ASHLAND, Wis. - With flood waters receding throughout northern Wisconsin areas affected by last week's heavy rains, many property owners are working through the clean-up process to check wells, remove storm related debris and identify repairs that may require permits.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reminds area residents that heavy rains can create conditions that affect private wells and drinking water. Following is a roundup of tips, resources and guidance in the aftermath of flooding, including information about expedited permitting for repairs.
Private wells and drinking water
Visiting state parks and properties
Additional information for those affected by the flooding can be found on DNR's website by searching "Coping with Flooding." The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also provides information and links to resources on its Flood Hazards and Recovery page: www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/flood (exit DNR).
MADISON - August 1 is an important deadline for fall hunters and trappers pursuing wild turkey, sharp-tailed grouse, bobcat, fisher and otter.
Permit applications for fall hunting can be purchased for $3 ($6 for bobcat applications) online at gowild.wi.gov, at Department of Natural Resources service centers, and at all license agents. License sales are no longer available by phone, but the live operators at the DNR Call Center can help answer any questions hunters may have about the permit application process. The Call Center is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, and can be reached at 888-WDNR-INFo (1-888-936-7463).
There will be 101,300 wild turkey permits available to hunters for the fall 2016 turkey hunting season, a 600-permit increase over 2015 levels. Permit availability was increased by 200 in each of the three northernmost turkey management zones (Zones 5, 6 and 7) in order to better meet hunter demand. Any fall turkey permits remaining after the initial drawing will go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 27. Leftover fall turkey permits will be sold by zone until sold out or the season ends.
Harvest for the 2016 spring season increased by 11 percent, compared to the 2015 season, largely due to the unseasonably comfortable weather that characterized most of the season. Increased harvest may have also been due to relatively mild conditions during the winter of 2015-2016.
Turkey numbers may increase further, given the warm and relatively dry conditions during the critical June brood-rearing period. Turkey hunters can therefore expect excellent opportunities to pursue turkeys during the fall 2016 season.
The 2016 fall season will run from Sept. 17 through Dec. 31 in Zones 1-5. In Zones 6 and 7, the season will run from Sept. 17 through Nov. 18. This is the first year that turkey hunting will be allowed statewide on the Friday before the opening of the nine-day gun deer season and during the gun deer season in Zones 1-5 only. Hunters may use dogs to hunt wild turkeys during the fall season throughout the state of Wisconsin. The bag limit is one turkey of any age or sex per fall turkey hunting permit (also known as a carcass tag).
For 2016, 25 sharp-tailed grouse hunting permits will be available in Unit 8 only. This is a 75 percent decrease from 2015, when 100 permits were available in the same unit. Permit levels were decreased in order to balance hunter opportunity with a more prudent level of harvest. Sharp-tailed grouse management units use the same boundaries and designations as game management units (GMUs); a map is available on the sharp-tailed grousepage of the DNR website.Hunters are reminded to carefully review the zone map and apply only for the open unit. Applying for closed units will result in an invalid application.
The approved quotas for bobcat, fisher and river otter will be available on the trapping page of the DNR website in early August. Quotas for most zones will likely be similar or slightly higher than last year. Permit numbers, based on success rates, will be determined and drawings for all three species will take place in August, with permits issued in early September. Applicants can check their online account in early September to see if they've been awarded a permit by visiting gowild.wi.gov.
MADISON -- Updated fish eating guidance, Choose Wisely: A Health Guide for Eating Fish in Wisconsin [PDF], is now available online through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website.
Detailed information also is available through "Find Advice," an online search tool that allows anglers to select their county and fishing spot to see local consumption advice.
For rivers where polychlorinated biphenyls build up in fish, new testing reconfirms current advisories with slight modifications for some species from Lake Michigan, the Lake Winnebago/Wolf River system and parts of the lower Fox (Little Lake Buttes des Morts to De Pere Dam), Menominee and lower Manitowoc Rivers.
Changes include less stringent advice for some Lake Michigan and Winnebago species meaning people can safely eat some of those fish more frequently. Advice does remain the same for several systems including the upper Manitowoc and Mississippi Rivers.
Advice for some inland lakes and impoundments, where mercury is the primary fish contaminant, was also updated. Fish consumption advice varies by location and species of fish and ranges from unrestricted or one serving per week to "do not eat." These changes include advice to eat fewer of some fish from the Twin Falls Flowage in Florence County, Long Lake in Oneida County and Loretta Lake in Sawyer County. Included is less stringent advice for Lake Noquebay in Marinette County
DNR, in consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, examines contaminant results for fish samples obtained each year at a subset of Wisconsin's waters, along with data from recent years, to re-evaluate fish consumption advice.
The 2016 fish consumption advisory reflects new results for fish collected mostly in 2014-2015 from 32 locations and also considers results from bordering states and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission as well as DNR.
Most waters in the state are covered by general statewide advice. In 2016, the number of waters that carry more specific, stringent advice due to higher contaminant levels in some species from those waters is 146 due to removal of more stringent advice at two locations and addition at two other locations.
Candy Schrank, the DNR toxicologist who coordinates the fish contaminant monitoring and advisory program, urges anglers to check the 2016 advice to see if there have been any changes to the advice for those waters they fish frequently.
"We test contaminants in fish from a number of locations each year," Schrank said. "Using these new results along with past testing, we update the advice, so it is important for anglers who frequently eat fish to check each year."
Karen McKeown, state health officer of the Department of Health Services, noted that fish are a low-cost, low-fat source of protein, minerals and vitamins, but that people need to be aware of the kinds of fish they eat and where the fish come from.
"By following Wisconsin's fish consumption advice, you can enjoy the fun of fishing as well as obtain the health benefits that come from eating fish," McKeown said. "If you eat fish, you should make sure to follow the fish eating guidance and advisories that will help you to reduce your exposure to environmental contaminants that can build up in fish."
MADISON - Proposed rules related to captive deer farm fence regulations and related to cisco (lake herring) harvest in Lake Superior are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets August 3 in Ashland.
The board will also be asked to approve the master plan for the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway and approve a request to initiate the rule-making process related to runoff management and non-point source performance standards for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.
The regular business meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 3, at the AmericInn, 3009 Lakeshore Drive E, Ashland.
Because of keen public interest in the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Master Plan from residents of southern Wisconsin, the board will receive remote testimony on this item via video streaming from Room G09 of the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2). People must be pre-registered to testify at either location. Each speaker will have three minutes to give their testimony.
The public may pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting or to participate in the board tour. The deadline to register to testify or submit written comments for this business meeting is 11 a.m. on Friday, July 29, 2016. Registration information is available on the agenda on the DNR website. Testimony on the LWSR master plan is tentatively scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. August 3. People registered to testify should check in with the staff greeter at either the AmericInn or Room G09 GEF 2. Access to G09 is through the front desk on the main floor of GEF 2.
On Tuesday, August 2, 2016, the board is scheduled to hear presentations on public/private partnerships for natural resources restoration and waterfront redevelopment in the Ashland area and participate in an afternoon water tour. However, the Tuesday schedule is subject to change due to last week's storm and flood damage.
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.
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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