Adult Zebra Mussel Found at Fargo Water Intake

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department has confirmed that an adult zebra mussel was found on an intake screen at the city water plant in Fargo, according to Fred Ryckman, aquatic nuisance species coordinator for the agency.

Fargo city employees discovered the mussel while inspecting some of their Red River intake structures Thursday afternoon, said Troy Hall, water utility director for the city of Fargo. The species was confirmed as a zebra mussel early Friday afternoon.

Game and Fish had confirmed the presence of large numbers of zebra mussel veligers or larvae at several locations along the Red River earlier in the week, and this is the first documented adult zebra mussel collected in North Dakota waters.

Game and Fish and other stakeholders will continue to monitor areas of the Red River to gauge the presence and impact.

Now more than ever, Ryckman said it is imperative that all Red River water users, including recreationists, adhere to all rules and regulations regarding ANS.

“As we have said in the past, there is often little that can be done once a body of water becomes infested with an aquatic nuisance species,” Ryckman added. “However, we can prevent them from being moved from the infested water body to waters that aren’t infested.”

More information on zebra mussels, other aquatic nuisance species and related regulations is available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov/ans.

have you seen?

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This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at http://gf.nd.gov.

North Dakota Game and Fish outreach biologist Greg Gullickson talks about the Conservation and Outdoor Skill Park at the North Dakota State Fair. Click here to Watch!   And then take a virtual tour right here or here: http://gf.nd.gov/education/other/north-dakota-state-fair

 

zebra mussels in Red River

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Numerous zebra mussel veligers have been discovered at several locations along the Red River between North Dakota and Minnesota, according to North Dakota Game and Fish Department aquatic nuisance species coordinator Fred Ryckman.

 

In a survey conducted June 23-24 at six sites along the length of the river from Wahpeton to Pembina, Ryckman said that a significant number of zebra mussel veligers were found at each location. The survey was conducted by Valley City State University; samples were sent to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks veliger lab for analysis.

 

Veligers – the early life stage of mussels – are microscopic larvae that adult mussels release into the water. They float with the current and can attach in great numbers to hard surfaces such as rocks, boat docks and bridge pilings, and as adults can clog pipes such as those used for municipal or industrial water supply systems. They also feed on organisms that are primary food sources for newly hatched game fish.

 

This is the first time that veligers were discovered at any location downstream from Wahpeton, and in quantities of more than only a couple of specimens. Surveillance efforts on the Red River in the past five years detected the presence of zebra mussel veligers in 2010, 2011 and 2014, all found at the same single site near Wahpeton, Ryckman said. In addition to the location at Wahpeton, veligers were also documented in the recent survey at Pembina, Drayton, Grand Forks, Fargo and Abercrombie.

 

“Although these results are not totally surprising considering the recent findings of large numbers of zebra mussel veligers in the Red River at the Canadian border, and in past years near Wahpeton in the Otter Tail River in Minnesota, the results are certainly surprising in that so many veligers were detected at each of the six sampled sites,” Ryckman said. “And it’s even more incredible considering that in similar sampling over the past several years we’ve only detected about a half dozen veligers in total.”

 

The only known population of zebra mussels within the Red River basin in the United States is an established population of adult zebra mussels in the Otter Tail River watershed in Minnesota, upstream of where the Otter Tail and Bois de Sioux join together to form the Red at Wahpeton-Breckenridge. Ryckman says that although the Otter Tail River was the likely source of previous veliger discoveries, the volume of veligers discovered this year along the entire length of the river has biologists questioning if there aren’t undiscovered colonies of adult zebra mussels elsewhere within the Red River watershed.

 

The key now is for people using the Red to be extra careful about transporting any water away from the river, Ryckman said. “There really isn’t anything we can do to remove the veligers or any adult zebra mussels from the river,” he added, “but we can be on alert and do everything we can to prevent them from being moved to other bodies of water.”

 

In addition to following the ANS rules and regulations when exiting the river, Ryckman urges local entities and water recreationists using the Red to look for and report any suspected adult zebra mussels that they may find.

 

If mussels are found, citizens are asked to report findings immediately to a local Game and Fish Department district office. Pictures and life history of zebra mussels are available on the 100th Meridian Initiative website at 100thmeridian.org/.

 

More information on zebra mussels, other aquatic nuisance species and related regulations is available on the Game and Fish website at gf.nd.gov/ans.

 

Fur Harvester Education Program

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coyote photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

coyote
photo by Craig Bihrle, ND Game and Fish

The North Dakota Cooperative Fur Harvester Education Program is sponsoring a fur harvester education class in Bismarck for anyone interested in trapping or hunting furbearers.

The course is scheduled for Aug. 18, 20 and 22. The event is free and takes 16 hours to complete over a three-day period.

Students will learn about traps, trapping and snaring techniques, furbearer biology and fur care. A field day allows students to make a variety of land, water and snare sets.

Upon completion, graduates are issued a certification card that is recognized by any state requiring trapper education prior to purchasing a license.

Anyone interested in signing up for the class should visit the North Dakota Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov, click on the Hunter Education Enrollment link, and then click on the list of hunter education courses.

For more information contact John Paulson at 701-471-2178

Game and Fish at the State Fair

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The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will host thousands of visitors to its Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park July 17-25 at the State Fair in Minot.

Visitors will be treated to an array of activities, exhibits and useful information as the park will be open from 1-7 p.m. daily. Pathways to Hunting, Fishing, Trapping and Archery are major attractions where each outdoor activity is taught to interested kids and adults. Of course, the opportunity to catch a fish brings excitement to the littlest angler.

Outreach biologist Greg Gullickson said the Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park is a really good stop for the entire family to learn about the outdoors, and to participate in activities that might just turn a youngster and others on to hunting and fishing in North Dakota.

“In addition to some great hands-on outdoor learning opportunities, we offer a live fish display, furbearer exhibit and native prairie plantings,” Gullickson said, while also mentioning numerous shade trees and picnic tables provide visitors a chance to rest and enjoy the surroundings.

Two information centers staffed by Game and Fish Department personnel bookend the Conservation and Outdoors Skills Park, which is located on the north end of the grounds near the All Seasons Arena.

“The park is a popular destination,” Gullickson said. “Stop in and check it out. And the price is right … admittance is free.”

Hunting Guide and Outfitter Exam

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The next guide and outfitter written examination is Aug. 15 at 1 p.m. at the North Dakota Game and Fish Department office in Bismarck. The test is given periodically to anyone interested in becoming a hunting guide or outfitter in the state.

In addition to passing a written exam, qualifications for becoming a guide include a background check for criminal and game and fish violations; certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and standard first aid; and employment by or contract with a licensed hunting outfitter.

Hunting outfitter eligibility requirements include the guide qualifications, as well as an individual must have held a hunting guide license for two years; and must have proof of liability insurance.

Interested individuals are required to preregister by calling the Game and Fish Department’s enforcement office at 328-6604.

have you read?

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The July  issue of North Dakota Outdoors magazine is available FREE online right now. It’s highlighted by an in depth story on Lake Sakakawea Bounces Back by fisheries biologist Dave Fryda. Five years ago North Dakota Outdoors feaJULY13tured an article that outlined the reasons for great optimism for the future of Lake Sakakawea. The optimism of 2010 is a reality in 2015. It’s important to look back to discuss how critical water levels and water management are to the fishery.
There’s a great piece of how some of the waters you fish have been named. Ron Wilson shares his findings on how places like Crooked Lake, Flooded House Lake and Paris Lake were named. Check these stories and more for free in the full July issue  available right here: or herehttp://gf.nd.gov/publications

 

have you seen?

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This week’s North Dakota Game and Fish Department webcast, Outdoors Online, is now online at http://gf.nd.gov. North Dakota Game and Fish upland game management supervisor Stan Kohn talks about Pheasant Crowing Counts. Click here to Watch! More information on pheasants in North Dakota at this click: http://gf.nd.gov/hunting/smallupland/pheasants

want to be a game warden?

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Individuals interested in taking the district game warden or warden pilot exams scheduled for July 17 are reminded to register no later than July 13, by submitting an online application through the North Dakota State Job Openings website.

enforcement

The tests are scheduled for 10 a.m. at the department’s main office in Bismarck.

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and have a bachelor’s degree, have a valid driver’s license and a current North Dakota peace officer license, or be eligible to be licensed. Candidates must have excellent interpersonal skills in communications and writing, and must not have a record of any felony convictions.

In addition, game warden pilot applicants must have a commercial pilot’s license for a single engine land with an instrument rating, and hold an FAA Class II medical certificate. Candidates also must have a minimum of 500 hours total flying time and have a clean record without any felony convictions. Job duties include day and night flights, involving enforcement and administrative flight activities. Responsibilities also include enforcing game and fish laws and other related regulations.

District game wardens enforce game and fish laws and related regulations in an assigned district and other locations as determined by the department. Wardens normally work alone under varied conditions, at all hours of the day, night and weekends. In addition to law enforcement duties, wardens assist in the areas of public relations, education programs, and hunter and boat safety education.

Salary through training for a district game warden is $3,600 per month, while the warden pilot position is $3,800 per month. Upon successful completion of training, the monthly salary ranges are $4,136 – $6,894. Wardens also receive the state benefits package, including travel allowance. Uniforms and other equipment are provided.

2015 spring sharp-tailed grouse numbers are up

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Statistics from the 2015 spring sharp-tailed grouse census indicate a 22 percent increase in the number of male grouse counted compared to last year.

 

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Statewide, 4,346 sharptails were observed on spring dancing grounds this year compared to 3,551 in 2014. Male grouse recorded per square mile increased from 3.4 to 4.2. More than 1,000 square miles were covered.

Aaron Robinson, upland game biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Dickinson, said the outlook for the 2015 hunting season is still premature as lek counts are a metric of population trends and not a reliable predictor of hunter success.

“Preliminary observations indicate good residual cover for a favorable hatch, but this is heavily influenced by timing, duration, location of severe precipitation and low temperatures,” Robinson said.

An indication of the fall season won’t be known until completion of brood surveys in late summer.

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