MADISON - Fall is a beautiful time to enjoy Wisconsin's outdoors. The air feels crisp and cool, and colorful leaves decorate the landscape. It's also the time of year for raking your leaves, and state officials are reminding people that proper management of leaves and other yard materials this autumn can help maintain Wisconsin's natural beauty.
State air quality and fire rules restrict the burning of yard materials in Wisconsin. A growing number of communities also have local rules in place that further restrict or completely prohibit burning yard materials.
"Methods such as mulching leaves on site and composting yard materials allow residents to protect the state's air quality," says Brad Wolbert, recycling and solid waste chief at the Department of Natural Resources. "They also reduce costs for local governments and households."
Using leaves for mulch and compost can also enrich the health of lawns and gardens, save money on fertilizer and save municipalities money on yard waste collection. This fall, manage leaves, branches, grass clippings and other yard trimmings with one of the following easy methods.
Leaves are rich in carbon, phosphorus, and potassium - all essential nutrients needed by plants, including turf grasses. Mow leaves along with the grass during fall, and leave the finely chopped material on your lawn. Another option is to rake up the leaf pieces and use them as winter ground cover for gardens and around trees and shrubs. This will help insulate plants and protect them from winter freeze damage.
If you would rather compost your leaves, there are many easy structures you can build to start a compost pile. Be sure to maintain a mix of "browns" - fallen leaves, dead plants, dried grass clippings, soil paper, sawdust and small branches - and "greens" - fresh grass clippings, green plants and food scraps including coffee grounds. Finished compost can be sprinkled into lawn soil or used in a garden to provide organic material and nutrients. Ultimately, this builds soil organic content and reduces the need for fertilizers.
Dry leaves keep well in plastic bags, and many people keep a few bags of leaves from the fall to add "browns" to their compost piles throughout the year. You can also use your stored leaves for mulch.
For additional tips on fall yard care, search the DNR website for Recycling for All Seasons.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Wolbert, 608-264-6286
MADISON -- Conservation Warden Juan Gomez of Walworth County is this year's national boating officer of the year, marking the third time a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources conservation warden has netted top honors from the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
Gomez accepted the prestigious national Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award at the association's 54th annual conference held in Idaho last month. This year 43 officers were nominated.
"Juan has represented our department at its highest level," Wisconsin Chief Conservation Warden Randy Stark said. "Juan is known for his commitment to safe boating where he is stationed, which is a highly populated area with 30 lakes, including the popular tourist area of Lake Geneva."
Gomez became a conservation warden in 2008.
Stark says in addition to Gomez' on-water patrol work to make the waters safe for all to enjoy, he also does considerable education and community outreach. "Juan is dedicated to protecting the citizens enjoying Wisconsin's waters as well as spending time to educate youth about the importance of having safe fun on the water."
Warden Supervisor Jen Niemeyer, who leads the southeast region team where Warden Gomez is stationed, echoed Chief Stark's comments. "Juan's hard work has paid off," Niemeyer said. "Juan is in a high-use area and has worked events that can attract as many as 500 boats."
Gomez has been proactive in addressing the problem of Operating While Intoxicated, participating as well as organizing special OWI efforts at several large events in the southeast Wisconsin area.
Conservation Warden Todd Schaller, who serves as chief of the bureau's Recreation Enforcement and Education Section, said Warden Gomez' outstanding service award is something the entire bureau and state can be proud to recognize.
"Wisconsin officers have received the National Boat Officer Award three times," Schaller said. "And that speaks highly of our agency professionalism, training and boat program that highlights education, enforcement and community involvement."
Previous warden winners of the national awards were: 2011 Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Conservation Warden Benjamin Treml; 2010 Boating Safety Award Recipient Conservation Warden Marty Stone; and, 2000 Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Conservation Warden Roger Hanson.
The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators is a national nonprofit organization that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety. NASBLA represents the recreational boating authorities of all 50 states and the U.S. territories. NASBLA offers a variety of resources, including training, model acts, education standards and publications. Through a national network of thousands of professional educators, law enforcement officers and volunteers, the organization affects the lives of over 76 million American boaters. To learn more about how NASBLA continues to make the waterways safe, secure and enjoyable, visit http://www.nasbla.org.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Joanne Haas, law enforcement public affairs manager, 608-267-0798
MADISON - Prairie du Chien's efforts to redevelop a brownfield in its downtown area got a helping hand this week with funding from the Department of Natural Resources.
The agency awarded nearly $30,000 in contractor services to help further assess contaminated land along State Highway 35 in the city's center. The funds come from the DNR's Wisconsin Assessment Monies.
"The funding to help assess contamination at these former industrial sites is one of our best tools to help kick start the process for putting contaminated properties back into productive use," said Darsi Foss, brownfields and outreach section chief with the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program.
Foss said the award will help the city and the property owner get the former Prairie Tool & Die site ready for future clean up and redevelopment in conjunction with Highway 35 reconstruction.
The former manufacturing facility sits on the highly visible 1.5 acre site at 525 S. Marquette Road. The company was in business for more than 70 years, operating from 1921 until the late 1990s. A truck stop and a restaurant also operated on the site from the 1950s until 2011.
The award will cover the cost of determining the overall extent of the contamination at the site. In 2007, chromium, arsenic and lead contamination were discovered in the soil thanks to a previous DNR grant in 2007. The original tool and die building was razed the following year, and the vacant truck stop still sits at the site. City officials will contract with Milwaukee-based AECOM to complete the site investigation activities.
The Wisconsin Assessment Monies provide funding to cover the cost of initial environmental assessments, which are necessary to get cleanup and redevelopment projects moving forward at brownfield sites. Since 2010, DNR's Remediation and Redevelopment Program has given out more than 40 WAM awards worth more than $1 million to local governments, developers and business owners. Applications are accepted throughout the year, as long as funding is available.
For more information about the contractor services award program, search the DNR website for contractor services awards.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Darsi Foss, 608-267-6713
MADISON- The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, which sets policy for the Department of Natural Resources and exercises authority and responsibility in accordance with governing state laws, will meet Oct. 22 and 23 in Madison. Monthly meetings are held around the state to discuss and vote on a wide-range of DNR issues.
NRB meeting materials such as agendas, action briefs and live streaming can be found on the DNR website by searching keyword "NRB." Below are NRB items available online, updated regularly for each NRB meeting.
Meeting agendas and agenda items: Agenda is posted on the web as PDFs at least two weeks prior to each meeting. Agenda items are hyperlinked to the agenda as they are available.
Briefs of action (BOAs): Summaries of discussions, requests, public testimony, motions, and votes at each board meeting. The board makes a draft BOA available to the public within a week after each meeting; the board will approve the BOA at its next meeting. As of April 2013, the approved brief of action and webcast serve as the official meeting record.
Webcasts: board meetings are streamed live and made permanently available on demand. Webcasts are uploaded after board meetings with chapter selections so viewers can easily find and watch any item on a meeting agenda.
Board calendar: Find upcoming meetings. The board meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month in January, February, May, June, September, and October. The board meets on the second Wednesday in April, August, and December. The board does not have regular scheduled meetings in March, July, and November. Board meetings are held at the DNR Building in Madison from October through May and at locations throughout the state from June through September.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Ross, board Liaison; Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov 608-267-7420
WALWORTH - The public has an opportunity to comment on an application for Wisconsin's Green Tier Program by Kikkoman Foods Inc. The application is for Kikkoman's Walworth facility in southeastern Wisconsin.
Kikkoman is applying for Tier 1 of the Green Tier program, which is designed to encourage, recognize and reward companies that are committed to superior environmental performance. Green Tier encourages businesses to voluntarily collaborate with the Department of Natural Resources, and applicants must also have a good environmental record as well as implement an Environmental Management System.
Kikkoman, the world's leading producer of naturally brewed soy sauce, became one of the first Japanese firms to establish a production plant in the United States. The plant is still located in Walworth, a small agricultural community just north of the Illinois border.
"Kikkoman's commitment to continually improving the environmental performance of its facilities is deeply engrained in the company's history, culture and business practices," said Kazuo Shimizu, president of Kikkoman Foods. "We have had a good relationship with the DNR since our founding here 40 years ago and we look forward to continuing to work with the state to meet our common environmental goals."
Dan Miller, vice president of Kikkoman Foods, explains that the Walworth plant is the highest-producing naturally brewed soy sauce plant in the world and a significant portion of Kikkoman's global production of soy sauce. "This is Kikkoman's only plant in North America where retail soy sauce is produced," said Miller. "That means every bottle of Kikkoman Soy Sauce sold in supermarkets across the United States and North America comes from our production lines in Walworth."
In 2007, Kikkoman began replacing its original plant lighting systems with new environmentally superior lighting. As a result, the facility saved nearly 8,248 pounds of sulfur dioxide and nearly 2.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the environment. This reduction in pollution is equivalent to removing 131 cars from the road every year.
During the last three years, Kikkoman also changed the process for packaging its glass-bottled products. The new process eliminates the need for a bottle divider in each box and resulted in an annual reduction in 1.5 million pounds of cardboard.
"Minimizing our environmental impact is very important to us as a company," said Miller. "Every waste stream that results from our natural brewing process is recycled or has a beneficial re-use."
As an example, Miller noted that the solid soy cake material that remains after the pressing process is sold as animal feed, and the residual soy oil is refined into biodiesel.
The DNR will accept public comments on Kikkoman's Green Tier application through Nov. 8, 2013. Comments may be directed to Gregg Breese, Wisconsin DNR, CO/7, PO Box 7921, Madison WI 53703, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 608-267-0802.
Specific information on this application can be found by searching the DNR website for Green Tier and clicking on the button for "see participants, applicants and charters," and the link for Kikkoman Foods.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Gregg Breese, 608-267-0802
MADISON - Grede Holdings LLC out of Reedsburg in central Wisconsin has applied to the Department of Natural Resources Green Tier program as a Tier 2 participant.
Grede is a full-service supplier of innovative metal components to the transportation and industrial markets. The company's capabilities span a diverse range of materials and processes, including casting manufacturing, machining and assembly operations.
The company's primary environmental goal is to minimize waste and adverse impacts on the air, water and land through superior environmental practices. Grede currently implements an Environmental Management System, a "plan-do-check-act" tool that helps the company understand its environmental impacts.
Under Green Tier, applicants for Tier 2 negotiate an environmental contract with DNR that outlines their strategy for superior environmental performance. Tier 2 contracts can enable significant environmental improvements and can allow for certain types of regulatory flexibility, which agency staff evaluate as the contract is developed.
Through its environmental programs, Grede is committed to meeting or exceeding all applicable legal and other requirements, monitoring developments related to regulatory and customer requirements and/or requirements for doing business in other countries determined to be best environmental practices. The company continues to be a model for other businesses on the benefits of recycling, waste reduction and continual environmental improvement.
DNR will welcome comments or requests for a public informational meeting on Grede's intent to participate in Green Tier through Nov. 8, 2013. During this timeframe, people interested in participating in the negotiations of the Tier 2 contract with DNR and Grede may send in a letter of intent describing their interests.
Comments and requests may be directed to: Tom Nowakowski, DNR, CO/7, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53703, via email to email@example.com, or by calling 608-266-8226.
Information on Grede's participation can be found by searching the DNR website for Green Tier and clicking on the button for "see participants, applicants and charters," and the link for Grede Foundries
More information is also avaiable on the Grede web site www.grede.com (exit DNR).
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Nowakowski, DNR, 608-266-8226; Tyler Hill, Grede Holdings LLC, 608-524-9501
MADISON - The Department of Natural Resources is seeking nominations through Oct. 15 for individuals with experience and interest in bear hunting to fill one recently-vacated position on the Sporting Heritage Council.
The council, established by 2011 Wis. Act 168, advises Gov. Scott Walker, the Natural Resources Board, and the state legislature on fishing, hunting and trapping issues. The group mainly focuses on recruitment, retention and increasing access to resources and outdoor opportunities.
The council consists of 12 appointees in total, including the Department of Natural Resources secretary or a designee, one member appointed by the governor, two members of the Assembly, two members of the Senate, one member appointed by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress executive committee and the five members recently appointed by the Natural Resources Board.
The currently vacant position is one of the five appointed by the Natural Resources Board. Each of these five appointments represent distinct interests, including deer hunting, bear hunting, bird hunting, angling, and furbearer hunting or trapping. The vacant position will represent bear hunting interests.
The selected appointee will complete the vacated term, which ends July 1, 2016, but can be re-appointed.
Individuals must represent bear hunting interests and must be nominated by a sporting organization. The nomination form and more information can be found at dnr.wi.gov, and search "sporting heritage."
CONTACTS: Paul Heinen, DNR policy initiatives advisor, 608-266-2120; Bill Cosh, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773
MILWAUKEE -- Wildlife biologist Adrian Wydeven received the Jim McDonough award for excellence in wildlife management Sunday Oct. 6 during The Wildlife Society annual conference held in Milwaukee. The award is given each year to certified wildlife biologists who have made outstanding contributions through program implementation and development of new techniques or approaches within their field.
Wildlife biologist Adrian Wydeven receives the Jim McDonough award presented by The Wildlife Society president Wini Kessler on Sunday.
Wydeven's conservation efforts focused on wolf recovery and management, as well as management of other endangered and rare mammals. Between 1990 through February 2013, he led conservation programs for rare and non-game mammals and served as Wolf Program leader for the Wisconsin Department of Natural resources. He was the chair of the Wisconsin Wolf Science Advisory Committee (1992-2013), member of the Timber Wolf Alliance advisory council, served on the Federal Eastern Gray Wolf Recovery Team from 1997-2007, and currently served on the new DNR Wolf Advisory Committee.
In August 2012 the wolf program shifted from the Bureau of Endangered Resources in to the Bureau of Wildlife Management after the successful recovery of the state wolf population and the species becoming designated as a game species. Wydeven accepted the position as DNR large carnivore specialist in Wildlife Management at the time as wolves were transitioned into Wildlife Management. In March of this year Wydeven stepped down from the large carnivore position, to accept a new job as forest wildlife habitat specialist with Wildlife Management. In this new position, Wydeven works to protect and enhance wildlife habitat through forest management practices.
"It is an honor to be recognized by The Wildlife Society, a group who also shares my passion for understanding and improving wildlife management," Wydeven said.
Wydeven gave a presentation during the conference at the wolf management session titled: A Brave New World, landscapes of wolf conservation. The session brought wildlife professionals from all around the nation and Europe to discuss wolf management and issues surrounding the wolf population's increase.
"This is an interesting time for wildlife biologists involved in wolf research," said Wydeven. "Wildlife agencies around the nation are dealing with similar issues surrounding the wolf's comeback and this session has been a great way to share ideas with those who are also involved with wolf management."
Public meetings begin next week discuss Wisconsin's walleye fisheries and to get the public's opinions about what considerations the state should use in coming years in regards to allocations of an increased number of large walleye for stocking.
Join us for an online chat about the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, starting at noon on Thursday, October 10. DNR fisheries staff will be available to answer questions about the initiative designed to increase the number of walleyes in state walleye waters.
To participate, visit the DNR home page, dnr.wi.gov, and look for the advertisement to enter the chat, or search the phrase "ask the experts". You can also join the conversation via our Facebook page at facebook.com/WIDNR and by clicking the "Cover it Live Chat" box at the top of the page.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Gaumnitz 608-264-8942, Trish Ossmann 920-662-5122
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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