After adjusting for sampling and sightability, we estimated the population in northeastern Minnesota at 3,030 [or somewhere in the range of] 2,320–4,140 [based on a] 90% confidence interval [given several] statistical uncertaint[ies] inherent in aerial wildlife surveys … Past aerial survey and research results have indicated that the long-term trend of the population in northeastern Minnesota has been declining since 2006. The current population estimate is 65% less than the estimate in 2006 and the declining linear trend during the past decade remains statistically significant. However, the leveling since 2012 persists, and … the trend from 2012 to 2018 is not declining. While this recent short-term trend (7-year) is noteworthy, it applies only to the existing survey estimates, and does not forecast the future trajectory of the population.
While it appears the population has stabilized in the short-term, the long-term decline of the moose in Minnesota continues to make this a race against time.
MN DNR research results show contributors to the moose decline include, but may not be limited to, the environmental influences of: wolf and white-tail deer populations, parasites (such as winter ticks and brainworm), less frequent forest fires and logging on public lands, and climate change. Factors best laid out by this February 7, 2016, Minneapolis Star Tribune article by Josephine Marcotty. However, implementing management practices that would promote a healthier moose herd are also subject to, but not limited to, the social pressures from local landowners, wildlife enthusiasts, hunters, private business, and local economies and cultures. Further elaboration on these factors can found in a February 16, 2018, Minnesota Public Radio News article by Dan Kraker. Indeed, this struggle goes much deeper than simply saving the moose. This permeates all facets of Northern Minnesota culture.
We recently received a survey from Colorado State University on behalf of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies requesting feedback “about public perceptions of issues concerning the management of fish and wildlife in your state.” While the correspondence states it is “part of a national survey effort,” several questions in the survey itself are directed at specific concerns within Minnesota. And, while it is obvious that surveys were customized to address specific issues within each state, one specific set of questions made me take special notice of this particular survey:
The interactions between wolves, moose, and deer are complex. Moose are known to die from diseases that white-tail deer carry, and wolves prey on both species. Please let us know how you feel about management of these three species in Minnesota….
“Our bald eagle population is doing very well. We have the highest population of bald eagles in the Lower 48,” said Lori Naumann, a representative of the nongame wildlife program of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Naumann said Minnesota has about 9,800 pairs of bald eagles, with the birds having made a remarkable comeback from 30 or so years ago, when they were considered endangered.
Do you think that climate change is something to be concerned about?
Yes. Even though scientists may disagree about the causes and extent of global climate change, it is difficult to deny that the planet’s climate is warming. The trend in temperature rise is causing weather extremes and environmental changes locally, such as four feet of snow in Northern Minnesota in April and flooding beyond any prior recorded levels in Iowa, as well as around the globe, such as the ice mass loss on the Antarctic Peninsula, worldwide glacier retreat, rising ocean levels, and melting Arctic sea ice.
The fact that our global environment is changing should be a cause for concern worldwide for every individual who cares about what kind of world we leave behind for our children.
Are you going to change anything about your lifestyle?
I have reduced my use of fossil fuels by
Commuting by bicycle when possible
Decreasing lawnmower use by 70%
Maximizing gas mileage while maintaining safe driving practices
Turning the thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer
Minimizing electricity use in my home
I am refusing
To purchase environmentally costly plastic containered products, such as bottled water
The use of petroleum produced plastic grocery bags – green bags instead
The purchase of more “stuff” – time to downsize the toy category
Junk mail by using organizations that limit the ridiculous influx of unnecessary propaganda
To purchase domestic meat products – wild game instead
The use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides
I am reducing
The amount of paper products I use
The amount of unnecessary refuse in my waste water – even though I have a septic system
I am reusing
I am recycling even more conscientiously than previous to this course
I am planning
A greener property with native plant restoration
Research into renewable personal energy sources
To purchase more locally grown and organically grown produce
To purchase more environmentally friendly toiletries and cleaning products
To purchase more previously owned products – if purchase is necessary
Building a greener, more environmentally friendly home
The list can and will be longer, but this is a good start!