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Weekly News Published - February 20, 2018 by the Central Office

 

Preliminary recommendations for 2018 antlerless quotas to be developed at March County Deer Advisory Council meetings

MADISON--County Deer Advisory Councils will begin spring meetings in mid-March to start the antlerless harvest quota and permit-setting process for the 2018 deer seasons. Various deer season structure options for each county will also be discussed by councils.

All Council meetings are open to the public, including opportunity to provide feedback, as each council develops their preliminary recommendations for the deer seasons. A meeting schedule [PDF] is available on the CDAC web page at dnr.wi.gov, search keyword "CDAC."

In addition to attending the CDAC meetings, the public has the opportunity to review and comment on preliminary recommendations through an online survey on the CDAC Web page from April 2-12.

On-line feedback will be considered along with deer season data provided by Department of Natural Resources biologists, foresters and law enforcement when the CDACs develop their final recommendations.

Final recommendations will be presented to the DNR following the April meetings, and then advance to the Natural Resources Board for approval in May, after which time they will be in effect for the 2018 deer season.

Additional information pertaining to CDAC population objective recommendations, agendas and membership is available on the CDAC page of the DNR website or email DNRCDACWebMail@Wisconsin.gov with any questions.

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Newly upgraded tool from DNR helps avoid wetland disturbance

MADISON -- The first step land owners, developers and builders need to take before picking up a shovel or calling in the bulldozers is determining whether a proposed project site is located within a wetland. A new upgrade to the Department of Natural Resource's interactive wetland indicator map will make it easier to determine if a project has the potential to impact wetlands.

"The advantage of this new upgrade is to target potential wetlands on a land owner's property to avoid any inadvertent wetlands disturbance during development and avoid unnecessary wetland delineation costs," says Amanda Minks, DNR Waterway and Wetland Policy Coordinator.

Minks said the DNR has been working with the National Resource Conservation Service to integrate updated soil information, field reporting and digital topography tools to its current map, which is referred to as the pink layer, so that the agency can provide users with the most comprehensive tool possible.

If wetland impacts are possible, state law requires a wetland delineation to confirm wetland impacts and determine the amount of the potential impact. The newly upgraded tool will allow users to target areas at a more refined scale, which can help avoid or minimize wetland impacts and determine the appropriate regulatory process for projects.

To preview the updated system to potential users, the department is hosting two hour-long informational meetings on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 10:00 a.m., at the Green Bay Service Center, and Friday, March 9, 2018, 2 p.m., in room G09 at the DNR Central Office, 101 S. Webster, in Madison.

"We want to give our potential users an opportunity to experience the changes before we release the final upgrade to the public in late spring this year so they will better understand the changes and how to use the layer," Minks said.

Anyone interested in learning more about wetland indicators can search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "wetland" and click on the link for "map review" to read more about recognizing indicators and view informational videos about the steps toward ensuring building projects start off on the right track. Questions or comments can also be emailed directly to Amanda Minks at Amanda.Minks@Wisconsin.gov.

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Urban trees well-loved by private residential landowners

MADISON -- Private residential landowners feel the most important benefits the trees in their yard provide are beauty, shade and cooling, improved air quality, privacy, and making their neighborhood a better place to live, according to the results of the recent Wisconsin Urban Landowner Survey.

As part of a joint project involving the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Extension and the U.S. Forest Service, 6,000 surveys were sent to private residential landowners including apartment and condo owners, homeowners and multi-family housing unit owners in Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Wausau.

More than 1,700 landowners responded, primarily single-family homeowners, providing insights about their attitudes toward tree care, concerns about tree risks and their tree management choices such as pruning and planting.

"While most people see the trees on their property and in their neighborhood as being very beneficial, they typically don't think of the critical role they play as landowners in caring for the health of the trees in Wisconsin's cities," said Katy Thostenson, DNR division of forestry social science analyst. "The Wisconsin Urban Landowner Survey project aims to help urban residents take a new look at the trees and open spaces in their own yard, take steps to be an active steward of their trees and think of their yard as a piece of the wider urban forest in their community."

A majority of Wisconsin's 42 million urban trees, 69 percent, grow in residential areas and will continue to face threats from storm events, disease and pests such as Emerald Ash Borer, and development. Urban trees provide valuable benefits for the people who live and work in cities and suburbs, such as improving air quality, reducing energy costs and absorbing storm water, along with many physical and mental health benefits.

Most respondents perceive important benefits from trees on their properties; however, there were significant differences depending on where they live. Suburban homeowners and those with larger properties perceive their trees as more beneficial and have fewer concerns about property damage from trees. In comparison, city homeowners, who own smaller properties and live in more densely populated areas, believe trees pose a greater physical risk to their property. These risks can be reduced through proactive tree care.

The survey also reveals that respondents seek advice and trust information provided by private tree care professionals, followed by their family and friends, and then by municipal, state and nonprofit professionals.

"These results suggest communities would be well-served by communicating how to best care for trees by partnering with professional arborists and personal networks such as neighborhood groups, as people are most likely to act on advice given by those they know and trust," said Associate Professor Bret Shaw, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Life Sciences Communication in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and communication specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

The full report can be found on the Forestry Insights website at forestryinsights.org/urban-forestry (exit DNR).

For more information on urban forests, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "Urban Forest."

Funding for the Wisconsin Urban Landowner Survey project was provided by a U.S. Forest Service grant and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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Natural Resources Board to meet February 28 in Madison

MADISON - A request for adoption of proposed emergency rules relating to deer and turkey registration, a request to revisit Lake Michigan lake trout bag limits, proposed rules related to erosion control and storm water management at construction sites, and a proposed land exchange at Kohler-Andrae State Park are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets February 28 in Madison.

The board will convene at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, in Room G09 of the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison.

The board will consider an emergency rule for changes to deer and turkey registration and the reporting of waterfowl harvests. The emergency rule is necessary to make some provisions of NR 10 Wis. Admin. Code, which regulates registering harvested wildlife, consistent with provisions of 2017 Act 59. That statute eliminated the issuance of deer and turkey carcass tags and the requirement to validate those tags upon taking possession of an animal. Under the new statute, the department will issue "harvest authorizations." Hunters will still be required to provide proof of licensure and harvest authorization while hunting and to register the harvest. The emergency rule is necessary to meet timelines for the upcoming hunting seasons. The department will undertake a permanent rule change that will include public participation and a public hearing.

The board will also consider:

The board will also hear informational items on an update on Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan and the Southwest Wisconsin CWD, Deer and Predator Study.

At approximately noon the board may convene in closed session under the authority of s. 19.85(1)(e) Wisconsin Statutes to discuss the Department of Natural Resources' competitive bargaining and negotiation position with respect to a potential real estate transaction in Southeast Wisconsin.

The complete February board agenda is available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for keyword "NRB" and clicking on the button for "view agendas."

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting. The deadline to register to testify or submit written comments is 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. Registration information is available on the agenda and on the DNR website.

Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month's meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.

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Volunteer training set for Rare Plant Monitoring Program

Native plant enthusiasts sought to see how state's rare treasures are faring

MADISON -- People who enjoy looking for plants can see some of the state's rarest and most beautiful native species up close in 2018 by participating in volunteer training for the Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program in coming weeks.

Josh Mayer, a volunteer for the Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program, found a new population of narrow-leaved dayflower, a rare native plant, in Grant County in 2017.  - Photo credit: Josh Mayer
Josh Mayer, a volunteer for the Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program, found a new population of narrow-leaved dayflower, a rare native plant, in Grant County in 2017. Photo credit: Josh Mayer

"If you already enjoy searching for rare plants or "botanizing," we invite you to put your effort to a direct conservation benefit," says Kevin Doyle, a Department of Natural Resources conservation botanist who coordinates the volunteer program. "Our volunteers get to see rare plants in some of the state's most pristine places and their contributions are critical to native plant conservation in Wisconsin."

The volunteer training is free and occurs at four sites across the state: in Juneau County on March 17, Eau Claire County on March 22, Sauk County on March 31, and Racine County on April 7. Find training session details and register on the Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program (exit DNR) web page.

The information volunteers collect help DNR conservation botanists assess plant population trends for state and national conservation efforts. Wisconsin has more than 2,300 native plant species and 344 of them are listed as endangered, threatened or species of concern due to low or declining populations.


The Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program is one of more than a dozen citizen-based monitoring programs coordinated by DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation Program to help assess populations of rare species and care for State Natural Areas. Since the Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program started the volunteer training in 2013, more than 240 volunteers have taken the training and played an important role in assessing plant populations.

"Rare Plant Monitoring Program volunteers took things to new heights in 2017," Doyle says. "Nearly 80 new people were trained and volunteers nearly tripled the number of rare plant assessments we got done. We hope 2018 will be another great year and we invite plant enthusiasts to join our growing team."

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Hundreds of natural resources volunteers gather in Eau Claire on March 22-24

MADISON - More than 12,000 Wisconsin volunteers searched for rare plants, identified frogs, bats, birds and other species, and cut, dragged and burned invasive plants in 2017 to help care for the natural resources they love.

On March 22-24, 2018, hundreds of these citizen scientists and stewards will gather in Eau Claire for the Wisconsin Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers. They'll share their work through oral and poster presentations, get the latest research updates and training, enjoy field trips and network with others who are passionate about Wisconsin's natural resources.

Bumble bee identification and monitoring, shown here, will be among the training sessions offered at the Wisconsin Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers from March 22-24, 2018, in Eau Claire. - Photo credit: DNR
Bumble bee identification and monitoring, shown here, will be among the training sessions offered at the Wisconsin Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers from March 22-24, 2018, in Eau Claire.Photo credit: DNR

"Volunteers' work is critical to protecting and restoring our native species, our waters and our lands," says Eva Lewandowski, citizen-based monitoring coordinator at DNR. "This conference celebrates their contributions and helps equip and inspire them to continue their work."

The summit is the first joint conference of the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network and the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program (both links exit DNR) and is being co-hosted by the Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

More than 12,000 volunteers help collect information on Wisconsin natural resources and many of them will gather March 22-24 for a volunteer summit in Eau Claire.   - Photo credit: DNR
More than 12,000 volunteers help collect information on Wisconsin natural resources and many of them will gather March 22-24 for a volunteer summit in Eau Claire. Photo credit: Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited

Participants in the summit will enjoy trainings on everything from bumble bee monitoring to volunteering on State Natural Areas to lake and stream monitoring. Field trips, research and natural history talks, and a keynote presentation from Julia Robson of Milwaukee County Parks and Walk to Sustain Our Great Lakes are other key parts of the conference, according to Becky Sapper, who directs the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program.

"The summit will be an opportunity for individuals and groups to form partnerships, share ideas, and learn from each other to advance natural resources volunteering efforts throughout the state," Sapper says.

Anyone interested in natural resource volunteering, including volunteers, land managers, researchers, and project leaders are encouraged to register for the Summit. Registration is open through March 2. Detailed information on the event and how to register are available online at the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network (exit DNR) website.

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DNR awards grants for surface water project planning

MADISON -- Communities throughout Wisconsin will soon reap the benefits of 222 grants awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources providing nearly $2.9 million in assistance for projects to improve water quality, reduce runoff, create aquatic habitat and reduce the spread of invasive species.

Surface water planning grants provide assistance for lake and river planning projects and aquatic invasive species (AIS) education, prevention and planning. This year, the grants will leverage an additional $1.4 million in matching funds by lake and river associations, local governments and nonprofit groups.

"Planning is a key component of lake protection and restoration, and the surface water grant program is here to assist local organizations in taking this crucial first step," says Alison Mikulyuk, DNR lakes and rivers team leader.

Planning grants are intended to help communities collect data, assess waterbody condition and understand the source of any problems. This information then becomes the foundation of a lake management plan that details management priorities and future actions. Funding for this effort originates from a tax imposed on fuel used in recreational boats.

"There was a lot of interest this year in projects designed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Several organizations will receive assistance for boots-on-the-ground efforts to inspect waterbodies, build partnerships and engage in education and outreach," Mikulyuk said.

But AIS projects aren't the only efforts receiving funding. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance intends to use their grant to finalize a comprehensive management plan for the four large waterbodies in the Winnebago system. These waterbodies serve nearly 2 million people living within 75 miles. The planning project will lay the groundwork to improve water quality, protect drinking water and safeguard the globally-important population of lake sturgeon.

The 2018 surface water planning grant applications were submitted to DNR in December. Clean Boats, Clean Waters projects, which fund staff to conduct boat and trailer inspections and educate boaters on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species at boat landings, accounted for the largest number of awards with 128 grants totaling more than $657,000. Aquatic invasive species education, prevention and planning efforts represented the greatest area of investment with 33 grants totaling more than $1.1 million.

Grant Type Grants Awarded Award Amount Local Match Amount
Lake Planning 47 839,503.46 516,372.14
AIS Education, Prevention, & Planning 33 1,131,489.24 486,844.25
River Planning 11 110,000.00 108,253.41
Lake Classification 3 144,514.10 48,375.54
Clean Boats, Clean Water 128 657,256.70 280,909.29
Total FY16 Planning Grants 222 2,882,763.50 1,441,754.63

To see the full list of awards visit dnr.wi.gov and search "surface water grants." Links to awarded grants can be found on the right hand side of the Web page under "Related links" on a desktop computer, or under the "Show more" dropdown on mobile devices.

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Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Management Grant Program applications are now available

MADISON - Cities, villages, towns, counties, regional planning commissions, tribal governments and special purpose lake, sewage, or sanitary districts have until April 16 to apply for competitive grants to assist them with the control of pollution from diffuse urban sources that is carried by storm water runoff.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is now accepting grant applications for the Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Management Grant Program. The local government must have either jurisdiction over the project area or be required to control storm water discharge with an inter-governmental agreement between the municipality and the Department of Natural Resources.

The application postmark deadline for Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Grant materials for Urban Nonpoint Source Construction projects beginning in 2019, are due April 16, 2018. Urban Nonpoint Source Planning Grant applications will not be solicited in 2018, but will be solicited again in 2019.

The grants reimburse costs of planning or construction projects controlling urban nonpoint source and storm water runoff pollution. Construction grant eligible projects include:

Parties interested in applying can learn more about the application process by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "grants," and then click on the button for "find grants" and scroll down to the link for Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Management Grant Program.

A webinar for this grant program has been scheduled for Feb. 28, 2018, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The webinar will provide an overview of the Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Management Construction Grant program, with focus on the application process for funds available beginning in 2019. The webinar will provide an overview of what's changed since last year, and review what makes a construction grant project (eligibility criteria and project attributes), and tips on writing a strong application.

Go to https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6472756071903552002 (exit DNR) to register for the webinar, or paste the link into your browser window.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773