Clearwater County troubled by White Earth project

The Clearwater County Board of Commissioners sent this letter to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council on January- 9.

Commentary from Outdoor News January 30, 2015

Dear Council Members:

While Clearwater County is in support of the conservation of our lands, we are troubled by the fact that the White Earth Tribe has requested funding from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council for $2,188,000 for the purchase of 1,994 acres on the White Earth Reservation and within Clearwater County. Our concern is that the lands, as described in the White Earth application, would be put into federal trust status. Trust status would result in the removal of state regulation, non-member rights to freely use the land, and removal of the land from the Clearwater County property tax roll.

The transfer from private land ownership to trust status will transfer all management rights, licensing, game regulation and enforcement to the tribe. The tribe can set its own limits and seasons, which normally include a longer season and a higher game limit than the state’s.

Once the land becomes trust status, the tribe can and probably will restrict access to the property for multi-use access such as hunting, and the all-around enjoyment of the land by members and non-members.

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Only the mediocre are always at their best

Much like our DNR, the Blue Ribbon Panel the DNR hired has to agree with those that sign the check. This is done all the time in government. Hire an “independent” panel to verify the findings of said agency.

When Rod Sando signed the band code to allow gill nets during the spawn about 15 years ago, he knew what the outcome would be. But Rod was already promised a job near the west coast. Why not hire a blue ribbon panel to say “Let’s try Mille Lacs without gill nets for 15 years.” Then compare the outcome to present day conditions.

The stats for walleye reproduction that I have seen are that 7-10% of laid eggs make it a year, coming from about 26,000 eggs per pound of adult female walleye. Well, 7-10% of a gill-netted walleye equals about zero. Maybe less than zero, since chasing around to pull and reset nets just might disrupt the spawning of those escaping the nets. Then consider the incidental catch of other species. But maybe DNR’s blue ribbon panel didn’t take that into consideration.

“Only the mediocre are always at their best”. That’s how the MN DNR reacts to questions about wildlife these days. Rather then saying “Lets get going and do what it takes to fix the problem,” the DNR runs to their spin doctors for a story on how we will have to live with mediocrity.

Can you imagine being the guys and gals with the DNR that know better but in order to keep their jobs they must agree with the upper management?

Douglas J Meyenburg Jr.

Does our DNR enforce only laws they like?

It was announced in the Jan 16, 2015 Outdoor News that the MN DNR, Red Lake Nation, and Bureau of Indian Affairs signed a new 5-year memorandum of understanding last week that outlines continued cooperative management of the walleye population in Upper and Lower Red Lakes. Upper Red regs change again: Hot bite, high pressure drop walleye bag to two.

They recognize an imaginary line running south to north lining up with the Eastern boundary line of the Red Lake Indian Reservation dividing tribal waters from non-tribal waters. They do this knowing that in 1926 the Supreme Court ruled in US vs Holt State Bank, that the water, the bed, and the shoreline of ALL of Upper and Lower Red Lakes belongs to ALL citizens and is to be managed for ALL citizens.

The imaginary line is just that, imaginary! In a meeting I attended with then DNR commissioner Gene Meriam, he admitted the MN DNR was aware of this ruling, but said they were going to deal with the Red Lake Tribe “as we have for the last 75 years.”

Now the mighty Red Lake harvest for state anglers has been cut to two fish. Maybe this should be the limit for all of Red Lake!

I am asked almost daily “Why is PERM involved in a lawsuit against the MN DNR regarding Mille Lacs?” The answer is simple. DNR policy makers are hired by us, the citizens of Minnesota, to manage our Natural Resources for ALL citizens. They are not doing this and every so often they need to be reminded they work for us.

Douglas Meyenburg, President