Drama in the Junior Duck Stamp contest, walleye closures, and a DU award
South Dakota’s Madison Grimm is back on top. You’ll see in the print version of this week’s Minnesota Outdoor News that we reported how this young girl had her Jr. Duck Stamp winning entry disqualified last week. She’d originally won the competition during judging in West Virginia on April 19.
Contest officials set off a flurry of debate on birding website and chatrooms when they announced that they were disqualifying the image because they’d learned the first-grader had copied it from an image, which – according to the AP story – is against contest rules.
Yesterday (two days after our print deadline), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was reinstating 6-year-old Madison Grimm as the winner.
So I guess in the final wash (assuming the story doesn’t change again) Miss Grimm remains the youngest winner in the history of the Junior Duck Stamp contest, which attracted more than 29,000 entries this year.
Here’s the complete release from the feds:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that after careful reconsideration, it will reinstate Madison Grimm, 6, of Burbank, S.D., as the winner of the 2013 Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest.
The Service’s decision means that Peter Coulter 17, of Washington, Mo., will be awarded second place for his acrylic painting of a pair of snow geese, while Drake Schlosser of Rubicon, Wis., will be awarded third place in the contest for his acrylic painting of a single common goldeneye.
At the National Junior Duck Stamp Contest, held on April 19 in Shepherdstown, W. Va., a panel of five judges selected Grimm’s painting of a single canvasback as the winning entry. Following the contest, concerns were raised about the authenticity of the work. The Service disqualified the artwork last week. Since that time, the Service has continued to evaluate its decision and has decided to reinstate the original winner.
The Service’s decision to reinstate Grimm’s work was made in recognition of the fact that her work was judged the winner during a fair and open public contest. The Service respects the decision of the contest judges, and apologizes for any distress this process may have caused the top-placing artists and their families, teachers and friends.
Jon Walker, from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, has a thorough story about the situation here.
John Lindquist is DU’s 2012 Minnesota Volunteer Conservationist of the Year
Ducks Unlimited this week recognized longtime supporter and Living Lakes Initiative advocate John Lindquist with its 2012 Minnesota Volunteer Conservationist of the Year award. The award was presented at DU’s Capitol Chapter fundraising event in St. Paul by Gildo Tori, DU director of public policy for the Great Lakes/Atlantic Region, and Russ Terry, DU director of conservation programs.
The Outdoor News staff has enjoyed getting to know John Lindquist in the past year. He represented the Lake Christina-Ina-Anka Lake Association when we presented the group with our inaugural Outdoor Leaders Award at Game Fair last August.
Per the DU release about Lindquist’s latest award:
“Recognition for John and all his conservation efforts over the years was long overdue and much deserved,” said Jon Schneider, DU Manager of Minnesota conservation programs. “John is a conservationist in the truest sense of the word; he really understands the habitat needs of wildlife and appreciates the wetlands conservation mission of Ducks Unlimited.”
Lindquist, a resident on Lake Christina in Douglas County near Evansville, has served as president of the Lake Christina-Ina-Anka Lake Association since its inception in 1999. The local organization strongly supported DU and Minnesota DNR’s efforts to enhance Lake Christina, and Lindquist’s leadership was critical to garnering financial support from individuals, other conservation groups and the state Outdoor Heritage Fund. Lindquist helped raise more than $250,000 for Lake Christina over the years, and along with his wife, Pat, also donated a conservation easement to DU to permanently protect their property on Lake Christina in 2004, the first of 19 conservation easements currently held by DU in Minnesota.
Lindquist is an aggressive advocate for strong conservation measures in the federal farm bill, including robust funding for the Conservation Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program. Lindquist owns land in Minnesota and South Dakota enrolled in both programs.
“John’s passion for conservation and our hunting heritage is infectious, as is his smile and strong handshake,” said Adam DeHaan, DU director of development. “Conservation needs more leaders with concern and commitment to supporting our wildlife habitat work like John Lindquist.”
DNR closes Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake to protect walleyes
The DNR announced this week that an area near the egg collection operation on Little Cut Foot Sioux Lake in Itasca County will be closed May 11-17, because of high concentrations of walleyes.
The closure, due to late ice cover and early walleye opener, includes the area extending from Williams Narrows upstream through the First River Flowage up to Egg Lake. No fishing will be allowed during this period in the specified area. Signs will be posted at the narrows and other access points within the closed area.
“The closure is necessary to protect adult walleye that have concentrated around the spawning site where the DNR’s egg collection operation is located,” said Chris Kavanaugh, Grand Rapids area fisheries manager. “It’s always a difficult decision to close the area and restrict recreational opportunities, but our first responsibility is to the long-term health of the fishery. We considered the safeguard offered with the protected slot limit, but felt the risk of overharvest was too high."
This is the first time since 2008 that the area has been closed, Kavanaugh said. Prior to that, the lake was closed in 1996 and 1997.
The walleye run at the lake has been a major part of the statewide walleye stocking program since the 1920s.
Although this area is closed to fishing through the first week of the season, there are no restrictions on boat travel through the area. If the net and dock is still in place on May 11, provisions will be made to allow boat travel along the north side of the channel. All campgrounds, resorts and public accesses in the area are open. Shore anglers may want to consider alternative opportunities at the Winnie Dam.