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OUTDOORS NOTEBOOK: Wildlife Forever highlights Clean Drain Dry success, Keep fish caught from deep water etc.

Wildlife Forever highlights success

Through a growing coalition of Minnesota counties, soil and water conservation districts, lake associations, federal partners and private groups, Wildlife Forever raised over $715,000 in support of statewide, invasive species outreach programs in 2018. The newly released Minnesota Clean Drain Dry Annual Report details the statewide collaboration and consistent Clean Drain Dry outreach efforts reaching 52.5 million contacts.

"Investing in prevention marketing can have a big impact on the public. When done right, compliance with Clean Drain Dry actions are extremely high resulting in low invasive species spread rates. We're grateful for the many partners who came together in 2018 to pool resources and make things happen," Pat Conzemius, executive vice president of Wildlife Forever, said in a statement.

The Clean Drain Dry Initiative is the national campaign to educate outdoor recreational users on how to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Info: www.CleanDrainDry.org.

-- Wildlife Forever

Anglers should keep fish from deep water

A push encouraging open-water anglers to keep fish caught from deep water should carry over into the ice fishing season, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department says.

Catch-and-release fishing, no matter the time of year, is discouraged for fish caught in 30 feet or more of water because fish reeled in from those depths have a greater chance of dying if released.

Fish caught in deep water are affected by the extreme change in water pressure, which causes the swim bladder to expand. Fish no longer can control their balance in the water column when that happens. Other internal injuries, such as rupturing of organs and bleeding, also are likely for fish caught from deep water.

Devils Lake ice anglers commonly catch yellow perch in 30 to 45 feet of water during the winter months. This practice also translates to other deep water bodies around the state.

Game and Fish recommends that anglers targeting fish in deeper water make the commitment to keep what they catch. And once they reach their limit, anglers should stop fishing at that depth to avoid killing more than their limit of fish.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Consider nongame wildlife tax checkoff

North Dakota citizens with an interest in supporting wildlife conservation programs should consider looking for the Watchable Wildlife checkoff on their state tax form.

The state income tax form gives wildlife enthusiasts an opportunity to support nongame wildlife such as songbirds and birds of prey, while at the same time contributing to programs that help everyone enjoy all wildlife.

The checkoff — whether receiving a refund or having to pay in — is an easy way to voluntarily contribute to sustain the longstanding program. In addition, direct donations to the program are accepted any time of year.

More info: www.gf.nd.gov.

-- N.D. Game and Fish Department

Winter anglers should clean up the ice

Clean up when you're done fishing.

That's the message from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department to wintertime anglers. That applies not only to trash, but fish, as well.

It is both unsightly and illegal to leave fish, including minnows used for bait, behind on the ice. According to state fishing regulations, when a fish is caught, anglers must either immediately release the fish back into the water unharmed or reduce them to their daily possession.

It is common practice for some anglers to fillet fish on the ice, which is allowed, as long as fish entrails and other parts are removed from the ice and properly disposed of at home.

In addition, all trash, including aluminum cans, cigarette butts and Styrofoam containers, must be packed out and taken home.

-- Herald staff report

Did you know?

• Minnesota's Take a Kid Ice Fishing Weekend began Saturday, Jan. 19, and continues through Monday, Jan. 21. During the weekend, Minnesota residents age 16 or older can fish or dark-house spear without an angling or spearing license if they take a child younger than 16 fishing or spearing. Info:

•" target="_blank">bit.ly/TakeaKidIceFishingWeekend.

Jim Sable, the Twin Cities-based founder of the USA Clay Target League, has stepped down from his roles as board chairman and league president of the League. Sable, the former owner of a Twin Cities communication agency, is a longtime clay target shooting enthusiast who started an after-school mentoring program at the Plymouth (Minn.) Gun Club in 2001. The success of that program led to the creation of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League in 2008. John Nelson, who previously served as vice president and board member, has been elevated to the position of president by the league's board of directors. Nelson has been involved with the League since its inception.

• Jamison Wendel has moved on from his position as Red River fisheries specialist for the DNR to take a job as the DNR's stream habitat program supervisor in St. Paul. In his new position, Wendel will be one of the DNR's primary contacts in working with the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council on aquatic habitat projects the council approves for dedicated outdoors funding. Plans are in the works to hire a replacement for Wendel, who worked out of the DNR's area fisheries office in Detroit Lakes, Minn., said Henry Drewes, northwest region fisheries supervisor for the DNR in Bemidji.

• Participants in the Devils Lake Christmas Bird Count on Dec. 15 tallied 1,284 birds and 28 species, the Friends of Sullys Hill reported on its Facebook page.

• The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is seeking a North Dakota regional director. Regional directors organize local volunteer chapters to hold fundraising events such as banquets, among other duties aimed at financing elk and wildlife conservation projects. The application period closes Jan. 21, and applicants should email a cover letter and resume to jobs@rmef.org.

• This year's Great Backyard Bird Count is set for Feb. 15 to 18. Launched in 1998 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, and joined by Bird Studies Canada, the Great Backyard Bird Count was the first online citizen-science project to collect data about wild birds and display results in near real-time. More than 160,000 people worldwide now join the four-day count each February to create an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. More info:

--" target="_blank">gbbc.birdcount.org.

--

compiled by Brad Dokken

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