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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Projects to bolster conservation efforts for Minnesota loons will get a huge boost under a settlement agreement announced Tuesday, Oct. 9, stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The agreement, published Tuesday in the Federal Register, sets aside $16 million from BP, the oil rig's owner, for fish and wildlife rehabilitation for species impacted by the explosion, fire and spill that killed 11 people, injured 17 others and sent millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.
Minnesota's wolf population last winter was down some from the previous winter but statistically unchanged, the state Department of Natural Resources announced Monday, Sept 24. The DNR's winter population estimate came in at 2,655 wolves spread among 465 packs. Because the margin of error in the estimate is so big, plus or minus 700, that number is pretty close to the 2,856 wolves in 500 packs reported in 2017.
ISLE ROYALE NATIONAL PARK—Officials at Isle Royale National Park on Friday, Sept. 21, announced details of their plan to bolster the park's wolf population by capturing wolves in nearby regions and releasing them on the big Lake Superior island. The Park Service will trap and transport up to six wolves in coming weeks with a goal of at least 20 and up to 30 wolves moved to the island during the next three years.
NEAR SAWYER, Minn. — Just minutes into this particular fishing excursion, Bret Baker started the verbal barbs with a backhanded comment about his son Joseph's first largemouth bass of the day. "Cute one, Joseph,'' Bret said. It didn't take long in the Bakers' 20-foot Lund Alaskan to realize that "cute" meant "small." "Bigger than yours," Joseph, 15, fired back instantly, referring to the fact that his dad still hadn't landed a fish.
ON LAC LA CROIX, Ont. — For Jim Glowacki of Britt, Minn., this was his second trip to the big border lake here in two years, after last year's trek when he bumped his outboard on an infamous rock in the Loon River. For Mike Appelwick of Biwabik, Minn., it was his first time back to Lac La Croix in more than 20 years. But it was Appelwick who remembered precisely where the "56 Rock" on the Loon River was and how to avoid it in the fast-flowing current.
DULUTH—President Donald Trump will meet with local mining industry representatives and elected leaders during a formal "roundtable" discussion before his campaign event Wednesday, June 20, in Duluth, White House officials announced Monday, June 18. Trump will arrive in Duluth about two hours before the 6:30 p.m. campaign rally at Amsoil Arena.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Thursday, June 14, confirmed that it will try, once again, to develop a proposal to remove wolves from Endangered Species Act protections across the Great Lakes region and in other parts of the Lower 48 states. The agency has tried multiple times — through the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations — to delist wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, saying the big predators have fully recovered here after brushing with extinction in the 1960s and '70s.
LAKE WINNIBIGOSHISH — Forgive Gerry Albert if he gets a little excited when he catches walleyes here. "Here's another one!'' Albert shouted as he set the hook on a walleye, working to keep a tight line and run his outboard in whitecaps. "Ohhh, and I think it's a keeper!" Big Winnie is Albert's lake, so to speak. He's the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' large lakes fisheries specialist for the huge reservoir — 67,000 acres, 88 square miles — northwest of Deer River.
COTTON, Minn. — Bob Reed has a little breathing problem that requires oxygen, had a heart stent put in last winter and can't walk very far because of arthritis. But get him on his Polaris four-wheeler ATV and Reed looks like a 15-year-old kid ready to cut loose. You can find Reed every Tuesday morning from late April through October riding ATV trails across the region with a dozen or more of his closest Cotton friends. They don't have a name for their group, but others have come up with something that seems appropriate.
WASHINGTON—A proposed amendment to a U.S. Senate bill funding military spending would bypass ongoing court cases and approve the land swap proposed between PolyMet Mining Co. and the U.S. Forest Service. Senate Amendment 2523 to the National Defense Authorization Act, apparently proposed by Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., would mandate the Forest Service move ahead with the trade of 6,650 acres of Superior National Forest land at the spot where PolyMet wants to dig Minnesota's first ever copper-nickel mine.