White Iron Chain Of Lakes Association

News & Updates Blog
Apr
07

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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Apr
04

“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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Apr
02

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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Apr
01

“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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Mar
10

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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Feb
23

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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Feb
23

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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Feb
20

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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Feb
17

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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Jan
19

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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Jan
17

Asian Carp workshop

Save the date!

Risk-based management for bigheaded carps

A workshop to discuss the findings and implications of the Minnesota Bigheaded Carps Risk Assessment

To help inform Asian carp management and research priorities in Minnesota, a risk assessment was recently conducted to assess the threats posed by bigheaded carps (also known as bighead and silver carp, two of the four species of Asian carp) to the state of Minnesota.  

This workshop will serve as an opportunity to share the findings from this risk assessment and to discuss their implications with a broad group of stakeholders, decision-makers, researchers, managers, and interested members of the public from Minnesota and the surrounding area. Attendees will have the opportunity, through small and large group discussions, to learn about the risk assessment and to deliberate on the implications of these findings for management efforts in Minnesota.

 

When: March 15, 2017

8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Where: University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus

 

Details for the workshop, as well as the Minnesota Bigheaded Carps Risk Assessment report itself, will be provided in February.

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Jan
10

MPCA / Wild Rice Standards Meetings on Changes

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will be hosting three open-house meetings this month on upcoming changes to the state’s wild rice sulfate standard.

For WICOLA members who may be interested in attending, the meetings are offered as follows: 

·         January 17, 2017:6:00pm-8:00pm, Dakota Lodge, 1200 Stassen Ln, St. Paul, MN 55118

·         January 25, 2017: 6:30pm-8:30pm, Kirby Student Center, 1120 Kirby Dr., Duluth, MN 55812

·         January 31, 2017: 6:00pm-8:00pm, Northeast Service Cooperative Office, 5525 Emerald Dr., Mountain Iron, MN

For more information on how the MPCA is working to protect wild rice waters, please visit the wild rice webpage

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Jan
10

Winter Lake Views

The Ice is in with both anglers and snowmobilers out on the lakes. Here is a view of White Iron Lake taken by one of our Board Members, Jeff Pike on 1/9/16.

Remember, there really is no sure answer as to when Ice is safe. You can't judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors -- plus the depth of water under the ice, size of the water body, currents, water chemistry, movement of fish, and the distribution of the load on the ice.

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Dec
15

Federal Agencies deny request to renew Twin Metals mineral leases

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture today announced important steps to protect the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

Officials of the agencies said the massive underground mine proposed along the Kawishiwi River is simply too close to the BWCAW. The project is within the BWCAW watershed that flows north into Canada, and critics have said that any polluted runoff from rock high in sulfur could taint the popular, lake-studded wilderness.

Citing broad concerns from thousands of public comments and input about potential impacts of mining on the wilderness area’s watershed, fish and wildlife, and the nearly $45 million recreation economy, the agencies today took actions that denied an application for renewal of two hard rock mineral leases in the area, as well as initiated steps to withdraw key portions of the watershed from new mineral permits and leases.

“The Boundary Waters is a natural treasure, special to the 150,000 who canoe, fish, and recreate there each year, and is the economic life blood to local business that depend on a pristine natural resource,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a joint statement with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. “I have asked Interior to take a time out, conduct a careful environmental analysis and engage the public on whether future mining should be authorized on any federal land next door to the Boundary Waters.”

“Today’s best available science is helping us understand the value of the land and water and potential impacts of development in places like the Boundary Waters,” Jewell said. “This is the right action to take to avoid irrevocably damaging this watershed and its recreation-based economy, while also taking the time and space to review whether to further protect the area from all new mining.”

The BLM will review the withdrawal application and issue a notice in the Federal Register to segregate the lands – essentially, place them in a ‘time out’ – for up to two years, subject to valid existing rights.  To preserve the status quo during that ‘time out,’ no new mineral exploration or development applications would be accepted while a thorough, scientific environmental analysis is conducted.  Upon publication of the Federal Register notice, there will be an initial 90-day public review period for the proposed withdrawal and additional analysis during the segregation period that will include further public involvement, including public meetings. The next administration would have the option of revisiting the BLM’s decision, though any unilateral termination of the review would likely prompt a backlash.

Twin Metals Minnesota, a subsidiary of the Chilean mining giant Antofagasta, holds the two expired mineral leases dating to 1966. It applied for their renewal in 2012, and federal officials held two listening sessions in the state this summer and received more than 30,000 comments. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) came out against renewal, as did Minnesotan and former vice president Walter Mondale.

BLM Press Release; https://www.blm.gov/press-release/obama-administration-takes-steps-protect-watershed-boundary-waters-canoe-area

Duluth News Tribune; http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/mining/4180601-feds-take-back-mineral-leases-twin-metals

Washington Post; https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/15/obama-administration-denies-mining-leases-near-boundary-waters-wilderness-in-minnesota/?utm_term=.59b7f4491a57

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Dec
11

Lake Ice Observations

Several WICOLA Board members report Lake Ice Observations to the Minnesota DNR. Their observations will occasionally be posted here as a reverence to WICOLA members.

Remember, there really is no sure answer as to when Ice is safe. You can't judge the strength of ice just by its appearance, age, thickness, temperature, or whether or not the ice is covered with snow. Strength is based on all these factors -- plus the depth of water under the ice, size of the water body, currents, water chemistry, movement of fish, and the distribution of the load on the ice.

For more information on Ice Safety, follow this link to the Minnesota DNR website; http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/index.html

12/9/2016

White Iron

The cold weather has finally arrived. White Iron is completely frozen over this morning…Dec 9th. Everyone hope is to make some good ice with predicted cold weather coming. As a point of reference, “Ice In” for White Iron last year was on November 29th.

Garden

Widespread ice has been reported on Garden Lake. He seemed a bit uncertain about the area near the dam where the current runs, but from a distance it appears to be ice.

Farm

Ice in has been reported for Farm Lake.  Some open water may be on the river side of Farm due to the current.Several WICOLA Board members report Lake Ice Observations to the Minnesota DNR. Their observations will occasionally be posted here as a reverence to WICOLA members.

 

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Dec
06

U.S. EPA proposes rule requiring mines to cover clean-up costs

From MPR News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a new financial responsibility rule for the hard rock mining industry, aimed at ensuring that taxpayers aren't left on the hook for potentially expensive mine clean-ups.

The rule would require mining companies to demonstrate their ability to pay for clean-up costs by using financial instruments such as trust funds, bonds or letters of credit. It would cover copper, gold, iron ore and other kinds of hard rock mines under the federal Superfund law — but not coal operations.

In a statement announcing the proposal, the EPA argued that by moving the financial risk from taxpayers, the rule would give mining companies "an economic incentive to use environmentally protective practices that can help prevent future release."

The EPA reports it spent nearly $1.1 billion between 2010 and 2014 on response and clean up actions at mines and mineral processing sites.

The agency estimates the rule would affect 221 facilities nationwide, including 14 in Minnesota, the third-most of any state.

Frank Ongaro, with the industry group Mining Minnesota, said Minnesota already has comprehensive financial assurance rules for copper-nickel mines.

"This will result in no benefit to a project, no benefit to the environment, no benefit to the taxpayers," he said. "It will add nothing but cost and chase away investment."

It's unclear what kind of impact the rule could have on the state's iron ore mining industry. Representatives from mining companies and the state's trade association could not be reached for comment.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which oversees mine reclamation and administers financial assurance requirements for mines, has not yet seen the EPA's proposal.

"DNR will of course be looking closely at EPA's ideas for federal requirements and evaluating how they might relate to Minnesota's own rigorous environmental and taxpayer protections," said assistant DNR commissioner Barb Naramore.

The public has 60 days to comment on the rule.

For more information and to comment, please visit the EPA website;

https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-proposes-financial-responsibility-requirements-hardrock-mining-industry

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Dec
06

Lake associations, local governments boost spending against aquatic invaders

From The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Lake associations and local governments have significantly boosted their spending in recent years against aquatic invasive species, or AIS, according to a statewide survey of local efforts.

Although the dollar amount — about $3 million a year — isn’t huge, it’s nearly half of what the state government spends on prevention and eradication of invaders like zebra mussels and starry stonewort.

Private residents and lake associations spent nearly $2 million fighting invasive species in 2015, while local governments spent about $1 million, according to the survey, sponsored by the Minnesota Coalition of Lake Associations and Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates. That’s nearly double the amount spent five years ago by private groups and local governments.

“Lake associations, if taken collectively, are the hardest-working, most generous, most effective conservation group in the state,” said Jeff Forester, executive director of Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates.

Forester said the statewide spending survey actually understates the amount being spent locally, as fewer than half of the state’s 500-plus lake associations participated.

With the recent tilt toward more conservative leadership at the state and federal government levels, Forester said, it’s even more vital for local groups and individuals to do their part to keep Minnesota’s waters clean.

“People will say to me, ‘Why isn’t the state doing something?’ ” Forester said. “So I’m telling people: We just voted for smaller government, less money, fewer rules. So how do we protect these lakes?

“We do it on the ground, lake by lake. It is time for you to step forward and claim your responsibility. It is about people acting locally to protect a resource that is critical to their economy and their way of life.”

“Lake associations don’t own the public waters, but when there’s a problem, they own the problem.”

The state welcomes local efforts against AIS, said Heidi Wolf, invasive species supervisor at the state Department of Natural Resources.

“We are very happy to have local partners and we support that,” Wolf said. Only about 5 percent of Minnesota’s waters are infested with an AIS, Wolf said, and local efforts can help keep that number down.

To read the full article, go to:

http://www.startribune.com/lake-associations-local-governments-boost-spending-against-aquatic-invaders/404501826/

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Nov
07

Check for invasive species when removing docks and closing cabins for winter

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding lake property owners to carefully check boats and trailers, docks and lifts, and all other water-related equipment for invasive species when closing cabins for winter. Several recent new zebra mussel confirmations were initially reported by people making end of season inspections of docks, boats and boat lifts.

“These recent confirmations serve as a reminder of the importance of carefully examining all equipment when taking it out of the water,” said Heidi Wolf, DNR invasive species unit supervisor. “A few simple steps now can help prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species.”

The DNR recommends these steps for lake property owners:

  • Look on the posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as any parts of boats, pontoons and rafts that may have been submerged in water for an extended period.
  • Hire DNR-permitted lake service provider businesses to install or remove boats, docks, lifts and other water-related equipment. These businesses have attended training on Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species laws and many have experience identifying and removing invasive species.

Contact an area DNR aquatic invasive species specialist if you think you have discovered an invasive species that has not already been confirmed in your lake.

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Oct
19

McCollum Statement on Twin Metals’ Parent Company’s Environmental Violations

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) released the following statement following reports that Antofagasta, the Chilean parent company of Twin Metals, could face up to a $24 million fine for violating Chile’s environmental protection laws:

“The revelation of Antofagasta’s environmental violations at a Chilean mine is yet another reason to reject this company’s plans to conduct dangerous mining in Minnesota’s Rainy River Drainage Basin.

“Sulfide-ore copper mining is an inherently risky activity and would likely lead to permanent damage to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park. Antofagasta’s poor environmental record conducting this type of mining in its home country exacerbates that risk.

“The Obama administration should act quickly to prevent Antofagasta from conducting sulfide-ore copper mining in the Rainy River Drainage Basin. We simply cannot allow a company that shows a reckless disregard for environmental regulations to mine next to our Minnesota treasures.”

http://mccollum.house.gov/press-release/mccollum-statement-twin-metals%E2%80%99-parent-company%E2%80%99s-environmental-violations.

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Oct
18

Antofagasta's Los Pelambres mine faces potential $24 million fine, closure

Chile's environmental regulator SMA is seeking sanctions against Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres Copper Mine for breaching its environmental permit in relation to the management of water resources and failure to reforest some zones affected by mining activity. Antofagasta is the Chilean parent company of Twin Metals which has proposed to develop a mine and processing plant in the Kawishiwi watershed.

The nine charges, the second of their kind against the mine in the last 19 months, could lead to a $23.8 million fine and even the temporary or indefinite closure of Los Pelambres, SMA said in an e-mailed statement.

The infractions include the extraction of water from unauthorized sites, the construction of unapproved wells and the failure to reforest some areas as required by law.

Five of those alleged were considered serious and four minor, the SMA said.

In March last year, a Chilean court ordered the firm to destroy a giant dam it constructed for the mine, located 200 km north of capital Santiago. The company appealed, and the decision was revoked last August.

Antofagastahas 10 days to present a compliance plan to the SMA or 15 days to present a defense. The punishment for the alleged infractions could be a fine of $23.8 million or the temporary or indefinite closure of the mine, the SMA said.

In 2013, the SMA initiated a separate regulatory proceeding against Antofagasta’s Los Pelambres for mismanaging archeological sites.

Los Pelambres, located in Chile's north-central Coquimbo region, produced 375,800 tons of copper in 2015.

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

WICOLAEly@gmail.com

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