February 2009

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.





The DNR oversees wildlife management areas (WMAs) throughout the state as well as AMAs. What are AMAs?

Aquatic Management Areas (AMAs) are similar to Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). AMAs are acquired and managed by DNR Fisheries to conserve, protect and enhance Minnesota’s aquatic and riparian habitats.

There are three types of AMAs: "easement AMAs" allow anglers to access trout stream corridors via permanent easements granted by landowners; "general use AMAs" allow angling, hunting, trapping and other light-use activities; "restricted use AMAs" do not allow hunting or trapping but do allow angling and other light-use activities.

The DNR currently administers 620 miles of trout stream easement AMAs and 220 miles of lake and warm-water stream shoreline as general and restricted use AMA's.  Public Recreation Information Maps (PRIM) maps will soon include all three types of AMAs.

Maps showing access to trout streams via easement AMA's can now be found at http://mndnr.gov/fishing/trout_streams/index.html.

- Mike Halverson, DNR Fisheries, land acquisition coordinator


It's been pretty cold up in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota this winter. Has Lake Superior frozen over this year?

Yes it has been a cold winter across the Arrowhead, as well as the rest of the state. Ice cover is increasing on Lake Superior, but it is not completely covered. Ice formation is quite complicated on the lake, as can be seen with the latest Ice cover map from the National Ice Center. 

To get an even better idea of the complexity of the ice on Lake Superior, see the Feb. 4 250-meter resolution image of the upper Midwest. Shifting winds can cause ice to move and expose areas that were ice covered just hours before.

On average, the peak ice coverage for Lake Superior occurs in late February, with the long-term average coverage being about 40 percent. The last time Lake Superior completely froze over with 100 percent ice coverage was in 1996. The ice finally left Superior along the shore of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan by the end of May that year. There have been recent years when the lake has been more than 90 percent ice covered, the last time was in 2003.

- Peter Boulay, DNR state climatologist



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