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: Why does this year seem to be particularly good for fall colors?
A: Some of those magnificent colors we’re seeing this fall were there all summer; you just couldn't see them because of the green pigment in the leaf’s chlorophyll. As our days get shorter and the temperatures cool down, trees cease chlorophyll production, allowing yellow and orange pigments in the leaf to show.
Red and purple pigments can be created in some tree species if the late summer weather is sunny and bright and nights are not frosty. The slightest change – too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry – can slow the process or cause trees to lose leaves before they change color.
For the latest information on when and where the fall colors are expected to be at their peak, check out the DNR’s fall color finder at www.mndnr.gov/fall_colors. For more information on what causes fall colors, visit www.mndnr.gov/fall_colors/typical_peak.html.
DNR Forestry Division
Q: What is a rocket net, and how is it used by the DNR?
A: A rocket net is a propelled net used for capturing wildlife. The net is pulled by electronically-ignited explosive charges contained in vented chambers (rockets). The rockets pull the net through the air, and the animals are captured as the net falls on top of them.
Rocket nets come in different sizes, but the ones we use for capturing waterfowl are commonly about 40 feet long by 60 feet wide. These nets can capture hundreds of ducks at one time, which is especially useful when we are banding ducks before the fall hunting season. The key to rocket nets is they are fast – the net is fired and fully-deployed, usually in less than a second.
Bruce Davis, DNR wildlife research specialist