Outdoors Notebook: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation grants, Devils Lake walleye tournament results etc.

RMEF grants: The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has announced grants totaling $38,272 for wildlife and habitat projects in Kittson, Marshall and Beltrami counties of northwestern Minnesota.

Aquatic nuisance species inspection site
The Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Cenex West and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department to offer an aquatic nuisance species inspection site at the west side Cenex store off U.S. Highway 2 in Devils Lake. Inspections are required for anyone who participates in fishing tournaments on Devils Lake, and the new site also is open to anyone who wants a boat inspection. As part of the inspection process, designed to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species such as Eurasian wa...

RMEF grants: The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has announced grants totaling $38,272 for wildlife and habitat projects in Kittson, Marshall and Beltrami counties of northwestern Minnesota.

Grants will help fund the following projects:

- Kittson County: Establish two new forage openings for elk and other wildlife near Skull Lake, Caribou and Beaches Lake wildlife management areas; mechanically thin encroaching aspen to enhance habitat on 85 acres in Caribou WMA.

- Marshall and Beltrami counties: Mechanically thin 250 acres of brush to improve forage for elk, maintain firebreaks to accommodate prescribed burning and seed and fertilize 67 acres of forage at Grygla, Moose River, Thief Lake and Wapiti WMAs.

Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed more than 86 conservation projects in Minnesota with a value of more than $40 million. Partners for 2009 projects in Minnesota include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, other agencies, landowners and organizations.


-- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

DL walleye tourney: The team of Ross Sensiba of Devils Lake and Merrell Nelson of Glenfield, N.D., weighed in 10 walleyes for 57.69 pounds to take home the top prize of $10,000 in the ninth annual Spirit Lake Marina Walleye Classic Open held June 13-14 on Devils Lake.

Teams could weigh in five walleyes each day. Rounding out the top three teams were:

- Second: Corey Perman, Fargo and Aaron Johnson, West Fargo, N.D., 10 fish, 46.83 pounds, $2,500.

- Third: Mike Olson, Ada, Minn., and Luke Pladson, Moorhead, 10 fish, 40.48 pounds, $1,200.

The team of Dave Randash and Jay Kulla weighed in the largest walleye of the tournament, at 9.73 pounds.

This year's tournament drew 62, two-person teams, and the total payout was $24,870.

-- Herald staff report


Temporary ramp closure: The Minnesota DNR is temporarily closing the Northwoods public water access site on the northwest shore of Lake Bemidji to make improvements. The access is located along Bemidji Avenue North, also known as Beltrami County Road 21.

The access will be closed from July 13-Aug.1.

Improvements on tap include replacing the double ramp, building a new storm water retention pond, improving drainage and adding a paved parking lot with a direct approach from County Road 21. Northern Contracting Inc. of Bemidji won the bid to do the work.

Constructed in 1992, the ramp is one of the primary access sites to Lake Bemidji. During construction, anglers and boaters will still be able to use a smaller public access in Lake Bemidji State Park.

-- Minnesota DNR

Boat ramp tips: Launching a boat can be a breeze or a pain, depending on how people approach the process. The North Dakota Game and Fish Department offers these tips for minimizing the hassles at congested boat ramps:

- Don't pull onto ramp the until your boat is ready to launch.

- Prepare for launching in the parking area. Remove covers, load equipment, remove tie downs, attach lines and put in drain plug before backing onto the ramp.


- When ready, pull into line to launch. Wait your turn.

- It takes at least two people to efficiently and courteously launch a boat: one to handle the boat and one to take care of the tow vehicle.

- Launch on the designated side of the ramp.

- Don't block the loading area with your boat until your tow vehicle is ready to load. Wait until you are clear of the launch area to unload gear.

- As soon as your trailer is in the water, load and secure your boat to the trailer.

- Remove boat and trailer from the water as quickly as possible.

- Get clear of the ramp. Pull into the parking area to finish securing your boat and unload gear.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Did you know?

- The DNR has partnered with Dairy Queen to provide PFD Panda Award certificates to youngsters who conservation officers observe wearing a life jacket. The certificate includes a tear-off coupon that's good for a free cone or cheeseburger from participating Dairy Queen restaurants.

- Jason Mitchell, host of the "Jason Mitchell Outdoors" TV show, recently filmed two episodes on Devils Lake. Mitchell took over the "Tony Dean Outdoors" TV show last year. One of the segments he filmed featured Dean's longtime videographer, Paul Lepisto. Mitchell also filmed a show with Grand Forks native Jeff Panzer, who played hockey at UND and professionally and now lives in Devils Lake.

- Trout Unlimited chapters in Minnesota will receive more than $2 million from Minnesota's newly created Outdoor Heritage Fund for 12 specific on-the-ground projects in 10 Minnesota counties. Projects in northwestern Minnesota are slated for Kabekona Creek in Hubbard County and the Straight River in Becker and Hubbard counties. Funding comes from the state Outdoor Heritage Fund, which was created as a result of a constitutional amendment Minnesota voters passed in 2008. For the next 25 years, 33 percent of a new state sales tax will be dedicated to the restoration, protection and enhancement of wetlands, prairies, forests and habitat for fish and wildlife.

- The Department of Interior is paying out $381.6 million to about 1,850 local governments across the U.S. as part of its Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Program. Minnesota is set to receive more than $2.7 million and North Dakota nearly $1.4 million. Lands covered by the payments include the National Forest and National Park Systems, those managed by the Bureau of Land Management, those affected by Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation water resource development projects and others. The payments do not include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands, which are paid under a different program.

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