MinnAqua Moments

March 2012

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In This Issue
Featured Lesson: Mussel Mania
Species Profile: Closeup on Freshwater Mussels
Fishing Equipment & Tips: I need how many fishing poles?
Piers & Places: Preventing the Spread
Book Reviews: Invasive Species Part 2
Community Connections: Mde Maka Ska, or "What's in a name?"
Mentoring & MinnAqua: Mentoring and Invasives; what an odd couple! Or is it...
Featured Fishing Spot: Lake Sallie, Becker County

Flexing Your Freshwater Mussels

by Nadine Meyer, Newsletter Editor

In May of 2011 I was working with a Grand Rapids school at the 2011 Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener. It was a chilly day and the fishing was lack-luster. The slow bite gave us the opportunity to scrutinize the soft, mucky bottom of the lake surrounding the boat docks we were on; allowing the students I was working with to view freshwater mussels flexing their muscles.

At first we observed strange "trails" in the muck that were sometimes square, spiral, or a long line that mysteriously ended. Eventually the students spotted the not-so-speedy creators of these mucky designs - freshwater mussels. Many students said they observed the mussels moving, though it could have been a trick of the sun. But we absolutely saw at least one freshwater mussel hunker deeper in the muck becoming invisible in the lakebottom at the end of a bizarre-shaped trail that was a couple feet long.

In this issue of MinnAqua Moments we are spotlighting native freshwater mussels in our Species Profile and Featured Lesson as we also highlight aquatic invasive species. To learn more about how to prevent the spread of invasives check out our Piers & Places and Mentoring articles. We also reviewed three more trade books in our Book Reviews: Invasive Species Part 2 that are focused on preventing the spread of invasive species to provide literacy connections to your science education activities.

Finally, our Community Connections article features an annual event on Lake Calhoun called Mde Maka Ska that brings Native American youth in the Twin Cities area together to celebrate their cultural connection to the lake and each other. To help you plan your own lakeside or pierside event, our Fishing Equipment & Tips article discusses how to find fishing equipment for your classroom and our Featured Fishing Spot now includes Sallie Lake in Becker County; a good place to take your group fishing. 

The Bottom Line - Recreation Worth Paying For!

Minnesota's Game and Fish Fund is in dire condition. It is projected to be in the red by as early as July 2013. This means the DNR will need to make significant cuts that affect the quantity and quality of hunting, fishing and natural resources law enforcement unless the state Legislature approves license fee increases during the 2012 session.

MinnAqua’s funding comes from the Game and Fish Fund. Potential cuts will impact how we are able to provide programming and support for aquatic stewardship and fishing education in Minnesota.

To learn more, please visit the Fish and Wildlife Heritage Website.

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