MADISON - The public will have an opportunity at upcoming open house meetings and open office hours to review and comment on proposed changes to master plans for several northern forests and on a 15 year review of the Brule River State Forest master plan.
2015 Act 358, directed the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to propose a variance to the master plans of all northern state forests, except Governor Knowles State Forest, so that 75 percent of all the land is classified as a forest productions area. The DNR is conducting the planning for all the affected state forests simultaneously to gain efficiencies and consistency, and to make engagement and review from interested parties more streamlined, according to Carmen Hardin, DNR director of forest management
Northern state forests include: Northern Highland American Legion State Forest; Peshtigo River State Forest; Flambeau River State Forest; Coulee Experimental State Forest; Black River State Forest; and Brule River State Forest. Together these forests account for 451,000 acres of forest in northern Wisconsin. Currently 66 percent of the lands are designated for forest production.
DNR staff conducted an assessment of current conditions of the forest resource by property, including land and forest cover types, management history, and updated biotic inventories. They used this information to identify areas best suited for forest production on each property. Maps outlining current and proposed changes for all properties will be available at each open house and at each open office hours. The public will be able to review the maps and ask questions of department staff and submit comments on the proposed changes.
Using public input and additional analysis, DNR staff will refine and identify specific land management classification changes for each property, and develop a final draft proposal in the form of a master plan variance considering all state forests combined to meet the 75 percent forest production directive.
Wisconsin administrative code requires the department to review each master plan every 15 years to determine if any changes should be made. The current Brule River State Forest master plan was approved in 2002.
In addition to the land classification review to meet the 75 percent forest production directive, a master plan review by DNR staff included a full assessment of land management, recreation, road infrastructure and administrative elements. The review includes a number of issues and opportunities for enhancing recreational opportunities in the forest, including:
The review documents for both the northern forest land classification variance and for the Brule River State Forest master plan update can be found by searching the DNR website for keywords "master planning," and then clicking on the links for "Northern State Forests," or "Brule River State Forest."
All of the documents as well as associated maps will also be available at the open houses that will be held:
The documents and maps will also be available for review and open office hours that will be held:
In addition to submitting comments at the open houses and open hours, people can fill out online surveys and submit comments by email through the master planning pages for the properties. The public comment period runs from Oct. 19 through Nov. 21, 2016.
MADISON- The public is invited to join the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, and other members of the Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan Review Committee Oct. 27 as they discuss and assess the first five years of the DNR's 2010-2025 CWD Response Plan.
The October committee meeting, the first of three this fall, will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lussier Family Heritage Center, 3101 Lake Farm Road, Madison. Additional meeting information will be listed on the DNR public meetings calendar (search keywords "CWD Response Plan Review") when meetings are finalized.
The CWD Response Plan Review Committee will revisit the current CWD Response Plan, discuss research and disease management in Wisconsin, and provide recommendations for the next five years.
These meetings, aimed at improving public engagement and transparency in addressing CWD, include seeking public input through County Deer Advisory Council meetings. A wide range of topics related to CWD, including Best Management Practices for the captive cervid industry, will be discussed during committee meetings.
The review committee consists of several governmental agencies and key partner organizations with an interest in CWD management in Wisconsin. This public involvement process is being coordinated jointly by DNR, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Committee recommendations will be posted online for public comment following the final meeting. Following the public comment period, plan recommendations will be the topic of discussion at each county's CDAC meeting in January 2017. Final recommendations will be submitted for approval by the DNR to the Natural Resources Board in March 2017.
MILWAUKEE - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will conduct a public informational hearing on Nov. 15, 2016 and is accepting public comments through Dec. 9, 2016 on a draft plan to reduce phosphorus and other pollutants in the Menomonee, Kinnickinnic and Milwaukee rivers.
The draft plan, which takes the form of a total maximum daily load calculation or TMDL, was developed by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and its consultants with oversight from DNR and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Kevin Kirsch, DNR water resources engineer managing the project, said a TMDL represents a set of calculations that evaluates the amount of pollutant a water body can receive and still meet applicable water quality standards. The state is required to develop TMDLs for impaired waters under the federal Clean Water Act.
DNR and the Milwaukee sewerage district presented the draft plan in July and conducted a series of informational meetings to help stakeholders understand the contents of the draft plan. DNR is now shepherding the TMDL plan through any adjustments and final approval by EPA.
"We appreciated the strong turnout at the meetings and have been working with municipalities and other stakeholders to build understanding of the draft plan," Kirsch said. "The plan took years to develop and it is a sizeable document so we wanted to provide an opportunity for stakeholders to digest and evaluate the study."
Once the draft plan is approved, the Milwaukee sewerage district will engage with stakeholders to develop an implementation plan, building on previous efforts to meet the water quality goals laid out in the TMDL. It is anticipated that it will take about a year to develop the implementation plan, which will help define progress benchmarks and target cost effective practices.
"DNR appreciates the work of the Milwaukee sewerage district in developing the draft plan, which will serve as the framework to achieve cleaner water in the region," Kirsch said. "Communities, industries and agricultural producers already have made important strides in reducing pollutants that flow into the system and this TMDL study will build on that success."
The public informational hearing will be held on Nov. 15 from 9:30 till noon in the Firefly Room at the Wauwatosa Public Library, 7635 W. North Ave. Wauwatosa, Wis 53213. Comments on the initial draft plan may be submitted via DNRMilwaukeeBasinTMDL@wisconsin.gov or by mailing to: Kevin Kirsch, Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921
MADISON - A request for the approval of recommendations for the third phase of land sales under the direction of the 2013-15 state biennial budget bill, a request to initiate the master planning process for the Totogatic Wildlife Area and a request to initiate the scoping process for proposed rules related to updating Wisconsin's antidegradation policy are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets October 26 in Madison.
The regular business meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 26, in Room G09 of the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 South Webster St., Madison.
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 for this business meeting is 11 a.m. on Friday, October 21, 2016. Registration information is available on the agenda 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.
MADISON - Aquatic plants are critical to freshwater ecosystems and public comment is being invited to help the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources develop the scope of a strategic analysis of the aquatic plant management program.
Aquatic plants provide fish and wildlife habitat and improve water quality and clarity, sediment stability, nutrient uptake and a water body's oxygen content. However, invasive species and other waterbody impairments can limit these beneficial functions and affect the use of a water body. DNR's duties involve balancing the protection of aquatic plants and their benefits with management of invasive species.
Aquatic plant management is important to Wisconsin citizens. Recreational users, property owners, the tourism industry and others will benefit from an effective aquatic plant program. The strategic analysis will include descriptions and evaluations of historical, scientific and socio-economic information related to aquatic plant management to help inform future discussion and decisions.
DNR encourages those interested to review the list of topics to be included in the aquatic plant management strategic analysis and supply any comments or additions. The public comment period will remain open until Nov. 16, 2016. The current list of topics being considered for the APM strategic analysis [PDF] can be found on the DNR website.
Comments may be emailed to DNRAPMSA@Wisconsin.gov or mailed to: Chelsey Blanke, Department of Natural Resources, 2801 Progress Road, Madison, WI 53716. DNR will use the comments to help determine the scope of the strategic analysis document.
The public also will be invited to review and comment on the strategic analysis document once it is prepared. The final document will be used to formulate decisions regarding aquatic plant management alternatives.
MADISON - With 17.1 million acres of trees covering nearly half of the state, Wisconsin has good reason to celebrate its forests during National Forest Products Week, which runs from October 16-22.
In 1960, Congress designated the third week of October as National Forest Products Week as a time to recognize the many products that come from our forests, the people who work in and care for our forests, the businesses that make forest products and the ways in which forest products contribute to our lives.
Steve Hubbard, forest products services team leader with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, said National Forest Products Week provides a time to recognize and celebrate the things people use and enjoy that come from trees. While many Wisconsin residents recognize that forests play an essential part in the state's history, culture and environment, many people do not realize the economic contributions of forests.
From paper products such as food packaging, fine writing paper and tissue paper, to lumber used for homes and furniture, the products made by the forest products companies in Wisconsin contribute $24.7 billion annually to the state's economy.
"Our forests directly provide 64,896 jobs for Wisconsin residents with a payroll of $3.7 billion," Hubbard said. "And every job in forestry supports 1.7 additional jobs in the state."
Wisconsin's forests are renewable and vital resources when sustainably managed, Hubbard said. DNR's forest products services team works to help build strong markets for forest products while ensuring that forests remain healthy for future generations.
Beyond providing shelter for wildlife and oxygen for us to breathe, forests contribute to more than 5,000 products we use every day. From paints to tires, tree-based chemicals and wood byproducts are all around us.
Have you eaten a tree today? While Wisconsin residents love the state's maple syrup and apples, cellulose from trees is often added to ice cream and bread. Cellulose powder is sometimes used to help keep grated Parmesan cheese pieces from caking together. Cellulose products also thicken cough syrups and other liquid oral medicines.
"A century ago Wisconsin's forests helped build the Midwest," Hubbard said. "Innovative research is now focused on new ways to use wood, from skyscrapers built with wood to cellulosic ethanol for cars to tiny cellulose nanocrystals used to strengthen materials. Our past, present, and future are tied to wood products - thanks to technology, innovation and the fact that trees are a renewable and sustainable resource."
MADISON - Professional foresters from across the U.S. and Canada will gather in Madison on Nov. 3-6 for the 2016 national Society of American Foresters convention.
The 1,500 or more attendees, who will gather at Monona Terrace, work for universities, all levels of government, the forest industry and as self-employed consultants. During the convention, they will explore the rich history of forestry, land stewardship and current issues related to the science, art and practice of creating, managing, using and conserving forests and associated resources.
Wisconsin DNR forester Julie Peltier, who is serving as general chair of the 2016 Society of American Foresters convention, said the convention will provide the opportunity to showcase Wisconsin's 17.1 million acres of forests and the social, cultural, ecological and economic benefits they provide.
"This unprecedented convergence of forest and natural resources professionals in Wisconsin will explore current issues facing the profession from increased incidence of invasive species to markets for wood products," said Matt Menashes, CEO of Society of American Foresters. "We will explore adjusting our management of forests as well as adapting as a vibrant, relevant profession."
In his welcoming address, Paul DeLong, former chief state forester with Wisconsin DNR and now senior vice president for conservation with the American Forest Foundation, will highlight Wisconsin's leadership in sustainable forestry, the thriving forests that cover nearly half of Wisconsin today and the robust partnerships that care for the state's forests.
Other speakers include:
The convention will offer 88 sessions with more than 270 individual presentations covering a diverse array of topics as well as more than 100 exhibit booths where forestry partners can showcase their services and products. Convention-goers will have the opportunity to explore the heritage of Aldo Leopold, a forestry icon who lived and wrote about Wisconsin during most of his professional life, on a tour of the Leopold shack near Baraboo. Another of the convention field tours will be at the Forest Products Lab.
To learn more about forestry in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "forestry." Information about the upcoming convention can be found on the Society of American Foresters website [exit DNR].
MADISON - Wisconsin is home to all types of wildlife, and a new web page will help landowners live with urban wildlife comfortably and safely.
Many Wisconsin landowners will find the "Feeding Wildlife: what You Need to Know [PDF]" overview helpful (found within the "Feeding wildlife: what you need to know" list on the urban wildlife webpage). This document shows how wildlife can be negatively impacted by human feeding, and also shares tips for keeping wildlife wild and healthy while providing suggestions regarding responsible wildlife feeding. Educational materials can be printed and shared at educational events, homeowner association gatherings, parks, and public meetings. For more information, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "urban wildlife."
For additional information, landowners are encouraged to contact a DNR wildlife biologist in their county of residence (enter "wildlife biologist" in the subject line).
As urban coyotes continue to reside in towns, cities and subdivisions, safety concerns have increased. To assist Wisconsin's citizens in understanding coyotes and the role they play in their environment, the eastern coyote webpage was created. This webpage will teach readers about coyote biology and ecology and offers suggestions for managing nuisance coyotes and how to deter coyotes from making a home in urban areas.
Links to local coyote research studies, observation websites, and nuisance wildlife control agents can also be found on this page. To learn more about coyotes in Wisconsin, search keyword "urban wildlife" and select the link titled "coyote."
MADISON - This November, tune in to Deer Hunt Wisconsin and join host Dan Small as he discusses changes to this year's hunt and offers helpful tips and tricks as you gear up and head out into the woods.
Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2016 is the 25th annual hour-long special designed to help hunters prepare for the upcoming deer season. Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2016 will air on the following stations:
Thursday, Nov. 3
Saturday, Nov. 5
Thursday, Nov. 10
Friday, Nov. 11
Saturday, Nov. 12
Sunday, Nov. 13
Saturday, Nov. 19
Date and Time TBD
For more general information regarding this year's deer hunt, search keyword "deer."
Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2016 is a production of Dan Small Outdoors, LLC, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Office of the Great Lakes is inviting entries for its ninth annual photo contest.
Photos from all seasons are needed and will be accepted in the following categories: natural features and wildlife; cultural and historic features; and people enjoying Wisconsin's Great Lakes. Submissions for a fourth category, lake stewardship activities, will include a photo and a 180 word description of a Great Lakes restoration or protection project.
Photos of lakes Michigan and Superior as well as their tributaries, wetlands and harbor towns are eligible. Winning photos will be featured in the Wisconsin's Great Lakes 2017-2018 calendar, which will be distributed at the 2017 Wisconsin State Fair.
The Office of the Great Lakes is also accepting short essays, stories, poems and songs about lakes Superior and Michigan. Photos and written work may be used in the calendar and other Great Lakes publications as well as on DNR's website and in displays and presentations.
MADISON--Ten communities and one metropolitan sewerage district have been awarded municipal flood control grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Cities, villages, towns, tribes and metropolitan sewerage districts are eligible to apply for these grants, which fund the acquisition of property, vacant land, structure removal, flood proofing, administrative support and others. All projects are awarded for two years.
This is the first year for a 50 percent match instead of a 70 percent match based on changes in the last state budget. The 2016-2017 list of grant recipients is as follows:
The next municipal flood control application round is anticipated due in March 2018. Detailed information about the municipal flood control grant program can be found on the DNR website.
MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is accepting grant applications for the Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement and Control Grant Program. The program provides financial assistance to designated urban communities for the development of long-term management solutions to reduce conflicts with white-tailed deer and/or Canada geese.
The grant was created to foster and encourage communities to solve overabundant wildlife concerns by awarding 50-50 reimbursement grants up to a maximum of $5,000.
Applications will be judged according to the following criteria:
An applicant must be an urban area as defined in s. 86.196(1)(c), Wis. Stats. To be eligible for grant consideration, the grant application and all required attachments must be completed and received on or before Dec. 1, 2016. Communities with a question about designation as an urban area, how to apply or other questions about the application process can find answers by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement and Control.
The Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement Control Grant is one of more than 40 grant programs administered by the Bureau of Community Financial Assistance. To learn more search "grants."
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