A USDA secretarial disaster declaration has been issued for 7 Minnesota counties affected by heavy rain and flooding that happened between June 17th and July 3rd• Murray County was declared a primary disaster area, and Cottonwood, Nobles, Rock, Pipestone, Lyon and Redwood Counties were named contiguous disaster affected counties, Counties are eligible for emergency loans from the Federal Farm Service Agency providing eligibility requirements are met.

Good news for proponents of making highway 23 a four lane road from Willmar to St. Cloud. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has set a start date of 2022, based on when MnDOT can access funding for the project. The north gap, Paynesville to Richmond would begin in 2022 and be done by 2023. The New London to Paynesville gap would be done in 2024 and 2025. The next steps will be obtaining permits, coordinating utilities, acquiring land and preparing construction plans. More information can be found on the MnDOT website.

 

Zebra mussels have been confirmed in Big fish Lake in Stearns County. The DNR says a lake services contractor found adult zebra mussels in two locations on the lake during a routine invasive species survey. The DNR reminds property owners to look on posts, wheels and underwater support bars of docks and lifts, as well as boats and rafts that may have been in the water for an extended period of time. And to contact the DNR if you think you may have found an invasive species of any sort.

Minnesota communities and schools wanting to develop safer routes for students to walk and bicycle to school can now apply for planning assistance grants through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Route to School program. Application deadline is January 4th, 2019. Contact the Minnesota Department of Transportation for more information.

 

Nearly 5000 hunters ages 10 to 15 will take to the fields this week-end during the youth deer season. The program started back in 2004 in northwest Minnesota and now has 28 permit areas. For info on regulations and permit areas that can be hunted, log on to the DNR website. The youth deer hunting season runs from this Thursday through Sunday. A number of state parks in Minnesota will be open to deer hunts this fall. Public access to the parks will vary from park to park with some being totally open, some limited, and some open only to hunters with special permits to hunt. The DNR advises everyone to call ahead before heading to a state park to see whether a hunt is planned and if the park is open.

 

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