MN DNR

USFWS Mountain-Prairie/Flickr

The irony isn't lost on those who study these things.

Neonicotinoid pesticides were developed originally because they were thought to be less toxic to birds and wildlife than other options.  

The effects on pollinators are becoming widely examined  - and they're troubling - but now the MN DNR is into the third year of a study to see what happens to sharp-tailed grouse exposed to the chemicals.

And they're asking Minnesota grouse hunters to help them collect samples.

©Lisa Johnson

Whether you want to hunt them or gawk at them, wild turkeys are moving north, expanding from their traditional range in southern Minnesota.

Smart, adaptable and with a wide variety of foods they like, wild turkeys are heading north all on their own.  And that's got hunters and bird watchers alike excited.

Scott Schumacher/Flickr

As Minnesotans gear up for the second of our two seasons (road construction), hikers, bikers, nature lovers and casual strollers prepare for the summer-long closing (any day now) of a five mile section of the Willard Munger State Trail between Grand Avenue and Becks Road in West Duluth.

As soon as spring road restrictions allow the DNR to move in the big equipment, they'll set to work repairing chunks of the trail still damaged from the 2012 floods.  In addition, there are some new trail standards that will require some improvements to the trail.

Minnesota DNR

Even if you don't understand a word your friend Jeremiah the bullfrog says, the DNR still wants you to listen to him.  

Actually, they're looking for volunteers all across the state to spend  a little time this weekend being "citizen scientists" and, just as with various bird counts through the year, listening for frog and toad calls and jotting down data. (And there are still some routes open up here in our neck of the woods)

This is the 21st year of the survey - and the statewide volunteers who make it possible.  And this year, there's even an app.

Thanks to the Minnesota DNR and Laura Erickson, we're becoming more and more aware of the dangers lead shot poses to bald eagles.  But at this time of year, there's another hazard to an eagle's life and limb: our national symbol's fondness for road kill and its difficulty, especially after gorging on a meal of venison, to avoid becoming road kill itself.

Lisa Johnson

Outdoorspeople, in particular, decry our modern dependence on technology and electronics.

Doug Kerr [via Flickr]

  KUMD taks with Brad Parsons, the Central Regional Fisheries Manager for the Minnesota DNR, about the DNR proposal to build a new fisheries facility at Mille Lacs Lake that would include a fisheries management station, fish hatchery and storage. The DNR would be able to more efficiently meet its Mille Lacs management goals and outreach needs with the new facility.

Judy Baxter/Flickr

Fire seasons now are about two and a half months longer than they were in 1970.

The average number of acres burned in wildfires each year has doubled in 1980.

The effects of climate change are showing up in our forest fires, says the USDA. 

The Minnesota DNR's pilot project with same-day reservations and more self-service options was a success, so this year, all campsites in state parks will be reservable (only about 2/3 of the campsites are reservable now) and they'll be gearing up for same-day reservations all summer long.  Walk-ins, though, are still welcome!

More information can be found here. And when the DNR knows what date in May the system will go online, they'll let folks know on this web page.

Photo by Jill Utrup

It's a tiny little butterfly; only about an inch wide.

So you may not have noticed that the Karner Blue Butterfly hasn't been seen in Minnesota in the last decade.

MN Department of Natural Resources

Of the estimated 20 to 30 million bison that once roamed the great plains, only 500,000 are left.

And less than 5% of those are pure wild bison, free of cattle genetics due to efforts at crossbreeding in the past.

But eleven of those bison with no evidence of cattle genetics have been reintroduced to Mineopa State Park in southwestern Minnesota, and that has a lot of people pretty excited about the prospect of new partnerships ... and new herds throughout the state.