Field Reports: DNR hopes plan will bring more ducks to Minnesota

At a ceremony Tuesday in St. Paul, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced it will pursue two new efforts to bring more ducks to the state's lakes, according to a DNR news release.

At a ceremony Tuesday in St. Paul, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced it will pursue two new efforts to bring more ducks to the state's lakes, according to a DNR news release.

The gathering celebrated the formal signing of the state's first-ever shallow-lakes plan and the publication of new state guidelines for creating and managing temporary wetlands.

"Hunters want more ducks. We do, too," DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten said in a prepared statement. "To make this happen, we are refocusing our sights on existing public ownership. Our goal is to improve what we have and create what we don't."

Specifically, the agency plans to increase emphasis on building shallow, food-filled seasonal wetlands on state-owned Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). The building and managing of seasonal wetlands is called moist-soil management. These temporary wetlands can be powerful magnets for attracting migrating ducks in spring and fall, according to the DNR.

These two strategies will complement the agency's other pillars of waterfowl management, which are providing refuge and feeding areas and creating multi-square mile complexes of grassland and water.


Waterfowl leaders at Tuesday's ceremony reacted to the DNR's announcement.

"We like it," Ryan Heiniger, Ducks Unlimited director of conservation programs in Minnesota and Iowa, said in a prepared statement. "Shallow lakes are the cornerstone of Minnesota's remaining habitat. Improving these basins meets the goals of the DNR's duck recovery plan and our Living Lakes conservation initiative."

"Our organization was founded on the importance of shallow lakes to Minnesota waterfowl," Brad Nylin, executive director of the Minnesota Waterfowl Association, said in a prepared statement. "It makes sense to maximize the potential of these assets."

The DNR's new shallow-lakes plan is a 53-page blueprint for rebuilding waterfowl populations by focusing on managing 1,800 of Minnesota's shallow lakes.

The DNR's new moist-soil management guide is a 60-page document that details how to create and manage temporary wetlands that mimic naturally occurring seasonal wetlands.

"It's a cookbook for how to create temporary wetlands by manipulating water by the inch rather than the foot," said Dave Schad, director of the DNR's Division of Fish and Wildlife. "We have trained our staff on these new guidelines. We're looking forward to getting projects on the ground this spring and summer."

BWCAW lottery now open

The lottery for Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness permits opened Dec. 1 and will continue through Jan. 15. The lottery provides the first opportunity for visitors to reserve a BWCAW permit for the coming season.


Applicants must set up an account on to enter the lottery. Application results can be viewed online between Jan. 16 and 20.

Faxed or mailed applications, and payments made by check and money order, are no longer accepted. Only successful applicants will be charged a non-refundable $12 reservation fee and applicable overnight user fees.

Beginning Jan. 20, first-come first-served wilderness permit reservations can be made online at . Reservations can be made by phone beginning Feb. 1 by calling the new National Recreation Reservation Service toll-free at (877) 444-6777, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Central Time.

The BWCAW lottery was established to fairly distribute available quotas for entry dates and entry points where demand exceeds availability, according to the U.S. Forest Service. For people who know their desired entry date and location well in advance, the lottery offers an early opportunity to make a reservation. In the lottery process, permits are awarded through a computer-generated, random selection.

Duluth city bow hunt harvest hits 543

A total of 543 deer have been taken so far this fall in the Duluth city bow hunt, according to the Arrowhead Bowhunters Alliance. The hunt opened Sept. 18 and continues through Dec. 31.

Of the 543, 463 were antlerless deer and 80 were adult bucks. Last year hunters in the city took a total of 586 deer, 84 percent of them antlerless.

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