MADISON, Wis. - Warming temperatures throughout Wisconsin this week should make for a great bite when the general inland fishing season gets underway on Saturday, May 7.
Justine Hasz, fisheries director for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said spring survey work on lakes and rivers around Wisconsin indicates healthy fish populations and great opportunities for anglers based on the walleye, bass, northern pike, panfish, trout, muskies and even catfish netted and promptly released by fisheries crew members in recent days.
"Wisconsin remains among the top three angling destinations in the nation and for good reason," Hasz said. "Whether you prefer fly fishing, casting live bait, trolling or simply watching your bobber dip, our fisheries offer something for everyone."
While fishing is a passion for many, it is also an economic driver for the state, with an estimated 1.2 million anglers producing a $2.3 billion economic impact, according to the American Sportfishing Association. That impact becomes clear as tens of thousands of anglers take to Wisconsin's 15,000 lakes, rivers and 13,000 miles of trout streams for opening day.
Walleye continue to be an important target for anglers and since 2013, the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative has worked to rebuild and enhance walleye populations throughout the state. The fish that have been stocked should reach legal size over the next two to three years although some anglers have reported increased catch and release activity from the young fish.
In 2015, Wisconsin stocked 760,000 extended growth walleyes, eclipsing the 2014 record of 720,000. For 2016, DNR intends to stock some 827,000 of the six to eight inch fingerlings, including some 229,000 fish from private and tribal fish farms and 598,000 from DNR hatcheries.
The trout population continues to make gains throughout the state and this year anglers will find 14 streams with upgraded classifications as well as 27 that for the first time have been documented as sustaining trout populations. Six of the newly classified streams have earned the coveted Class 1 designation.
Also new for anglers in 2016 will be simplified trout regulations designed to create more uniformity for anglers who fish on different trout streams and within small geographic areas. Under the new system, maps online and in the regulation pamphlet will indicate one of three regulations:
Anglers targeting panfish also will find new, experimental bag limits to optimize panfish size on high potential lakes capable of producing large panfish. On these lakes, identified in the fishing regulations book, daily bag limits reflect efforts to limit harvest during spawning season or prevent overharvest of any one species.
Buying a license is easy and convenient through the new Go Wild licensing system, with online access available 24-7. Visit GoWild.wi.gov, one of more than 1,000 vendor locations or a DNR service center to purchase licenses.
While the GoWild licensing system allows several new ways to display proof of your license purchase including use of a personal conservation card, authenticated driver's license and pdf display on mobile devices, anglers fishing in boundary waters must use the paper printouts as law enforcement officials in the surrounding states do not have access to the Wisconsin database.
Wisconsin residents and nonresidents 16 years old or older need a fishing license to fish in any waters of the state. Residents born before Jan. 1, 1927, do not need a license and resident members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty are entitled to obtain a free fishing license when on furlough or leave.
Anglers can buy a one-day fishing license that allows them to take someone out to try fishing, and if they like it, the purchase price of that one-day license will be credited toward purchase of an annual license. The one day license is $8 for residents and $10 for nonresidents.
The general Wisconsin fishing season runs from May 7, 2016 to March 5, 2017. To learn more about statewide fishing regulations and rules that apply on specific lakes, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "fishing regulations." For a complete calendar, search "fishing season dates."
Anglers can find fish species information, boat access sites, shore fishing areas, lake information and regulations by downloading the free Wisconsin Fish & Wildlife mobile app, which includes a full array of fishing information. DNR has tackle loaner sites in 50 locations, including many state parks, making it easy for people to enjoy fishing if they don't have their own equipment or if they left it at home.
POYNETTE, Wis. - School groups are encouraged to join Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff at the MacKenzie Center May 18-19 for the third annual Midwest Outdoor Heritage Education Expo.
The Midwest Outdoor Heritage Education Expo gives fifth and sixth grade students an opportunity to view a number of interesting wildlife species and learn more about the outdoors. This event features hands-on learning experiences - students will have the opportunity to participate in the following activities:
Visit the Midwest Outdoor Heritage website (exit DNR) to register or contact Mark LaBarbera at 608-854-2196 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advance registration is required - admission is free of charge. Transportation grants are available for interested attendees. Plan to bring a lunch, beverages, closed-toe footwear, and weather appropriate clothing.
For more information regarding MacKenzie Center programs and registration information, contact DNRMacKenzieCenter@wisconsin.gov or call 608-635-8105.
MADISON, Wis. -- The month of May marks the return of many migratory birds to Wisconsin, and events throughout Wisconsin will give attendees an opportunity to learn more about conservation, bird-related recreation, and 100 years of Migratory Bird Treaty protection.
In 1916, the United States and Canada signed the Migratory Bird Treaty to protect birds across state and international borders. Through this treaty, states, nations and other partners work together to help conserve birds and encourage people to get involved in the outdoors through volunteering, recreation and education.
Several bird-themed festivals will occur in May - these free events will offer birding trips, guest speakers and hands-on activities for the entire family:
Great Wisconsin Birdathon
Birders of all ages and skills can search for species while supporting bird conservation during the Great Wisconsin Birdathon (exit DNR), organized by the Natural Resources Foundation and Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative. The Birdathon is active through June 15. This fundraiser supports local environmental initiatives and key bird conservation projects around the state.
Bird City Wisconsin and International Migratory Bird Days
Bird City Wisconsin (exit DNR), encourages communities to make urban habitats more bird-friendly, become involved in conservation, and educate people about birds. Many Bird Cities also celebrate www.birdcitywisconsin.org/Calendar (exit DNR).
Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II and other volunteer opportunities
The second year of Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II (exit DNR) is in full swing, and anyone can sign up to count birds, observe breeding bird behavior, and submit data online to the Atlas. More experienced birders can sign up and intensively survey one of many open blocks.
The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative offers youth art contest to commemorate the Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial. Youth in grades K-12 are encouraged to submit original, hand-drawn artwork of a favorite Midwest migratory bird species by May 31.
Celebrating the centennial is as easy as spending time outside in search of birds, attending one of Wisconsin's bird-related events or teaching someone new about birds, birding or bird hunting. To learn more about Treaty impacts and how you can participate in the centennial, visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword "bird treaty."
MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin artists will have until July 22 to submit artwork for the 2017 Wild Turkey, Pheasant and Waterfowl Stamp Design Contests. Funds derived from stamp sales contribute to the restoration and management of thousands of acres of important wildlife habitat.
2016 Wild Turkey Stamp by Robert Andrea of Spooner
2016 Pheasant Stamp by Terry Doughty of Colgate
2016 Waterfowl Stamp by Terry Doughty of Colgate
The top three entries for each stamp will be displayed at the Wisconsin State Fair. With contest finalists on display, thousands of visitors will help increase visibility for both the artists and the stamp programs' positive impacts on Wisconsin's wildlife. Visitation during the 11-day State Fair is close to one million people, with around 120,000 visitors to the DNR Park annually.
Stamp design entries must be received or postmarked by July 22, 2016 in order to be eligible. Judging will take place in a closed session on July 28. Following judging, the top three entries for each stamp will be displayed in the Natural Resources Park at the Wisconsin State Fair and available for public viewing from Aug. 4-14. For rules, entry information, and Reproduction Rights Agreements, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "Wildlife Stamps."
Those who visit DNR Park will be the first to get a "sneak peek" at design winners for the 2017 Wild Turkey, Pheasant, and Waterfowl Stamps. Department staff will be on hand to discuss the history and accomplishments of each program, as well as the central role that wildlife art has played in Wisconsin's habitat conservation efforts.
All stamp contest applicants should review contest rules carefully to ensure the eligibility of their entries. Artwork must meet technical requirements in order to be properly processed and prepared for judging and possible display at the Wisconsin State Fair.
To receive contest entry deadlines, detailed event information, and the announcement for the winning artwork for 2017, visit dnr.wi.gov and select the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics." Follow the prompts and enroll in the "Waterfowl, Wild Turkey, and Pheasant Stamp Design Contests" list.
2016 Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial
One hundred years ago in 1916, the United States and Canada signed the Migratory Bird Treaty to protect and manage migratory birds across international borders. The state and federal duck stamp contests build upon the Migratory Bird Treaty's foundation through funds raised for waterfowl and habitat conservation. Those who purchase a duck stamp or contribute artwork help support waterfowl and the many other bird species that benefit from duck stamp funded habitat conservation.
For more information regarding the Wisconsin State Fair, visit www.wistatefair.com/wp/ (exit DNR).
Paul DeLong, DNR Division of Forestry administrator, 608-264-9224, Paul.DeLong@wisconsin.gov; Rebecca Diebel, 608-266-9261, Rebecca.Diebel@wisconsin.gov; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov
MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking information from communities as it develops a proposal for consideration by the Governor and Legislature to relocate the Division of Forestry Headquarters.
As requested under WI Act 55, DNR is developing a proposal for the potential relocation of the Division of Forestry headquarters outside of Madison. As an initial step in the process, the department has issued a formal request for information, or RFI, to learn which communities may be interested in serving as home to the forestry headquarters and could meet the needs for a headquarters site.
"We're interested in learning more as we work to develop a proposal," said State Forester Paul DeLong. "We'll use the information we receive to identify locations for further assessment. In developing the proposal we also will evaluate relocation and operational costs. As part of the process, we have been working with the Council on Forestry to hear their ideas on preferred attributes of a northern location."
DeLong said municipalities have until May 26 to provide information, at which time the department will analyze the submissions and gather additional details. The resulting proposal will then go to Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature for consideration as part of the 2017-2019 biennial budget, a process that will begin during the winter and spring of 2017.
To learn more about the forestry division, visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search "forestry." View the RFI document (exit DNR), posted on the state of Wisconsin's public notice website. For the purposes of this proposal, the department will consider any municipality north of U.S. Highway 10.
MADISON, Wis. - Preston D. Cole, former chair and current member of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, and Kurt Thiede, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, have received high honors from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources, while Tom Bernthal, DNR wetland monitoring and assessment coordinator, has earned a national award for his efforts to advance innovative wetlands research.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp praised Cole, Thiede and Bernthal for their achievements.
"The awards presented to Preston Cole and Kurt Thiede highlight the commitment and passion they bring to natural resources management," Stepp said. "All those who enjoy our great outdoors and all of us at DNR benefit from their tireless work and strategic vision."
Cole, who holds a senior level appointed position as director of operations for the city of Milwaukee Department of Public Works, is being honored this week with the college's 2016 conservation leader award. The award is given to individuals, groups, or organizations that have directly or indirectly made significant contributions to maintaining the integrity of Wisconsin ecosystems.
During Cole's recently completed three year commitment as chair of the Natural Resources Board, he promoted youth engagement in natural resource management and policy and established the Youth Conservation Congress initiative within the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.
His vision for Wisconsin's leadership in natural resource management extends to his service on the board of directors at the Water Council in Milwaukee. In addition, he serves on the board of trustees for the National Arbor Day Foundation, which inspires people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.
Cole holds a bachelor of sciences degree from University of Missouri-Columbia in forest management and has the unique distinction of being the first African-American forester hired by the Missouri Conservation Department.
Thiede was presented with UW-Steven's Point's 2016 outstanding alumnus award. The award recognizes former College of Natural Resources students who have made significant accomplishments in their career or who have used their education to make significant contributions at the professional, local, state or national level. Thiede, who was appointed to his current DNR post in March 2015, graduated from UW-Stevens Point in 1996.
He grew up in north-central Wisconsin exploring the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and studied journalism at UW-Eau Claire before ultimately graduating from UW-Stevens Point with bachelor of science degrees in wildlife management and biology.
He joined DNR's wildlife management program in 1999 in deer management and has served in a variety of roles, most recently as land division administrator. In addition to his role as deputy secretary he chairs the Governor's Sporting Heritage Council and represents DNR as the state's delegate on the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the National Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
Tom Bernthal, DNR wetland monitoring and assessment coordinator for DNR, has earned the 2016 state, tribal and local program development award from the Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. Bernthal is being honored for his efforts to advance innovative wetlands research and monitoring methods including development of quality assessment tools and strategies to restore wetlands. He has volunteered for more than two decades as an adviser and board member for several nonprofit organizations, including the Wisconsin Wetlands Association and the Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy.
Public comment period begins on two applications to Wisconsin's Green Tier Program
MADISON, Wis. -- The public has an opportunity to comment on two applications for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Green Tier program.
Natural Resource Technology
Natural Resource Technology's application is focused on its Milwaukee facility. The company's environmental engineers and consulting professionals provide services to private and public clients in the energy, industrial, real estate, government and legal sectors. Natural Resources Technology has experts in environmental compliance, due diligence, property investigations and remediation, coal combustion product management, contaminated sediment management in both large and small waterway systems and site remediation technology selection.
As part of Green Tier, NRT will implement an Environmental Management System, which will be used to set goals, assess their progress and identify improvements. Goals include:
The DNR will accept public comments on NRT's Green Tier application through June 3, 2016. Comments may be directed to Tom Eggert, Wisconsin DNR, OB/7, PO BOX 7921, Madison, WI 53707, by email to Thomas.Eggert@Wisconsin.Gov or by calling (608) 267-2761.
Erin Meadows Farms LLC is a horse and crop farm located in Erin Township in Washington County. Clare Lane Stable LLC is a horse boarding facility under the same ownership. The application covers their five properties in Washington County.
Erin Meadows Farms, LLC are applying for Tier 1 of the Green Tier program, which is designed to encourage, recognize and reward companies that are committed to superior environmental performance. To join Green Tier, applicants must have a good environmental record. Green Tier encourages businesses to voluntarily collaborate with the Department of Natural Resources, and requires participants to implement an Environmental Management System.
Located within the Little Oconomowoc River watershed and the Ashippun River watershed, Erin Meadows Farm and Clare Lane Stable operates a year-round horse and pony riding facility, summer day camp, indoor riding arena, and miles of outdoor trails. Its hay fields consist of mixed alfalfa and grasses which are made into hay for both private use and to sell. Erin Meadows employs two full time and approximately 40 part-time people. Erin Meadows Farms also raises three or four foals per year, provides boarding at Clare Lane Stable and leases several horses to clients.
Future goals for improvements include:
The DNR will accept public comments on Erin Meadows Farm's Green Tier application through June 3, 2016. Comments may be directed to Tom Nowakowski, Wisconsin DNR, OB/7, PO BOX 7921, Madison, WI 53703, by email to Thomas.Nowakowski@Wisconsin.Gov or by calling (608) 266-8226.
More details about Erin Meadows Farms can be found at www.erinmeadowsponies.com (exit DNR) and more information about Erin Meadows Farms' Green Tier application is available on the Green Tier pages of the DNR website.
MADISON - Those interested in learning more about bears in Wisconsin are encouraged to join Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources experts for an online chat Thursday, May 19 at noon.
DNR staff will be on hand to answer questions ranging from homeowner tips to avoid bear conflicts to habitat and behavior. Visit the DNR website, 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.
To receive email updates regarding black bears in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics." Follow the prompts and select the "black bear" distribution list, found within the "hunting" category.For more information regarding bears in Wisconsin, search keyword "bear."
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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