ASK THE DNR: How can I help track Minnesota springs?
Q. I heard the Minnesota DNR is gathering a list of springs across the state. How will I know a spring when I see one, and how can I report the location?...
Q. I heard the Minnesota DNR is gathering a list of springs across the state. How will I know a spring when I see one, and how can I report the location?
A. A spring is a focused natural discharge of flowing groundwater. Some telltale clues are they usually remain unfrozen in winter, they can seem unusually cold in summer and they often are associated with plants such as watercress and willows. Some springs appear to "boil" the surface of lakes and streams.
Historically, springs were important sources of drinking water. They also provide critical habitat for trout streams by regulating water temperature and providing base flows to streams throughout the year. An inventory of Minnesota's springs is being prepared by combing through old records and more will be added by searching likely areas of the state. To learn more about springs or to share the location of a spring near you, visit the DNR website at mndnr.gov/waters/groundwater_section/pilot/springshed.html.
Brick is a research analysis specialist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Q. Which fish species are the first to spawn in Minnesota lakes during the spring?
A. Northern pike usually spawn first when water temperatures are in the low 40s. There is often still ice on the main lakes when pike run into tributary streams, rivers or wetlands to spawn. Walleyes spawn a bit later, followed by yellow perch, muskellunge, bass and crappie/bluegill.
Drewes is Northwest Region fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Bemidji.