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Cass County: DNR offers Cass officials an annual report

Regional Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Director Rita Albrecht gave her annual report to Cass County commissioners Tuesday, May 7.

"There is a lot of state recreational land in Cass County," she said, noting it is open for public use. She also said the DNR has a good working relationship with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and regularly works cooperatively with the county land department.

Henry Drewes, regional DNR fisheries manager, noted walleye regulations were relaxed this year for Leech Lake. There is now a four walleye limit, with one over 20 inches.

This is partly to limit the number of walleyes in the lake, so they do not eat all the perch, he said. Perch also are a popular sport fish, he noted. Walleye stocked in Leech Lake in recent years have now reached spawning age and are spawning, Drewes said.

Darrin Hoverson, DNR area hydrologist, reported water levels in northern Cass are low, while those in southern Cass are high this year. He has been addressing groundwater concerns in the southern part of the county, he reported.

The DNR region in which Cass is located is based at Bemidji. It includes 19 full-time staff and 20 part-time or seasonal employees.

Cass received $1,340,003.08 state payment in lieu of taxes in 2018. The state Legislature authorized these payments, because the county cannot collect property taxes on land the state owns.

The DNR not only focuses on timber and wildlife management, but also has worked extensively to preserve and expand wild rice areas, Albrecht reported. The DNR works with Northern Waters Land Trust (formerly Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation) to identify sensitive shoreline areas and to curb second tier development around lakes, according to Albrecht.

The DNR funds grant-in-aid trails in this region for off highway vehicles, snowmobiles and cross-country skiing.

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