Weekly News Published - November 5, 2013 by the Central Office
Commit to recycle more with 10 tips for America Recycles Day
MADISON - Recycling has long been a daily habit and a state law for Wisconsinites, and for good reason - recycling works! Every can, bottle and newspaper we recycle saves resources and energy, reduces the amount of waste in landfills, supplies raw materials to industry and creates jobs.
To celebrate all the great benefits of recycling, the Department of Natural Resources is encouraging people across the state to participate in national America Recycles Day on November 15.
"This annual event encourages Americans to waste less, recycle more and purchase recycled products," said Ann Coakley, DNR Waste and Materials Management Program Director. "There are lots of ways you can make a difference!"
In honor of America Recycles Day, here are 10 ways to boost the amount you and your family recycle. Try one, try several or try them all!
- Reacquaint - Take time to reacquaint yourself with your community's recycling program. Many recycling programs have changed in recent years and now collect a wider range of recyclables, and have also simplified the recycling process.
- Donate - Donate clothing, furniture or other household items you no longer use to a local nonprofit or resale store. By donating reusable items, you're reducing waste while helping others in your community.
- Recycle more - In addition to standard materials, find out what other products your recycling program accepts. Many communities have special programs to collect plastic bags, prescription medicines, electronics, scrap metal, household hazardous wastes and other materials - even athletic shoes!
- Find recycled products - Look for products labeled with a high recycled content or ones that use "post-consumer" recycled materials, or for products with minimal packaging or packaging that is easily recyclable.
- Talk to your kids - There are many ways children can recycle at home and at school. For ideas on simple activities to teach your kids about recycling, visit DNR's EEK! Environmental Education for Kids recycling web page.
- Recycle your old electronics - E-Cycle Wisconsin, a program funded by electronics manufacturers, is making it easier to recycle electronics like TVs, computers and computer accessories. See DNR's E-Cycle Wisconsin program to find a recycler near you.
- Compost - Start a compost pile with food scraps and fall yard debris. For suggestions on how to construct and maintain your own bin, see the DNR's home composting Web page.
- Ask for recycling - In places you visit frequently - your workplace, the grocery store or the gas station, for example - ask whether they provide an opportunity for recycling. If not, ask them to put out a recycling bin for customers and employees.
- Recycle/Reuse project waste - Recycle the debris from home construction, demolition or renovation projects. Several businesses across the state recycle or reuse shingles, construction lumber, lighting fixtures, drywall, concrete, glass and other construction materials.
- Be a recycling-friendly business - If you operate a business in Wisconsin, make sure your business is following the law and saving money by reducing waste and recycling as much as it can. Search the Wisconsin Recycling Markets Directory (exit DNR) to connect with recyclers across the state.
Recycling is easy, and with 5 million Wisconsinites taking part, it makes a big difference to the economy and the environment. For more information on America Recycles Day, including a listing of events or to list your own local event, visit americarecyclesday.org (exit DNR).
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Elisabeth Olson, 608-264-9258
Volunteers needed to help monitor Wisconsin wolves and other carnivores
Wolf tracking training sessions and ecology courses set
MADISON - People interested in volunteering to locate wolves and other medium to large size carnivores this winter can learn how to track during a series of upcoming training sessions. Wisconsin DNR started a Volunteer Carnivore Tracking program in 1995 to help monitor the state's wolf population, as well as look for signs of other medium to large size carnivores.
Last winter, 150 volunteers conducted nearly 8,000 miles of snow track surveys in search of wolves and other carnivores. Data they gathered was compiled with other monitoring data to aid Department of Natural Resources biologists in evaluating wolf populations. Wisconsin DNR is again asking volunteers to participate in monitoring the state's wolves and other carnivores this winter.
Volunteer trackers are asked to take a track training class and a wolf ecology class. When they take the track training class they will be given the opportunity to sign up for a survey block in northern or central Wisconsin, and are asked to conduct three or more surveys in their assigned block over the winter. Most surveys are done by slowly driving snow covered back roads in search of tracks, but surveys can also be done on snowshoe, cross country skis, or snowmobile. Many trackers work in pairs or groups to complete surveys.
Carnivore Track Training sessions are scheduled for:
- Nov. 16 - Navarino Nature Center, Shiocton
- Dec. 7 - Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, Babcock
- Dec. 14-15 - Treehaven, Tomahawk
- Jan. 11 - Crex Meadow Visitor Center, Grantsburg
Training sessions at Ashland, Shiocton, Babcock, and Grantsburg will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is a small fee for the classes. Training at Treehaven in Tomahawk on December 14-15 will be by world renowned tracker, Dr. James Halfpenny. Cost of that workshop will be $185 to $245, depending on whether you choose the lodging option. Meals are included.
Wolf Ecology classes are scheduled for:
- Nov. 17 - Navarino Nature Center, Shiocton
- Jan. 12 - Crex Meadows, Grantsburg
- Jan. 18-19 - Treehaven, Tomahawk
- Jan. 25-26 - Beaver Creek Reserve, Fall Creek
- Feb. 1-2 - Treehaven, Tomahawk
- Feb. 8-9 - Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, Babcock
- Feb. 15-16 - Trees for Tomorrow, Eagle River
Training sessions in Shiocton and Grantsburg will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will have a small fee. Two day trainings vary in price and offer different meal and lodging options.
Details about the Volunteer Carnivore Tracking program and the list of training courses (with details on locations and contact information) are available by searching the DNR website for "volunteer carnivore tracking." Snow track surveys continue to be a critical component in the state's wolf monitoring program, and provide additional information on other forest carnivore populations.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jane Wiedenhoeft - (715) 762-1362 or Dave MacFarland - (715) 365-8917
Hunters stand good chance of falling if hunting from a tree stand
Time to start wearing a tree stand safety harness
MADISON -- One in every three hunters who hunt from a tree stand will fall at some point in their hunting career and of those, 75 to 80 percent occurs while ascending or descending the tree.
A volunteer adult hunter education instructor demonstrates proper use of a tree stand harness.
DNR Photo by Brenda Von Rueden
A recent study by the International Hunter Education Association showed that nationally, 300-500 hunters are killed annually in tree stand accidents and another 6,000 will have tree stand related injuries.
Wisconsin has had three reported fatal tree stand falls already this year, according to Jon King, hunter education administrator for the Department of Natural Resources.
"Tree stand incidents are one of the leading causes of injury to hunters so we strongly urge hunters to use follow safety measures when hunting from a tree stand," King said.
Here are a few tips King offers for tree stand safety:
- Always wear a full body harness, also known as a fall arrest system, when you are in a tree stand, as well as when climbing into or out of a tree stand. Make sure it is worn properly. Tree stand harnesses have an expiration date and should be replaced when they expire and/or if a fall occurs, and a safety strap should be attached to the tree to prevent falling more than 12 inches.
- Always have three points of contact while climbing into and out of the tree stand; either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand at all times.
- Always use a haul line to raise and lower your UNLOADED firearm or bow.
- Be aware of suspension trauma, a condition of light-headedness that can result in fainting from prolonged periods of standing. Suspension trauma can happen in less than 20 minutes and can be fatal. Attaching an additional foot strap to the body harness will take pressure off your upper legs.
More information on tree stand safety and on a free tree stand safety course is available by searching the DNR website for "tree stand safety."
FOR QUESTIONS CONTACT: Jon King, hunter education administrator 608-575-2294; Joanne M. Haas, Office of Communication law enforcement public affairs manager, 608-267-0798
Rewards and license deals part of the package for this year's gun-deer hunt
New hunters and hunters returning after 10-year absence eligible for $5 first-time license
MADISON -- Seasoned hunters who share their enthusiasm and expertise about Wisconsin's gun-deer hunt may be eligible to earn a discounted license for their next seasons while their first-time hunter apprentice may be eligible for a $5 license.
Department of Natural Resources hunting and shooting sport coordinator Keith Warnke says this is a fun way to earn some financial rewards while helping a friend or family member learn about Wisconsin's hunting traditions first-hand.
"Hunters who are able to recruit three new people into hunting are eligible for a half-price license the following year," Warnke said. "This is made possible under a new program to reward hunters for helping ensure the future of hunting."
The benefits also extend to the new hunter - as well as the hunter who has been away from the tradition for about a decade or longer. "Plus, this benefit extends to anglers and trappers," Warnke said.
"Discounted fees are available for residents and nonresidents alike and are automatically applied when you buy a license," Warnke says. "Some may be eligible for the $5 license which is quite a deal."
Hunter apprentices who purchase a first-time hunter's license for $5 can help their mentor by calling the DNR at 888-936-7463 and give their mentor a point by simply providing the mentor's identification number as the person who recruited them.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke - 608-576-5243
Comments sought on potential economic impact of proposed wastewater rule changes
Work underway on rule revisions to resolve inconsistencies identified by EPA
MADISON - State environmental officials are in the early stage of proposing changes to how the state processes and issues wastewater discharge permits and are seeking comments on potential economic impacts.
The Department of Natural Resources is beginning the process of making major revisions to a dozen administrative rules governing the permits that set conditions and limits for the wastewater discharges allowed to lakes and rivers and groundwater.
The first set of changes, known as rule package 6, is underway and the public can comment on possible economic impacts of these changes through Dec. 4, 2013.
The overall effort addresses issues the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised in a July 2011 letter to the about inconsistencies in Wisconsin's rules, statutes and policies with federal wastewater regulations and the Clean Water Act, according to Tom Mugan, who leads DNR's wastewater section.
"We are committed to updating rule language to be consistent with the federal requirements and tackling the other housekeeping issues EPA identified," says Mugan. "Those issues have only minor or no environmental impact, but it's important for us to address them as we carry out our responsibility to protect Wisconsin lakes, rivers and groundwater."
Dischargers including municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants, as well as large-scale livestock operations, must get wastewater discharge permits, known as Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permits. DNR was among the first states to receive authority from the federal government to issue permits in 1974, and was the first state to meet the interim goals of the Clean Water Act in 1983. Wisconsin has made significant progress in cleaning up and restoring lakes and rivers in the last 40 years and remains in the forefront in carrying out the national wastewater permit system, Mugan says.
To address other issues identified by EPA, seven other rule packages are in various stages of development under the state's administrative rule process, which takes about two-and-a-half years from start to finish.
One rule package already has been adopted and took effect this August governing overflows from sanitary sewers and preventative maintenance for wastewater systems; work on that particular package, however, was well underway before the 2011 letter from EPA.
|Rule Package||Description and Administrative Codes being Revised.||Current Status|
|1||Design of sewerage systems and regulation of sewage bypasses and overflows. Chapters NR 110, 205, 208, and 210.||Rule effective August 1, 2013.|
|2||Pretreatment rule revisions and streamlining. Chapter NR 211.||NR Board adoption August 14, 2013.|
|3||Toxic substances, cooling water, and mercury mixing zones. Chapter NR 106.||Drafting rule revisions.|
|4||Acute limits, chlorides, and whole effluent toxicity issues. Chapter NR 106.||Drafting rule revisions.|
|5||Technology based limits and new source performance standards. Chapters NR 106, 200, 205, and 220.||Drafting rule revisions.|
|6||Permit processing and permit issuance procedures. Chapters NR 200, 201, 203, and 205.||EIA solicitation notice November 4, 2013.|
|7||Laboratory analytical test methods. Chapter NR 219.||Drafting rule revisions.|
|8||Storm water. Chapter NR 216.||Drafting rule revisions.|
Seeking public comment on economic impacts from rule package 6
The rule package for which DNR is seeking comments on potential economic impacts is known as rule package 6 and addresses 13 of EPA's 75 issues, according to Paul Luebke, the wastewater specialist leading this rule revision. The revisions sought by EPA are minor and do not result in any substantive program changes that would affect permittees, he says.
For instance, language was clarified to outline the process for permit issuance or modification, replacing the term "suspension" with "termination" and other similar rule revisions for consistence with the federal regulations, Luebke says. Because EPA is requiring the rule revisions in order for Wisconsin to continue its permit program under a delegation agreement, Luebke says DNR will be unable to make any substantive changes that would conflict with the federal regulations the department must mirror.
DNR staff do not believe there will be any fiscal impact on specific businesses, business sectors, public utility rate payers, local governmental units, individuals, or the state's economy as a whole, Luebke says. The rule revisions will have no economic impact on the permittees, so an economic impact analysis hasn't been prepared because it isn't applicable, Luebke says.
The four rules being revised all relate to what DNR performs to process and issue WPDES permits, specifically:
- NR 200: Application for a permit, preparation of a draft permit, and water quality standard variances.
- NR 201: The contents of the fact sheet that describes what is discharged and how the permit regulates the discharge with the rationale for monitoring requirements and effluent limitations.
- NR 203: The process for public noticing the draft permit, informational hearings, final determination on permit issuance, and public adjudicatory hearings.
- NR 205: WPDES program definitions, general conditions, and the use of general permits with generic requirements applicable to specific categories of discharges.
The proposed rule package 6 revisions (exit DNR) and preliminary documentation for the economic impact analysis DNR will conduct is available on the Wisconsin Administrative Rules website.
An opportunity to comment on the rules themselves will be provided during public hearings on the rules that will be scheduled in 2014.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE COMPRENSIVE RULE REWRITE CONTACT: Tom Mugan, 608-266-7420
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON RULE 6 CONTACT: Paul Luebke, 608-266-0234, Paul.Luebke@wisconsin.gov
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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