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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 674 days

Weekly News Published - January 22, 2013 by the Central Office

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Free kid's fishing clinic scheduled in coming weeks

MADISON - Free kids' ice fishing clinics scheduled for coming weeks are just the ticket for kids suffering through a winter in which scarce snow has put a damper on their sledding, snowball fights and other fun in the snow.

Ice fishing clinics
Free kids ice fishing clinics are on tap in many communities; this mom and son enjoyed a lesson at the Yahara Fishing Club clinic earlier this month and took home a free ice fishing rod!
Tom Raschke Photo

The events, sponsored primarily by local fishing and conservation clubs, offer kids a great opportunity to get outside for some fresh air and to learn how to ice fish. Go to DNR's website and search keywords "fishing clinic." The listings provided represent those free clinics the Department of Natural Resources is co-sponsoring or those events for which organizers have provided information to DNR.

"These free fishing clinics are a great way to get kids outside to learn a new skill and have a lot of fun," says Theresa Stabo, DNR aquatic education director. "We very much appreciate the local fishing club members who donate their time and money to help kids try ice fishing and see what it's all about."

The free fishing clinics range from the Optimist Carp-O-Rama at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Genoa on Jan. 26 to the 22nd annual ice fishing clinics held in six southeastern Wisconsin county parks on Feb. 9, 2013 and sponsored in cooperation with the Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations, Hunger Task Force Fish Hatchery, Waukesha County Parks, and DNR.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Theresa Stabo (608) 266-2272; Kim Anderson (608) 261-6431

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DNR names Native American tribal liaison

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has appointed a new Native American tribal liaison who will be responsible for coordinating tribal contacts and fostering relationships with all of the state's native tribes.

Shelly Allness
Shelly Allness
Contributed photo

Michele Allness has been in state service for 14 years, most recently working in the Office of Secretary at the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, where she served as tribal liaison and managed several programs including Travel Green Wisconsin. She began her state service with the DNR in 1998 in the water management program and subsequently worked as an environmental analysis and review specialist in the DNR Northeast Region. She served as the DNR liaison to the Department of Transportation and led the Northeast Region land use team for more than eight years. She moved to the Department of Tourism in 2008.

With her return to DNR, Allness will also serve as a policy advisor to the DNR land division, assisting in the development of a new habitat endowment initiative and special assignments for the land leadership team.

"It is a distinct pleasure to announce Shelly's return to the Department of Natural Resources," said Kurt Thiede, DNR Division of Land administrator. "It was a talented group of individuals from inside and outside the department that applied for the position and Shelly separated herself from the other candidates in what was a very competitive process."

Allness is a native of Oshkosh and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography with a double minor in Environmental Studies and Geology. She is a graduate of Wisconsin Women in Government Graduate Seminar, a partnership with the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is serving her fourth year with the Dane County Environmental Council of which she is the chair. In addition, Shelly serves on the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council and is the chair of the council's education committee.

Allness will begin her duties at DNR Jan. 28.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kurt Thiede, 608-266-5833 or Bill Cosh, 608-267-2773

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Xcel Energy seeks to upgrade power line along state trail

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. - Xcel Energy is planning to rebuild eight miles of existing 115-kilovolt transmission line between the Jim Falls substation and the Hydro Lane substation at Lake Wissota.

Project map.
Proposed transmission line easement.

For six of these miles the line runs parallel with the Old Abe State Trail. Xcel Energy has initiated negotiations with the state Department of Natural Resources for an easement along the trail. The DNR is seeking public comment on the proposal.

>Existing poles
Existing poles to be replaced.
Click on photo for larger size

The existing steel transmission poles, or lattice structures, are located on private property, on average 52 feet from the center of the trail. The proposal would place taller, brown steel poles about 15 feet closer to the trail and within the state's right-of-way.

Xcel Energy officials said no major work has been completed on the line since it was originally built in 1922. The project is necessary, company officials said, to strengthen the reliability of the regional electricity system and improve safety.

Because this is a major transmission line it must remain in service while the replacement line is built to avoid prolonged power outages and meet national reliability standards. Once the new line is in service, the existing line will be removed. This means the replacement line must be built to one side or the other. Moving the new line to the side away from the trail would involve significant impacts to private property and to the Lake Wissota Golf Course.

Negotiations with the DNR include Xcel Energy-funded improvements to the trail, including the removal of invasive plant species and landscaping with new vegetation to provide visual screening and improved wildlife habitat. Additional improvements could include park benches and educational signs.

Proposed pole replacements.
Proposed pole replacements.
WDNR Photo

The Old Abe State Trail, built on abandoned railroad grade, is a cooperative effort between the State of Wisconsin and Chippewa County. The paved 20-mile trail connects Lake Wissota State Park, near Chippewa Falls, and Brunet Island State Park, near Cornell to the north. Plans call for it to eventually join the Chippewa River and Red Cedar state trails.

Trail users along the six-mile stretch under negotiation are familiar with the large lattice structures and power lines beside the trail. At their base, the lattice structures encompass 200 square feet. The new "weathering" steel poles proposed by Xcel Energy would be 35 feet taller, placed on concrete foundations of about 40 square feet.

"By locating in the state's right-of-way, we minimize all impacts to private landowners while significantly improving the visual impact of the existing line," said Matt McFarlane, who works on siting and land rights for Xcel Energy.

While the new poles will be, on average, 37 feet from the center of the trail, the distance of separation will vary. DNR park officials said under the current design the nearest pole to the trail would be about 27 feet from the center of the trail.

The Old Abe State Trail was partially funded with federal Land & Water Conservation Funds. This proposal will require final approval from both the DNR and the National Park Service.

The proposed project is not anticipated to result in significant adverse environmental effects. The DNR has made a preliminary determination that neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement will be required for this action.

Written comments on the proposed project will be accepted through Feb.12. and can be mailed to Cameron Bump, DNR parks and recreation specialist, 1300 W. Clairemont Ave., Eau Claire, WI 54701, or sent by email to cameron.bump@wisconsin.gov. Bump can be reached by phone at 715-839-2786.

Individuals with questions or concerns can also contact McFarlane at 715-737-2434 or matthew.j.mcfarlane@xcelenergy.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Cameron Bump, DNR district trail coordinator, 715-839-2786; Ed Culhane, DNR communications, 715-781-1683; or Xcel Energy media line, 715-737-2565

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Public comments sought for a proposed Green Tier contract with Appleton Coated

COMBINED LOCKS, Wis. - Appleton Coated, LLC, a manufacturer of a premium line of coated paper, has negotiated a proposed contract with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to undertake more rigorous environmental requirements under the state's Green Tier program.

Appleton Coated has applied to participate in Tier 2 under the voluntary Green Tier program, which recognizes and rewards environmental performance that exceeds requirements related to protecting health, safety and the environment.

In Tier 2 of the program, participants must have an environmental management system in place at the time of application. Participants also negotiate customized contracts with DNR that can enable significant environmental improvements and allow for certain types of regulatory flexibility, though Appleton Coated is not requesting any regulatory flexibility at this time.

The coated paper Appleton Coated manufactures and sells is used by corporations and public institutions for communication and advertising purposes such as annual reports, promotional brochures and direct mail.

As part of this proposed contract, Appleton Coated will commit to future environmental performance goals such as growing the use of non-fossil fuel power, reducing landfilled waste, monitoring and increasing the amount of post- and pre-consumer waste used in production and other objectives.

Based on the addition of an environmental manager to the Appleton Coated staff and prior cooperation with DNR staff, DNR will be waiving the civil background eligibility provisions for Appleton Coated's participation in Tier 2.

DNR will accept comments on this application through Feb. 21, 2013. Comments may be directed to Mark McDermid, Wisconsin DNR, CO/5, PO Box 7921, Madison WI 53707-7921 or by email to mark.mcdermid@wisconsin.gov, 608-267-3125.

Specific information on this proposed contract and on the Green Tier program can be accessed by searching the DNR website for keywords Green Tier.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark McDermid, 608-267-3125

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The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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Last Revised: Tuesday, January 22, 2013