Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TRAVEL ALERT: I-94 traffic switches near Fergus Falls



DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – All traffic on Interstate 94 northwest of Fergus Falls has shifted to the eastbound lanes.

A single lane of traffic remains open in each direction while crews begin work on the westbound bridge deck over Otter Tail County Road 10.

The project began in April and is expected to last through October. For the first half of the construction season, crews worked on the eastbound bridge.

Speed limits on I-94 are reduced to 60 mph through the work zone. Motorists are reminded that violators will be fined a minimum of $300.

This project re-uses the existing beams and bridge substructure, which are in satisfactory condition. The new bridge decks will extend the life of the bridges and result in a smoother road surface. This project helps ensure MnDOT’s transportation system will continue to serve the state for many years.

For real-time travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org or dial 5-1-1.

Another conservative deer season set to rebuild population



Hunters can expect another conservative deer season in 2015 as management continues to rebuild deer numbers across much of the state, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said.
“The 2015 deer hunting regulations will be quite similar to last year, with one-deer limits in most of the state,” said Leslie McInenly, big game program leader for the DNR. “Hunters should check the 2015 regulations early, because in the majority of areas, hunters will need to apply for a permit to shoot an antlerless deer.”

In 70 of Minnesota’s 128 deer permit areas, hunters must be chosen in a lottery to shoot an antlerless deer. Only bucks can be hunted in 14 areas. In 29 areas, hunters have the choice of shooting a doe or a buck. Bonus permits allowing hunters to shoot more than one deer may only be used in 11 permit areas and for some special hunts. In three southwestern areas, the DNR is restricting antlerless harvest to youth hunters only.

Hunters can buy deer licenses and apply to the lottery for antlerless deer permits starting Saturday, Aug. 1. The deadline to apply for the lottery is Thursday, Sept. 10.

“Given the mild winter for most of the state and reduced harvest last year, we anticipate that hunters will be seeing more deer when afield, and we are already hearing from people that they are seeing more deer this summer,” McInenly said. “We are continuing a conservative harvest approach in order to raise deer numbers consistent with our recent goal-setting process.”

The 2015 season marks the second year of a management approach to rebuild deer populations based on goal setting and listening sessions that indicated a desire for more deer in many areas.

Northern Minnesota hunters will again feel the impact of a bucks-only season. In bucks-only areas, no antlerless deer may be harvested by any hunter, including those with archery or youth licenses. Similarly, no antlerless deer may be harvested by any adult hunters in youth-only antlerless areas. However, as a result of 2015 legislation, new this year is an exception allowing either-sex harvest by any hunter age 84 and up or by hunters who are residents of veterans’ homes.

Another change this year is the return of youth-only antlerless harvest for a few areas in southwestern Minnesota. The measure is designed to increase populations into goal range in areas where antlerless harvest under the lottery system hasn’t been restrictive enough to increase deer numbers.

Details on buying a license
All hunters who purchase licenses by Sept. 10 are automatically entered into the lottery if they declare a lottery deer permit area. Those who do not wish to harvest an antlerless deer are encouraged to purchase their license after the lottery deadline. Hunters may apply using both their firearm and muzzleloader licenses. If hunters are selected for both licenses, they must select the one season in which they want to shoot an antlerless deer. 

Deer hunting licenses, lottery applications and special hunt applications are available at any DNR license agent, by telephone at 888-665-4236 or online at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense. Lottery winners will be notified in October.

Permit area breakdown
Bucks-only deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 103, 108, 111, 118, 119, 152, 169, 176, 177, 178, 181, 183, 199 and 203.
Youth-only antlerless deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 234, 237 and 286.
Lottery deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 101, 105, 110, 117, 122, 126, 127, 155, 156, 157, 159, 171, 172, 173, 179, 180, 184, 197, 208, 210, 221, 222, 224, 229, 232, 235, 238, 242, 246, 247, 249, 250, 251, 252, 253, 258, 259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 273, 274, 275, 276, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285, 288, 289, 290, 291, 294, 295, 296, 297, 298 and 299.

Hunter choice deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 201, 209, 213, 218, 219, 223, 225, 230, 233, 239, 240, 248, 254, 255, 256, 257, 264, 265, 277, 292, 293, 338, 339, 341, 342, 344, 345, 347 and 348.
Managed deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 114, 214, 215, 227, 236, 241, 287 and 343.
Intensive deer areas in 2015 are permit areas 182, 346 and 349.

The DNR strongly advises hunters to review new deer hunting regulations, permit area designations and boundary changes before applying. Current and up-to-date information is available online at www.mndnr.gov/hunting/deer. Information about deer management and upcoming deer population goal setting during the next two years is available at www.mndnr.gov/deer.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Highway 200 resurfacing project east of Ada begins July 29



BEMIDJI, Minn. – Motorists on Highway 200 between Ada and Highway 32 should expect lane closures, slow traffic and delays when a resurfacing project begins Wednesday, July 29.

Flaggers and a pilot car will allow one-way, alternating traffic through the work zone. Motorists should slow down, obey flaggers and use caution as they follow the pilot car.

Crews from Minn-Dak Asphalt of Thief River Falls will complete the $2.1 million project, which also includes shouldering work on various highways in the area.

The work will ensure a smoother and safer roadway for motorists in the region.

This project helps ensure MnDOT’s transportation system will continue to serve the state for many years. Learn more about Minnesota’s investment in and maintenance of the state’s transportation system at MnDOT’s Get Connected site www.dot.state.mn.us/getconnected/.

MnDOT urges motorists to follow these recommendations in work zones: stay alert; watch for signs, equipment and workers; minimize distractions, such as using cell phones, eating or drinking; avoid tailgating; follow posted speed limits and directional signs; and stay in one lane while driving through a work zone.

For real-time traffic and travel information anywhere in Minnesota, visit www.511mn.org, call 5-1-1 or log on to www.mndot.gov.

Monday, July 6, 2015

DNR seeks comment on Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project



The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comment on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) prepared for the Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project in Becker County.

Solid Bottom Creek is a trout stream in Becker County that is eroding a steep hillside, contributing sediment to the stream and Elbow Lake. The DNR is proposing to move the stream away from the hillside to reduce erosion and improve habitat conditions for brook trout and other species. The agency will take comments during a 30-day public review from July 6 to Aug. 5.
A copy of the EAW is available online at www.dnr.state.mn.us/input/index.html. Under “Environmental Review,” select “Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project” from the scroll-down list. A hard copy may be requested by calling 651-259-5082.
The EAW is available for public review at:
  • DNR Library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
  • DNR Northwest Region, 2220 Bemidji Ave. Bemidji, MN 56601.
  • Minneapolis Central Library, Government Documents, 2nd Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall.
The EAW notice will be published in the July 6 EQB Monitor. Written comments must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5, to the attention of Kate Frantz, EAW project manager, Environmental Policy and Review Unit, Ecological and Water Resources Division, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.

Electronic or email comments may be sent to environmentalrev.dnr@state.mn.us with “Solid Bottom Creek Restoration Project EAW” in the subject line. If submitting comments electronically, include name and mailing address. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811.

Wildlife Drive opening July 18 at Roseau River Wildlife Management Area



The 27-mile “Wildlife Drive” through the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), 20 miles northwest of Roseau, will be open to vehicular travel July 18-26 and the following weekends through Aug. 16. The drive traverses wetland, woodland, brushland and farmland habitats, providing visitors ample opportunity to see wildlife.

Roseau River WMA is one of the viewing stops along the Pine to Prairie Birding Trail, which consists of 45 sites spanning a 223-mile corridor from pine to prairie in the northwestern part of the state. These sites offer some of the most spectacular birding in the state, along with scenic beauty and friendly communities.

The viewing route also cuts through the northern reaches of the Juneberry 3 wildfire, which burned an area in excess of 30,000 acres in October 2011. The fire opened up stands of woody vegetation, creating new foraging sites for birds and mammals and improving nesting cover for a wide array of birds for years to come.

Approximately 149 bird species breed within the Roseau River WMA. Yellow rails, horned grebes and Western grebes are a few of the rare breeding species found within the area’s vast wetlands. Along the drive you may also encounter trumpeter swans, loons, white pelicans, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, eagles, a variety of ducks and other water birds, sedge wrens, yellow warblers, Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrows, black bears, deer, beaver, otter, muskrat, red fox, gray wolf and the occasional moose.

Aside from excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, the WMA “pools” offer spectacular year-round northern pike fishing opportunities. Visitors typically fish along the dike roads or near the water control structures. When the dike roads are closed to motorists, visitors can bike to Pool 1 West or Pool 2 from the parking areas. During the waterfowl hunting season only, motorboats of 10 horsepower or less may be used on the Roseau River WMA.

The Wildlife Drive can be easily accessed at the main dike road, located one and three-quarter miles south of the WMA headquarters on Roseau County Road 3. Only motor vehicles licensed for use on public highways are legally permitted to operate on this road. Motorists are urged to use caution due to narrow roads, soft shoulders, deep ditches and two-way traffic. The speed limit on all WMA roads is 20 mph. Note that the wildlife drive may be closed due to inclement weather or road construction.

For more information, contact or stop by the Roseau River WMA office to pick up a bird list, maps, fishing regulations and additional information before your visit: 218-463-1130, 27952 400th St., Roseau, MN 56751, or visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/wmas/.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Travelers are urged to use caution in work zones during July Fourth holiday

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Transportation urges motorists to use extra caution while driving through highway work zones during the July Fourth holiday.
“While we shut down many projects over the Fourth of July holiday, there are still many work zones around the state that will affect travel,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “We ask drivers to pay attention in work zones, plan ahead and perhaps consider alternate routes. Check www.511mn.org to get advance information about road construction and detours.”

Highway projects that may affect weekend travel July 3-5 include:
Twin Cities area
·        Interstate 494 in Plymouth – multiple lane and ramp closures
·        I-35E in St. Paul and Little Canada – lane and ramp closures
·        Highway 5 between St. Paul and Highway 55 – lane and ramp closures
·        Highway 5 between Waconia and Victoria – road closed, detour
·        Highway 100 in St. Louis Park – ramp closures and lane shift
·        Highway 169 in Jordan – single-lane traffic in both directions, County Road 9 access closed, detour
Central Minnesota 
·        I-94 between Rogers and St. Michael – lane shift, narrow lanes and reduced speeds, expect delays
·        Highway 169 along south shore of Lake Mille Lacs – bypass lanes, traffic delays
·        Highway 10 between St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids – all lanes of traffic will be open for the weekend
West Central Minnesota 
·        Highway 12 between Atwater and Litchfield detoured
·        Highway 12 between Kerkhoven and Pennock detoured
Northern Minnesota   
·        Highway 2 between Cass Lake and Ball Club – lane shifts, flagging activities, some delays
·        Highway 10 in Detroit Lakes – single-lane traffic in both directions, expect delays
·        Highway 2 (Bong Bridge) between Duluth and Superior eastbound lanes closed, detour
·        Highway 23 between Duluth and Duquette – single-lane, detour
·        Highway 70 east of I-35 detour
·        Highway 61 south of Grand Marais – single-lane bypass
Southern Minnesota    
·        I-35 Owatonna to Albert Lea single-lane traffic in both directions, slow traffic
·        Highway 63 south of Spring Valley to Iowa border – closed, detour
·        I-90 between St. Charles and Eyota single-lane traffic in both directions, slow traffic
·        I-90 near Alden, Jackson and between Adrian and Rushmore – two-way, two lane traffic with crossovers, ramp closures, reduced speeds
·        Highway 59 in Marshall – short detour
For a complete list of projects, including construction dates and traffic impacts, visit www.mndot.gov/roadwork/current.html. Motorists may also sign up to receive email updates for major projects at www.mndot.gov/emailupdates.

MnDOT urges motorists to always be attentive, drive with caution, slow down in work zones and never enter a road blocked with barriers or cones.         

To learn about funding Minnesota’s transportation system, visit Get Connected at www.dot.state.mn.us/getconnected.                

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Moorhead Police Summer Youth Program Registration

Registration/sign-up for the Moorhead Police Department’s Summer Youth Program will be held on Wednesday, June 17 at the Moorhead Armory (1002 15 Ave. N.) starting at 4 pm and will continue until the program is full or 7 pm.  We are only able to accommodate a total of 200 youth ages 8-12 years old, so availability is on a first-come first-serve basis.  A parent or legal guardian must accompany their child at the time of registration.

This program is free to participants thanks to grant funding through the Minnesota Youth Intervention Program Association (YIPA) by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.   Minnesota YIPA is an organization that advocates for community-based youth intervention programs.  This program provides an excellent opportunity for police officers to interact with youth and help develop strong relationships and support positive decision making. The Summer Youth Program started as an opportunity for children in the community to participate in fun activities they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to. 

The program is held every Wednesday from 12– 4 pm (or later on some weeks) for 7 weeks in the summer and targets all youth in the community who are available to attend each week.  Each afternoon consists of lunch, an educational component and a recreational activity including roller skating, bowling, Thunder Road Amusement Park, swimming and more!

Youth Services Coordinator Louis Ochoa and School Resource Officer Brian Dahl are the coordinators for this program and can be contacted at 218.790.4054 or 218.790.4259 if you have any questions.

See the 2015 Schedule of Events for all the details.  Media outlets are welcome and invited to come to registration or to stop by any Wednesday to see first-hand how exciting and successful this program has become!