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County plans habitat conservation for Gold-winged Warbler

BEMIDJI -- The Beltrami County Natural Resource Management department is working on a plan with the American Bird Conservancy on an alder regeneration wildlife habitat project to improve habitat for Golden-winged Warblers in Three Island Park. The project could begin as soon as February.

“The project would follow our plans in a continued effort to combine recreation, forestry and wildlife values,” said Richard Moore, Director of Resource Management. “It would also provide an opportunity to further public education efforts.”

Moore explained the project would only be performed on non-commercial land and in frozen ground conditions.The proposed project would be funded by a grant held by the American Bird Conservancy. It has not yet been confirmed if any Golden-winged Warblers are using the proposed habitat at this time.

Forester D.J. Bakken said the Golden-winged Warbler is a neo-tropical migratory bird that nests in portions of the United States and winters in South America. Warblers eat insects, spiders and caterpillars. The Golden-winged Warbler population has been declining which has prompted promotion of habitat necessary for its survival. Bakken said an estimated 50 percent of the Golden-winged Warblers that come to the states nest in Minnesota.

“I think it’s great to be talking about adding to the multi-purpose use of (Three Island Park),” said County Administrator Kay Mack. “It sounds like a great partnership. I also like that it’s people who know birds, they won’t destroy habitat to create habitat.”

Bakken said lowland brush and alder trees are prime habitats for the birds. Golden-winged Warblers can nest on the ground and males use taller trees to sing and attract mates. Portions of brush areas and strips of alder in the park would be masticated to improve the nesting habitat for the Gold-winged Warblers. Bakken said Chippewa National Forest and the Tamarack Wildlife Refuge have pursued similar projects.

Any large scattered trees in the proposed habitat areas would be preserved. The north loop and snowmobile trails would not be affected, Bakken said.

“Habitat is transient,” Bakken said. “We’re not going to be looking at shearing. We’re going to be looking at either a hydro ax or masticating type piece of equipment to grind some stuff down.” If weather conditions do not remain conducive for the mowing-down process, the project may pick up next winter.

“It’s not only good for the recreation and the wood species, but it’s also good for birds and other kinds of birds, not just this one,” Commissioner Jim Lucachick said.

Additional species that benefit from the habitat include: American Woodcock, Blue-winged Warbler, Black-billed Cuckoo, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Whip-poor-will, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Mourning Warbler, Eastern Towhee, White-throated Sparrow and the Veery.

“There’s more of an emphasis on game species. So it’s nice to see some non-game emphasis placed on multi-use management,” said Nick Jensen from the regional Department of Natural Resources headquarters in Bemidji.

Bid awarded, tax to be imposed

Commissioners awarded the bid for legal notice publication to the Bemidji Pioneer at Tuesday’s county board meeting.

“It was a competitive bid process this time,” Mack said. “As it turns out, the Pioneer... came in lower than the Buy Line at standard advertising units.”

The Bemidji Pioneer bid $5.75 which was lower than Buy Line’s quote of $7.15. Mack asked for second submission quotes as well which is used for larger notices such as the delinquent tax notice. Pioneer’s bid of $5.18 was less than Buy Line’s $6.50.

Mack noted people listed on the delinquent tax notice are charged for publication of the notice because the notice would not need to be published were they not delinquent and it doesn’t seem fair to pass that expense along to all citizens.

Mack reminded commissioners the half-cent sales tax approved prior to the start of 2014 will begin on April 1. The tax will be used to fund county road improvements. The Minnesota Department of Revenue will provide businesses in Beltrami County with the necessary information needed to collect and remit the sales tax.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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