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Rick

OutdoorMN News - New underwater-themed geocaching challenge begins on Earth Day

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Rick

A new geocaching challenge called the Aquatic Quest, which focuses on plants and animals that live in Minnesota’s lakes, rivers and ponds, is being offered by the Department of Natural Resources.

“Geocaching has been an effective way for us to connect people, especially kids, with the outdoors,” said Jennifer Conrad, interpretive services supervisor for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “Not only will this new treasure hunt be fun, it will also help demonstrate that, beneath the surface, Minnesota’s waters are flowing with interconnected life forms.”

As part of the challenge, camouflaged containers (aka “geocaches,” or “caches” for short) have been hidden at 74 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas (at all of them except the St. Croix Islands State Recreation Area) and at eight state trails. Geocachers will have until Oct. 31, 2020, to find as many caches as they can. Finding the caches involves entering numeric coordinates into a GPS (Global Positioning System) device, which shows how far away and in which direction to go to get started on the treasure hunt.

The clues (aka “coordinates”) to finding the containers will be posted online at 8 a.m., Sunday, April 22, which is Earth Day.

People who don’t have their own GPS device can borrow one from one of the many Minnesota state parks designated as a geocaching checkpoint. The checkpoint parks will also offer Geocaching 101 programs to provide instructions for beginners.

Upcoming Geocaching 101 programs will be offered:

  • Saturday, April 21, from 1 to 2 p.m., Mille Lacs Kathio State Park, Onamia.
  • Saturday, May 19, from 1 to 2:30 p.m., Fort Snelling State Park, St. Paul.
  • Saturday, May 26, from 9 to 10 a.m., Afton State Park, Hastings.

Inside each cache is a logbook and a set of collectible cards featuring color photos of aquatic plants and critters. Cache finders are encouraged to sign the logbook and take one of the cards as a souvenir of their visit.

Geocachers can earn a special “habitat” card after finding 10, 20, 40, 60 and all of the cards. They also can pick up a limited-edition water recreation card (one each year) when they attend a geocaching or water-themed program at Minnesota state parks and trails.

The Aquatic Quest is the fifth in a series of geocaching adventures that have been offered at Minnesota state parks and trails. Previous adventures included the Call of the Wildflowers (2015-2017), the Avian Adventure (2012-2014), the Wildlife Safari (2009-2011), and the History Challenge presented by the retailer Best Buy (2008).

More than 11,000 people reported finding a Call of the Wildflowers geocache in 2017, Conrad said.

For more information, visit www.mndnr.gov/geocaching or contact the DNR Information Center at [email protected] or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays).

Discuss below - to view set the hook here.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • eyeguy 54
      gotta love the sound of gills biting  
    • leech~~
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    • monstermoose78
    • Rick
      Analysis shows groundwater use is sustainable, but does affect lake  A scientific analysis recently completed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows that groundwater use in the White Bear Lake area meets the state sustainability standard. The analysis also shows that groundwater use in the area has contributed to lower water levels in White Bear Lake and that multi-year bans on residential irrigation will have a minimal effect on lake levels. A high-level summary is available at mndnr.gov/gwmp/wbl. The DNR also published the findings of the analysis in today’s edition of the White Bear Press. “We’re committed to working with local communities to make sure that the waters in and around White Bear Lake continue to provide their many benefits to the people who live and do business there, now and into the future,” said Barb Naramore, DNR assistant commissioner. “This analysis provides a valuable tool for those efforts.” The DNR conducted this analysis in response to an August 2017 Ramsey County District Court ruling, which directed the DNR to determine whether existing water appropriation permits within 5 miles of White Bear Lake meet the state’s sustainability standard, both individually and cumulatively. That ruling also required the DNR to impose a variety of conditions on existing water permits in the area, including a requirement that communities ban residential irrigation when White Bear Lake is below 923.5 feet in elevation. As part of ongoing efforts to manage water resources in the north and east metro area, the DNR has worked with a consultant to develop a state-of-the-science groundwater flow model. This new tool allows modelers to assess the impacts of various pumping scenarios on lake and aquifer levels over time and distinguish among the relative impacts of groundwater use in different areas. Previous models could not make these kinds of assessments. Using this new model, the DNR evaluated whether permitted pumping within a 5-mile radius of White Bear Lake is sustainable as defined in state law. The analysis confirmed that the state standard would be met even if all currently permitted groundwater users were to pump the maximum amount allowed for multiple years in a row. The state sustainability standard requires: Groundwater use does not jeopardize future groundwater supplies. Groundwater use does not harm the White Bear Lake ecosystem. Groundwater use does not degrade the water quality of White Bear Lake. Groundwater use does not lower water levels beyond the reach of public water supplies or private domestic wells. The DNR used the groundwater model to look at impacts based on four different scenarios: no groundwater use, existing groundwater use, existing groundwater use with a temporary residential irrigation ban, and maximum groundwater use with all permitted users pumping as much as allowed for multiple years in a row. Water levels in White Bear Lake fluctuate naturally. Such fluctuations benefit lake health by promoting the growth of vegetation that provides aquatic habitat and stabilizes shorelines. The model shows that pumping groundwater increases these fluctuations, particularly on the lower end of the lake’s water level range, making the lows lower. While current groundwater use does not violate the sustainability standard, lower water levels, particularly those below 922.0 feet, do disrupt or diminish some recreational uses of the lake. In order to support these recreational uses, the DNR established a protective elevation of 922.0 feet in 2016. With the new model, the DNR is now able to work with the permit holders having the greatest influence on White Bear Lake, to identify potential changes to water use that can help support recreational uses of the lake. Over the next few months, the DNR will meet with area cities, businesses and residents to discuss the analysis and its implications. The agency is working with these local interests to implement a groundwater management plan that ensures continued sustainability. A copy of the technical analysis and other information is available at mndnr.gov/gwmp/wbl. Discuss below - to view set the hook here.
    • eyeguy 54
      @monstermoose78   almost time to plan a get-together.