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Weekly News Published - September 2, 2014 by the Central Office

 

Sept. 13 marks opening of archery deer hunting season and Wisconsin's first statewide crossbow hunting season

MADISON -- With fall right around the corner, Sept. 13 marks the opening of the 2014 archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons. These seasons will run concurrently statewide, from Sept. 13 to Jan. 4, 2015.

"For those of us who love to bow hunt, it's an exciting time of the year and anticipation runs high," said Bob Nack, big game section chief for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The new crossbow season, open to all hunters with an appropriate license, will create a new hunting opportunity for many hunters throughout Wisconsin. Hunters interested in using both a conventional bow and crossbow may do so by paying full price for one of the licenses and purchasing a $3 upgrade for the second license.

Archery and crossbow deer hunters will again be allowed to hunt during the regular nine-day gun deer hunt in November, and will have the opportunity to fill a gun deer license tag using crossbow or archery equipment.

Hunters will see a mix of deer numbers across the state, depending on which zones they hunt. Those in the new Farmland Deer Management Zones should expect to see comparatively more deer than those hunting in the Forest Zones, where deer numbers are down.

"We will see a reduced harvest throughout the north and some central forest counties," said Nack. "We continue to have good numbers of deer in most farmland areas and expect some excellent bow hunting this year."

Nack says it is important to keep in mind that localized distribution of deer may not reflect regional herd trends. Deer change their movements in response to weather, food availability and other factors, and are not always evenly distributed throughout a deer management unit. Aerial surveys often show a large number of deer in 1 square mile of habitat with very few deer in one of the neighboring square-mile blocks.

"As always, there is no substitute for scouting and pre-season contacts with neighboring land owners," said Nack.

In 2013, more than 266,000 licensed archery hunters harvested almost 88,000 deer, compared to 263,000 archery hunters and 94,000 deer harvested in 2012.

During any open gun deer seasons, archery and crossbow hunters are required to follow the same blaze orange clothing regulations as gun hunters. All deer hunters are reminded to be especially careful when climbing into and out of deer stands - state recreational safety specialists say statistics show this is when most injuries occur.

Deer hunters are encouraged to check out the frequently asked questions page for more information regarding several rule changes for 2014. The FAQ feature provides brief responses to a wide variety of deer hunting questions, ranging from deer management unit boundaries to antlerless permits. To view the FAQ page and view more information regarding crossbow deer hunting, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "deer."

To view questions answered by DNR wildlife experts during a recent crossbow chat, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "expert." On the right side of the page near the bottom, under the completed events list, select the "crossbow hunting" chat.

To receive email updates regarding crossbow deer hunting regulations, reminders and other important information, visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "Crossbow Deer Hunting" distribution list.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Nack, DNR big game section chief, 608-264-6137

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Crossbow, archery hunters should review safety rules before the first trek in woods

MADISON -- The Wisconsin crossbow deer and archery deer hunting seasons starting Sept. 13 usher in an expanded crossbow license opportunity for any qualified hunter as one of the deer hunting rule changes to help hunters participate in the fall season.

For the first time this year, the crossbow hunting license may be purchased by any qualified hunter. This change replaces the previous rule limiting crossbows to use by only disabled hunters with an archer license.

Also, the crossbow hunting season will run at the same time as the regular archery deer season - Sept. 13-Jan. 14, 2015.

Hunters also should note during open firearm seasons, a gun deer license will authorize bow and crossbow use. Crossbow licenses include one statewide buck tag and one Farmland Zone antlerless tag. It is important to remember persons purchasing a traditional bow and a crossbow license will receive only one set of tags.

State hunting safety specialists say crossbows are user-friendly and enable youth, women and physically challenged individuals to enjoy archery hunting/shooting who, for whatever reason, cannot draw a conventional bow back.

Like any other shooting skill, using a crossbow safely and accurately will require a combination of old and well learned knowledge.

The four basic rules of firearm safety (TABK) apply to crossbow use and hunting.

Here are a few more things Hunter Education Administrative Warden Jon King urges people to remember if they plan to hunt with a crossbow this year:

Warden King says if a tree stand is part of your hunting tradition, he recommends reviewing safety tips. "Tree stand incidents are one of the leading causes of injury to hunters. Always wear a fall restraint device when using a tree stand and let your family know where you are going. The DNR urges hunters to utilize safety when hunting from a tree stand. For more information search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for Tree Stand Safety.

For more information about what is a legal for crossbow/bolt usage in Wisconsin, please read the Deer Hunting Regulations on page 19.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jon King, hunter education administrator 608-575-2294; Joanne M. Haas, Office of Communication law enforcement public affairs manager, 608-209-8147

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Fall wild turkey, ruffed grouse and woodcock seasons set to open

MADISON - Prospects are good for both the fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse hunting seasons, both of which open Saturday, Sept. 13.

In 2014, Wisconsin has seen continued strong interest in the fall turkey hunt. More than 80,000 hunters applied for a fall permit in each of the past two years, compared to just under 60,000 applications in 2012.

"It's great to see this increased interest in fall turkey hunting, which offers some enjoyable challenges compared to the spring season," said Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. "We are anticipating good numbers for this fall's hunt, even with the wet weather we experienced early this spring and summer."

The fall turkey season runs through Nov. 20 statewide, while an extended fall season in Turkey Management zones 1-5 runs from Dec. 1-31.

As in recent years, the use dogs to hunt wild turkey this fall is allowed statewide.

Overall, Wisconsin's statewide wild turkey population remains strong. After 30 years of sustained population growth and expansion across the state, wild turkeys are now found statewide, and turkey numbers appear to be stabilizing at levels suitable to available habitat. Those numbers will likely ebb and flow around those levels in response to natural factors such as weather and food availability.

While this past winter was fairly severe, negative impacts were most likely limited to local turkey populations where deep snow limited mobility. As long as flocks have access to standing corn, fruit-bearing shrubs, or other suitable foods near roost sites, Wisconsin turkeys are able to fare quite well.

"The number of birds seen in the field this spring was a pleasant surprise, especially given the prolonged harsh winter conditions," said Walter. "The hardiness of wild turkeys and their ability to survive in northern areas not historically considered suitable for turkeys is amazing. July was warm and dry, and as long as young birds are able to find sufficient food, they should be fine going into the upcoming winter."

Biologists closely monitor harvest during the either-sex fall turkey hunting season, as excessive hen harvest can affect turkey populations. Recent hen harvests in Wisconsin have been very low, and current hen harvest rates do not play a significant role in the dynamics of Wisconsin's turkey flock.

Turkey hunters are reminded that they are subject to the blaze orange requirement for ground blinds erected on DNR lands during any gun deer season. Ground blinds on DNR lands left unattended during legal hunting hours must also display the owner's name and address or DNR Customer ID Number near the door opening. Ground blinds may not be left out overnight, and must be removed entirely from the property at the close of hunting hours each day.

Turkey ground blind rules do not apply to ground blinds being used for hunting waterfowl or blinds built using only natural vegetation found on the DNR property. However, all waterfowl blinds situated on state-owned property and used in hunting waterfowl must permanently display the name of the owner in lettering one-inch square or larger, even when a hunter is using said blind.

Grouse season has split zones

In Zone A, the ruffed grouse season Opens Sept. 13 and runs through Jan. 31, 2014. In Zone B, located in southeastern Wisconsin, the season will open Oct. 19 and close Dec. 8.

Ruffed grouse drumming surveys have been used since 1964 in order to help monitor ruffed grouse population trends. Statewide, a similar number of drumming grouse were heard (0.84 per stop) in 2014 as were heard during the 2013 survey (0.83). Wisconsin's primary ruffed grouse range, the Central and Northern Forest regions, showed mixed results. The Central Forest experienced a 24 percent decrease in breeding grouse this spring, while the Northern Forest yielded a 3 percent increase.

While cold temperatures and deep snow are generally hard on resident wildlife populations, ruffed grouse often thrive in winters like the one Wisconsin just experienced, Walter noted. Grouse roost under the snow, this can serve as a blanket to hide them from predators' view and keep them warm even during very cold periods.

Grouse hunters are reminded to register with the Harvest Information Program if they plan to pursue woodcock, mourning doves or other migratory game birds. Registration is free and is available through all license vendors, as well as online.

Those interested in hunting on DNR managed lands and discovering new favorite spots are reminded to check out the department's new FFLIGHT tool. FFLIGHT helps hunters of all types locate young aspen and alder habitat, pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds, and managed dove fields.

Features available within FFLIGHT will help hunters locate DNR public parking areas, overlay township descriptions, and view topographic maps or aerial photos of prospective hunting areas. Each user can choose which type of habitat to highlight - FFLIGHT can help you find the best grouse and woodcock cover in the woods near your cabin.

The FFLIGHT mapping application is compatible with all major desktop and mobile web browsers (internet access required). To learn more and start your search for hunting land, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "FFLIGHT."

Grouse and turkey hunters must wear blaze orange clothing during any gun or muzzleloader deer season. A hat, if worn, must be at least 50 percent blaze orange.

Hunters are encouraged to check out the 2014 Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast [PDF] for further season information and hunting previews for Wisconsin. The fall forecast provides a great deal of information and helpful tips for all types of hunting and trapping.

For more information regarding turkey and ruffed grouse hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "turkey" or "ruffed grouse."

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist, at 608-267-7861; Krista McGinley, assistant upland wildlife ecologist, at 608-261-8458

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Public interest remains strong in hook and line sturgeon season as successful management practices, sturgeon rearing efforts pay dividends

MADISON -- Wisconsin's efforts to re-establish the lake sturgeon in its natural range continue to advance, even as public interest grows in the majestic and valuable fish.

The sturgeon hook and line season runs from Sept. 6-30 and this year the state has issued more than 28,000 licenses to anglers who intend to take to lakes and rivers of the state in pursuit of the fish. Interest in hook and line sturgeon fishing has been strong in recent years as efforts by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to rebuild sturgeon populations continue to gain traction.

"Sturgeon are an iconic fish, especially in Wisconsin, and we are seeing more citizen interest in general about the fish as well as in sturgeon sport fishing," said Ron Bruch, DNR fisheries director and a former Lake Winnebago sturgeon biologist. "Thanks to the successful restoration efforts underway in many Wisconsin waterways, sturgeon enthusiasts have more opportunities to see or recreate with this prehistoric fish than they've had in the last 100 years

"While it may take 33-45 years for the fish we are rearing today to reach the 60-inch limit for legal harvest in the fall hook and line fisheries, anglers tell us they are enjoying the excitement of catching and releasing fish stocked from our hatcheries only a few years ago. At the same time, we're providing numerous opportunities for students and volunteers to participate and learn more about the sturgeon -- part of our state's rich natural heritage."

Sturgeon release
Sturgeon raised at the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility are released into the Kewaunee River.
WDNR Photo

Streamside rearing stations -- which use river water flowing through tanks to help young sturgeon grow and imprint on proven habitat -- have been producing an average of 1,200 fingerling sturgeon for release in the Milwaukee River each year since 2004 and 1,120 per year in the Kewaunee River since 2009. Neither river offers a sturgeon harvest season but educational programs at the fish rearing facilities host thousands of visitors interested in sturgeon each year.

The Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery serves other waters in the state and has been producing as many as 40,000 sturgeon each year since the second phase of its renovation was completed in 2010.

"Fish from the Wild Rose hatchery now support restoration efforts in the upper Menominee River, the Flambeau Flowage, several upper St. Croix tributaries and much of the Wisconsin River" said Steve Fajfer, Hatchery Supervisor. A complete list of inland waters with a hook and line sturgeon season can be found in the 2014-2015 Fishing Regulations.

Wisconsin stands near the center of the lake sturgeon's historic range, which extends west into the Dakotas, east through the Great Lakes region, south through Missouri and Tennessee and north through Ontario to Hudson Bay.

"Lake sturgeon are Wisconsin's largest and longest-lived fish, capable of reaching 250 pounds and living 150 years," said Ryan Koenigs, chair of DNR's sturgeon team and sturgeon biologist for the Winnebago system. "Through effective harvest management, stocking efforts and attention to habitat, we're seeing populations on the rebound. However, since the female sturgeon won't begin spawning until age 21-34, we'll be looking to document the ultimate success of our efforts, natural reproduction by stocked fish, 30 years from when stocking was initiated on a body of water."

In the meantime, people of all ages appear drawn to the sturgeon for a variety of reasons. Scott Stromberger, a fisheries team member at the C.D. Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility on the Kewaunee River, said the hatchery started a sturgeon "adoption" program two years ago that allows citizens to help stock and track the fish through passive integrated transponder or pit tags inserted shortly before young fish are released. In years to come, if the fish are captured or harvested, the tags will provide insight into their growth and movement.

PIT tag
Young sturgeon receive pit tags at the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility before being released into the Kewaunee River. The tags contain information that may be used later to track the sturgeon's growth and movement.
WDNR Photo

"For $5, people are able to adopt a sturgeon and send it down a fish slide into the river when they are ready to be released," Stromberger said, noting that funds raised through the sturgeon adoption program are dedicated to restoration efforts. "Historically, the Kewaunee River provided excellent habitat but through over-fishing, the population was reduced. In another three to four years, we expect to see some males from some of our initial stocking efforts 10 years ago make their way back into the river from Lake Michigan where they have been maturing."

In addition to the stocking efforts and habitat improvements, DNR fisheries biologists credit the more restrictive length limit of 60 inches instituted in 2007 for aiding in the rebound of the sturgeon population. Prior to establishment of the 60 inch limit, the annual harvest exceeded 30 percent of the adult population on some waters - an unsustainable level. With the limit, less than 5 percent of the adult population is now being harvested each year, a level considered safe to maintain natural reproduction.

For the 2014 sturgeon hook and line season, the minimum length for harvest remains at 60 inches. However, downstream from the Hattie Street dam to Green Bay on the Menominee River the fishing is catch and release only. There is also a catch and release season on the St. Croix River between Wisconsin and Minnesota from Oct. 1 to 15.

Anglers need to purchase a harvest tag if they intend to keep a sturgeon. The harvest tag is available throughout the season and costs $20 for residents and $50 for nonresidents. Harvest tags can be purchased at DNR service centers and license sales locations or by calling 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). Online purchases are available by visiting DNR.wi.gov and searching for "fishing licenses."

Anglers who harvest a legal-size fish must immediately attach the harvest tag to the fish and take it to a registration station by 6 p.m. the next day for registration. All anglers must have a Wisconsin general inland fishing license unless they are under 16 years old, or were born before Jan. 1, 1927.

More information is available by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "lake sturgeon."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Karl Scheidegger, DNR sturgeon team co-chair, 608-267-9426, karl.scheidegger@wisconsin.gov; Jennifer Sereno, communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov

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Report recognizes importance of groundwater for human health, the environment and economy

Council encourages new research and partnership efforts in support of groundwater quality, quantity

MADISON -- An annual report by the Wisconsin Groundwater Coordinating Council highlights the critical role groundwater plays in human health, the environment and economy and supports additional research and cooperation to understand how best to manage the precious resource.

The council was formed in 1984 to help state agencies coordinate activities and exchange information on groundwater. Today, it remains one of the few groups in the nation that effectively coordinates statewide groundwater efforts from an advisory position.

Russ Rasmussen, administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' water division, said the group's work reflects the value of the resource in Wisconsin, a state that depends heavily on groundwater as a source of drinking water. Wisconsin also relies on groundwater to irrigate crops, support livestock and process a wide variety of foods while feeding the trout streams and spring-fed lakes that are vital to the state's economy.

"Wisconsin remains a leader in groundwater quality and quantity but we must address new challenges and pursue new ideas if we are to sustain this resource for future generations," said Rasmussen, who also chairs the council. "The report serves as a valuable guide that will help us tackle the most important research, public outreach and partnership efforts on groundwater issues now and in the years to come."

Among the findings of the report to the Legislature:

To learn more about the fiscal 2014 report, visit dnr.wi.gov and search for "Groundwater Coordinating Council."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Russ Rasmussen, water division administrator, 608-264-6278, russell.rasmussen@wisconsin.gov; Bill Cosh, spokesman, 608-267-2773, William.Cosh@Wisconsin.gov.

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Poynette high school student wins the 2015 Wisconsin State Park sticker contest

MADISON -- The winning design for the 2015 Wisconsin State Parks admission sticker features a butterfly atop of a purple coneflower and was designed by Josie Tollaksen, a junior at Poynette High School. The winning design was selected from 167 entries into the design contest. It will be printed on state park and forest annual vehicle admission stickers and displayed on more than 150,000 vehicles.

2015 winning design by Josie Tollaksen, a monarch butterfly sitting on a coneflower
2015 winning design by Josie Tollaksen, a monarch butterfly sitting on a coneflower
WDNR Photo

The second place design featuring a great blue heron in flight by Whitney Ryan of Appleton North High School. The third place winner was a design of herons and maple leafs was won by Austin Steelman, Waukesha South High School. Second, third and runner up designs are available by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "contest."

The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.

Admission stickers cost is $25 for Wisconsin residents or $35 for nonresidents - the same as last year. A family with more than one vehicle registered to the same household may purchase additional state park stickers at half price. A senior citizen annual sticker for $10 is available for Wisconsin Residents 65 years of age and older. Annual trail passes are $20 for residents and nonresidents.

The 2015 vehicle admission stickers will go on sale in December.

2016 state park sticker design contest open

Entries for the 2016 Wisconsin state park sticker design contest are being accepted now through April 17, 2015. The contest is open to all high school age students (ninth through twelfth grades) attending public, private, or parochial schools in Wisconsin.

The design must be the artist's original creation and cannot be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, clip art or electronic graphic images. Photographs or photo manipulations are not accepted.

Contest rules, a design template and entry form are available by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "contest."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Holtan, Wisconsin State Parks, Forest and Trails public affairs manager, 608-267-7517

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Sheboygan River improving as public, private partners make progress

Public invited to comment on draft plan to remove first of nine impairments

MADISON -- Wisconsin's waters are benefiting from the hard work of public and private partners, with the latest progress coming on the Sheboygan River.

Thanks to four major dredging projects coordinated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and many partners, the first and most challenging of nine beneficial use impairments for the river is proposed for removal. The proposal to lift the impairment follows a success with the St. Louis River bordering Wisconsin and Minnesota, which last week saw one of its impairments removed by EPA.

"Wisconsin's rivers and the Great Lakes contribute to our quality of life as well as the economy and our shared achievements in Sheboygan deserve high praise," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp.

A public meeting and comment period hosted by DNR, the city of Sheboygan and Sheboygan County is set for Tuesday, Sept. 16 to provide more information about the successful completion of the dredging projects. The Sheboygan River was named an Area of Concern by EPA in 1985, following identification of nine impairments on a 14 mile stretch of the waterway including toxic chemical contamination in the sediment.

"We're thrilled to see this progress and grateful to DNR for the sustained effort and coordination required to manage a project of this magnitude," said Sheboygan Mayor Michael Vandersteen. "A cleanup of this scale would not be possible without the support of multiple public and private partners. While there is more work to be done, we are excited to see that the improvements so far are generating redevelopment interest and sparking our local economy."

Adam Payne, Sheboygan County administrator, said the project reflects the community's commitment to protecting and enhancing its natural resources.

"The Sheboygan River contributes to the high quality of life we all enjoy and our work to improve this waterway will benefit the community now and in the future," Payne said.

In coordination with projects elsewhere in the river, work to dredge the more than 400,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the river's inner harbor and other locations began in 2011. One cubic yard is about the size of a washing machine and at the height of the dredging operation, more than 280 truckloads of sediment were removed each day and taken to qualified landfills.

The scope of work included two Superfund projects, a Great Lakes Legacy Act dredging project and a navigational dredging project designed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

"Now that this dredging work has been completed, DNR is proposing to remove the impairment designation through the EPA review process," said April Marcangeli, coordinator for the Sheboygan River Area of Concern. "The next step is to invite public comment on our draft report to the federal government."

If this first impairment is removed, it will speed the way for other improvements and signal that contaminated sediment problems should no longer limit future uses of the river.

A draft of the proposal to remove the impairment restricting dredging activities is being offered for public comment from Sept. 16 through September 30, 2014. DNR, the city and county of Sheboygan will host an open house and public information meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 16 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Rocca meeting room of the Mead Public Library, 710 N. 8th St. in Sheboygan to share details and take comments. DNR anticipates submitting the final proposal to EPA following the public comment period.

Maps and additional information will be available for review at the Mead Public Library.

Written comments on the proposal to remove the impairment also are invited and should be submitted by 7 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2014 to April Marcangeli, Wisconsin DNR, 1155 Pilgrim Road, Plymouth, WI 53073 or emailed to april.marcangeli@wisconsin.gov. Related questions should be directed to Marcangeli at (920) 893-8527.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: April Marcangeli, coordinator for the Sheboygan River Area of Concern, 920-893-8527, April.Marcangeli@wisconsin.gov; Jennifer Sereno, communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov.

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Updated fish consumption advice now available

MADISON -- Updated fish consumption advice for 2014 is now available from the DNR's "Eating Your Catch" website.

For the annual update, advice has been modified for some fish species anglers may catch from several lakes and rivers. While some updates suggest improved conditions in fish contamination, advice for fish at a few locations became slightly more stringent due to the recent or additional results that are considered along with data from recent years.

"The good news this year is brown trout from Lake Michigan and chinook salmon from Green Bay may now be eaten safely at a rate of one meal per month" says Candy Schrank, Department of Natural Resources toxicologist who coordinates fish consumption advice. "A recent study determined that PCB concentrations in chinook and coho salmon from Lake Michigan declined during the period from 1975 to 2010. Also, we relaxed the advice for the Sugar Camp Chain of Lakes and now the statewide general advisory may be followed for eating fish from those lakes."

Minor changes - including both more and less stringent advice - apply to some species from several inland lakes in Ashland, Iron, Langlade, Sawyer, and Vilas Counties and also for some species from parts of the Menominee River, Lake Winnebago system, St. Croix and Wisconsin Rivers. For example, men and older women may now safely eat channel catfish from the Lake Winnebago system once per week; and all people may eat carp from the Wisconsin River downstream of Petenwell Dam once per month compared to not at all.

More stringent advice applies to one or more species from Lake Three in Ashland County, Deep Wood Lake in Langlade County, Upper Holly in Sawyer County and Virgin Lake in Oneida County. And, people are now advised to eat no more than one meal per month of carp from the Portage Canal near Portage in Columbia County.

There is no change to advice for fish from several inland lakes and for fish from Cedar Creek in Ozaukee County, where sediment remediation efforts continue.

DNR, in consultation with the Department of Health Services, examines new contaminant data obtained each year at a subset of Wisconsin's waters, along with that from recent years, to re-evaluate the fish consumption advice. The 2014 fish consumption advisory updates reflect new data on contaminant levels for 61 locations, some of which were analyzed by the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. Most Wisconsin waters are covered by the statewide general advisory and only 145 locations carry more specific, stringent advice due to higher contaminant levels in fish.

Dr. Henry Anderson, chief medical officer of the Department of Health Services, urges anglers to check the 2014 advice to see if there have been any changes for the waters they like to fish but to also consider advice for purchased fish that is eaten. FDA is considering modifications to the advice for purchased fish that are primarily from oceans or fish farms. See FDA's website for further information: www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm110591.htm (exit DNR).

Fish are a low-cost source of lean protein, minerals and vitamins, but people need to be aware of the kinds of fish they eat and where they come from, Anderson says. "We are collecting information on the levels of healthy fats contained in fish and found that one to two meals of fish per week are sufficient to obtain health benefits, provided fish low in contaminants are selected."

Choose Wisely: A Health Guide for Eating Fish in Wisconsin [PDF] is available online as a pamphlet. The FIND ADVICE search tool is now mobile friendly and allows anglers to select the county and location they fish to see the specific consumption advice for that water. Further information on Wisconsin's fish consumption advice can be found by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "eating your catch."

Printed copies of the pamphlet will be available at DNR service centers and regional offices.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Candy Schrank, DNR, 608-267-7614, Candy.Schrank@wisconsin.gov; Dr. Henry Anderson, DHS, 608-266-1253, Henry.Anderson@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

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Purple loosestrife blooming; citizens asked to help control the invasive plant

MADISON - Purple loosestrife is in full bloom across Wisconsin and state invasive species officials are asking the public to help control these non-native plants. Citizen help is crucial for preventing and controlling most invaders.

"Purple loosestrife is easiest to find when it's flowering," says Brock Woods, who coordinates Wisconsin's efforts to control this invader. "This exotic perennial has bright, pink-purple spikes and the ability to overrun thousands of acres of wetlands. Now is a crucial time to look for it, report it and take action to prevent its spread."

Biocontrol beetles

Purple loosestrife biocontrol
Purple loosestrife biocontrol
Henrietta Lake field station before and after biocontrol beetles were introduced to control purple loosestrife plants.
DNR Photo by Brock Woods

For more than 10 years, special beetles have been released to feed on purple loosestrife and control its spread. Monitoring of these natural insect enemies has confirmed that they only live on this plant and successfully decrease its size and seed output.

This process proves an effective and environmentally sound control of the plant and although it does not completely eliminate the invasive, citizens can combine other traditional methods of removal to further prevent plant size and spread, including digging, cutting and using herbicides. They may also start new local biocontrol beetle populations.

According to Woods, beetles are reducing purple loosestrife stands in many areas, but are still missing or too few in other stands. Most beetles have been raised and released on local loosestrife by citizens participating in the Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin-Extension Biocontrol Program. Free equipment and starter beetles are available through the DNR. For more information search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "purple loosestrife" or "purple loosestrife biocontrol."

What you can do now

  1. Note and report where you see uncontrolled purple loosestrife. Plants without controlling beetles are typically more than 4 feet tall with flower spikes exceeding a foot in length and intact lower leaves. Citizens can report purple loosestrife on public or private land. To report loosestrife-or any invasive species you see, go to the DNR home page and search the key words, "reporting invasives." Choose your habitat type, then click and fill out the Report Form. You can also send an email to Invasive.species@wi.gov with the exact location, land ownership if known, population size, your contact information and a good photo. Call 608-267-5066 for more reporting information.
  2. Pull small loosestrife plants with one or two stems to eliminate them on your property or where you have landowner permission. Check next year for any more new plants
  3. Cut off the flower spikes of plants that will not be pulled or immediately controlled in other ways to eliminate this year's seed crop. Once flowering, assume that seeds may also be falling. Securely bag all cut flower spikes, label as "Invasive Plants" and put them in the trash. Composting will not kill the seeds. According to Woods, one mature, uncontrolled loosestrife plant can produce more than 2 million seeds, which can last in the soil for years, so it's important to remove flower spikes before seeds fall.
  4. Treat your own plants with a homeowner-approved herbicide such as Roundup. If there is open or standing water near the plants, use an herbicide labeled for use near water and get an aquatic plant management permit from the local DNR aquatic plant management coordinator.
  5. Raise your own biocontrol beetles to reduce purple loosestrife dominating or threatening your local wetlands!

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brock Woods, Purple Loosestrife and Wetland Invasive Plant Program Coordinator, 608-266-2554, brock.woods@wisconsin.gov

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Edgerton Contractors not sitting idle in Green Tier

MADISON - A southeast Wisconsin construction company is turning off its engines and tuning in to environmental protection and sustainable economic performance, two critical pieces to the Department of Natural Resources flagship Green Tier Program.

Edgerton Contractors, Inc. joined Green Tier two years ago this week and is one of many businesses in the program leading the way in superior environmental performance. The Oak Creek-based company employs 140 workers and has also been named a "Top Workplace" by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2012, 2013 and 2014, and recently received the "Fastest Growing Firm Award" by the Milwaukee Business Journal.

One significant change Edgerton is championing involves idling machinery. Letting construction equipment idle is a standard industry practice, but company officials saw the benefit in turning off their machinery to reduce its overall air emissions.

The company set an initial goal of reducing emissions by 3 percent, but achieved more than 12 percent reductions in the first year.

"When a company is able to make changes that benefit their assets as well as the environment, it is truly a win-win situation," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "We love to see how businesses are helping change things for the better and congratulate Edgerton Contractors for two great years in Green Tier."

Green Tier recognizes and rewards companies that demonstrate a commitment to superior environmental performance. As part of the program, Edgerton Contractors uses an Environmental Management System that both guides future sustainability efforts and helps monitor the progress of its current environmental initiatives.

"At Edgerton, we strive to work safely, deliver quality and be efficient. Our Green Tier program and our EMS very much align with this strategy," said Mike Mulqueen, project manager Edgerton Contractors. "Thanks to our employees, our Green Tier program enjoyed a successful initial two years. Our current focus is on a pipeline of future opportunities to advance our environmental program. We are very much excited about the future, as we look to leverage our environmental success to create positive economic and social impacts."

To continually improve sustainability efforts, Edgerton studies the environmental impacts of its on-site operations. Within the framework of their EMS, the company reduced emissions from its excavators by 12.18 percent in 2013, far surpassing their initial goal of 3 percent. Officials attribute this outstanding reduction in emissions to both the utilization of newer, more efficient equipment and to its idle control policy.

The idle policy directs operators to shut down equipment if it will idle for more than 5 minutes. This reduces fuel consumption, emissions and engine wear. The five-minute time frame was chosen after talking with equipment manufacturers, and according to Mulqueen is an appropriate compromise to ensure that turning machines on and off more than once a day would not damage the machines and would provide environmental benefits.

Mulqueen indicated that this new way of operating has prompted a change in culture in the company, and today staff are very willing to participate in Edgerton's environmental initiatives.

And what lies ahead for Edgerton Contractors? An expansion of their efforts. They started monitoring one specific type of equipment, track-type excavators, and given the success of the first year they are expanding efforts to include track-type tractors. They hope for similar results.

For more information search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for Green Tier and click on the See Green Tier participants button and the link for Edgerton Contractors under the Tier 1 tab.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Eggert, DNR, 608-267-2761 or Mike Mulqueen, Edgerton Contractors, Inc., 414-764-4443

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DNR and WTA will offer five advanced wolf trapper education courses beginning Sept. 13

MADISON - Successful wolf permit applicants interested in learning more about the specifics of trapping wolves are encouraged to participate in wolf trapper education classes this fall.

The Wisconsin Trappers Association, United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will sponsor five workshops in September and October 2014.

"We are very excited to once again partner with the Wisconsin Trappers Association and Wildlife Service to offer these workshops to educate potential wolf harvesters in responsible, ethical wolf harvesting techniques," said Geriann Albers, DNR assistant furbearer ecologist. "While these programs are voluntary, we feel they are important for potential wolf harvesters as they provide an overview of many important topics related to wolf harvesting - attendees can ask questions of those with experience and knowledge."

Each course will cover a number of topics, including basic season framework, wolf ecology, trapper ethics, and hands-on trap set demonstrations. First preference will be given to those with a 2014-2015 wolf harvest permit.

Five training sessions will be offered throughout the state:

All training sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - the cost of each workshop is $15. Break materials will be provided, however you wil need to bring your own lunch.

Pre-registration is required. To register, please contact wolf trapper education coordinator John Irwin at jdi1956@yahoo.com, 715-346-7386 (6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.), or 715-341-7596 (after 3 p.m.).

It is important to note that the courses listed above are considered "voluntary advanced trapping" courses and will not fulfill the basic trapper education course required to legally trap a wolf in Wisconsin.

For more information regarding wolves and wolf trapping in Wisconsin, please visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "wolf trapper ed." For information regarding mandatory trapper education, search keywords "trapper education."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: John Irwin, Wisconsin Trappers Association wolf trapper education coordinator, 715-341-7596; Geriann Albers, DNR assistant furbearer ecologist, 608-261-6452

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Want to try hunting? Local 'Learn to Hunt' events are the way to go

Have you thought you might like to hunt, but weren't sure how to get started? Sign up for a Learn to Hunt event.

Learn to Hunt events combine classroom instruction by a certified Hunter's Education Instructor and field work before the novice goes hunting with an experienced hunter. Learn to Hunt attendees learn about subject species' biology, conservation, firearm safety, and hunting tactics before participating in the hunt.

Learn to Hunt events welcome novice hunters 10 years of age and older. No license is required for Learn to Hunt events and, since novices will be paired with a mentor, hunter education requirements are waived. Learn to Hunt events are usually free and take place over a weekend.

Not just for youth

Wisconsin has an extremely strong hunting heritage. However, many people interested in hunting are not fortunate enough to have access to family or friends to share those hunting traditions.

One of the goals of the Learn to Hunt program is to provide people with the training and experience to take up hunting. While the majority of participants have been youth, adult interest in these events continues to grow. Adults are finding these events offer a nontraditional pathway into hunting, giving them tools to build their own family hunting traditions.

Get started now- find an event near you!

Many local conservation groups and hunting clubs are sponsoring a variety of Learn to Hunt events this fall. Currently several events are scheduled for pheasant, waterfowl, mourning dove, and squirrel. Check the DNR website at dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "LTH" to find the list of upcoming Learn to Hunt events.

Now you know how to get started hunting, it's time to act. Find an event near you and make that contact. You won't be disappointed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, DNR hunting and shooting sport coordinator, 608-576-5243; Joanne M. Haas, Bureau of Law Enforcement, 608-209-8147.

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The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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