DNR notes

Designs for 2014 pheasant stamp now accepted

Wildlife artists can submit entries for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) 2014 pheasant stamp contest from Monday, Sept. 9, until 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20.

Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Any entry that contains photographic products will be disqualified.

Entries will be accepted via mail and in person at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road,  St. Paul. Mailed entries should be addressed to 2013 Pheasant Stamp Contest, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4020.

Designs should be securely wrapped and enclosed in an envelope or other container. The words “Pheasant Stamp” should be clearly marked on outside of the container. Late entries will not be accepted.

The contest, which offers no prizes, is open to Minnesota residents only. Winning artists usually issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain proceeds. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to pheasant management-related activities.

A contest entry form and reproduction rights agreement, which grants the DNR the right to use the design for the stamp image and other promotional, educational and informational purposes related to waterfowl, must be signed and submitted with the design.

Judging is at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at DNR headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.

Complete contest criteria and information is available online at mndnr.gov/contests.

DNR updates endangered, threatened, special concern list

For the first time since 1996, the Minnesota DNR updated its list of endangered, threatened or special concerned species after three months of public hearings. Twenty-nine species were removed from the list including bald eagle, gray wolf and snapping turtles while 180 species of plants and animals were added and 91 species had their status modified.

“The ultimate goal of putting a plant or animal on the list isn’t to put up walls around it; it’s to restore its health and get it back off the list,” said Rich Baker, DNR endangered species coordinator. “There are plenty of examples of that happening, and it doesn’t have to come at the expense of sustainable economic development.”

Boaters urged to stop power loading

As summer progresses and lake water levels drop, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds boaters using public accesses to check ramp conditions before launching any boat and to refrain from power loading.

Power loading is a phrase that describes using the motor thrust to load and unload a boat onto and off a trailer. The method is dangerous and can damage boats.

Instead of power loading, boaters are encouraged to use a winch to load and unload a boat.

Power loading creates blow holes and prop mounds when sediment, gravel and sometimes large rocks are blown beyond the ramp. Power loading can also cause damage to launch ramps that may not be visible from the surface of the water. Erosion under the concrete ramps and dock wheels can cause them to become uneven and, in some cases, fall into the blow holes.

The practice can also lead to expensive boat motor and trailer repairs. Motors can incur damage if the boat or lower unit runs aground on the mound. At shallow accesses, boat trailer frames can get hung up when trailers are backed off the end of the concrete ramp into the blow outs. Smaller vehicles may be unable to get the trailer out.

Public invited to comment on experimental fishing regulations

Reviews of existing or newly proposed regulations on 22 lakes for walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish and muskellunge will be the subject of seven public meetings conducted across the state in the coming weeks by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

The meetings will include reviews of walleye regulations on Leech Lake; largemouth bass regulations on Cass County’s Stony and Thirteen lakes; a catch-and-release muskellunge regulation on Clearwater County’s Elk Lake; walleye regulations on the Fish Lake Reservoir near Duluth; a 17- to 26-inch protected slot for walleye on 12 Itasca County lakes; and panfish regulations on five Rochester-area waters.

The goal of experimental and special regulations on individual waters is to expand opportunities for anglers to experience quality fishing that can be sustained in light of increasing angling pressure and improved angler efficiency. During the past 26 years, fisheries managers have monitored a variety of regulations across Minnesota.

“Much has been learned from our efforts to improve fish populations with length and bag limits,” said Al Stevens, DNR fisheries program consultant. “If experimental regulations are successful, then regulations can be replicated on similar waters where fisheries managers and anglers agree they would help improve or maintain quality fishing.”

Visit mndnr.gov/fishing for more information.

DNR question of the week

Q: The ash trees in my yard are producing lots of seeds this year, more than in previous years. How unusual is this? Is it weather related?

A: Trees produce large amounts of seed for a couple of reasons. Trees under stress from drought, soil compaction, or planting “off-site” may produce more seed to ensure another generation. Weather can also impact the number of seeds a tree produces. Ash are wind-pollinated, so if there are heavy rains during flowering, pollen is unable to travel by wind, and seed set and production can be reduced.

In some species of trees, heavy seed production occurs normally every few years.

 -Val Cervenka, forest health program coordinator, DNR forestry division