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OutdoorMN News - DNR highlights science and management actions during Climate Week

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Minnesota’s climate is becoming warmer and wetter, and the Department of Natural Resources is taking action to identify climate-related changes, understand the impacts of these changes on the state’s natural resources and recreation, mitigate the impacts as much as possible, and adapt to those impacts that cannot be avoided. 

These actions range from measuring changes to alerting Minnesotans to the effects of climate change, to planting tree species that will survive better in a warmer climate, to installing renewable energy options, like solar panels, at state parks and DNR buildings.

“We want people to know that Minnesota’s climate is already changing and will continue to do so. Across state government, we are working together and with our partners to reduce our contributions to those changes and adapt to the changing climate and reduce negative impacts to Minnesota’s resources and people,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “Climate Week is a great opportunity to talk with Minnesotans about what we’re doing to manage for climate change.”

The DNR will highlight its management actions during Climate Week (Sept. 23-Sept. 28), when leaders across the country and world showcase efforts to address climate change. Now in its 11th year, Climate Week began in New York City in 2009 and this year will include a United Nations Climate Action Summit.

The DNR has been working hard to communicate the changes state climate experts are seeing. Toward that end, the DNR recently created a new website describing how Minnesota’s climate is changing, the impacts to natural resources and recreation, and what DNR is doing to address it.

The DNR is part of group of state agencies working on climate change adaptation and mitigation. It also collaborates with other partners, such as universities, federal agencies, local governments, and tribes, on climate change issues.

Climate change impacts
Data from the State Climatology Office indicate Minnesota’s temperatures are increasing – especially in winter – and large, more frequent extreme precipitation events are occurring. Minnesota has warmed 2.9 F between 1895 and 2017, while receiving an average of 3.4 inches more precipitation annually.

Climate changes are already impacting Minnesota’s wildlife, plants, waters, historic resources, infrastructure, and available outdoor recreation activities. Here are some examples:

  • As a result of warmer winters and longer growing seasons, some 535,000 acres of tamarack forests have been affected by Eastern larch beetle, an insect that Minnesota’s historically colder winters kept in check.
  • Lake ice seasons have shortened. For example, Lake Osakis—an average-sized lake in central Minnesota—now has “ice out” more than a week earlier now than it did in the 1940s. Early ice-out dates negatively affect a variety of winter recreation opportunities, such as ice fishing and cross-country skiing.
  • With warmer winters and more precipitation, rough fish are gaining a foothold in waters that provide important duck habitat. Rough fish degrade water quality, reducing the food available to migrating ducks.

DNR adapting to and managing for climate impacts
Minnesotans can see how the DNR is managing for climate impact in state parks and state forests, along lakeshores and in wildlife management areas, and in the infrastructure that the DNR builds and operates.

For example, at Blue Mounds State Park, a 2014 “mega-rain” event destroyed a dam, causing the Lower Mound Lake impoundment to drain. To avoid future destruction, and after extensive review with stakeholders, the DNR restored the creek to help the park handle future extreme precipitation events.

Other examples:

  • Foresters in southeastern Minnesota are planting swamp white oak, shagbark hickory, and bur oak in the understory of woodlands because forestry experts predict these species will thrive in Minnesota’s warmer, wetter climate.
  • The DNR is working with shoreland owners to maintain tree cover and thereby help curb rising water temperatures in certain lakes. This is critical for cisco (or “tullibee”), an important fish species that is prey for game fish and loons.
  • Since 2009, the DNR has installed 40 renewable energy systems at 31 locations across Minnesota. These systems generate 714,000 kilowatt hours of electric power. Also, the DNR has added more than 125 hybrid or electric cars to its vehicle fleet, increasing average fuel efficiency from 28.6 MPG to 38.3 MPG between 2014 and 2018.

Strommen said there is still a lot of work ahead for the DNR. The agency has made climate change a key priority and intends to work closely with stakeholders, other government agencies, and all Minnesotans to address climate change.

“We know that, by working closely with Minnesotans, we can better adapt to this significant challenge,” Strommen said. “We all have a stake in the future of our natural resources and recreation opportunities. By learning, adjusting, and doing our part individually, we can help Minnesota’s public lands, and the people who enjoy them, address and adapt to climate change.’’

Discuss below - to view set the hook here.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • Wanderer
      I happened to be out on the chain this morning and drove from Big Trout to the very west end where Pine River comes in.  Rutgers Bay was the worst for moss by far from what I saw.
    • back bay
      muskies - thanks - I think we are gonna stay in either lost bay or the brule - depending on where there are spots available when we get up there.  Any mainstays up there you can clue me in on as far as reefs go?  I see a few on the charts that meet the criteria but don't know if they are worthwhile and many are not named on the chart I was looking at.   If its closely guarded secret I understand.  Just trying to learn about a different style of fishing since the bays probably wont produce anything worthwhile by the time we get there.
    • smurfy
      Back at ya!!!👍 pretty warm on for sure.
    • Falconheart
      The Buhl pit lake at the end of the downtown one has a nice boat launch area and dock. Stubler lake across from campground has two fishing docks but no launch Mott put in Mt Irin has a boat launch  than there’s the another in Hibbing but don’t know the name
    • Muskies
      Chubs mostly...depending on the day and conditions. Always good to bring crawlers and leeches to try also.
    • tacklejunkie
      OK, I’ll give my report and see if anybody else has anything to say.    Headed out last Wednesday to Fish Lake. Just some bluegill and little perch and a couple of outside the slot walleye.  Then when evening came, switch from crawlers and spinners to leeches and spinners and picked up four walleye.  Three of them were within the slot.   Anywhere from 8 to 14 feet of water. A lot of recreation on the lake and it seemed the fishing for walleyes picked up later in the evening.    Just covering water on the flats and edges of weeds
    • ManBearPig
      Thank you for your reply Muskies!   Knowing now that there was a bug hatch going on during my last trip, as I suspected, I don't feel quite as bad about my fishing skills.   I'm  really looking forward to our end of July/early August trip.  This camping/fishing trip will be with  and old friend  that I've know since grade school days.  However, the last time that we camped together was in the BWCA about 40 years ago.  My plan has been to fish the mid-lake humps with crawlers on bottom bouncer/spinner rigs or just using jigs.  Now that you mentioned minnows, I may try to bring some of those as well.  As you using Fatheads on the jigs in late July?
    • Muskies
      Good morning Erik If you want to fish in July and August, the reefs are a good choice. I also look for shelves along side islands. The info received from the local people is correct. Use your electronics to find active fish. If you don’t see any fish move to a new spot. Once you find them a jig and minnow is a great choice. Good luck when you cone back.
    • Muskies
      Hello manbearpig, You were out in the middle of bug hatch...finally finishing up now. When you come back in late July try locate reefs in the 20-30 foot mark and you should have some luck. If you look at a map there are many in the area you were camping. I prefer using a jig and minnow as my go to but have  used different techniques over the years...depending on what the fish want. Hope you enjoyed your time on the lake.
    • PRO-V
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