Published August 22, 2010, 12:00 AM

MINNESOTA OUTDOORS: Bear sightings continue ... ATVers to convene ... Muck helps cleanup site ... more

Waite Park, Minn., police are suggesting that residents take down bird feeders after receiving four more reports of bear sightings in town.

By: Forum Communications/Associated Press, Grand Forks Herald

Bear sightings continue in city

WAITE PARK, Minn. — Waite Park police are suggesting that residents take down bird feeders after receiving four more reports of bear sightings in town.

The St. Cloud Times reported there were three new reports Thursday around Stearns County Road 137. Police Chief Dave Bentrud said there was a fourth near Sunwood Park and Discovery School.

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials said bird feeders and other potential food sources should be removed from yards for as long as two weeks.

City police received two reports of bear sightings Wednesday.

ATV group to hold convention

NASHWAUK, Minn. — The All-Terrain Vehicle Association of Minnesota will hold its annual fall convention next month in Nashwauk.

The ATV association said the convention will run from Sept. 17-19.

Events will include trail rides, an ATV pull competition and an auction.

The group is a nonprofit organization that said it has more than 14,000 members across the state. It favors the building of a statewide ATV trail system and promotes ATV safety.

Online

ATV Association of Minnesota: www.atvam.org/

Muck spurs rebirth of polluted site

DULUTH — Call it “environmental muck.”

Mud that settled over the years in the backwaters of the St. Louis River, choking off what had been an open-water channel and prime fish habitat behind Tallas Island near Duluth, is being vacuumed up and piped two miles away to be sprayed out at the Stryker Bay Superfund site in the Duluth harbor.

State pollution regulators said the muck — filled with seeds, bugs and invertebrates — should jump-start a new, healthy wetland ecosystem in what had been one of Minnesota’s most polluted sites.

“It’s a win-win situation at both ends,” Susan Johnson, project manager for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, told the Duluth News Tribune. “We are getting all this great media that has all the critters and seeds already in it to start a healthy wetland in the bay. ... And it’s reopening what had been an open-water channel until it filled in with erosion.”

About 75,000 cubic yards of muck will be sprayed about 6 inches deep across much of the Superfund area in the fifth and final year of major work to dredge and cap massive contamination left by a century of industrial waste.

Stryker Bay and nearby Slips 6 and 7 were heavily polluted from the late 1800s into the 1960s. That part of the Duluth harbor was once ringed with tar and coke plants, heavy industry and slaughterhouses. Coal tar deposits were 13 feet thick under the water in some places.

MPCA officials have been working on the cleanup since 1979, and the site has been on the federal Superfund list since 1983. It’s one of the four largest Superfund projects in Minnesota history. The work will end this fall at a cost of more than $62 million.

Pesky beavers face trapping blitz

PARK RAPIDS, Minn. — A chronic beaver problem damming up the freshwater inlet to Peysenske Lake has prompted Hubbard County DNR conservation officer Samantha Hunter to issue a special nuisance 10-day trapping season.

It’s been a four-decades-long struggle for the small lake association, numbering less than 30 homeowners. This year, it reached critical mass.

In the past, frustrated homeowners armed themselves against the persistent threat to their lake’s water quality and went on midnight shooting parties.

“Citizens shouldn’t have to break the law” to get government to step in, said lake resident John Clauer.

Beavers have persistently plugged up an outlet under County Road 11 leading into the lake east of Park Rapids. The problems got worse when the county placed a new outlet a few years ago under the newly paved roadway leading south from the Dorset corner on Highway 34.

Because Peysenske doesn’t have any other inlets or outlets, it’s a cause of concern. Water gets stagnant, fish die and the lake suffers, residents said.

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