April 2011

The DNR communications team works with agency experts to develop the weekly questions and provide the answers. This feature addresses current DNR issues, interesting topics, or the most frequently asked questions from around Minnesota.





Many landowners use all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) strictly for agricultural-related purposes, and the machines never leave their property. Do they need to purchase a three-year license for their ATVs?

Landowners using ATVs solely for agricultural activities or harvesting wood, or exclusively on private property, can purchase a permanent registration sticker for their machine instead of the public use license, which has to be renewed every three years. The cost for the permanent license is a one-time fee of $14.50 and is valid until the ownership of the ATV is transferred. The private use registration license is not transferable.

Additional licensing requirements for ATVs and other off-highway vehicles (OHV) can be found in the 2010-11 OHV regulations handbook, or on DNR’s website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/regulations/ohv/index.html.

- Steve Michaels, DNR License Bureau supervisor


National Volunteer Week is April 10-16. Each year, thousands of people volunteer their time to help the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and other organizations, with a variety of projects. What sort of volunteer opportunities does the DNR have to offer?

The DNR offers a range of volunteer opportunities across the state that include assisting with wildlife research to cleaning rivers to playing Smokey Bear at the State Fair, just to name a few. Right now, the DNR is looking for volunteers to help count loons; monitor bluebird trails; plant trees at selected state parks; transcribe historical research; bait hooks at fishing clinics; repair snowshoes; and assist Lake Superior boaters as a marina host. Volunteer positions are listed on the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov or by calling 651-259-6157 or toll-free 888-646-6367. Opportunities vary on a seasonal basis.

- Renée Vail, administrator, DNR Volunteer Programs


Woodpeckers can be seen mistaking the side of a house for a tree occasionally. Why is this? Is there anything homeowners can do to keep the birds from drilling a hole in their homes?

Woodpeckers drill holes in the side of homes for several reasons. Sometimes they are after insects and larvae found in and under the home's siding. Other times woodpeckers are pecking to attract a mate, make a hole for a nesting spot or to establish a territory. There are some effective techniques for discouraging woodpeckers. Bird scare tape or bird scare balloons are two helpful products, and can be purchased at stores that sell bird feed. The DNR also has a packet containing helpful tips and other information for homeowners with woodpecker problems. To obtain a copy, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Woodpecker Packet, Box 25, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155.

- Lori Naumann, DNR Nongame Wildlife Program


Water quality is important to all of us. Are there any simple things people can do to help keep our lakes, rivers and wetlands healthy?

Removing trash along a riverbank, lakeshore or from a wetland is a step in the right direction. Through the DNR's Adopt-a-River program, people can sign up to "adopt" a section of a lake, river or wetland to ensure its long-term health through annual cleanups. Volunteers choose their own site from shorelines that have not yet been adopted.

The program supplies "how-to" assistance, free rubbish bags and gloves for the cleanup and recognition after you report your results. The program began in 1989 to clean up the state's designated canoe and boating routes. These areas sustained considerable damage from being used as dumpsites, and they continue to accumulate storm water laden with trash.

Since the program's first year, 3,000 cleanups have removed nearly 6 million pounds of trash from 10,000 miles of shoreline, including lakes, rivers, ravines, ponds and wetlands. For more information on the Adopt-a-River program, visit the DNR's website at www.dnr.state.mn.us/adoptriver/index.html.


- Paul Nordell, Adopt-a-River Program coordinator


DNR Question of the Week Archive