Report N.D. bald eagle nest sightings

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department is asking for help in locating active bald eagle nests.

The department is looking for locations of nests with eagles present, not individual eagle sightings, conservation biologist Sandra Johnson said.

Eagles lay eggs in early to mid-March, and the eggs hatch about a month later. It’s easy to distinguish an eagle nest because of its enormous size, Johnson said.

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Nearly 300 active bald eagle nests can be found in more than three-quarters of the counties in the state. Historically, Johnson said nests were found along river corridors, but that’s not the case today.

“Bald eagles have proven to be quite adaptable and will nest in trees out in the middle of pastures, fields or anywhere they’ve got a food source nearby,” she said.

Nest observations should be reported on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov. Observers are asked not to disturb the nest and to stay a safe distance away. Foot traffic may disturb the bird, Johnson said, likely causing the eagle to leave her eggs or young unattended.

– Herald staff report

Destroy infested moss balls

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture are urging pet stores, aquarium owners and plant enthusiasts to take action after invasive zebra mussels were found in moss ball plants in North Dakota and other states.

The moss balls (Aegagropila linnaei), also known as Marimo balls, are sold at many aquarium and pet supply stores, as well as some floral shops and nurseries.

Anyone in possession of these moss balls should take the following actions to safely destroy and dispose of the products.

“Proper disposal of infested moss balls is critical. Do not dispose of moss balls down drains, or in streams, ponds or lakes,” North Dakota Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand said. “Once in our waters, zebra mussels reproduce rapidly and have negative impacts to fish and wildlife populations and water quality.”

Destroy the moss balls in one of three ways:

  • Freeze: Place the moss ball into a sealable plastic bag and freeze for at least 24 hours.

  • Boil: Place the moss ball in boiling water for at least 1 full minute.

  • Bleach or vinegar: Submerge the moss ball in regular, unscented bleach, diluted to one-third cup per gallon of water, for 10 minutes; or undiluted white vinegar for 20 minutes.

Dispose of the moss ball and any packaging in a sealed plastic bag in the trash. If vinegar, boiling water or bleach was used, the liquid can be disposed down a household drain — never down a storm drain where it could enter and damage local waterways.

Drain and clean the aquarium by following directions on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at fws.gov/fisheries/ANS/zebra-mussel-disposal.html. Do not pour untreated water down the drain.

“Zebra mussels are a very destructive aquatic invasive species causing significant damage to native fauna and impact ecosystems throughout the United States,” North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “A zebra mussel outbreak would be highly devastating to North Dakota lakes and waterways.”

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine on the moss ball plants and any other aquatic species found to be infested with zebra mussels to prevent the spread of the invasive mussels to or within North Dakota. The temporary regulations and its associated rules are effective immediately and the quarantined area includes all states, districts and territories of the United States. Any person violating the regulations is subject to penalties.

The full quarantine order may be found at www.nd.gov/ndda.

– Herald staff report

NDGF offers ‘R3’ grants

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department encourages wildlife, shooting, fraternal and nonprofit civic organizations to apply for grants through the Encouraging Tomorrow’s Hunters program, a Game and Fish program developed to assist in the recruitment, retention and reactivation – “R3,” for short – of hunters.

The maximum grant allowed is $3,000. The program currently helps fund approximately 40 club and organizational events and projects each year, with an average grant of $1,550.

Grant funds help cover event expenses, including promotional printing; event memorabilia such as shirts, caps or vests; ammunition and targets; and eye and ear protection.

Past funding has enabled groups to conduct pheasant and waterfowl hunts, or sponsor trapshooting and other shooting events, including archery and rifle shooting. Game and Fish has a separate grant program that supports new high school trapshooting teams.

For more information or a grant application, check out the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov or contact outreach biologist Pat Lothspeich at (701) 328-6332.

The deadline to apply for a 2021 grant is April 27.

– Herald staff report

NDGF schedules guide and outfitter exam

The next guide and outfitter written examination is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. Preregistration is required no later than April 23 by calling the Department’s enforcement office at (701) 328-6604.

In addition to passing a written exam, qualifications for becoming a guide include a background check for criminal and game and fish violations, certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and standard first aid, and employment by or contract with a licensed hunting outfitter.

Hunting outfitter eligibility requirements include the guide qualifications, and outfitters must have held a hunting guide license for two years and have proof of liability insurance.

The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a guide or outfitter in the state.

– Herald staff report





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