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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: MInnesota Wildlife Society chapter honors Siverhus, DNR ups 10-year sustainable timber harvest, Game and Fish announces sheep, moose and elk harvests etc.

Beth Siverhus (center) of Warroad, Minn., receives the Minnesota Chapter of the Wildlife Society Conservation Award for 2017 from Martha Minchak (left) and Gretchen Mehmel (right) of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Siverhus was unable to attend the recent Wildlife Society chapter conference in St. Cloud, Minn., so Minchak and Mehmel presented the award to Siverhus on Feb. 24 at her Warroad residence. (Submitted photo)

Wildlife Society honors Siverhus

Beth Siverhus of Warroad, Minn., is this year's recipient of the Conservation Award from the Minnesota Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

The award was announced during the Minnesota chapter's annual meeting Feb. 12-14 in St. Cloud, Minn. The Conservation Award traditionally is given to an organization, but the chapter occasionally honors outstanding individuals for their efforts, as well.

A medical technologist at Lifecare Medical Center in Roseau, Minn., Siverhus earned the nomination and award based on her efforts as a citizen scientist, wildlife photographer and conservation advocate. She is the only licensed bird rehabilitator in northwest Minnesota and has participated in numerous breeding bird surveys of songbirds, owls and secretive marsh birds.

Siverhus, who was unable to attend the chapter meeting, was presented with the award Feb. 24 at her Warroad residence by Martha Minchak, assistant area wildlife manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Duluth, and Gretchen Mehmel, manager of Red Lake Wildlife Management Area at Norris Camp south of Roosevelt, Minn.

For the past three years, Siverhus has worked as an independent contractor surveying birds both within and outside the area of the massive Palsburg wildfire, which burned 4,500 acres in Beltrami Island State Forest south of Warroad in the spring of 2015, documenting how the fire affected bird habitat.

"Beth is one individual, not an organization, but she might as well be an organization for all she accomplishes," Mehmel said in her letter nominating Siverhus for the award.

Siverhus received six letters of support including the nomination letter, Minchak said.

An avid hunter and angler, Siverhus is an advocate for nontoxic ammunition and its effectiveness for hunting deer and other big game while reducing the incidences of lead poisoning among bald eagles and other birds that feed on the gut piles left after hunters field dress their deer.

"She is a public citizen and an avid sportsperson who is not associated with a state or federal agency," Minchak and Maggie Anderson, retired manager of Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge, said in a joint letter nominating Siverhus for the award. "Individual citizens can make a positive difference in Minnesota's resources. Beth's lifestyle and dedication to wildlife deserve recognition through the Minnesota TWS Conservation Award to motivate others to advocate for our resources."

-- Brad Dokken

DNR increases timber target

The Minnesota DNR on Thursday announced it has set a new 10-year sustainable timber harvest of 870,000 cords, which it will offer for sale annually from lands the agency manages. This represents an 8.75 percent increase in the harvest target.

In a news release, the DNR said it also will launch a special five-year initiative that could offer up to 30,000 additional cords of ash and tamarack in response to the threat posed by emerald ash borer and eastern larch beetle, two invasive species that kill ash and tamarack trees.

The DNR manages 5 million acres of forest lands — 29 percent of the state's total forest lands. Timber harvesting occurs on 2.75 million acres of DNR-managed lands that are in state forests, wildlife management areas, and school and university trust lands. These lands provide about 30 percent of the state's wood supply for a forest products industry that employs 64,000 people and has a $17.1 billion annual economic impact.

The new sustainable harvest was determined after more than a year of scientific analysis, discussions with stakeholders—including conservation organizations and the forest industry—and public input.

"The DNR conducted a rigorous analysis of our state's sustainable timber supply. We are confident this new harvest level strikes the right balance between the needs of clean water, wildlife, the forest industry, and recreation," DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in a statement. "This decision reflects careful consideration of the multitude of uses, habitat needs and ecological benefits that come from DNR-managed forest lands."

For the past 15 years, the DNR's annual sale target has been 800,000 cords of timber. Given that forests are dynamic, ever-changing systems, it was time to do a new, full-scale assessment of the timber harvest levels, the DNR said.

The DNR over the past two decades has worked to reduce an oversupply of older-aged aspen on DNR-managed forest lands. That oversupply largely has been eliminated, and these lands now have a more desired age distribution of aspen that will support valuable wildlife populations and water quality. As a result, future aspen harvest levels gradually will decrease from 400,000 cords annually to 360,000 cords. However, harvest of some other species will increase, the DNR said.

More info: mndnr.gov/forestry/harvest-analysis.

-- Minnesota DNR

NDGF announces sheep, moose elk harvests

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department said hunter success for the "big three" seasons in 2017 was 100 percent bighorn sheep, 92 percent for moose and 58 percent for elk.

The department issued four bighorn sheep licenses and auctioned one. All five hunters shot a bighorn ram.

Game and Fish issued 245 moose licenses last year. Of that total, 240 hunters harvested 221 animals — 138 bulls and 83 cows/calves.

The department issued 400 elk licenses last year. Of that total, 362 hunters harvested 211 elk — 112 bulls and 99 cows or calves.

Here's a look at moose and elk harvests by unit.

• Moose: Five hunters in M5 shot two bulls and three cows or calves, 100 percent success; M6, 10 hunters, seven bulls and one cow or calf, 80 percent; M8, 15 hunters, 11 bulls and two cows or calves, 87 percent; M9, 79 hunters, 38 bulls and 35 cows or calves, 92 percent; M10, 77 hunters, 50 bulls and 22 cows or calves, 94 percent; M11, 54 hunters, 30 bulls and 20 cows or calves, 93 percent.

• Elk: E1E, 64 hunters, 12 bulls and 21 cows or calves, 52 percent success; E1W, 34 hunters, eight bulls and eight cows or calves, 47 percent; E2, 120 hunters, 28 bulls and 38 cows or calves, 55 percent; E3,116 hunters, 50 bulls and 28 cows or calves, 67 percent; E4, 23 hunters, 12 bulls and two cows or calves, 61 percent; E6, five hunters, two bulls and two cows or calves, 80 percent.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Did you know?

• A total of 554 spring wild turkey licenses remain in North Dakota after the recent lottery, the Game and Fish Department said. Licenses remain in unit 06, Bowman County; unit 19, Grant and Sioux counties and portions of Morton County; unit 25, McHenry County and portions of Pierce and Ward Counties; unit 31, Mountrail County; unit 45, Stark County; and unit 51, Burke County and portions of Renville, Bottineau and Ward counties. Game and Fish will issue remaining licenses on a first-come, first-served basis beginning March 20 on its website at gfh.nd.gov.

• Midnight March 15 is the deadline for North Dakota anglers to remove permanent fish houses from waters across the state. After March 15, fish houses must be removed from the ice daily.

• Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever's 2018 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic drew 28,868 attendees to the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., the conservation group said.

• Fishing for Ducks Ice Fishing Contest, the largest attended Ducks Unlimited event ever held in the U.S., drew a record 5,000 men, women and kids for a successful day of ice fishing Feb. 17 on Mille Lacs Lake. Dollars raised benefit DU's wetland conservation mission.

-- compiled by Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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