FISH project reduces mercury in women on the Shore

Increased efforts to improve advice to women about eating fish are yielding positive results for the health of women on the North Shore.

Women involved in a follow-up group to a major project aimed at reducing mercury in women through changes in fish consumption were found to have decreased mercury levels in their blood, but they didn’t lower their consumption of healthy, low-mercury fish.

The Fish are Important to Superior Health (FISH) project started after a 2011 study by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) showed that 10 percent of newborns tested in the North Shore – Arrowhead region had mercury above levels of concern in their blood. Too much mercury can cause lasting problems with understanding and learning.


Forest Service to attempt to improve forest conditions through prescribed fire

If you are out and about the Superior National Forest in the next several weeks and smell smoke it very likely is a signal that fire crews are working to improve habitat for native wildlife and plants, to prepare sites for planting, or to reduce the threat of wildfire by reducing fuel build-up.
This management action is referred to as prescribed fire and it is a very important tool that forest managers use across the country in a variety of landscapes.
Prescribed fires are carefully planned far in advance with involvement from specialists in all of the resource programs on the Forest and are designed to be implemented under specific conditions to meet specific management objectives.
Several considerations go into planning a prescribed fire including vegetation types, presence of sensitive plants or animals, visitor use, moisture in the vegetation, winds, relative humidity, and predicted weather.


Eagles are active as spring breaks in the northland

TREE TOP LIFTOFF for this eagle looking for prey along Highway 169 in this photo by Bill Erzar.


Temporary Closure of Moose Lake and Ojibway Brush Disposal Sites

For public safety, the Moose Lake and Ojibway Brush Pile Disposal Sites managed by the USDA Forest Service east of Ely, Minnesota are closed for disposal of brush until further notice.
During this time, depositing more brush on top of smoldering piles is dangerous and may cause the fire to spread unnecessarily.
Ash and unburned debris may hold enough heat to cause injury to anyone approaching the smoldering piles. Smoke will be present and may be heavy at times as piles smolder or are rekindled.
Purpose: Fire crews began burning brush piles on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. Each disposal site holds a large volume of debris from the July 2016 Blowdown. We anticipate crews will continue burning at these sites over the next month. Piles are smoldering and are being monitored daily.
Please Note:


Be aware of bears this spring; DNR lists tips for avoiding conflicts

Anyone living near bear habitat is reminded to be aware of bears this spring and check their property for food sources that could attract bears.

“Leaving food out in yards that can be eaten by bears can lead to property damage and presents dangers to bears,” said Eric Nelson, wildlife animal damage program supervisor for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “Pet food, livestock feed, birdseed, compost or garbage can attract bears.”

As bears emerge from hibernation, their metabolism gradually ramps up and they will begin looking for food at a time when berries and green vegetation can be scarce.

Only black bears live in the wild in Minnesota. They usually are shy and flee when encountered. Never approach or try to pet a bear. Injury to people is rare, but bears are potentially dangerous because of their size, strength and speed.


Bat disease white-nose syndrome now confirmed in 6 Minnesota counties

Following the pattern observed in neighboring states, white-nose syndrome, a disease that can be fatal to hibernating bats, has now been confirmed in six Minnesota counties, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The disease has recently been confirmed in Becker, Dakota, Fillmore, Goodhue and Washington counties. Minnesota’s first confirmed case of WNS was in St. Louis County last March.

The disease is named for the white fungal growth observed on infected bats. It is not known to pose a threat to humans, pets, livestock or other wildlife.

The recent DNR bat surveys have recorded declines in the annual bat count ranging from 31 to 73 percent in locations where WNS has been confirmed. The 73 percent decrease was observed at Soudan Underground Mine in St. Louis County, where the disease was first confirmed in Minnesota a year ago. DNR biologists think the sharp decline there may reflect how long the disease has been present.


County land use permits available online

Need a building permit to add on to your home? How about to subdivide a parcel of land? Any land use permit offered by St. Louis County now can be applied and paid for online. This includes applications for structures, additions, land alterations, gravel pits, variances, conditional use permits, wetlands and property subdivisions.
St. Louis County administers zoning for all areas of the County outside of cities and a few select townships that handle their own zoning.
Through the new online permit application portals, people can apply 24/7 for permits such as for structures, additions, land alterations, gravel pits, variances, conditional use permits, wetlands and property subdivisions. The web address is crm.stlouiscountymn.gov. First time applicants will need to set up an account, which takes just a minute or two, and is free. Their information will then be stored, which will save them time in any future applications.


Ice houses off by March 20

Ice anglers in northern Minnesota are reminded ice shelter removal dates are approaching for lakes located north of Highway 200 and U.S. Highway 2, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
Dark houses, fish houses and portable shelters must be off the ice of inland lakes no later than midnight on Monday, March 20. For Minnesota–Canada border waters, the deadline for removal is March 31. Anglers are advised to remove shelters earlier if ice conditions warrant.
Enforcement action will be taken if shelters are left after the deadline. Anglers who don’t remove their shelter can be prosecuted.


Racoons work the night shift

By Bill Teftt. Photography by Ken
Hupila of Snotty Moose Studio.


Moose population remains low, but survey suggests 6-year population stability

Minnesota’s moose population shows signs of stability when comparing this year’s population estimate of 3,710 northeastern Minnesota moose with estimates since 2012, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

“At this point, results do not indicate that moose are recovering in northeastern Minnesota,” said Glenn DelGiudice, DNR moose project leader. “While it is encouraging to see that the decline in the population since 2012 has not been as steep, the apparent stability does not allow us to forecast the direction of the population’s trajectory into the future.”


Subscribe to RSS - Outdoors