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.
Q: I recently saw a couple of Canada geese with their goslings and wondered if they have more than one clutch a year?
A: Not usually. Once geese have successfully raised an entire brood, their reproductive system shuts down. If however the goose’s first clutch of eggs is unsuccessful or destroyed early during the incubation or nesting period, the birds may nest a second time.
-Lori Naumann, DNR nongame wildlife program information officer
Q: What is the purpose of native aquatic plants along a shoreline?
A: Aquatic plants are essential components of most freshwater ecosystems. Many of Minnesota’s most sought-after fish species depend heavily on aquatic vegetation for food, protection from predators and reproduction. In addition to fish, many wildlife species depend on aquatic plants for food and nesting sites. Aquatic plants not eaten by waterfowl support many insects and other aquatic invertebrates that serve as important food sources for migratory birds and their young. Emergent aquatic vegetation also provides nesting cover for a variety of waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds and songbirds. The reproductive success of ducks nesting near lakes, for example, is closely tied to the availability of aquatic plants. Beyond providing food and shelter for fish and wildlife, aquatic vegetation maintains water clarity, prevents suspension of bottom sediments and limits shoreline erosion by moderating the effects of wave and ice erosion. A healthy native plant community also prevents non-native invasive aquatic plants from establishing. In short, many of the things we enjoy most about lakes are directly linked to aquatic vegetation.
- Steve Enger, DNR aquatic plant management program coordinator
Q: Because of their flat hulls, canoes and kayaks can navigate just about any body of water, but are there trails specifically designated for these types of activities? If so, where are they located and where can a person find information about them?
A: Minnesota has more than 4,500 miles of routes mapped and managed for canoeing, kayaking, boating and camping. There are 33 state water trails with a network of more than 1,400 public water accesses, campsites and rest areas. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources manages the first and largest water trails system in the nation, which started 50 years ago. A variety of opportunities are available - ranging from placid rivers ideal for beginners to challenging whitewater rapids to sea kayaking the North Shore of Lake Superior. In fact, there is a state water trail within an hour of most homes in Minnesota.
Remote camping on state water trails is generally free and nonreservable. There are also 34 state parks and recreation areas on state water trails where people can reserve a campsite for a fee. Free maps, river level reports and other trip planning information can be found on the DNR’s website at www.mndnr.gov/watertrails.
Erik Wrede, DNR water trails coordinator