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Field reports: winter severity index increases with abundant snow


The winter severity index last week in the Lake and East St. Louis counties, where snow depths ranged from 18 to more than 30 inches on the ground, ranged from 41 to 60. This compares with a Index from 27 to 52 at this time of last year. in a mild winter. An index of 90 to 100 at this time would be considered a severe winter.

"These are all pretty typical WSI indices for a winter in northeastern Minnesota," said Tom Rusch, wildlife manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at Tower.

However, if several heavier snows occur, the index could increase until March and until April, the most difficult time to be a deer in a bad winter. The depth of snow at the Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center is already 37 inches.

With the recent extreme cold weather, deer have moved into heavy coniferous cover areas that are warmer and have less snow on the ground.

Rusch said the depth of snow, especially the duration of deep snow, is the most important factor for the winter survival of deer in northern Minnesota. The winter severity index gives one point for each day with 15 inches or more of snow on the ground and another point for any day below zero. Severe winters can affect herds when old or malnourished deer may perish and may have less or no breeding in the following spring because their winter nutrition is not good enough.

An index of 180 at the end of April would be considered a very severe winter. The worst winter index in recent years was 212 in 2014. But Rusch said the double hit of a 202 index in 1996 and a 162 index in 1997 had the most devastating impact on the herd of deer in northeastern Minnesota.

BWCAW restart permission February 27

Superior National Forest officials set a new date Friday for Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness visitors to apply for permits for the 2019 summer season.

Applications will be opened at www.recreatrion.gov on February 27 in order of arrival.

Originally, permits were available on January 30, but the system was quickly closed when it became clear that some applicants were not allowed to access the application page on the website.

The United States Forest Service decided to cancel all permits that had been issued that day and start from scratch.

More than 100,000 people visit the BWCAW between May 1 and September 30 of each year, during which time permits are limited.

DNR wants information on lake plans in the Duluth area

Anyone interested in knowing or commenting on the plans of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the management of lakes and streams in the Duluth area has until March 1 to participate.

That's the last day to comment on several separate DNR plans for local waterways. The plans identify the specific management activities planned for that lake or stream in the next 5 to 20 years, said Deserae Hendrickson, fishery manager for the Duluth DNR area.

Plans now for review include:

• Cole Lake (Carlton County): the updated plan focuses on the management of double bass and bluegill and discontinued the failure of the walleye breeding.

• Upper Comstock Lake (St. Louis County): updated plan detailing the evaluation of the fry sowing program with a reduction in the recommended sampling frequency and a change in sampling frequency.

• Upper Island Lake (Carlton County): updated management of the plan approach in double bass and bluegill, with interruption of poor pike perch planting.

• Strand Lake (St. Louis County): updated plan that adds bluegill and black crappie as main species managed in the lake and walleye management through natural breeding.

• St. Louis River Estuary (St. Louis County): updated plan that details the stock evaluation proposal for the complementary storage of muskie.

Sturgeon Plan for the St. Louis River Estuary (St. Louis County): new plan that details the history of the lake sturgeon and restoration efforts, including proposed additional planting.

Review plans or make comments at the Duluth area fisheries office of the DNR, 5351 N. Shore Drive in Duluth, 8 a.m. at 4:30 p.m. weekday. Or call (218) 302-3267 or send an email to deserae.hendrickson@state.mn.us to request a copy of a plan or send comments on a plan.

Snowmobiles raise large sums of money for the fight against ELA

For the third year in a row, the Blackwoods Blizzard Tour snowmobile ride raised more than $ 1 million to fight the disease of ELA; this year it reached a record of $ 1.23 million.

The tour has now raised more than $ 10 million over 20 years to help research to stop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's disease.

The three-day event that ended on February 2 was hampered by the cold, but 700 people still gathered in the Cirrus aircraft hangar in Duluth for the final banquet. The legends of Twins Kent Hrbek, Ron Gardenhire, Terry Steinbach and Jack Morris joined Tigers, Kirk Gibson.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that slowly removes a person's ability to walk, talk, swallow and finally breathe. Without a known cause or cure, a person can expect to live typically 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis. The regional ALS Association also organizes an annual fishing contest on Island Lake with money earmarked for research and to make the lives of ALS patients more comfortable.

New rules on March 1 in the lake of the forests.

A reminder: the walleye fishing regulations change from March 1 on the lake of the forests and the Rainy river.

In the lake, the limit of pike perch and sauger is reduced from eight to six, with no more than four walleye. The protected slot limit remains in effect, requiring fishermen to immediately release any walleye between 19.5 and 28 inches, with only one fish over 28 inches allowed in possession.

In Rainy River and Four Mile Bay, a capture and release season will be in effect from March 1 to April 14. In recent years, fishermen could keep two walleye the size of a meal.

The DNR hopes that the new, more restrictive limits will protect the sauger in the lake and the smaller male walleye in the river.

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