Drought takes toll on Minnesota wildlife


Despite the recent snowfall that blanketed the state and left at least a foot of snow in many parts of the metro, Minnesota is still struggling to recover from a major drought.

MPR reports the snow won't run off into rivers and lakes until next spring, providing little relief for the state's parched soil. More than 80 percent of Minnesota is in severe or extreme drought and it's posing a threat to Minnesota wildlife.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources tells MPR that wetlands in Detroit Lakes that house beaver populations have nearly dried up, forcing them to migrate to larger ponds or lakes with more predators.

The drought has also affected food sources for black bears which puts them at risk of being malnourished after hibernation.

Fortunately for anglers, ice fishing season won't be affected too much. The DNR tells KEYC that even though dry conditions have caused low lake levels, ice fisherman shouldn't notice much of a difference in fish populations on larger lakes.

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Drought tightens grip on Minnesota

Federal officials say more than 80 percent of Minnesota is abnormally dry. A week ago it was less than two-thirds. The new drought map includes the northern half of the Twin Cities area. But southern Minnesota is the state's most parched region.

Drought over for most of Minnesota

Nearly the entire state was in a moderate to severe drought, but three months later that's down to about 10 percent. A climatologist told the Associated Press rain has recharged dry soils, but above-average precipitation needs to continue for Minnesota to fully catch up.

Drought stifles crop expectations

Minnesota’s record dry season has area farmers worried about next year’s crops. MPR says if the drought conditions carry over into the spring, farmers won’t have enough moisture to water a normal amount of crops.