Larval zebra mussels resurface in Red River near Wahpeton

After two years of no findings, young zebra mussels again have been found in the upstream portion of the Red River near Wahpeton, N.D.

Larval zebra mussels first were found at Wahpeton in 2010 and again in 2011, but hadn’t been found the past two years.

Fred Rykman, aquatic nuisance species coordinator for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, said the latest detection wasn’t entirely unexpected.

“Since we have found zebra mussel young in this area before, and because there are established adult populations upstream in the Otter Tail River in Minnesota, finding a few young this year really didn’t come as a surprise,” Ryckman said.

Despite recent reports of new and expanding zebra mussel infestations in Minnesota, to date adult zebra mussels have not been found in any North Dakota waters. Young zebra mussels have only been found in North Dakota at this single site on the Red River.

At the lower end of the watershed, adult zebra mussels were found last fall in Lake Winnipeg and now appear to have become established in the big lake.

With the latest finding at Wahpeton, local entities and river users should be sure to check for any signs of the invasive mussels when when pulling and storing fishing piers, boat docks and lifts prior to ice up.

“It is especially important to look for zebra mussels during this winter prep work to determine if mussels are present,” Ryckman said. “They attach to these types of hard surfaces.”

If mussels are found, citizens are requested to leave the suspicious mussel attached, take a digital picture, and report findings immediately to a local Game and Fish Department district office. Pictures of zebra mussels are available on the 100th Meridian Initiative website at


ANS surveillance along the Red River was conducted by Valley City State University and funded by Game and






DNR expects good duck opener

Duck hunters across Minnesota should have a good opening weekend across most of the state, the Department of Natural Resources reported today in its first migration and hunting report of the season. Blue-winged teal, wood ducks and mallards will dominate the bags in most areas, and ring-necked ducks should be fairly common across northern Minnesota, the DNR said.

Here’s a look at conditions at a couple of key northwest Minnesota wildlife management areas. To see the full report, click here.

Thief Lake WMA
Thief Lake is within an inch target level, and access should be good from all boat launches. Bulrush cover is widespread, but Phragmites cover grew through deep water for much of the summer, and is sparse in places. Food is generally available for both marsh and field feeding birds. Wheat harvest is occurring in the area and stubble fields are available for field feeding birds.

Canada geese were observed arriving September 7-10. Since that time some birds have left and additional arrivals have come in.Local production of both geese and ducks was good in spite of high rains and water levels. Mallards have been observed field feeding over the last week.

Only 4 parties of Youth hunters participated on Youth Day, but they averaged 4 ducks per hunter, with dabblers predominating in the bag.

Early goose hunting picked up with the arrival of molt migrants the second week in September. Goose hunters have been hunting from the blinds in the CHZ and in WMA and private fields, and have had some success.

Roseau River WMA
Roseau River: Small grains harvest in the local area is late this year, making for an abundance of grain stubble fields nearby for foraging sites. Wild rice in Pool 2 is abundant in and near the Pool 2 Sanctuary. Pool water levels range from high on Pool 1 west to on target for Pools 2 and 3. Use of wheat in the Pool 3 Sanctuary by geese and cranes has been impressive at times.

The river is relatively low but navigable; access to river oxbows via watercraft will be greatly limited.

Roseau Lake: Sheet water is present in the deep spots of the lakebed and is serving as a roost site for mallards, Canada geese and cranes. Otherwise, most of the lake is dry. Stubble fields near the lake are abundant.

The weather is forecast to be warm with winds out of the south for the opener. We do not expect temperatures and winds to change appreciably over the next few days.

The first fall Canada geese arrived Sept. 3. Since then, several modest influxes have occurred. Canada goose numbers are good in the RRWMA work area for the opener. Birds are widely scattered; no appreciable concentrations are present, and patterns of use of fields for feeding have been very unpredictable. Small Canada geese and a few snow geese arrived about 1 week ago.

Duck production in the RRWMA work area was the best observed in about 20 years. Mallards, teal, and wood ducks are present in good numbers, and ring-neck duck numbers appear to be building. As with geese, ducks are widely scattered throughout the work area. There is some concentration of mallards in Roseau Lake. Sandhill crane numbers increased from the first week of September to present and are probably at peak numbers as of this date. As with geese & ducks, crane use of habitat in the work area is scattered and unpredictable.

Goose hunters who hunted in stubble fields near the 2 WMAs during the September goose hunt generally fared well. Pass-shooters had considerably less success. Hunting activity was moderate. Sandhill crane hunting in the vicinity of Roseau Lake WMA was good at times.

Thief River Falls area
Farmes Pool on Elm Lake WMA continues to be in drawdown this year in preparation for a prescribed burn. DNR staff hope to complete that burn in the next few weeks and begin putting water back in the pool. Lost River Pool and the pools on Eckvoll WMA and Pembina WMA all have high water.

Small grain harvest was late this year, with a few fields still unharvested, many with tubble and some that have been worked once. A few have been wrked twice. Soybean harvest will likely begin soon, a few may have already begun.

Large numbers of geese and mallards are field feeding around the Agassiz NWR/Eckvoll WMA/Elm Lake WMA area. Also observed a small flock of Sandhill cranes on Farmes Pool and have heard reports of good numbers of cranes around Agassiz NWR.

Weather outlook
Highs for the weekend will be about 80 on Saturday, 70 on Sunday, and 65 on Monday. Lows in the 50s to around 60. Winds about 10 mph. Chances of rain are slight through the weekend – increasing some on Monday.



Field & Stream names N.D. man ‘Conservation Hero of the Year’

A North Dakota man has been named “Conservation Hero of the Year” by Field & Stream magazine.

The national magazine announced this morning that it had bestowed the honor on Ryan Krapp of Bismarck. The Heroes of Conservation program, now in its ninth year, is dedicated to honoring volunteers involved in grassroots projects that protect and maintain fish and wildlife habitat across the country.

Krapp is a 2000 graduate of UND and also did his graduate work at the school. As state chairman of the North Dakota Mule Deer Foundation for two years and a leader of his local chapter for six years before that, Krapp has been instrumental in raising the funds to enroll landowners in the state’s Private Land Open to Sportsmen (PLOTS) program.

In a news release, Field & Stream also cited Krapp’s efforts to spearhead a $75,000 prescribed burn project, which should take place this spring. Krapp, who has his master’s in wildlife and fisheries biology from UND, also is working with his contacts in the energy industry to lobby for a more balanced approach to oil and gas development.

Krapp was awarded the honor Wednesday night at a gala event in Washington, D.C., where he was one of six finalists in the running for the title. Each of the finalists was presented with a $5,000 grant, and Krapp was also awarded a new Toyota Tundra, courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc.

The honorees are all featured in the October issue of Field & Stream, on newsstands now, and are also profiled in a twelve-part video series online.

“Ryan’s volunteerism has the potential to positively impact conservation for generations to come,” Anthony Licata, editorial dDirector of Field & Stream, said in a news release. “North Dakota is in the midst of an energy boom making Ryan’s work to ensure the state’s wildlife heritage all the more essential.”

Also among the finalists was Scott Rall, Worthington, Minn. Rall helped facilitate the acquisition of 2,500 acres of land for conservation where habitat improvement projects are now underway.