Thursday, November 12, 2015

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer weekly reports

The reports have been updated. Please follow any of the links below to read the latest report.  Last updated: 2015-11-10

District 1 - Baudette area
District 2 - Bemidji area
District 3 - Fergus Falls area
District 4 - Wadena area
District 5 - Eveleth area
District 6 - Two Harbors area
District 7 - Grand Rapids area
District 8 - Duluth area
District 9 - Brainerd area
District 10 - Mille Lacs area
District 11 - St. Cloud area
District 12 - Princeton area
District 13 - West Metro area
District 14 - East Metro area
District 15 - Marshall area
District 16 - New Ulm area
District 17 - Mankato area
District 18 - Rochester area

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

River Talk Sponsors Tell Their Stories

November 11, 2015
By Marie Zhuikov

The next monthly River Talk is scheduled for Wed. Nov. 18, 7 p.m. at Barker’s Waterfront Grille (Barker’s Island Inn, 300 Marina Dr., Superior, Wis.) Erika Washburn, director of the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve; Jen Hauxwell, assistant director for research and student engagement for Wisconsin Sea Grant; and Jesse Schomberg, interim co-director of Minnesota Sea Grant will present, “The Story Behind the River Talk Sponsors: What the Heck is a National Estuarine Research Reserve and a Sea Grant?”

The Wisconsin and Minnesota Sea Grant programs and the Lake Superior Reserve have teamed to offer this series of science cafĂ©-type evening talks about the St. Louis River Estuary. These informal “River Talks” are held monthly through May (except in December). Check the River Talk website for details. If you miss a talk, visit Wisconsin Sea Grant’s “Great Lakes Takes” blog for a summary.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Less restrictive Red Lake winter walleye regulations announced

Anglers fishing Upper Red Lake this winter will be able to keep three walleye – one more than last winter’s limit – and those fish can be from a broader size range.

Effective Tuesday, Dec. 1, the daily bag and possession limit for Red Lake will be three walleye, only one of which may be longer than 17 inches.

Last winter, anglers could keep two walleye, one of which could be longer than 26 inches. All walleye 17-26 inches had to be immediately released.

“In fall assessment netting by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, there was high walleye abundance and large numbers of fish from 12 to 21 inches,” said Gary Barnard, DNR Bemidji area fisheries supervisor. “The coming winter’s less restrictive regulations are based on the excellent status of Red Lake’s walleye fishery.”  

The DNR and the Red Lake Band have developed a joint harvest plan that governs walleye harvest on an annual basis. The harvest plan was recently revised for the first time since the walleye fishery reopened in 2006 after being closed in the 1990s due to overharvest.

Harvest regulation options were the topic at a Red Lake Citizen Advisory Committee meeting in late September.

“The Citizen’s Advisory Committee wholeheartedly endorses the new winter regulations for the 2015-2016 ice fishing season,” said Advisory Committee member Joe Corcoran. “We are optimistic these regulations will be successful at keeping walleye harvest within the established target harvest range for the winter season.”

More information on Red Lake fishing regulations are available at

Wisconsin Researchers Study “Rogue Waves” Like Ones Thought to Have Sunk the Fitzgerald

Preliminary findings show that sandstone bluffs like those in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore can increase the probability for these dangerous waves because waves reflect off them

November 9, 2015

By Marie Zhuikov

On the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Wisconsin Sea Grant researchers are learning more about the type of waves suspected in the Great Lakes freighter’s foundering.

Chin Wu, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his research assistant Josh Anderson studied rogue waves and wave and current patterns in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Lake Superior.

Rogue waves are defined as waves with a height more than double that of other waves occurring around them. They can be caused by multiple factors, such as wind, strong currents or shoreline geography. Also known as freak or killer waves, their tendency to occur unexpectedly and with huge force makes them especially dangerous.

On Lake Superior, a group of three rogue waves, colloquially called “three sisters,” is suspected as one of several causes for the sinking of the Fitzgerald in a storm near Whitefish Point, Mich., on Nov. 10, 1975. Because the waves follow each other closely, ships can’t recover and shed the water from the first before the others strike, which leads to sinkings. The captain of a ship near the Fitzgerald (Captain Cooper of the Anderson) reported that his ship was hit by two 30- to 35-foot waves. These waves, possibly followed by a third, continued in the direction of the Fitzgerald and may have struck it about the same time it sank. Twenty-nine crew members were lost.

For their experiment, Wu and Anderson deployed wave and current-measuring instruments throughout the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. They examined the data for rogue wave patterns, looking at three possible causes: refraction on shoals, diffraction around islands, and reflection off the sandstone bluffs so prevalent in the area, and which make up the popular mainland sea caves near Cornucopia, Wis.

Anderson says that although the study is still in progress, preliminary results show an increase in the probability for rogue waves near reflecting walls. The duo also found that if one rogue wave was observed, others can’t be far behind. “They group together during certain wave conditions,” said Anderson. “You might get three or four in an hour and then you won’t get one for the rest of the day.”

The largest rogue wave they observed at the sea caves was 12.8 feet when the other waves around it were 6.1 feet. However, the largest they observed during the study occurred on Gull Island Shoal in the eastern part of the lakeshore. It measured 17.7 feet when the other waves were an average of 8.9 feet.

Although the rogue waves observed in the Apostles aren’t nearly as large as the offshore ones that may have sunk the Fitzgerald, “They’re still dangerous to kayakers or sailboaters,” said Anderson. “Waves are hazardous and we still don’t know everything about them, so we’re doing this research for public safety and to understand them better.”

To document other wave and current patterns for their study, Wu and Anderson developed a computer model and calculated 35 years of conditions. “We found that basically, the overall wave climate has been increasing on Lake Superior due to less ice cover and stronger winds in the winter, which generates larger waves,” Anderson said. This can impact how sediment is transported around the islands and can change how bluffs erode.

Their ground-breaking work can be seen on the INFOs website.