Around Cook County

News and other information from Cook County

Study: Less Lake Superior habitat for big trout

Tue, 05/21/2013 - 8:17am
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DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — New research finds that Lake Superior's warming water probably already is affecting its most abundant big fish, the cold water-loving siscowet lake trout.

Increasing water temperatures over the last three decades have made conditions more favorable for chinook salmon, walleye and lean lake trout but less favorable for siscowet lake trout.

The study estimates that fatty siscowets have lost about 20 percent of their historic habitat because of the temperature changes that have already occurred.

The research used a mix of computer modeling and temperature measurements. It was conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, funded by Wisconsin Sea Grant.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the researchers picked lake trout, siscowet, salmon and walleye because they are among the most important species for sport angling and the region's tourism economy.

County to discuss septic ordinance changes at Tuesday work session

Mon, 05/20/2013 - 12:28pm

At the April 16 county board meeting, the septic system ordinance was discussed. After a long delay while the state responded to objections from the counties regarding new Minnesota Pollution Control Agency septic system rules, the Cook County Planning & Zoning Department has revised a septic ordinance it drafted several years ago in accordance with state law.
Each county now has until February 2014 to get its own septic ordinance in place. Cook County’s previous draft ordinance would have required property owners to have their septics pumped every three years whether they needed it or not.  The currently proposed ordinance allows people to postpone pumping as long as their septic tanks pass an inspection, which must be done every three years.
The board will discuss the proposed ordinance in a work session Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. at the courthouse.  The public will have time to comment on the ordinance before the board takes action to adopt it.

Weather: rain and more rain

Mon, 05/20/2013 - 11:32am

Rain and more rain due before the sun comes out on Thursday. WTIP’s Jay Andersen spoke with National Weather Service meteorologist Carol Christenson .

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Moose researchers begin monitoring moose calves

Sun, 05/19/2013 - 8:05am

As part of its study to determine what is causing the steep decline in the moose population in northeastern Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has begun radio collaring 50 moose calves.

Researchers began capturing and collaring the young moose on May 8 in the Arrowhead Region. To date 28 calves have been captured and collared. The collars placed on the moose calves hold GPS trackers and transmitters that send back information (heart rate, air temperature, ect.) to researchers every 20 minutes. If a moose doesn’t move for six hours—twice its normal naptime—researchers assume it has died and go retrieve it to bring back to study in their St Paul lab.

Researchers give the cow and calf at least 36 hours to bond before they separate them and collar the baby.

Three calves have died. Scientists want to know why three-quarters of the area’s moose calves are dying within a year of birth, a number that is unsustainable to maintain the moose population in northeastern Minnesota.

Glenn DeiGiudice, PhD research scientist/moose project leader is in charge of the calf project, which he said this is the most detailed moose calf mortality study he had ever worked on.

One surprise early on is the amount of twins born this spring.

DeiGiudice said,“So far the project is going very well. We have captured 11 sets of twins, a much higher percentage then we thought we would find,”

In January 2013, the DNR radio collared 111 adult moose. About half of those were females and researchers are using their location to identify when they have calved.

City contributes to restoration of Gunflint Trail welcome signs

Sun, 05/19/2013 - 7:59am

 John Schloot, representing the Gunflint Trail Historical Society, spoke to the Grand Marais city council on Wednesday, May 8 about the attempt to re-paint and restore the Gunflint Trail welcome signs on Second Avenue West near the Grand Marais Public Library. The organization asked that the city commit $1,500 toward the project, which is estimated to cost about $7,500 ($6,000 of which is for actual sign restoration).

City Administrator Mike Roth said that the latest request is “a little different from where we started,” referring to the original request made last year which asked for no money from the city, only permission to remove the bear and voyageur signs from their pedestals for indoor re-painting during the winter, and some assistance from the city street department in removing and re-installing the metal figures. Nevertheless, Roth recommended that the council grant the request because the city does own the historic signs, the signs definitely need refinishing, and the Gunflint Trail Association will manage the details.

Council granted the request for $1,500. It is hoped work on the signs can begin soon, with completion at or before the end of summer. The project is already behind its original schedule due to the unseasonably cold and damp spring weather.

Walls going up and name change for Cook County YMCA

Sat, 05/18/2013 - 2:05pm

As anyone who has driven by the Cook County High School campus in recent days has seen, the walls of the new portion of the Cook County Family YMCA facility are going up. As the walls were started, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to change the name of the facility the Cook County Community YMCA – rather than family YMCA.

Commissioner Sue Hakes brought a request for the name change from the Community Center Steering Committee, some of whose members thought the word “community” sounded more inclusive than “family.”

In a memo asking Board Secretary Janet Simonen and Board Chair Jan Hall to add the request to the May 14 county board agenda, Commissioner Hakes said the Duluth Area YMCA, of which the Cook County facility is a branch, wanted to retain the right to change the name “should they acquire a naming-right-level gift.”

It would be nice to see the word “family” on the facility for people who are looking for family-friendly services in Cook County, Commissioner Garry Gamble said.

Regarding the two names, Commissioner Hakes said, “Personally, I love them both” but added that that she wanted to respect the wishes of the steering committee.

Commissioner Jan Hall said she was getting a lot of phone calls from people with questions about what the functions of the current Community Center would be once the new facility is in operation.

Commissioner Gamble pointed out that Community Center Director Booth’s job would need to be discussed.  The board will take this up at a future meeting.