Here are important Department of Natural Resources accomplishments achieved in the past four years while I have served as commissioner under Gov. Dayton.
Waterfowl hunting regulation changes
More liberal limits, earlier shooting hours and other changes provide a much higher quality season to the average hunter and won't negatively affect populations. Hunter numbers have climbed by 3,000 per year from their historic low.
Aquatic invasive species
We have greatly ramped up our program of education, inspection, enforcement and decontamination. We work closely with the U's Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center to identify new control techniques. We're ramping up to help counties deliver AIS programs with the new $10 million the Legislature provided. We worked closely with our congressional delegation to get the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock closed.
St. Louis River and estuary
We contributed to significant progress in restoring this outstanding resource and now have an excellent fishery there.
Timber management acceleration
This is a long-term strategy to improve habitat for deer, grouse, moose and many non-game species.
• We're improving information for hunters and anglers and the way it is provided. You can now buy licenses from a smartphone and get lake information with a web application.
• We're emphasizing shallow lake management in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited.
• We've launched groundbreaking moose research to identify causes for their decline.
• With partners, we continue to add 3,000-to-5,000 acres of wildlife management areas and aquatic management areas each year, including many close to the Twin Cities.
• We continue to add many miles of trout stream access easement each year.
• We're implementing the new trout stream silica sand setback law that will protect trout streams from negative impacts of silica sand mining.
• We've held three enforcement academies to fill holes in our statewide conservation officer ranks. We are increasing diversity as well.
• We continue to implement the 20,000-acre Walk In Access program.
• We have stabilized funding for the fish and wildlife division to ensure field managers have resources they need to conserve habitats.
• We continue to collaborate with many partners to accelerate habitat conservation with Legacy funds.
• We're ramping up to better monitor and manage groundwater statewide.