WATERWORKS by Gordon Prickett for the 11/5/2014 Aitkin Independent Age
LOON WATCHERS REPORT
It’s the time of year when loon surveys by volunteers are collected in Minnesota by the DNR. After a lower count of loons in 2013 on Nord Lake, our census was back up to seven adults and two chicks in July 2014. From three nesting pairs we had one juvenile loon survive into October. After instructing their young all summer it is surprising that the adult loons leave the lake in September, and the young instinctively can fly south on their own in October.
Kevin Woizeschke is the new nongame wildlife biologist in charge of the Loon Watch program. For Aitkin County he has openings for volunteer watchers on these lakes:
Cedar, Dam, Elm Island, Fleming, Ripple, and Wilkins.
There was a time when many of us old timers carried out trash and garbage to a burn barrel. And we raked piles of leaves in the fall and burned them or dumped them on vacant land. Times change, and air quality and land use practices are different today.
Today’s garbage often contains plastics, dyes, and bleached paper. In the past it was mostly plain paper, wood or glass. Burning today’s garbage may seem to reduce volume, but cancer-causing toxins, heavy metals, and waste just move into the air and soil where they can enter our food and bodies. That is why burning garbage in Minnesota is illegal, since 1969.
Safe alternatives include recycling plastics, paper, and cardboard. And using garbage and solid waste facilities as well as composting.
AQUATIC INVASIVE SPECIES (AIS)
Applications for AIS funding from lake associations and other groups are being sought between now and January 12, 2015. The county board of commissioners adopted an AIS Plan on October 14th to use the new state funds. Activities to combat invasives include education and prevention and watercraft inspections. A local match of 20% is required.
For details about preventing and treating aquatic invasive species see Steve Hughes at the Soil and Water Office and Terry Neff, Director of Environmental Services, at the court house.