Stories tagged DNR

Jun
21
2009

Use local firewood: Transporting firewood endangers ash trees
Use local firewood: Transporting firewood endangers ash treesCourtesy RoguePoet

Will ash trees follow the fate of elm trees?

About 30 years ago my neighbor's kid won a college scholarship for his sketch of the dead elm trees in front of my house marked with big red X's. Now I fear for the the giant ash trees across the street in Como Park.

Apparently the emerald ash borer beetle (EAB) has been damaging our ash trees for years. The EAB were officially discovered in St. Paul's Hampdem Park mid May, 2009.

Minnesota has the second highest number of ash trees in the nation after Maine. Many of them were planted to replace trees lost to Dutch elm disease a generation ago.

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Where can I find information about the emerald ash borer?

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) website has excellent information. Another, multinational website with the lastest information about EAB is emeraldashborer.info. I also recommend the University of Minnesota Extension website page which answers questions about ash trees and emerald ash borer beetles.

Frequently asked questions are below (click on them to get answers)

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What is Saint Paul doing for its ash trees?

Park director Mike Hahm says Parks and Recreation will do everything we can to protect our tree canopy. Saint Paul has been preparing for this for some time. For over 5 years, we have been increasing the diversity of the tree species in Saint Paul and have not replaced or replanted Ash trees. A Pioneer Press article titled Protecting ash trees could cost St. Paul $2.8 million annually explains:

"Hahm plans to start a campaign of removing affected ash trees at a rate of 3,000 a year and replacing them with other trees the following spring. In St. Paul's St. Anthony neighborhood, 67 trees already have been cut down. Hahm said he plans to apply immediately for nearly $2.8 million in state and federal money to fight the infestation."

This link will take you to the St Paul website page on emerald ash borer info.

The Minnesota State Fair opens tomorrow and you'll have 12 days to eat pork chops on a stick. Minnesota DNR officials, however, were hoping some lucky hunter will track down and kill a wild boar that's running loose near Detroit Lakes. Read this to learn more, including the devastating consequences a wild pig can inflict on the environment. But there's more to the story, which was updated while I was making this post. It shots were fired, the pork-esque creature was killed and this is what it turned out to be.

Nov
09
2005

It's deer hunting season in Minnesota. Deer hunting is a major industry in this state, generating $236 million in retail sales in 2001, 4,825 jobs and $122 million in wages. The sale of hunting licenses for deer brought in $19.7 million to the DNR in 2004. The revenue from these licenses account for 29% of the DNR's Game and Fish Fund, which help buy and manage wildlife management areas and fund research on forest animals.

As important as all this is, deer hunting plays an even more critical role in managing the state's deer population. There are more than a million whitetail deer in Minnesota, and due to recent mild winters the population is nearing record numbers.

The record number of deer is having an impact in many parts of the state. Deer grazing is threatening some plant species, such as trillium, wild lily of the valley, and rose twistedstalk. Reforestation of Eastern white pines and white cedar trees is difficult due to deer grazing. Deer related traffic accidents are also a concern, with an estimated 20,000 deer-vehicle crashes annually.

Deer management through hunting is tricky, especially since the DNR cannot predict what the winter weather will be like. Seven of the last eight winters have been milder than average, leading to increased deer numbers despite more liberal hunting policies meant to control the population. Severe winters result in "winterkills" that can reduce the population significantly, but without being able to predict them, the DNR has to make some educated guesses. Another factor that worries the DNR is that while the number of hunters is increasing, it is not increasing at a rate that can control the high population of deer.

As a result, the DNR is loosening restrictions on hunting anterless deer. Hunters used to have to enter a lottery to obtain an anterless permit. Now any hunter can buy them over the counter.

What do you think? What would you suggest to help control the deer population? What do you think about hunting? Do you think it is an effective deer population management strategy? If not, what would you suggest as an alternative?