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Emergency Closure of Mertes Slough Rookery

Tue, May 20th, 2014
Posted in All State of Minnesota

Winona, MN— The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge will be undertaking an emergency closure of the Mertes Slough heron colony beginning May 21, 2014.

The heron colony is located near the Hwy 43/54 bridge between Winona, MN and Fountain City, WI.

Maps outlining the affected area will be posted at the Mertes Slough Boat Landing and are available at the Refuge office. The boundary of the 57 acre area closed to entry will be posted with signs in the field.

Winona District Assistant Manager Curt McMurl said the closure is being undertaken to protect the nesting birds during a time when they are highly susceptible to nest abandonment due to human disturbance. High water conditions this spring have created easy access to the colony by boat and increasing the chance of disturbance.

The colony is a unique biological attribute on the refuge and is home to over 800 great blue heron and great egrets during the nesting season.

The closure will remain in effect until July 13, 2014 when most of the young birds will be fledged. Those wishing to view the heron colony may still do so from outside the posted area.

For more information, contact the Winona District Office at 507-454-7351.

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