DNR Question of the Week Archive

The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.






A recent report issued by the DNR indicated a decline in the number of youth interested in fishing. What is the DNR doing to reverse this trend?

The DNR is taking a variety of approaches to this societal trend in which children and young parents are participating at reduced levels in fishing, hunting and many other outdoor pursuits. In the Twin Cities metropolitan area, for example, the DNR has developed a Fishing in the Neighborhood program in which ponds and other small bodies of water are stocked with fish to create urban angling opportunities that previously did not exist. On the education front, the MinnAqua program will soon publish a state-of-the art guide for educators and others who want to teach angling and ecology to youth. The DNR will increase the number of youth fishing clinics and camps offered throughout the state. Finally, the agency is working with national and state organizations to encourage families to fish as a way of relaxing and enjoying the out of doors.

- Kathleen Kipka, DNR MinnAqua coordinator


It is not uncommon for swans and other birds to fly into power lines, power poles and radio towers. What does the DNR and power companies do to deter birds from striking these objects?

Some hazardous sites are identified as potential problems and addressed during new construction. However, potential problems from others sites are not always foreseen as birds may move into new territories with exiting hazards. Increased recognition of the problem for all migratory birds has prompted action to reduce bird mortality at both federal and state levels. Bird diverters in the form of balls, flappers or spirals, for example, can be placed on power lines to make them more visible to birds. Lines may also be placed underground or moved to another location out of major travel corridors. Shorter towers may also reduce bird mortality, as they do not require hazardous support wires.

- Steve Kittelson, DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife


When is a good time to start planning your lakeshore restoration project and what should a property owner know when planning?

Winter is a great time to start envisioning and planning a new lakeshore. The first step in any restoration project is to design a master site plan for the entire property. This includes figuring out the types of plants that can be used and are best suited to the conditions of the your site. The easiest way to figure out which plants will work is to look at the native plants that are growing in the water and along the shoreline of undisturbed property on your lake or river. Remember to only use plants native to Minnesota, and if your plan calls for planting in the water or at the waters edge, a permit may be necessary from the Minnesota DNR Aquatic Plant Management Program. There are two great resources that can help with any lakeshore restoration project – “Restore Your Shore” CD-ROM and the “Lakescaping for Wildlife and Water Quality” book. Once the master plan is complete, it is a good idea to do the project in phases to make the process less expensive and less daunting.

John Hiebert, DNR shoreland habitat coordinator


One of the sure signs of spring is when tree sap begins to run and the spring tradition of maple syrup making begins. What determines when and how tree sap runs and what is the process that turns sap into syrup?

Maple sap runs best when daytime temperatures are in the high 30s to mid-40s and overnight temperatures are below freezing. This cycle of above-freezing days and below-freezing nights needs to continue for several days, although nature has been known to occasionally provide a good run under less perfect conditions. Some sap may flow as early as late January or as late as May, but the typical time for a “good” sap run in Minnesota is March 15 to April 20. Sap is converted to syrup by boiling off most of the water content of the sap, which leaves the sugar and flavor behind. It usually takes 30-40 gallons of sap from a sugar maple to produce one gallon of pure maple syrup.

- Dave Crawford, Wild River State Park naturalist


DNR Question of the Week Archive