May 13, 2021

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UMC crew clears brushland habitat, DNR walleye egg take closed to public etc.

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Apr. 10—UMC crew clears brushland habitat

Students from the University of Minnesota Crookston chapter of The Wildlife Society, along with faculty, staff and other students cleared about 35 acres of encroaching tamarack trees last month at the Palmville Wildlife Management Area in Roseau County.

According to a UMC news release, 13 students and one faculty member coordinated with Gary Huschle of the Minnesota Sharp-tailed Grouse Society, which sponsored the event. Clearing the tamaracks will enhance habitat for a variety of brushland wildlife, including sharptails, American woodcock, golden-winged warblers and others.

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John Loegering, a professor in the UMC Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, sponsored van transportation to the site. Removing the tamarack trees reduces the possible perching sites for predators, Loegering said.

“Cutting them opens the landscape and improves the cover for many species,” he said. “Our work will open that brushland for the next 25 years or more.”

The 15 volunteers each logged 10 hours of time valued at about $20 an hour. The Sharp-tailed Grouse Society can use that work as an organizational match when applying for grants, Loegering said.

“That is $3,000 worth,” Loegering said, adding that the society applies for grants that typically require a 5% match. “Thus, our work ($3,000) translates into an additional $60,000 in grant funds.”

That additional money will be used to pay for the prescribed fire crew or the winter bulldozer and brush shearing crew that will follow the students’ efforts.

“The work we did (in March) was impactful beyond the habitat improvement,” Loegering said. — Herald staff report

NDGF seeks info on elk poaching

A reward of up to $3,600 is being offered for information that leads to a conviction in connection with a February elk poaching case near Keene, N.D., in western North Dakota.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department said wardens continue to seek information about the case, in which two bull elk were shot and left in a field north of Keene. The bulls were most likely shot in the afternoon or evening of Feb. 17, 2021. One of the bulls had only its head removed, and one was left intact. No meat was taken off of either animal.

Anyone with information about the poaching incident should contact the Report All Poachers hotline at (701) 328-9921. Callers can remain anonymous if they choose and are eligible for a reward if a conviction is made based on information they provide. — Herald staff report

Greenway specialist offers updates

Crews from the Grand Forks Public Works Department have installed signage at the new Red River access site in Kannowski Park.

People have been accessing the riverbank on their own, said Kim Greendahl, Greenway specialist for the city of Grand Forks.

“Last year, we started clearing a wider area and adding some signage to direct others to the site,” Greendahl said. “It could also be a good spot for canoes and kayaks to leave or enter the water.”

The dock in downtown Grand Forks will be going in late this season, Greendahl said. A contractor will add cable blocks along the riverbank to make maintenance easier, she said.

“That will also give a sturdier surface for the heavy equipment used to install and remove the dock,” Greendahl said, adding she hopes the dock can be installed by mid-June.

Low water levels on the Red River also will provide the opportunity for crews to clear vegetation from the riprap between the north pedestrian bridge and Riverside Dam, Greendahl said.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requires that the riprap be free of vegetation, but the river has always been too high to safely work,” she said. “This is definitely the year to get the area cleared.” — Herald staff report

Most NDGF offices reopen

North Dakota Game and Fish Department offices, except for Riverdale, N.D., are open to public access again after being closed to walk-in traffic since last spring because of the coronavirus pandemic, the department said this week in a news release.

The Riverdale office will remain closed to walk-in traffic since it does not have an administrative assistant. People will need to call ahead and make an appointment or contact the Bismarck office at (701) 328-6300 for assistance.

Following the North Dakota Smart Restart guidelines, outdoor enthusiasts must sign in upon entering for contact tracing purposes, and face coverings are recommended.

Game and Fish reminds hunters and anglers that all hunting and fishing license purchases, boat registrations and lottery applications are conducted online, including gratis deer applications. Licenses can be purchased at more than 140 vendor locations throughout the state.

For more hunting, fishing, trapping and boating information, visit the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov. — Herald staff report

DNR walleye egg take closed to public

Fisheries crews from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will collect walleye eggs this spring, but social distancing requirements mean the popular springtime activity will not be open for public viewing this year, the DNR said.

Hatcheries, the destination for the eggs collected, also remain closed to the public.

“Egg take operations are neat things to watch,” said Henry Drewes, Northwest Region fisheries supervisor in Bemidji. “But the closeness required to observe this work makes it impossible for onlookers to maintain safe and adequate social distancing among themselves and from DNR staff.”

Last year, DNR fisheries biologists did not collect walleye eggs because of COVID-related considerations. This year, egg collection procedures have been re-engineered to minimize close contact among employees.

Egg take stations and hatcheries will remain closed and offer no tours through 2021.

“We’re asking that people respect these closures and not visit these sites so we can work safely,” Drewes said. “We really appreciate the interest in our work, but keeping the public and DNR staff healthy is our number one priority.” — Herald staff report

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