MADISON - Northern Wisconsin landowners interested in managing their land for a number of wildlife and plant species through young forest habitat creation are encouraged to contact the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership.
"The Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership was formed in 2014 when a group of prominent natural resource agencies, organizations and corporations joined together with the common goal of establishing a landscape-scale conservation approach," said Jeremy Holtz, Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership chairman. "The partnership is a great tool to help deliver young forest habitat on suitable lands across Wisconsin."
Many wildlife species in Wisconsin rely upon young forest habitat, including ruffed grouse, turkey, white-tailed deer and migratory songbirds. In addition, many of Wisconsin's Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the American woodcock, brown thrasher, and golden-winged warbler, thrive in a young forest setting.
For a better idea of what the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership can do people can check out a video featuring landowners currently enrolled in the program.
"Landowners often contact DNR and ask what forest habitat management entails, so partnering with the Ruffed Grouse Society to produce a video outlining the program's goals and services will help us spread the word about the benefits of managing your land for wildlife habitat," said Holtz. "It is great to hear from Wisconsin families who are happy with the program and looking to get others involved."
Interested landowners can visit with program specialists to learn more about the partnership and obtain resources for planning and conducting habitat work - often at little or no cost. Landowners may even be able to have a natural resource professional visit their property to help maximize wildlife habitat potential.
Demonstration areas can also provide a glimpse of the many benefits associated with the young forest habitat work -- these sites are specifically managed for young forest management. Current demonstration areas include the Ackley State Wildlife Area in Langlade County and the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest in Oneida County.
Join DNR experts for an online chat April 1 at noon to learn more about the Wisconsin Young Forest Initiative - visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "chat" to submit questions and view responses from DNR experts. Here, you can also view past chats and sign up to receive email notifications.
For more information regarding the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "young forest." To learn more about the Young Forest Project, visit www.youngforest.org (Exit DNR).
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeremy Holtz, DNR Young Forest Partnership chairman, 715-365-8999
MADISON - To protect oak trees and help prevent oak wilt, state forestry officials advise people with oak trees on their property not to prune them from April through July. Spring and early summer pruning makes oak trees vulnerable to oak wilt, a fatal fungal disease of oaks.
Any tree damage during this time creates an opening to expose live tree tissue and provides an opportunity for the oak wilt fungus to invade and establish itself in the tree.
"In general, spring pruning of deciduous trees should be avoided. Spring is the time when tree buds and leaves are growing, leaving the tree's food reserves low," according to Don Kissinger, a Department of Natural Resources urban forester.
The use of tree paint or a wound dressing is not normally recommended on pruning cuts or wounded surfaces on most trees. However, these products are recommended for damaged oaks from April through July. An immediate light painting of wounds on oak trees during this time helps protect against the spread of oak wilt by beetles.
"Just 15 minutes could be enough time for beetles that are carrying oak wilt spores to land on a fresh wound and infect your tree," said Kyoko Scanlon, DNR statewide forest pathologist.
Arborists recommend that pruning may resume in August, however, the risk for disease transmission is lowest if pruning occurs between November and April. Check with your municipality to find out if they have their own oak wilt ordinances that you must follow.
Oak wilt is found in all Wisconsin counties except Ashland, Bayfield, Calumet, Door, Douglas, Forest, Iron, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Price, Sheboygan and Taylor counties. The disease was confirmed in Washburn County for the first time in 2014.
More information about oak wilt is available online. Search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "oak wilt". Additional information about proper pruning techniques is available from your community forester, a University of Wisconsin-Extension agent (exit DNR), or search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for a brochure on "tree pruning [PDF]".
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Kyoko Scanlon (Fitchburg) 608-275-3275, Don Kissinger (Wausau) 715-359-5793 or Paul Cigan (Spooner) 715-416-4920
MADISON - Two Barron County communities will receive state assistance in investigating possible environmental contamination issues at two properties with the help of brownfields awards from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
In Chetek, county officials want to take a closer look at contamination concerns at an old pickle cannery; in Turtle Lake, village trustees want to know what environmental issues may be present at a former creamery.
The awards to Turtle Lake and the county come from DNR's Wisconsin Assessment Monies Contractor Services program, which provides no-cost environmental assessments at closed or closing industrial sites to help ready them for reuse or redevelopment.
Each award is valued at up to $30,000, depending on the services provided.
"These awards are meaningful for all our communities tackling brownfields," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "They can help reinvigorate a lingering project where resources are stretched thin."
In Chetek, Barron County officials want to take ownership of a property that for many years was a pickle cannery near the railroad line in the center of town. The property has been underutilized for a number of recent years. A review of potential environmental issues at the site, including sampling, will help inform the county as to what issues, if any, exist at the property.
The former Turtle Lake Creamery in the heart of the village turned out a variety of dairy products for roughly 50 years until it closed operations in the 1980s. A fire damaged much of the property in 1991 and now the site is mostly rubble. There are concerns over possible contamination on the property; the award will be used to determine if that's the case.
"Each of these communities has a property that requires some environmental investigation work," said Christine Haag, DNR brownfields section chief. "These awards are critical for returning the property to productive use."
The Wisconsin DNR WAM awards are in the form of state-provided consulting services to the recipient, and therefore require minimal effort by the awardee. This program is especially useful in smaller communities because there is no match or project administration involved.
Applications for WAM awards can be submitted at any time. Eligible sites include closed or closing manufacturing plants and vacant land with a history of manufacturing. Gas stations, dry cleaners, salvage yards and agricultural co-ops are not eligible. Search keyword "brownfield" on the DNR website dnr.wi.gov, for more information.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Christine Haag, Brownfields and Outreach Section Chief, 608-266-0244; Andrew Savagian, Communications, 608-261-6422
MADISON -- The Wisconsin Rail Trailblazers contest is heating up with the first 16 trails in the bracket-busting tournament being narrowed down to the Great 8 on Thursday. It's all part of the 50th anniversary of the rails to trails program in the state this year.
There is still time to get in on the fun. The 16 state trails established after the very first rail-to-trail, the Elroy-Sparta, are going head-to-head, vying for the public's vote. People can vote once a day for their favorite trail and help them advance to the championship.
The 16 trails are broken down into the following four geographic brackets (date indicates year established):
To take part in the fun, go to the DNR Facebook page (facebook.com/WDNR) and click on the "State Trail Contest" tab. Then, click on one state trail in each matchup and fill out the short form at the bottom. The trails with the most votes by midnight Wednesday, March 25 move on to the Great 8 on Thursday.
Each person casting a vote will be entered in a random drawing for a prize package consisting of a 2015 Wisconsin state park sticker, a 2015 Wisconsin state trail pass and a three-year subscription to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. Entrants can vote once per day from March 18-April 7. The winning trail and the winning entrant will be announced on Wednesday, April 8.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: on state trails, contact Brigit Brown, 608-266-2183 or Paul Holtan, DNR parks, forests and recreation public affairs manager, 608-267-7517; for Facebook questions contact Trish Nitschke, DNR social media coordinator, 920 360-3252
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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