July 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.





Flowering rush was recently found in the Twin Cities metro area. What is this invasive plant?

Flowering rush is a non-native, invasive species that grows along lake and river shores as an emergent plant.  Flowering rush may also grow as a non-flowering, submersed plant with limp, ribbon-like leaves.  Flowering rush was first reported in Minnesota in 1968 and is now known to be present in 21 lakes and two rivers in Minnesota.  Most recently, flowering rush was discovered in Lake Minnetonka.

Like other invasive aquatic plants, where flowering rush becomes abundant it can interfere with use of lakes and displace native plants. The Department of Natural Resources’ Invasive Species Program monitors the distribution of flowering rush, works to prevent further spread, and supports management of the problems caused by the plant.

- Chip Welling - coordinator, Aquatic Invasive Species Management
Division of Ecological Resources, Minnesota DNR


It's that time of year when turtles are trying to cross the road. Why? Is there anything we can do to help them cross safely?

The turtles we see crossing roads are typically painted and snapping turtles. Both species spend most of their time in lakes, ponds, and wetlands, but lay their eggs in nests dug in dry, sandy and warm soils. Since many roads are built skirting water bodies, our roads often separate a turtle's home from its nesting area. If the turtle can find the right type of soil near their home water body, they’ll use it. However, they may often travel great distances to find a suitable nesting spot. And so, the turtle may have to cross the road to get to the other side to lay its eggs. If you see a turtle crossing the road, you can help it cross safely. Watch for traffic. Pick up the turtle by the back of its shell - never pick up a turtle by its tail. And move the turtle in the direction it is heading. The painted and snapping turtles laid their clutch of eggs in June.

Should the eggs survive predation, they are expected to hatch in late August, which means there’ll be even more turtles  - quarter-sized hatchlings - crossing the road again, trying to get home.
- Richard Baker, DNR zoologist



DNR Question of the Week Archive