White Iron Chain Of Lakes Association

News & Updates Blog

WICOLA and The Great American Canoe Festival!

The Great American Canoe Festival was held at Ely’s Semers Beach on June 10th through 11th 2017.

We wish to extend our appreciation to the many people who took the time to stop by the WICOLA Booth to learn more about the WICOLA Organization as well as learn more about Aquatic Invasive Species, the Citizen Sentry Program, and methods to prevent the spread of AIS into the White Iron Chain of Lakes. During the festival, WICOLA distributed Aquatic Invasive Species information to more than 140 individuals who stopped by the WICOLA Booth.

For additional information on AIS, click on the “Educational Tab” on the WICOLA Homepage and then “Aquatic Invasive Species”.

 

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Ely AIS Decontamination Station

Please Help Protect Our Waters from Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS).

The methods for preventing the spread of AIS are simple and do not take much time.  These invasive plants and animals “hitch a ride” on our boats, trailers, jet skis, fishing gear, and other recreational gear.  Cleaning this equipment properly every time before transporting it is the best preventive measure for stopping the spread of AIS.

Specialized decontamination stations in the Ely area (3 in total) are now available for residents and non-residents free of charge.

The decontamination station closest to the White Iron Chain is located at the Ely Chamber of Commerce parking lot (intersection of Hwy 169 and Hwy 1, Ely, MN 55731). The process takes just 7 to 10 minutes.

WICOLA strongly encourages members to decontaminate their boats when moving lake-to-lake and to also encourage their guests bringing boats to our Chain of Lakes to also take advantage of this decontamination service.

The hours of operation for the Ely Chamber of Commerce decontamination station are;

Friday thru Sunday - 9am-5pm (Also open July 3-4, and Labor Day)

For additional information on AIS, click on the “Educational Tab” on the WICOLA Homepage and then “Aquatic Invasive Species”.

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Living with Fire - FREE one-day informational workshop

Saturday, July 8th  •  8 am–5pm

Vermilion Community College (Classroom 104)

Attend this FREE one-day informational workshop designed for seasonal and permanent residents and visitors to our area. Understand why we should care about wildfire and what steps we can take to live safely in a fi re dependent environment.

Includes fire ecology and behavior, history of fire in Ely area, how to make your home more resilient to wildfire, evacuation planning and ways to create a more healthy forest environment. Workshops given by USFS wildfire personnel, MN DNR Firewise specialist, County Emergency managers, local firefighting professionals and the Lakes States project coordinator from the Forest Stewards Guild. Afternoon breakout demonstration tours. Lunch provided with kids activities.  Register for a Free Prize given away at the end of the day!

For more information and to register visit https://tinyurl.com/elylivingwithfire or contact Gloria Erickson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 218-365-0878

8:00–8:30 Registration for tours and Free Prize! Coffee and morning snacks

8:30–9:15 Fire Ecology and Behavior Gus Smith, USFS Kawishiwi District Ranger History of Fire Ely Area Timo Rovo, USFS West Zone FMO

9:30–10:15 Fuels Reduction Basics and Strategies Jeffery Jackson, DNR NE Firewise Specialist

10:30–11:15 Living in a Fire Environment Directors of Emergency Management— BJ Kohlstedt, Lake County Dewey Johnson, St. Louis County Fire Chief: Ted Krueger Morse/Fall Lake Townships; Engine Captain USFS Wildland Fire Suppression: Tom Roach Evacuation Planning— Personal & Neighborhood wide Fire Chief: Larry McCray Eagle’s Nest Township

11:30–12:15 Forest Stewards Guild: Lakes States Project Coordinator— Michael Lynch

12:30–1:15 Lunch: Provided with donation as a fundraiser for local youth Vendor Exhibits! Activities for the Kids! Meet Smokey Bear! Fire Trucks, Wood Chipper and More!

1:30–3:30 Choose one Breakout Tour (Bring water bottle, weather appropriate gear and sturdy walking shoes/boots)

1) Firewise Best Practices Demonstration around home structure and beyond

2) Incident Command Scenario of the Hwy 1 Fire

3) Tours of Fuel Reduction Sites: Hand thinning, machine thinning and prescribed burn site

4) Sim Table (www.simtable.com) Wildfire Scenario

4:00–4:45 Wrap up Panel Discussion. Drawing for Free Prize!!!!!

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Removing lake plants could require a permit

Lakeshore property owners are reminded that the Minnesota DNR oversees activity on both the shoreline as well as in the water. For additional information, click on the “Educational Tab” on the WICOLA Homepage and then “Shoreline Management”.

By Minnesota DNR

Lakeshore property owners are reminded that a permit may be required to remove aquatic plants. 

“We remind folks each year that aquatic plants are essential to healthy lake ecosystems and property owners who want to remove them should check the regulations to see if they need a permit,” said Steve Enger, supervisor of the aquatic plant management program for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Aquatic plants provide food and shelter for fish, ducks and other wildlife. They stabilize the lake bottom, which helps maintain water clarity. These plants also protect shorelines from erosion by absorbing energy from waves and ice.

Property owners who want to remove aquatic plants with devices that create strong water currents need to know that such devices are illegal to use in a way that uproots plants, moves sediment or excavates the lake bottom.

Specific regulations govern what situations require permits for aquatic plant removal. Aquatic plant regulations and a guide to aquatic plants can be found on the aquatic plant regulations page, or by calling 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367. To apply for a permit, visit the DNR’s permitting and reporting system webpage.

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Need Information on Lake Water Levels?

Minnesota Power operates Birch and Garden Lake Reservoirs’ water levels to maintain target parameters throughout the year as required by a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) License. To learn more about these operating objectives, click on the “Educational Tab” on the WICOLA Homepage and then “Lake / Reservoir Levels”.

To view current water level elevations, flow, and conditions, please check the Minnesota Power webpage at;

http://web15.mnpower.com/web/public/Hydro/ShorelandTraditions/Levels.html

And the USGS stream flow report covering the inflow to Birch Lake Reservoir at;

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/mn/nwis/uv/?site_no=05125000&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060

What to look for on the Minnesota Power Webpage

The Kawishiwi River Basin Chart includes the current Lake and Lake Reservoir Elevations for Birch, White Iron and Garden Lakes. The Chart also includes the Current Flow from the Birch Lake Reservoir into White Iron and the Flow from Garden to Fall Lake at Kawishiwi Falls.

The Garden Lake and Birch Lake Operating Band Charts can also be found on this page on the lower left corner under the title Kawishiwi River Basin Information. These charts graph the “Target” lake elevations as well as the “Upper” and “Lower” Operating Bands. These charts can be used along with the “Current Elevations Data” to help you determine where water levels are forecasted to be and how that might affect your shoreline and dock positioning.

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Aquatic Invasive Species Citizen Sentry Program

Join your friends and neighbors as we learn how to monitor our favorite waters!  Much like our ‘rusty crayfish trappers’, WICOLA wants to help you learn how to identify other invasive species and keep an eye on our beautiful chain of lakes.

Despite efforts on the part of numerous state and local agencies, current monitoring efforts are outmatched by the sheer size and number of lakes in Minnesota. In order to prevent additional Aquatic invasive species (AIS) from establishing on lakes in the area and to track the status of already infested lakes, WICOLA is sponsoring a citizen science monitoring education program. This program aims to narrow the monitoring gap by training citizen monitors as ‘sentries’.  By keeping an eye on an area they know well, a sentry is well poised to recognize when the health of their lake is changing. Sentries will be given a field guide and training administered by Lake County to aid identification and surveying. Data collected by volunteers will be passed along to Lake County Soil & Water Conservation District and infestations will also be reported to the MNDNR.

Trainings for citizen monitors, structured as a session to learn more about identifying aquatic plants and animals, will be held at a few different lakes in the Ely Area:

June 10th at Shagawa Lake- part of the Great American Canoe Festival offerings

June 14th at Vermilion Lake

June 24th at Farm Lake

July 8th at Burntside Lake

Identification sessions will run from 9am-12:30pm and include classroom and lakeside training.  A light breakfast is included.  WICOLA is providing these classes to you at no charge as part of a grant received from Lake County to support AIS education.   Please consider filling out and sending in the attached registration form; 2017-CitizenSentryRegistration-3.pdf 

If you have questions, please contact Mary Setterholm at;

612-741-8761 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Spread the word, not the species!

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Governor Dayton Announces Ten Water Quality Town Hall Meetings to Be Held Across Minnesota

Joined by environmental advocates, lawmakers, and concerned Minnesotans for Water Action Day at the Minnesota State Capitol, Governor Mark Dayton today announced a series of Water Quality Town Hall meetings beginning in late July. The town halls will offer Minnesotans an opportunity to discuss the water quality challenges facing their communities and our state, learn from experts, and engage with policymakers. The town hall meetings build on the momentum from Governor Dayton’s “25 by 25” Water Quality goal proposal, announced earlier this year.

Town hall meetings have been scheduled in communities across Minnesota. Additional scheduling details will be made available ahead of the events.

Make sure to Mark Your Calendars to Save the Date and attend the Water Quality Town Hall this Fall in Ely.

Ely – Water Quality Town Hall

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

For additional information on Governor Dayton’s Water Quality Town Hall Meetings;

https://mn.gov/governor/blog/?id=290535

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Wildfire Prevention Week April 16-22

By Minnesota DNR April 16, 2007

To increase awareness of outdoor wildfire hazards, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced that April 16-22 is Wildfire Prevention Week. Minnesotans are asked to be thoughtful about how and when they use fire.

The DNR has initiated spring burning restrictions to reduce the number of unintended fires. A burning permit is required to burn vegetative material unless there is at least 3 inches of snow on the ground. The DNR or local governments may also restrict burning if weather conditions warrant.

Visit the DNR’s statewide fire danger and current burning restriction webpage before starting a fire. Also check local weather conditions.

Visit the Wildfire Prevention webpage to learn more about wildfire prevention.

Most wildfires in Minnesota occur in the spring. Last year’s dry vegetation can quickly catch fire between the time snow has melted and plants or grasses green up. Fires escaping a debris burn is the number-one cause of wildfires. Campfires escaping the fire ring on dry, windy days is another important cause of wildfires.

“The DNR is already fighting wildfires thanks to the mild winter and early spring,” said Linda Gormanson, DNR burning permits coordinator. “Dead or dormant vegetation can easily catch fire since we’ve had little precipitation so far this spring.”

Because escaped debris burning fires are the biggest cause of wildfires in Minnesota, Gormanson recommends mulching or composting vegetative debris to avoid these fires in the first place. If plans include a campfire, Gormanson said clear the area around the campfire and keep the fire to less than 3 feet in diameter and height. Keep a shovel and water on hand, watch the campfire continuously and make sure it is completely out before leaving.

So far this year, 455 fires have burned 1,238 acres.  On average each year, Minnesota fire agencies respond to 1,500 wildfires that burn over 42,000 acres at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.

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Lake “Ice Out” Observations from members; April 14th 2016

It has been reported to the DNR for White Iron Lake; “Ice out on April 14, 2017”.

Though the south end of White Iron has been mostly Ice free for the last week, the north end just opened up this morning at about 11:00 AM. The North end of white iron lake is called ice free if it is clear from the Silver Rapids Bridge across to the public landing across the lake on pine road.

For those that may be wondering, Ice Out for White Iron last year was on April 20th.

It has been reported to the DNR that Farm lake "Ice out was yesterday, April 13th".

Let's go fishing, boating and canoeing while enjoying and preserving these wonderful waters we call “The White Iron Chain of Lakes”.

White Iron Lake - If you look close you can see buds on some of the trees.

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Aquatic Invasive Species Sentry Program

The Great American Canoe Festival presents the Aquatic Invasive Species Sentry Program.

Join the AIS Sentry program and learn to survey your favorite body of water and identify aquatic invasive species. Sentries will be given a field guide and training administered by Lake and St. Louis Counties to aid identification and surveying of AIS.

Identification sessions will run on Saturday, June 10 from 9am-12:30pm and include classroom and lakeside training (Semers Beach). Spread the word, not the species!

This is the first of four AIS Citizen Sentry training opportunities sponsored by WICOLA this summer.

___June 10th- Shagawa Lake (Classroom at Semer’s Park Pavilion)

___June 14th- Vermilion Lake (Classroom at Greenwood Town Hall)

___June 24th- Farm Lake (Classroom at Kawishiwi Ranger station)

___July   8th- Burntside Lake (Classroom at Listening Point Yurt

Consider participating at any of the training dates by completing the registration form; 2017-CitizenSentryRegistration-3.pdf. For all training sessions, plan to arrive at the Classroom site at 8:30 am.  A light breakfast will be served.  After classroom instruction, you will be outside for 2 hours - dress for the weather (consider sunscreen and bug spray).

After the training session at the Great American Canoe Festival, make sure to stop by the WICOLA booth as you peruse the festival.

Check out The Great American Canoe Festival Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/greatamericancanoefest/posts/1888940064651271:0

Also check out the schedule of events on The Great American Canoe Festival webpage:

http://www.greatamericancanoefest.com/event-schedule

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Stop AIS Spread During Fishing Tournaments - An Effective Program from Cass County and Muskies Inc.

By Minnesota Lakes & Rivers Advocates (MLR)

Free Webinar April 12th, 3:00pm 

Almost weekly MLR receives emails from lake folks concerned about the risk of AIS spread during fishing tournaments. With tournaments permitted in infested lakes one week, and uninfested lakes the next, their concern is not unfounded. Also, public accesses tend to be heavily infested and so more likely to contaminate exiting watercraft. Starry stonewort raises concerns even higher.

While fishing boats tend to be lower risk than other types of water craft such as wake board boats, and anglers tend to be well informed about AIS issues in general, the sheer numbers and movement of watercraft give legitimate cause for concern.

So far neither DNR permitting rules nor the MN Legislature has taken action to regulate fishing tournaments in an effort to reduce use of infested lakes, or to schedule tournaments in such a way as to minimize risk of spread.

Local action, however, has made progress. Shortly after the County AIS Prevention Aid was passed, the Cass County AIS Task Force took a look at the fishing tournament issue. Rima Smith Keprios, the Cass County AIS Coordinator called Eric Bakke, tournament director of Minnesota's largest fishing event, the Frank J. Schneider Memorial Muskie Tournament, put on by the Twin Cities Chapter of Muskies Inc. 

This tournament is Muskie Inc.'s oldest tournament, 40 years old, and includes over 500 fishermen on 20 lakes in Minnesota. It is large and complex - the perfect situation to try a pilot project. The first year there were a few bumps. Tournament organizer Eric Bakke and Rima Smith Keprios received a lot of phone calls. Rima had to go the extra mile to do late night inspections and provide tournament AIS forms to participants who forgot to bring theirs.

But last year the issues were ironed out and things ran smoothly. This year they are ready to share their program with you. You can now avoid their mistakes and lower the risk of AIS spread during a fishing tournament.

On Wednesday, April 12th, at 3:00 p.m., MLR will host a free Webinar by Rima and Eric that will lay out the program they have developed. Open water is just around the corner, so now is the time to begin to lay the groundwork to close this vector of spread.

 free Webinar registration. 

 

 

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“Spring” Lake Ice Observations from members; April 4 th 2017

White Iron Lake

The ice continues to recede!

The open water continues to grow at the White Iron mid-lake narrows.

 

White Iron Lake – Open water

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Forest Service to hold meeting on prescribed burns

The U.S. Forest Service will hold a public meeting on the Superior National Forest’s 2017 prescribed burn plans.

The meeting will be held on April 10 at 7 p.m. at the Vermilion Community College Theater.

Also to be discussed will be a review of how a prescribed fire on Foss Lake in 2016 turned into a wildfire when it escaped man made boundaries and began running toward Ely.

There will also be discussion on fire adapted communities.

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“Spring” Lake Ice Observations from members; April 1st 2017

White Iron Lake

The ice is starting to go! The first picture shows the ice has started turning dark.  The second picture shows the open water that has been growing for the last 10 days in the White Iron mid-lake narrows. Last weekend, four-wheelers were out on the ice with fisherman near the open area.

White Iron Lake – Ice turning dark

 

White Iron Lake – Open water

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Twin Metals Owner Revealed as Ivanka Trump’s Washington, D.C. Landlord

Quetico Superior Foundation 3/8/17

An investigation by the Wall Street Journal has discovered a financial connection between the owner of a Chilean mining company with its sights on metals in land adjacent to the Boundary Waters, and the family of President Donald Trump.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner are renting a Washington, D.C. house that is owned by Andrónico Luksic, head of Antofagasta PLC, which controls the Twin Metals mine proposal.

“Antofagasta’s long history of pollution is no secret,” said Becky Rom of the Save the Boundary Waters campaign in a statement. “But we now know the lengths to which they will go to curry favor with the Trump administration in order to enrich their foreign executives at Minnesota’s expense.”

A representative of Luksic and the White House both claimed the family was paying market value for the rent, though neither party would disclose the amount. Luksic’s company has not yet filed necessary paperwork to collect rent on the house, and the house was also never listed for rent.

Lawyers that the reporters asked about the issue said if the couple is paying market rent, there might not be a problem, but, “deservedly or not, critics may still question the propriety of entering into any significant transaction with an individual with these apparent interests before the administration.”

Antofagasta is currently suing the federal government over former President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw federal mineral leases the company needs to operate the proposed mine.

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New Invasive Plant Raises Concerns and Questions as it Nears Northern Minnesota

Quetico Superior Foundation 2/20/17

A form of algae known to quickly take over lakes has been making its way across the Great Lakes region at a startling speed. Starry Stonewort was found in Minnesota for the first time in 2015, and then again last September, in Lake Winnibigoshish, only about 80 miles from the Superior National Forest. It was also found to have spread to other lakes in central Minnesota.

The plant is hard to eradicate, because herbicides usually only kill the parts of the plant they touch, the Associated Press reported. It is easily transported by boats and trailers.

Scientists have lamented the lack of research into the plant, and worry it could hurt wild rice, a food source for many people and important cultural resource of the Ojibwa. Scientists also say it might not do well in northern Minnesota lakes.

“Our climate suggests that Minnesota has some areas of moderate suitability, but not the best climate,’’ Dan Larkin of the University of Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), told the West Central Tribune.

The MAISRC is conducting several research projects into the plant, including:

·         Where else in the United States is vulnerable to starry stonewort invasion

·         How it grow and spreads, including how long it can stay alive out of water

·         What herbicides work best to control starry stonewort, and what impacts the chemicals could have on other  species

According to the U.S. Geological Society, it poses a particular threat because it can be moved from lake to lake by birds and animals as well as people. The plant’s special reproductive cells called oocytes that attach to fur and feathers.

Starry stonewort is aggressive, and easily out-competes other plants. It forms dense underwater mats, blocking growth of native species. This hurts fish habitat, as it crowds out the plants bass and sunfish spawn in, and the fish don’t reproduce in the invasive’s thick growth. It has also been linked to increased water clarity in lakes, which disrupts the ecosystem in significant ways.

The plant is native to Europe and Asia, and thought to have been brought to North America in the ballast water of ships. Its little white star-shaped bulbs usually show up in August and into the fall.

“It almost looks like fishing line when you pull up your weeds and it’s got the little stars on him that’s the easiest thing to look for with this guy,” the DNR’s Mike Bolinski told MPR News. “It looks like a monofilament and then they’ve got little white knots on them that look just like stars.”

It was first found in the state in Lake Koronis, in central Minnesota, where the lake association and the Department of Natural Resources are in the middle of an $800,000 management and research project. It has so far included intense harvesting to control the spread. The DNR reports it was probably brought to the lake on boat trailers from elsewhere. The plant can grow from just small pieces and parts on watercraft and equipment.

Boaters can help limit the spread of starry stonewort and other non-native aquatic plants by following the Clean, Drain, Dispose protocol, which is required by law in Minnesota. Lake users should also contact the DNR if they believe they find starry stonewort.

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Information on DNR Fish and Wildlife license fee initiative

Recently, you may have heard that Governor Dayton has proposed to bolster Minnesota’s natural resources and outdoor recreation.

 In 2017, a modest increase has been proposed on hunting and fishing licenses which will require State Legislative approval to be enacted.

In an effort to inform hunters and anglers about this proposal, the DNR will be holding a series of public information meetings across the state. The DNR has arranged to have a meeting in Ely at;

Vermilion Community College on Wednesday, March 1st at 6 pm in the Classroom Building Room 110.

Visit the DNR website for more information:

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/licensedollarsatwork/index.html

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AIS Research on Mille Lacs Lake may explain walleye woes

Duluth News Tribune 2/19/17

Researchers hope to get to the bottom of the challenges that face Mille Lacs Lake walleyes by digging deep into the lake's past.

A group of researchers drilled seven core samples from the lake floor this past week, hoping to look back at least 50 years at what was going on then and now, specifically since the invasive species, spiny waterflea, was discovered there in 2009.

The group of scientists from the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and University of Minnesota Duluth plan to analyze that 50 years’ worth of sediment pulled from the lake, after extracting about 200 years’ worth from the icy depths. Researchers hope to learn more about the role that spiny waterfleas have had in disrupting the food web and contributing to the decrease in walleye numbers.

Researchers will analyze the data to identify potential ecosystem impacts that could be felt by game fish like walleye. This study could also help researchers learn more about the long-term threat to fish posed by spiny waterflea, and how Minnesotans will be affected, according to Christine Lee, communications specialist with Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.

Donn Branstrator, associate professor with the University of Minnesota Duluth, partnered with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center for this project. He was out hopping from hole to hole this week gathering samples from three main sites throughout the basin of the lake.

In his initial assessment of the sampling, there was not much to be surprised about except for the high volume of people on the lake.

"There are a ton of fish houses out here," he noted shortly after pulling the last sample from the lake.

It's possible spiny waterflea made it into Mille Lacs Lake earlier than 2009 and went unnoticed for a while, Lee said. They were first discovered in Minnesota in 1987 in Lake Superior and are now in about 40 waterbodies in Minnesota. They are native to Asia and Europe.

The hypothesis with spiny waterflea is that they eat so much native zooplankton, they wipe out the bottom of the food chain and disturb the whole web, Lee said. However, in lakes that also have zebra mussels, it can be hard to pinpoint which species is doing what.

"There is a lot that is still unknown regarding their ecological impacts; we do know that in addition to these ecological impacts, they also clog the eyelets of fishing rods and cause problems for recreationalists," Lee said in an email.

As a way to better understand what effect spiny waterflea and zebra mussels have on a fishery, the researchers are not only looking at Mille Lacs, which has both invasive species, they also plan to take samples from Lake Winnibigoshish and Leech Lake (which have zebra mussels, but no spiny waterflea) and Kabetogama Lake (which has spiny waterflea, but no zebra mussel.)

For the full article;

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/4220789-core-samples-mille-lacs-lake-may-explain-walleye-woes

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Owners of resorts, campgrounds and rental businesses required to take aquatic invasive species training

By Minnesota DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is offering aquatic invasive species training to owners of lake service provider businesses, so they can legally work in lakes and rivers throughout the state.

Lake service provider businesses include resorts, outfitters and campgrounds that rent or lease boats and other water-related equipment. Business owners must attend training, apply for a permit and pay a $50 application fee every three years to comply with Minnesota law.

When the law and permit began in 2012, it applied only to some resorts and outfitters, along with businesses such as marinas, dock haulers, lawn irrigators and others who install or remove equipment from state waters for hire, said April Rust, DNR aquatic invasive species training coordinator.

The law was updated in 2013 to include any businesses that rent any type of boats or other water-related equipment.

“That means resorts and campgrounds that offer equipment to their guests like pontoons, fishing boats or kayaks and canoes as a part of their stay, need training on AIS and this permit,” she said. 

Eleven AIS training sessions are planned around the state starting this month, and a new online training will be available in March. Training is offered in winter to give businesses time to attend training and get a permit before ice-out. Registration deadlines for in-person training are one week prior to each training. A listing all 2017 training sessions is available at www.dnr.state.mn.us/lsp/calendar.   

Overall, Minnesotans are doing a good job of helping to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Less than 5 percent of Minnesota lakes are on the infested waters list.

To register for training or for more information, visit the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/lsp.

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Forest Service seeking comments on future mining projects in the BWCAW watershed

The U.S. Forest Service made formal its proposal to call a two-year timeout on new mining around the edges of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

The Forest Service plan, announced in December at the same time the federal government denied critical mineral leases to the Twin Metals copper project near Ely, will prevent any new mining projects or exploration on 234,328 acres in the Superior National Forest.

The proposal was published in the Federal Register on January 13, 2017

The Forest Service says the land and water immediately around the BWCAW may be too fragile to withstand potential contamination from copper-nickel mining.

This January 13th action triggers a 90-day public comment period on agency’s plan to withdraw the land from the federal minerals leasing program.

The Forest Service and the Department of Interior are seeking comments from the public on whether they should stop leasing federal minerals in the BWCA watershed to mining companies for the next twenty years.

The Forest Service states that “Comments are most useful if they refer to an activity or mitigation rather than stated values. For example comments such as ‘This area is used by many people for gathering berries’ can help us inform the analysis more than the comment ‘I do/don’t think you should withdraw federal mineral leases”.

A public meeting to accept comments on the plan will be held March 16 at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

In addition to the public meeting, comments can be sent to:

-          Connie Cummins, Forest Supervisor, Superior National Forest, 8901 Grand Avenue Place, Duluth, MN 55808-1122

-          Emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-          Posted to the US Forest Service - Superior National Forest Website;

       https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=50938

-          Faxed to (218) 626-4398.

For more information, go to www.fs.usda.gov/projects/superior/landmanagement/projectsand click on “developing proposal.”

Superior-National-Forest-Mineral-Withdrawal-Application-Map-2.pdf

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Contact Us

White Iron Chain of Lakes Association
PO Box 493
Ely, MN 55731

WICOLAEly@gmail.com

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