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Help prevent the spread of invasive species

With more people on the lakes as summer heats up, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources encourages all boaters and fishermen to take a moment to "clean, drain and dispose" and join the 96 percent of Minnesotans who:

• Clean their watercraft of aquatic plants and prohibited invasive species,

• Drain all water by removing drain plugs and keeping them out during transport, and

• Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.

"Clean, Drain, Dispose is the law in Minnesota, because it's an effective way of preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species," said Heidi Wolf, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources invasive species coordinator. "These simple steps help protect your waters from invasive species and the environmental, recreational and economic harm they can cause."

Regulations and outreach focused on AIS prevention in Minnesota are effective. Compliance with AIS laws in Minnesota has increased to 96 percent, based on more than 417,000 watercraft inspections in 2016. The DNR provides training to watercraft inspectors employed by local governments and tribes. Last year, the DNR trained a record 857 non-DNR inspectors across the state.

Zebra mussels have been confirmed in less than 2 percent of Minnesota's lakes. The DNR has confirmed starry stonewort, a nonnative macro-algae, in eight Minnesota lakes. The DNR worked with lake associations and other stakeholders to aggressively treat starry stonewort in several lakes.

More information, including a 30-second public service announcement about preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, is available at www.mndnr.gov/AIS.

Wolf Center plans wolf presentations in outstate Minnesota

Visitors to Minnesota's state parks and community libraries will have a unique opportunity this summer to learn all about wolves. Outreach educators from the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minn., are busy throughout Minnesota holding programs at parks and libraries. The programs, titled "Wolves at Our Door," are engaging and unbiased.

They help students and their families better understand the complicated issues surrounding wolves. Subjects covered include wolf biology, behavior, predator/prey relationships, mythology and fear of wolves, challenges wildlife face and the importance of wildland habitat.

"Our commitment to offering these programs across the state shows how seriously we take our mission of educating the public about wolves," said Rob Schultz, the executive director of the International Wolf Center. "It's amazing to see how perceptions of wolves change once people are presented science-based facts."

Here is a partial schedule of upcoming presentations in the Northland region:

Friday, July 14 — 11 a.m. at Jay Cooke State Park

Friday, July 14 — 7 p.m. at Gooseberry Falls State Park

Saturday, July 15 — 11 a.m. at Tettegouche State Park

Sunday, July 23 — 11 a.m. at Duluth Heights Community Center

Thursday, July 27 — 4 p.m. at Aurora Public Library

Saturday, July 29 — 2 p.m. at Duluth City Center West/Evergreen Center

Saturday, Aug. 5 — 1 p.m. at McCarthy Beach State Park

Monday, Aug. 7 — 6 p.m. at Two Harbors Library

Saturday, Aug. 12 — 2 p.m. at Duluth Morgan Park Center

Thursday, Aug. 24 — 6 p.m. at Duluth Public Library

The International Wolf Center operates an interpretive center with a pack of live ambassador wolves. The center was founded in 1985 and its mission is to advance the wolf population by educating the public about wolves.

This two-year project is funded by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund for outreach to Minnesota public schools, summer youth programs in public parks, state parks, public libraries and nature centers to better understand complicated issues surrounding wolves.

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