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Outdoors Notebook: Recovering America's Wildlife Act set for House committee action etc.

The bipartisan legislation would invest nearly $1.4 billion annually in proactive efforts to help wildlife at risk.

Western meadowlark.jpg
The western meadowlark is among the North Dakota species that would benefit from the Recovering America's Wildlife Act.
Contributed/ North Dakota Game and Fish Department
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Bipartisan Recovering America's Wildlife Act set for House committee vote

WASHINGTON — The House Natural Resources Committee is set to vote on the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, most likely Thursday, Jan. 19, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

The bipartisan legislation would invest nearly $1.4 billion annually in proactive efforts to help wildlife at risk.

The bill has achieved a rare level of bipartisan support, the NWF said. Like the Great American Outdoors Act, it has enthusiastic backers among progressives and conservatives, with 32 cosponsors in the Senate and 140 in the House.

READ MORE OUTDOORS ISSUES COVERAGE:

A few highlights in the bill, as outlined by the NWF:

  • The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act will provide nearly $1.4 billion in dedicated annual funding for proactive, collaborative efforts by the states and tribes to recover wildlife species at risk. 
  • At least 15% of the resources would be used to recover species listed as threatened or endangered. 
  • State agencies have identified 12,000 species of wildlife and plants in need of conservation assistance in their federally approved State Wildlife Action Plans. These plans would guide spending from the bill. 
  • Tribal Nations would receive $97.5 million annually to fund proactive wildlife conservation efforts on the tens of millions of acres of land they manage. Many Tribal Nations have pioneered wildlife conservation efforts for decades without a consistent source of funding, the NWF said.

– Herald staff report

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NDGF offers hunter education reminder

BISMARCK — Now is the time for anyone planning to hunt this fall in North Dakota to sign up for a hunter education class, the Game and Fish Department said. Anyone born after 1961 and is age 12 or older must take a certified hunter education course before they can get a firearm or bowhunting license in North Dakota.

“In some of our communities, especially our smaller communities, there's only one course a year, so if you need to meet that hunter education requirement, people need to be thinking about it now as the vast majority of our courses are from January through May,” said Brian Schaffer, North Dakota Game and Fish Department hunter education coordinator. “We've been working on providing more volunteer-led courses throughout the summer months, but calling the department in August to get certified before our hunting seasons beginning in early fall likely won’t work. And when that class disappears off the Game and Fish website, it means it's full, so there needs to be some personal responsibility here.”

Anyone interested in taking a hunter education class this year must click the education link on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov. To register for a class, click on “enroll” next to the specific class and follow the simple instructions. Personal information is required. Classes are listed by city and can also be sorted by start date. Classes will be added throughout the year as they become finalized.

People also can subscribe to receive email or text message alerts whenever a hunter education class is added. Click on the “subscribe to news and alerts” link found below the news section on the Game and Fish home page. Check the box labeled “hunter education” under the education program updates.

Hunter education got its start in North Dakota more than 40 years ago, and is on track to hit the milestone of 250,000 students completing the program in the next couple of years, Schaffer said. Typically, about 5,000 students take and pass hunter education in North Dakota every year.

– Herald staff report

DNR offers TroutFinder trout stream tool

ST. PAUL — Looking for information about that stream you’ve seen and want to fish? Try the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' TroutFinder tool.

This online tool, which works on mobile and desktop devices, allows anglers to easily locate and display detailed information about many Minnesota trout streams. Information available includes a description of the stream, which includes its location, characteristics and special features; species of fish it contains; population information from past and present stream surveys; fishing regulations; and access sites.

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Lakes containing trout also are listed and linked to DNR LakeFinder, which provides detailed information from physical characteristics and fish species to special fishing regulations and lake reports and maps.

TroutFinder is part of StreamFinder, a work in progress that eventually will focus on more species than trout and include all streams in Minnesota.

More info: mndnr.gov.
– Herald staff report

Minnesota sets trout season dates

ST. PAUL — Here are the 2022 winter season dates for trout lakes in Minnesota:

  • Jan. 15 to March 31 for lakes outside or partly outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
  • Jan. 1 to March 31 for lakes entirely within the BWCAW.

More details: Find Minnesota trout lakes at mndnr.gov.

– Herald staff report

DNR sets turkey season dates, deadlines

ST. PAUL — Turkey hunters in Minnesota have until Friday, Feb. 11, to apply for turkey hunting permits for the A-C spring hunting seasons in the Mille Lacs, Carlos Avery and Whitewater wildlife management areas, the DNR said. The application is required for turkey hunters hoping to bag a tom turkey with a firearm in the three WMAs, and successful applicants are selected through a permit lottery.

All other spring turkey licenses go on sale Tuesday, March 1, for hunting that takes place during several seasons from mid-April to the end of May.

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More info: DNR wild turkey hunting page (mndnr.gov/hunting/turkey).

– Herald staff report

DNR names oversight committee members

ST. PAUL — Bruce Babcock of Greenbush, Minnesota, is among eight new appointees to the Minnesota DNR’s Wildlife Oversight Committee, the agency announced this week. Other new appointees are Brian Blom of Deerwood; Tim Buysse of Cottonwood; Mark Gutierrez of Vadnais Heights; Katrina Pulham of Rochester; Randall Tlachac of Plymouth; Ya Yang of Blaine; and John Zanmiller of West St. Paul. DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen reappointed Burl Haar of Afton and John Wells of St. Paul to the committee.

The Wildlife and Fisheries oversight committees are responsible for reviewing the DNR’s annual Game and Fish Fund report in detail and, following discussions with agency leaders and others, preparing legislative reports on their findings.

New appointees to the Fisheries Oversight Committee are Brian Bergson of St. Paul; Annetta Carter of St. Paul; Robert Harris III of Albert Lea; Judi Hart of Squaw Lake; Harold Poynter of Lake City; Dennise Sonnee of Isle; and Nik Snyder of Pine City. Thomas Wood of Rochester and Kirk Duholm of Eagan were reappointed to the committee.

Nikki Bentley of Shoreview was reappointed to chair the Budgetary Oversight Committee, comprised of chairs of the fisheries and wildlife oversight committees, plus four additional members from each oversight committee.

A total of 133 Minnesotans applied for oversight committee positions. Factors in choosing the new appointees included geographic distribution, demographic diversity and a mix of interests relating to hunting and fishing in Minnesota.

The Budgetary Oversight Committee produces an annual report on expenditures for game and fish activities for the DNR commissioner and legislative committees with jurisdiction over natural resources funding. This annual report is published in mid-December.

Citizen oversight of Game and Fish Fund expenditures began in 1994. The Game and Fish Fund is the fiscal foundation for fish and wildlife management, habitat management and conservation officer funding.

About $110 million a year is deposited into this fund from hunting and fishing license sales; a sales tax on lottery tickets; and a federal excise tax on certain hunting, fishing and boating equipment.

State law requires that the Legislature allocate dollars from this special fund to the DNR for specific expenses detailed in a governor's budget request. The DNR cannot access dollars from this fund without legislative authorization and gubernatorial approval.

  • More info:

mndnr.gov/licensedollarsatwork.

mndnr.gov/gamefishoversight.

– Herald staff report

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