Although winter seems as if it will never end, it’s time to start moving icehouses off Minnesota lakes.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding anglers that icehouses on lakes in the southern two-thirds of the state must be off the ice Monday. In the northern third of the state, icehouses must be off the lakes by March 18.

If shelters are not removed by the deadline, owners may be prosecuted and structures may be confiscated and removed, or destroyed by a conservation officer.

After the deadline for removal passes, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise when occupied or attended.

Storing or leaving shelters on a public access is prohibited. Anglers should take care to clean up any litter in the area of their icehouse, the DNR said.

Anyone with questions about the deadline should contact their local DNR office.



State leads the nation in solar output

After a 47 percent jump in the state’s solar generating capacity last year, Minnesota leads the nation in community solar output, state officials said last week.

More than 100 new community solar gardens were built in Minnesota last year, said Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley.

The state’s overall solar capacity now is 882 megawatts (MW), enough to power about 100,000 homes. More than half the output — 508 MW — is produced by community solar projects.

Community solar subscribers join others in a larger solar energy system. Each subscriber’s share of the electricity generated by the system is credited on their utility bill.

Laws passed in 2013 created a statewide solar energy standard and required Xcel Energy to develop a community solar program to further encourage solar growth.


Red River Valley

Corps draws down Red River reservoirs

The St. Paul District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing for the spring snowmelt by drawing down its reservoirs in the Red River of the North basin.

Reservoirs at Valley City and Park River, N.D., will be drawn down from 5 to 13 feet. Reservoirs at Wheaton, Fergus Falls and Lac qui Parle, Minn., will be drawn down from 1 to 9 feet.

The Corps warned that drawdowns may degrade river ice downstream and urges people in those areas to take precautions when going out on the ice.