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Archive for December, 2014

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,200 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


How does the DNR decide whether to aerate a lake to prevent winterkill of fish? The DNR does not aerate lakes, but they do issue permits to lake associations, counties and other local partners who want to aerate shallow lakes that are prone to winterkill due to lack of dissolved oxygen in the water. Public safety is the primary concern, so these permits require aerated parts of the lake to be clearly marked with thin ice signs and located away from high-traffic areas such as boat launches and snowmobile trails.

DNR fisheries and wildlife managers often provide guidance on whether or not aeration is a good idea for a given lake. Some shallow lakes are important habitat for water fowl, where fish compete with ducks and geese for food while stirring up sediment that can harm aquatic vegetation. In those cases natural winterkill of fish serves an important biological purpose. Marilyn Danks, DNR aeration program specialist.


What exactly is Arctic Smoke along the North Shore? What causes it? Arctic smoke occurs when the air is colder than Lake Superior’s water temperature. Lake Superior surface water is about 40 degrees at this time, but the air above the lake often plummets to well below zero. On most winter mornings, you can see steam from the warmer water rising and quickly cooling, creating the effect of smoke hanging above the water.

A rarer sight is spiraling columns known as steam devils, which occur when there is a large difference between the air temperature and the lake temperature. As the air coming off the lake cools rapidly, it creates updrafts that cause the spirals to form. You need very cold air temperatures and a slight wind to see them, but as we commonly have minus 20-degree days, you can usually catch them a couple times each winter. This is information from Kelsey Olson, Gosseberry Falls State Park naturalist.


People can apply for early season spring wild turkey hunting permits now through Friday, Jan. 9, according to the DNR. The spring season, which runs from April 15 to May 28, is divided into eight time periods. Only people age 18 and older who want to hunt during the first three time periods [A-C] need to apply for a spring turkey permit. Permits for the remaining time periods [D-H] can be purchased over-the-counter.

Permits for the last five time periods and youth licenses for anytime period are sold over-the-counter starting March 1. Surplus adult licenses from the first three time periods, if available, are sold starting around mid-March.

“There are a lot of options for hunters. You can apply for an early spring permit or buy one over-the-counter,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife population and regulations manager. “For the second year, we’ve let youth hunt during all of the time periods, which makes it easier to introduce a young person to turkey hunting.” In Minnesota, hunters can hunt wild turkeys in spring and fall, but spring turkey hunting is much more popular. The first spring hunting time period begins on Wednesday, April 15.

Turkeys rear their young after the spring hunting season, and nesting success can influence how many turkeys are present during the fall hunting season that runs from early October through early November. For more information on turkey hunting, see http://www.mndr.gov/hunting/turkey.

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