DNR celebrates 2012 accomplishmentsThe Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Northwest region welcomes 2013 by reflecting back on its accomplishments in 2012. Despite some unforeseen challenges, thanks to Mother Nature, there were many achievements to celebrate.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Northwest region welcomes 2013 by reflecting back on its accomplishments in 2012. Despite some unforeseen challenges, thanks to Mother Nature, there were many achievements to celebrate.
Here are a few highlights from last year:
Fires in northwestern Minnesota. Throughout the drought-ridden fall, numerous fires erupted in the region. DNR fire crews and crews from other divisions around the state responded and battled the blazes without any reported injuries.
Bemidji area blow down. On July 2, a fast-moving storm hit the Bemidji area, including Itasca State Park and La Salle Lake State Recreation Area. Numerous DNR division crews arrived within hours to clear debris and safety hazards. Itasca State Park remained open. There were no reported injuries to DNR crews.
Aquatic invasive species response. Throughout 2012, DNR staff was involved in efforts to curb, investigate and assist in research to address aquatic invasive species (AIS) infestations in northwestern Minnesota. Staff responded to reported discoveries; assisted with the Zequanox research study on treating zebra mussels; conducted volunteer and lake service provider training; provided public outreach, enforcement and monitoring programs; and worked with local governments and entities throughout the region to address AIS issues.
Lake Christina water level management project in Douglas County. Lake Christina is nationally recognized as a critical staging area for migrating waterfowl and one of the premiere duck marshes in the state. After an environmental review, public input meetings and construction of a pump and drawdown system, the lake began its first drawdown to maintain the lake in a clear water state.
Christine-Hickson dams modification project. Christine and Hickson dams, located upstream from the Fargo-Moorhead area on Red River, posed ecological and public safety problems to river users and migratory fish. Fargo, which owns the dams, the DNR and other partners worked together to modify these dams into rock-arch rapids that eliminated the dangerous hydraulic rollers. The action also opened migratory routes for many species of fish and benefited efforts to restore native lake sturgeon in the Red River watershed.
Paul Bunyan State Trail Bridge. In 2012, the Paul Bunyan State Trail Bridge was constructed in Bemidji. The project was a cooperative effort between Bemidji, DNR and Minnesota Department of Transportation. It was funded by the 2011 legislative session through bonding. It will provide a safe crossing at a busy intersection in town and connect the city trail system to Bemidji State University, downtown Bemidji, the Sanford Center and Lake Bemidji State Park.
Aquatic management area (AMA)/scientific and natural area (SNA) dedications. Lester Lake SNA/AMA in Hubbard County encompasses 440 acres and includes Lester Lake. It is recognized as an area of significant ecological value.
The purchase was a cooperative effort with funding from the Kabekona Lake Foundation; Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund; and the Outdoor Heritage Fund. The amendment increased the sales tax by three-eighths of 1 percent. The fund receives one-third of the sales tax dollars and may only be spent to restore, protect and enhance wetlands, prairies, forest and habitat for game fish and wildlife.
Bad Medicine AMA in Becker County combines eight land parcels. The area includes portions of a large peninsula, several smaller peninsulas and an island that will be preserved for aquatic habitat while providing public fishing opportunities. The project was funded by lake property owners, the Reinvest in Minnesota program and the Outdoor Heritage Fund.
Land Asset Management. The first joint pubic land auction between DNR and Roseau County was held November 9 at the Roseau County courthouse. A total of 328 acres of state land was sold, with seven of the eight parcels being trust land. Future joint land auctions are being planned.