, DNR is responsible for taking the necessary actions to address the historical contamination that has impacted the canal. The project is expected to cost approximately $8 million, which includes the remediation of the canal and shoring up the canal banks to support the recreational path.
From Adams Street to just past Canadian Pacific Railroad bridge, the 3,600-feet stretch of waterway has not been dredged in nearly a century. The canal is contaminated with metals related to a rich history of industrial activity along the canal.
For more information, visit the DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Tracking System and enter 02-11-577055 in the “activity number” search field. Also visit Remediation and Redevelopment Program public notices to find the Final Design Report, Advertisement for Bids, Contract Drawings and Contract Documents and other information. You may also contact Scott Inman at (608) 576-4912 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Aaron Jahncke at (608) 742-2176 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Coon Rapids woman ATV safety instructor of year

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has named Janelle Secord (pictured),  an ATV safety instructor in Coon Rapids, as the 2019 ATV safety instructor of the year.
An avid ATV rider and active member of the North Metro Trail Riders Club, Secord has taught two classes per year for the past 12 years. She’s also been active in the DNR’s Volunteer Trail Ambassador program since it began more than 10 years ago, promoting safe trail riding with riders she encounters along the trails.
“Janelle has the unique ability to do a top-notch job of organizing and preparing two ATV safety classes every year, all the while never losing sight of their primary goal: To give new riders the tools they need to be safe riders,” said Bruce Lawrence, recreational vehicle coordinator for the DNR Enforcement Division. “She takes pride in her teaching, cares about her students and does what it takes to ensure everyone is equipped to responsibly enjoy their time on the trails.”
Secord is among the nearly 1,000 volunteer ATV safety instructors who work with DNR conservation officers to deliver ATV safety training certification. Find details on safety courses and training and more information on ATV regulations.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR