OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: Wetlands report, Outdoors economic impact etc.

DNR, MPCA issue wetland status reports ST. PAUL -- Wetlands in northeast Minnesota remain in good condition and similar in abundance to pre-settlement levels, while many wetlands in western and southern Minnesota have been lost, and those that re...

Katie Davidson with kestrel chick
Kestrel sequel: Five kestrel eggs pictured on last Sunday's Outdoors pages have hatched, and the chicks were banded this week. Katie Davidson (left) of Crookston holds one of the chicks banded Thursday at the Agassiz Valley Water Resources flood control impoundment near Warren, Minn. Tim Driscoll, a raptor researcher from Grand Forks, and John Loegering of the University of Minnesota-Crookston removed the five chicks from a nest box for banding. Students from Warren-Alvarado-Oslo school also were on hand...

DNR, MPCA issue wetland status reports

ST. PAUL -- Wetlands in northeast Minnesota remain in good condition and similar in abundance to pre-settlement levels, while many wetlands in western and southern Minnesota have been lost, and those that remain generally are in poor condition.

Those were among the key findings of reports the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Department of Natural Resources issued this week looking at the prevalence and condition of wetlands across the state.

According to the reports, Minnesota has 10.6 million wetlands, and the plant communities in nearly half of them are in poor condition. Meanwhile, macroinvertebrates such as aquatic insects, leeches and snails fared much better. Plants and macroinvertebrates often are good indicators of a wetland's ecological health.

Minnesota's wetlands comprise 19.7 percent of the state's land cover, not counting deep lakes and rivers, the report said.


"Even though 10 million acres of wetlands may seem like a lot, Minnesota has lost about half of its wetlands since pre-settlement days," said Doug Norris, wetland program coordinator for the DNR's Ecological and Water Resources Division. "We need to be diligent about protecting what we have left."

-- Minnesota DNR

Report reinforces outdoors impact

WASHINGTON -- A new report this week from the Outdoor Industry Association reinforces the impact outdoor recreation has on the economy. According to The Outdoor Recreation Economy report, more than 140 million Americans engage in outdoor activities each year, directly delivering $646 billion to the economy and supporting 6.1 million domestic jobs.

Outdoor recreation is responsible for:

- 6.1 million direct American jobs.

- $646 billion in direct consumer spending.

- $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue.


- $39.7 billion in state and local tax revenue

"During a time when some American industries are struggling, we are seeing solid growth," Will Manzer, CEO of Eastern Mountain Sports and chairman of the OIA board of directors, said in a statement. "Since 2005, the outdoor recreation economy has grown approximately 5 percent annually. In fact, outdoor recreation supports a significant number of jobs, on par with -- or, in some cases, more than -- other sizeable American industries."

The full report is available online at


-- Herald staff report

Did you know?

- Frabill Inc., a Wisconsin-based company known for its landing nets, portable ice fishing shelters and bait storage units, has been purchased by Plano Molding Co., a tackle box manufacturer. Tom Hurt, Plano president and CEO, called the purchase a "perfect fit -- like peanut butter and jelly."

- The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has issued a reminder that lighting fireworks is prohibited on state wildlife management areas. The noise disturbs wildlife, and the fireworks are a potential source of wildfires, the department said.


- The National Shooting Sports Foundation is applauding the U.S. House of Representatives' passage of the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act. The bill (HR 3065) will ensure that shooters and hunters have high-quality public facilities for participating in recreational shooting sports and learning about firearms safety. The measure gives state game and fish agencies more flexibility and discretion to utilize Pittman-Robertson (Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund) funds for the creation, enhancement and maintenance of public shooting ranges.

- Results from a poll show nearly 23 percent of hunters surveyed said they had lost access or faced restrictions to hunting land in the past year. That's an increase of less than 1 percent from the previous year, but the numbers reveal that nearly 1 in 4 sportsmen nationwide are potentially affected by the loss of access to hunting access.

Brad Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and has been the Grand Forks Herald's outdoors editor since 1998.

Besides his role as an outdoors writer, Dokken has an extensive background in northwest Minnesota and Canadian border issues and provides occasional coverage on those topics.

Reach him at, by phone at (701) 780-1148 or on Twitter at @gfhoutdoor.
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