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MN Department of Natural Resources -- News Releases
Updated: 2 hours 39 min ago

DNR seeks comments on Grand Marais area lake and stream management plans

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 3:40pm

People interested in DNR strategies for managing Grand Marais area lakes and streams are encouraged to review current management plans and submit comments for the plans scheduled for review this winter. This annual review process includes several waters located within the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Comments on lakes and streams in the Grand Marais area will be accepted through Feb. 15, 2019.

A management plan identifies specific management activities planned for a lake or stream over the next five to 20 years, including any proposed stocking or special regulations.

“Management plans are our best sources of information on past, present and desired future conditions in our lakes and streams,” said Steve Persons, Grand Marais area fisheries supervisor. “Plans drive all of our survey and stocking efforts.  Comments and suggestions from anglers and residents are crucial when it comes to determining how public waters should be managed and determining management success.  These reviews offer everyone their best opportunity to influence management of important lakes and streams.”

In the Grand Marais area, plans for the following lakes and streams will reviewed this winter.


The status and preservation of native lake trout populations will be the primary concern in plans being revised for Crystal, Jasper, and Winchell Lakes.  All are located inside the BWCAW.  Lake trout and smallmouth bass management will be the main concern in a review of the Clearwater Lake plan (partially inside the BWCAW).

Stream trout stocking and management strategies will be reviewed for Kimball and Mink Lakes.  Trout stocking will continue in both lakes, but species, sizes, and numbers stocked will be reviewed.  Mush Lake may be considered for future stream trout management.

Plans for Axe, Bigsby, Caribou (near Lutsen), Christine, Crescent, Gull, Ham, and Northern Light Lakes will be reviewed.  In most of those lakes the status and needs of walleye, northern pike, or smallmouth bass fisheries will be of most concern.

Plans for several lightly-used BWCAW lakes in the area, including Carl, Karl, Kingfisher, Meeds, Red Rock, and Stump Lakes will be reviewed. Those plans will be revised primarily to incorporate any new survey data that may have been obtained, and to establish survey schedules for the next few years.


Current plans for Caribou and Murmur Creeks, and the Cross River (between Ham and Gunflint Lakes) will be reviewed.  Caribou and Murmur Creeks are both marginal trout streams, and plans will consider how conditions for trout could be maintained or improved.  The Cross River is a warmwater stream that provides critical spawning habitat for walleye in Gunflint Lake.

New management plans will be created for the Brule River, Durfee Creek, and Woods Creek, using data on those streams recently collected by DNR Fisheries and the MPCA.  Portions of the Brule River above Northern Light Lake may be considered for trout stream designation.

Current plans for lakes and streams in the area as well as recent fish population assessment information are available for review at the DNR’s Grand Marais area fisheries office, at 1356 E. Highway 61, Grand Marais, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For more information, or to request copies of current plans, call or email Steve Persons at 218-387-6022 or

This comment period will extend through Feb. 15, 2019.  However, comments, suggestions and other feedback on the management of these, and all other streams and lakes in the area are welcomed at any time, and will be considered when those plans are next due for review.

Little Rice Lake re-established as state game refuge

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 2:49pm

The Department of Natural Resources will re-establish the Little Rice Lake State Game Refuge in 2019 following the recent public comment period in October showed support for the refuge.

Originally established in 2012 in northern St. Louis County, its refuge status was reviewed after five years to determine if the refuge should be continued.

Six people spoke at the formal public hearing held Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the Tower DNR office.  The DNR also received 16 letters during the public comment period.

Overall, the majority of waterfowl hunters supported the refuge re-establishment as did the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, Izaak Walton League, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Based on information collected each fall, including weekly migratory waterfowl counts and waterfowl season hunter harvest surveys on the adjacent Big Rice Lake conducted over the past five years, the refuge was successful at providing an undisturbed feeding and resting location for migratory waterfowl.

As a state game refuge, Little Rice Lake is closed to hunting and trapping from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30 each year. The refuge, which includes the lake and forest bog perimeter, is about 288 acres.  The refuge remains open to wild ricing and cranberry picking.

DNR seeks comments on Finland area lake management plans

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 2:46pm

North Shore anglers and others interested in learning about the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources strategies for managing Finland area lakes are invited to review and comment on management plans scheduled for review this winter. The comments on the lakes and streams will be accepted through Jan. 31.

Management plans describe the past, present and desired future conditions of the waters. The plans identify specific management activities planned for that lake in the next 5 to 20 years. They include background information on water chemistry, temperature, and species present, which is important in understanding the potential of a fishery.

Comments and suggestions from those interested in these waters are crucial when it comes to making the plans and determining management success. For anglers, this is the best opportunity to influence how these lakes are managed.

Every year DNR fisheries staff prepares or revises individual lake and stream management plans for several waters in each management area. In the Finland area, plans for the following lakes are being reviewed:

Lakes located in Cook County being revised with no changes in management:

  • Feather Lake

Lakes located in Lake County being updated with no changes in management:

  • Bear Lake
  • Benson Lake
  • Bone Lake
  • Crosscut Lake
  • Goldeneye Lake
  • Gypsy lake
  • Highlife Lake
  • Jouppi Lake
  • Scarp Lake
  • Shoofly Lake
  • Steer Lake
  • Unnamed (Peanut) Lake
  • Unnamed (Pear) Lake

Lakes located in Lake County being revised with potential management changes:

  • Bean Lake – allow for contingency stocking.
  • Beaver Hut – consider change in species management.
  • Beetle Lake – increase in Brook Trout stocking.
  • Eikela Lake – change in stocking frequency.
  • East Lake – consider change in species management.
  • Divide Lake – increase stocking to include fall stocking and contingency stocking.
  • Echo Lake – increase stocking to include fall stocking and contingency stocking.
  • Hogback Lake – increase stocking to include fall stocking and contingency stocking.
  • Norway Lake – increase stocking.
  • Redskin Lake – allow for contingency stocking.
  • Section Eight Lake – increase in Brook Trout stocking and allow for contingency stocking.

Interested parties can review current plans and draft plans (as they are developed) for lakes and streams in the area as well as recent fish population assessment information at the DNR’s Finland area fisheries office, 6686 Highway 1, Box 546, Finland, Minnesota.

Office hours are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Individuals also may call 218-353-8855 or email to have an electronic copy of a management plan emailed to them.

Public comments on management of these waters will be taken through Jan 31. Comments may be submitted via mail or email. Suggestions for management of any of the other lakes and streams in the Finland area are welcome at any time and will be considered when those plans are due for review.

DNR to enroll state-owned cropland in water quality effort

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 10:35am

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has committed to pursuing certification of 15,000 acres of croplands it owns and manages as part of a statewide effort to protect water quality. 

The effort falls under the Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program. Farmers and agricultural producers are certified for voluntarily managing their land in a way that conserves the state’s water.

To date, the program has evaluated and certified over 450,000 acres of Minnesota farmland. With the DNR’s commitment, 465,000 acres will be enrolled into the certification program.

“The DNR needs to be a leader in ensuring croplands we manage contribute to water quality goals,” said Tom Landwehr, DNR commissioner. “The certification program demonstrates to us, and to the people of Minnesota, that we are using best practices in our land management activities.”

The DNR’s small farm fields, mainly scattered across western and southern Minnesota, are managed to provide a supplemental food source for wildlife, particularly in winter months, to increase wildlife viewing or hunting opportunities, or to provide alternate food sources for wildlife to prevent crop damage on private lands.

In most cases, the DNR uses agreements with local farmers to plant and manage the fields. In return for planting and managing the crop, the cooperating farmer harvests a portion of the field for themselves and leaves the remaining crop to stand through the winter.

The DNR continually seeks opportunities to improve how it manages public lands administered by the agency, including cropland. Improving cropping practices on DNR lands can provide a number of desired benefits, including enhancing feeding opportunities for wildlife, protecting plants and animals on surrounding habitats, conserving and protecting water quality, protecting air quality, as well as sequestering carbon and conserving energy.

“The Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program has long been a collaborative effort between federal, state, and local partners,” said Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “We are pleased to enroll these DNR-owned lands into the program. This demonstrates how we can all work together to make clean water a priority.”

As a supporting partner in the water quality certification program, the DNR participated in the Agriculture Department’s initial efforts to pilot the program, certifying 900 acres of DNR land in 2015 in southeastern Minnesota.

In 2012, the state of Minnesota began developing the nation’s first Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program to protect and enhance the water quality of its rivers, lakes, streams, wetlands and groundwater.

The following year the Minnesota Legislature authorized the Department of Agriculture to begin implementing the program. Farm producers who implement the necessary conservation practices and participate in the program receive regulatory certainty for 10 years, recognition and priority for technical and financial assistance.

Learn more about the farmland certification program on the Department of Agriculture’s website at

Photo: DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr (left) and MN Dept. of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson sign agreement for MN Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program.

DNR plans public meeting to discuss CWD response efforts on Dec. 18

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 10:30am

The public can get more details about what the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is doing to respond to chronic wasting disease found in wild deer in southeastern Minnesota at a meeting scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 18, in Preston. 

At the meeting in the Fillmore Central School Auditorium, 702 Chatfield St., DNR staff will explain the CWD response efforts planned for this winter, including late-season special hunts, landowner shooting permits and targeted culling.

“DNR’s actions are designed to limit disease spread and keep Minnesota’s deer populations healthy,” said Lou Cornicelli, wildlife research manager. “We’re having this meeting so people can hear face-to-face about what’s going on and ask their own questions.”

Staff also will discuss potential future actions, including a snow-dependent aerial deer survey and expansion of the disease management zone, that now encompasses a 10-mile radius around the city of Preston.

To date, sampling efforts taken by the DNR in cooperation with hunters have detected 30 cases of the neurological disease in wild deer in southeastern Minnesota. The DNR discovered 12 new cases this fall in or around the disease management zone in Fillmore County. The agency discovered one additional case that was recently confirmed for a wild deer harvested in Houston County, about 30 miles from the disease management zone.

Complete Minnesota CWD test results, including locations of positive test results and statistics, are available on the DNR website at

Complete information for hunters about CWD for current and upcoming hunting seasons is online at