Prairie problems persist

Wildlife as varied as badgers, monarch butterflies, ducks and pheasants are suffering population declines despite millions of dollars of habitat restoration efforts.


The Mille Lacs and Leech Lake walleye fisheries need careful management to remain vibrant.

Photo: Star Tribune file photo

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The continuing loss of prairie habitat is the major problem confronting Minnesota conservationists, Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr told about 400 people in Bloomington on Friday at the opening of the agency’s annual two-day round table with key stakeholders.

As a result, wildlife as varied as badgers, monarch butterflies, ducks and pheasants are suffering population declines, the commissioner said, despite millions of dollars of habitat restoration efforts funded in large part by the Legacy Amendment, approved by voters in 2008.

“We’re going to see [habitat] losses that exceed our ability to replace them,’’ Landwehr said. “In a really good year we might create 20,000 to 40,000 acres of habitat. But we’re losing 100,000 acres a year. It’s not going in the right direction.’’

Landwehr’s warning about “unprecedented’’ wildlife losses in the state’s farmlands essentially was a repeat of remarks he made at the same conclave a year ago.

Friday’s gathering was opened by Gov. Mark Dayton, who noted, “We all know that natural resources in this state are a huge part of what’s so special about Minnesota.’’

But the governor said the state’s increasing human population and its growing commerce and industry pose challenges to Minnesota’s lakes and waters.

All the more reason, Dayton said, for those who oversee about $300 million in Legacy Amendment funds each year to make sure the money is producing results taxpayers expect.

Landwehr offered some success stories from the past year. About 21,000 acres of land had been protected, he said, 240,000 Minnesotans had enrolled in outdoor education classes, 166,000 kids took part in archery instruction and 26,000 Minnesotans earned firearm safety certificates.

Goals for the coming year, Landwehr said, include further cleanup of state waters, addressing the threat of aquatic invasive species, improving deer numbers, finding a fix for Mille Lacs walleyes and comprehensively addressing the prospect of precious metals mining in the northeast.


  • related content

  • Round table: Deer decline a concern

    Saturday January 11, 2014

    Deer: Decline a concernMinnesota’s 2013 deer harvest of 172,000 was the lowest in 15 years, and many hunters say that’s...

  • Round table: DNR sets bold plan for Mille Lacs

    Saturday January 11, 2014

    Mille Lacs: DNR sets bold planNew, perhaps radical changes in management of Lake Mille Lacs walleyes and perhaps other of...

  • Round table: Legacy Amendment enhances funding

    Saturday January 11, 2014

    Funding: Legacy sets paceAfter five years, projects paid for from the Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) are helping to change the...

  • Round table: Finding more hunters, anglers

    Saturday January 11, 2014

    Recruitment: Finding more hunters, anglersThough the number of Minnesota hunters and anglers has remained steady at about 1.1 million anglers...

  • Round table: Too many walleyes in Leech Lake?

    Saturday January 11, 2014

    Leech Lake: Too many walleyes?Too many walleyes? It’s not an issue many lakes face. But Leech Lake apparently is beset...

  • Round table: Search is on for Asian carp

    Saturday January 11, 2014

    Asian carp: The search is onReproducing populations of Mississippi River Asian carp are still believed to be south of Minnesota,...

  • Round table: Unraveling the moose mystery

    Saturday January 11, 2014

    Moose: Unraveling a mysteryThe dramatic decline of Minnesota’s moose population remains a mystery, though researchers are beginning to shed some...

  • Round table: Access to public lands

    Saturday January 11, 2014

    Mobile maps: Access to public landsWhether it’s an angler trying to find a boat access, or a hunter trying to...

  • DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr

  • Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton

  • Marion Larson, 72, has hunted game birds since she was a kid but she took up deer hunting at 38. "It's the excitement of the hunt," she said. "And I love the venison." This near their deer hunting cabin in the woods of northern Minnesota near Staples. Photo by Doug Smith/ Star Tribune ORG XMIT: MIN2014010816375667

  • Bow hunter Mark Meyer (center) of Bear Creek, Wis., is framed by the rack of the 244-pound, 12-point buck he bagged during the Camp Ripley bow hunt. Meyer was one of 2,208 hunters participating in the first of two two-day hunts.

  • Trevor Lenzen, 13, left, and Nelson Brothers, 11, with the ducks from the mornings youth hunt. Both hunters had successful mornings, taking a total of seven ducks between them, a first time for both. ] It was the youth Waterfowl Opener Saturday, and the Minnesota Waterfowl Association selected 18 kids and a parent for a morning's duck hunting in/near the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge in the south metro. Hunters gathered at 5:15 a.m. to head out to the various hunting locations. USFWS Wildlife biologist Dave Fronczak accompanied this group in the wildlife refuge, to teach the...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: K. Herrera 7
San Diego 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Houston 90 FINAL
Orlando 89
Brooklyn 86 FINAL
Boston 100
Washington 100 FINAL
New York 103
Cleveland 92 FINAL
Memphis 96
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Milwaukee 91
Atlanta 117 FINAL
San Antonio 107
Portland 86 FINAL
LA Lakers 94
Phoenix 105 FINAL
LA Clippers 108
Toronto 0 Postponed
Ottawa 0
Philadelphia 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Washington 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Chivas USA 0 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 2
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM


question of the day

Poll: Who should get the Twins' managing job?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters