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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 538 days

Weekly News Published - March 12, 2013 by the Central Office

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Explore Wisconsin's hidden secrets on a Natural Resources Foundation field trip

MADISON - People who want to learn more about or just explore a wide variety of Wisconsin natural resources can begin signing up March 20 for any of the more than 120 field trips being offered this summer and fall by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin in partnership with the Department of Natural Resources and other environmental educators.

Banding owls
Participants in a previous vield trip help band Wisconsin's smallest owl, the saw-whet owl.
Anna Keaney

"Any family is really missing out if their summer plans don't include helping band fawns or elk, birding by canoe on the Wisconsin River, or hanging out with biologists as they electroshock streams, search for mussels, or monitor bats," said Ruth Oppedahl, Natural Resources Foundation executive director.

These are among some of the more popular types of field trips offered. The field trips are guided by experts, including many DNR staff, who help people discover some of the best-kept secrets of state parks, state natural areas and other locations.

Oppedahl said some of the more popular field trips fill up quickly, "so the sooner you sign up the better your chances for getting into the field trips you are most interested in, but there are lots of trips offered, so if you don't get into your first choice, there are many other opportunities."

The field trips take place in just about every corner of the state. Field trips include:

  • Mississippi River Eagle Nest and Warblers Boat Cruise, Crawford County, May 11
  • Fawn Search & Collaring, Outagamie County, May 25 or 26
  • Stream Ecology at Black Earth Creek, Dane County, June 1
  • Bog Vs. Swamp in Florence County, June 14
  • Treasures in the Stream: Native Mussels, Waukesha County on July 20, or Meridian County on July 27
  • Wetlands of Northwest Wisconsin, Burnett County, Aug. 24
  • Bat Swarm at Neda Mine, Dodge County, Aug. 23 or Sept. 20
  • Tiffany Bottoms Antique Train Ride Plus Birds & Bluff Prairie Hike, Pepin County, Sept. 8

A complete list of field trips can be downloaded from Natural Resources Foundation website: www.WisConservation.org (links exit DNR).

All field trip participants must be a member of the Natural Resources Foundation to register, and can sign up four guests for up to five field trips. Current members receive exclusive early-bird registration, which opens at noon on Wed., March 20. People can become a foundation member online for $25 per person or $40 per family before March 20 and take advantage of the early-bird registration.

After April 1, registration opens to the general public, who can register with a discounted $15 foundation membership.

Most trips have a $12 per person ($6 per child) fee; some trips have additional fees to support conservation or equipment rental. Many trips are great for kids, while others are best for adults; trips are marked to indicate their physical demand level, ranging from easy to extreme.

This is the twentieth year the foundation has offered field trips, and more than 30,000 people have participated over the years.

"The field trips are perfect for the avid outdoors type looking for something new or a family just beginning to try outside adventures," Oppedahl said. "There is simply no better, nor more first-hand, way to explore Wisconsin."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Maria Sadowski, NRF director of communications, 608-261-4392 or Paul Holtan, DNR office of communications, 608-267-7517

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New system aids in signing up sturgeon guard volunteers

OSHKOSH, Wis. -- A new online registration process is now available for those interested in taking part in the Sturgeon Guard program. For the past 36 years, the program has relied on volunteers to help guard the prehistoric fish from being harvested as they head up rivers to spawn.

"Anyone interested in volunteering can go online and pick the time, date, and preferred location where they'd like to volunteer," said April Dombrowski, DNR conservation warden supervisor at Oshkosh, who headed up the effort to create the online system. "This is really great for the volunteers to see what opportunities are available to come out and help protect the fish."

The preferred spawning site location is a new feature with the Web-based program. This is designed for volunteers that, if they have participated in the past, can request the same spawning site location. The Department of Natural Resources can then attempt to coordinate their request, if fish are actively spawning at the site during their assigned shift.

The all-volunteer sturgeon guards monitor spawning grounds 24 hours a day throughout the spawning season, which typically runs late April to early May. While it's impossible to predict the exact dates spawning will occur, guards are routinely scheduled from April 15 through May 5. People who are interested in volunteering, are encouraged to sign up early as spots fill quickly.

You can register online by going to our website (dnr.wi.gov) and searching "Sturgeon Guard." Another new feature this year involves the DNR's call center which will now also accept registrations by phone. It is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 1-888-936-7463.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: April Dombrowski, 920-424-3055 or Trish Ossmann, DNR Northeast Region public affairs manager - 920-662-5122

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16 'friends groups' receive Stewardship grants for state park, forest and trail improvements

MADISON - A new marsh boardwalk at Horicon Marsh, a new accessible cabin at Harrington Beach State Park and a group picnic shelter at Rib Mountain State Park are among the improvements that will be made thanks to 16 state park friends groups that received matching grants from the Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program.

The State of Wisconsin Building Commission last month approved the release of $248,600 in Stewardship property development funds for the 16 friends group projects that will begin this spring and summer after contracts are issued in early March 2013. These friends groups are providing a total of $668,000 in cash match for these projects.

A friends group is a group of people who have an interest in Wisconsin's natural resources and who volunteer their time, services and support in order to enhance one of Wisconsin's state parks, forests, trails and other properties.

There are more than 80 individual friends groups for parks, forests, trails, nature centers and other properties in Wisconsin, organized under an overall umbrella group, the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (exit DNR).

"These friends groups allow us to make improvements to parks, trails and other properties that would not be possible without their support, both financially and through volunteer hours," says Patty Loosen, friends group coordinator for the Wisconsin state parks program.

The friends group projects that were approved by the building commission include:

  • Friends of Big Foot Beach State Park, prairie & woodland restoration; interpretative signs at Big Foot Beach State Park.
  • Friends of Browntown - Cadiz Springs, playground replacement at Cadiz Springs Recreation Area.
  • Friends of Cedarburg Bog, invasive species removal at Cedarburg Bog State Natural Area.
  • Friends of Devil's Lake State Park, picnic area and campground infrastructure improvements at Devil's Lake State Park.
  • Friends of Harrington Beach State Park, the second phase of accessible cabin construction at Harrington Beach State Park.
  • Heritage Hill Foundation, landscaping and storm water management at Heritage Hill State Historical Park.
  • Friends of High Cliff State Park the second phase of a butterfly pond reconstruction at High Cliff State Park.
  • Friends of Red Cedar State Trail & Hoffman Hills, prairie restoration at Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area.
  • Friends of Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area, marsh boardwalk construction at Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area.
  • Ice Age Trail Alliance , mobile skills crew training for the Ice Age Trail.
  • Friends of Interstate State Park, development of a beach house educational center at Interstate State Park.
  • Friends of Kohler-Andrae Inc., bench & deck replacement at Kohler Andrae State Park.
  • Friends of Lapham Peak, invasive species removal, snow making equipment and interpretive exhibits for the Lapham Peak Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.
  • Friends of Peninsula State Park, nature center walkway renovation at Peninsula State Park.
  • Friends of Rib Mountain State Park, construction of a group picnic shelter at Rib Mountain State Park.
  • Friends of Wyalusing State Park, Peterson shelter electrical upgrade at Wyalusing State Park.

To located a state park property, search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "find a park." To locate all DNR properties search "state lands."

The Wisconsin Legislature created the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program in 1989 to preserve valuable natural areas and wildlife habitat, protect water quality and fisheries, and expand opportunities for outdoor recreation. The property development and local assistance portion of the Stewardship program provides grants to friends groups and non-profit conservation organizations for property development activities on DNR land.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patty Loosen - 608-264-8994 or Paul Holtan, DNR office of communications, 608-267-7517

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2013 Wisconsin Fishing Report now available

MADISON -- Do trout lure you out of bed or walleye keep you out late at night? Are you passionate about panfish?

Whatever species you want to fish for in Wisconsin, the 2013 Wisconsin Fishing Report is now available and ready to help you catch your fancy.

This year, the annual 16-page compilation of fishing forecasts is organized by species. The forecasts, submitted by Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologists, share information about the number and sizes of fish they found during population surveys on a wide range of waters across the state.

"Pick your fish species and find where you want to go," says Karl Scheidegger, the DNR fisheries biologist who leads fisheries outreach efforts for DNR and edited the publication.

"It's a great way to try some new fishing spots or to look for the particular kind of fishing experience you want."

The 2013 Fishing Report is also available in print at DNR Service Centers and is inserted into the April issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. Subscribe to the magazine any time in the next six weeks to get that issue and the report delivered to your mailbox. The magazine is $8.97 for one year, six issues; $15.97 for two years, 12 issues; and $21.97 for three years, 18 issues.

Other online resources help anglers make the most of the fishing year

Again this year anglers can download and print off a color calendar with photographs of Wisconsin fish species, important fishing dates; moon phases; game fish identification tips; and monthly forecasts.

And the new hook and line and trout fishing regulations booklets are now available online on the fishing regulations page of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Karl Scheidegger (608) 267-9426

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Four more companies commit to superior environmental performance through Wisconsin's Green Tier Program

MADISON -Four companies committed to superior environmental performance have submitted applications to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Green Tier Program. Union Cab Cooperative and U.S. Silica Company's Sparta Plant have applied for Tier 1 of Green Tier, while the La Crosse County Solid Waste Department and STRATTEC Security Corporation intend to negotiate environmental contracts with DNR as Tier 2 applicants.

Applicants to Tier 1 of the program, which encourages innovation and new environmental goal setting, must have a good environmental record, commit to superior environmental performance, and implement an Environmental Management System (EMS). Participation in Tier 2 requires an even stronger environmental compliance record than is required in Tier 1 and participants must have an EMS already in place. Tier 2 participants also negotiate customized contracts with DNR that can enable significant environmental improvements and allow for certain types of regulatory flexibility.

Madison's Union Cab Cooperative has been worker-owned and operated since 1979 and today is home to 230 active or probationary members and 65 cabs. Core values at Union Cab include a dedication to operating in an environmentally responsible way and serving the community as a sustainable asset.

The U.S. Silica Company's Sparta Plant was under construction for much of 2012 and is scheduled to begin mining and processing operations in the second quarter of 2013. During construction, the plant took steps to go above and beyond required environmental compliance, including working closely with the Sparta community.

The La Crosse County Solid Waste Department's 300-acre complex in La Crosse incorporates not only solid waste disposal, but also opportunities for recycling, household hazardous waste collection and waste diversion for energy recovery. The department has been a Tier 1 participant in Green Tier since 2011.

Glendale's STRATTEC Security Corporation designs, develops, manufactures and markets mechanical and electro-mechanical locks and related products for vehicle manufacturers, as well as precision zinc die castings for transportation, security and other industries. STRATTEC's record of environmental performance is guided by an EMS that outlines the company's commitment to preventing pollution and continual improvement.

The DNR welcomes comments, requests to participate in negotiations, or requests for a public informational meeting on these applications through April 11, 2012. Comments may be directed to the DNR Environmental Assistance Coordinator listed for each applicant, or 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.

To learn more about Wisconsin's Green Tier Program, go to the DNR website [dnr.wi.gov/] and search 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.
Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 12, 2013