DNR Questions Of The Month
Q: Water quality is important to all of us. Are there any simple
things people can do to help keep our lakes, rivers and wetlands healthy?
A: Removing trash along a riverbank, lakeshore or from a wetland is
that step in the right direction. Through the DNR’s Adopt-a-River program,
people can sign up to “adopt” a section of a lake, river or wetland to
ensure its long-term health through annual cleanups. Volunteers choose their
own site from shorelines that have not yet been adopted. The program
supplies “how-to” assistance, free rubbish bags, gloves and recognition
after a reporting of cleanup results. Between 1989 and 2006 more than 2,200
cleanups have been completed by more than 66,000 volunteers in 64 Minnesota
counties. They have removed about 4.8 million pounds of rubbish from 7,500
miles of Minnesota’s public waters, utilizing 226,000 hours of effort.
For information on the Adopt-a-River program, visit the DNR’s Web site at
- Paul Nordell, Adopt-a-River Program coordinator
Q: People who venture out onto a lake in the winter to fish or enjoy
another form of activity may often hear booming and cracking sounds from the
ice below them. What causes this? What does that mean?
A: The groaning and cracking of ice does not necessarily mean that
the lake is unsafe. As the temperature changes, there are tremendous forces
at work on the massive ice sheet. The forces exhibited by lake ice are
similar to those acting on the earth’s crust. A sheet of ice can develop
fault lines, and sudden shifts along these faults can cause the separated
sheets to collide, pushing upwards, creating pressure ridges.
These areas can be dangerous, particularly to vehicle traffic as they can
cause injuries if someone were to collide with them. The potentially
weakened ice underneath these ridges may also cause someone to break through
and plunge into frigid waters of the lake below. Shifting ice can also push
up along shorelines and form large, leaning ice heaves and potentially
hazardous conditions. Parents should be careful that children do not play on
or around these dangerous ice formations.
- Greg Spoden, DNR Division of Waters; Kim Elverum, DNR boat and water
Q: Spring is the time when wildlife babies are born. What should
people do, if anything, if they find what appears to be an abandoned
wildlife baby, or a baby bird that fell out of its nest?
A: The arrival of spring also means the arrival of newborns and
just-hatched wildlife. These youngsters soon venture into the world on shaky
legs or fragile wings. All too often, well-meaning people pick up animals,
particularly white-tailed deer fawns and young birds, believing that these
animals have been orphaned or abandoned and need to be saved. This is almost
never the case because the parents are usually waiting nearby. In fact, a
would-be rescuer is causing more harm than good to the young animal. Those
early unsteady steps and flights are part of normal development, helping the
young learn how to care for themselves. So, it’s important for people to
remember that wild animals belong in the wild.
- Lori Naumann, DNR Nongame Wildlife Program
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