MADISON - Landowners can once again enter a lottery to obtain a free customized report from Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation program to discover what unique plants and animals may live on their land.
This time, people who previously entered the lottery but were not selected in 2014 or 2015 will get preference points that improve their chances of being selected in 2016.
"We had such a tremendous response from landowners last year that we're going to do it again," says Erin Crain, deputy director of the DNR Division of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. "We had more than seven times as many entrants last year as we had available slots, so we're running another lottery to try to meet the demand."
The lottery runs from Dec. 15, 2015, until Jan. 15, 2016, and 100 landowners who voluntarily enter their name will be randomly selected to receive the customized report, known as a Landowner Conservation Report. Those landowners whose names are drawn also will have the option of a free site visit from a department biologist.
Applicants will receive one point for each year they have entered a landowner lottery and were not selected. Each point will earn an additional entry into the 2016 lottery. Those previously selected can register again for different properties but will not receive preference points.
Landowner: "This was one of the best gifts my land has ever been given."
More than 750 private landowners from almost every county in the state representing more than 66,000 acres entered the 2015 lottery, according to Alex Wenthe, the DNR conservation biologist leading the Landowner Conservation Report program. Of the 100 selected landowners, 88 chose to have a site visit from a department biologist.
"People love their land and are really interested in learning what plants and animals call it home," Wenthe says. "One of the selected landowners who chose to have a site visit wrote us, "This was one of the best gifts my land has ever been given."
Wenthe says what landowners do with the information from their customized report is up to them but "we hope they will consider ways to maintain and improve habitat for Wisconsin's rare species."
With 85 percent of land in Wisconsin privately owned, having good habitat on private land is critical to conserving rare plants and animals, he says.
To create the reports, Wenthe reviews various DNR and federal databases containing information about the rare plants and animals found through field surveys of public lands or nongovernmental organization lands. Normally, Wisconsin law requires DNR to charge for such searches, but a private donation to the Natural Heritage Conservation program is covering the cost of the searches for the 100 Landowner Conservation Reports.
These reports provide landowners information about rare species found in the area, invasive species to be on the lookout for and general information about the soils, geology and hydrogeology in the area.
Information collected during the review process will not affect what landowners can subsequently do with their property.
The report also contains general recommendations on improving habitat and controlling invasive species, information on where landowners can get technical and financial help for habitat work, and a list of private contractors who can help landowners develop detailed conservation plans and assessments.
MADISON -- Local units of government, lake and river organizations and nonprofit organizations have until Feb. 1, 2016 to apply for grants to help implement projects that protect and improve water quality and aquatic habitat and control aquatic invasive species in lakes, rivers and wetlands.
The $3 million surface water management grant program, administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, consists of two types of grants - lake and river protection grants and aquatic invasive species control grants. Lake and river grants help communities implement protection or restoration projects that protect or improve water quality and habitat. Aquatic invasive species control grants share the cost to control existing populations of invasive species and help restore habitat.
Shelly Thomsen, DNR's lakes and rivers team leader, said the surface water grants management program funds a wide variety of activities.
"Projects may include purchasing land or easements for protection purposes, restoring wetlands or shoreline habitat and planting native vegetation or a rain garden to prevent runoff and improve water quality," Thomsen said. "Projects also may involve implementing activities identified in a department approved management plan."
The awards range from $10,000 to $200,000 and are granted through a cost share program, with the state share consisting of 67 to 75 percent of the total.
For more information on the lakes, rivers and aquatic invasive species grant program, including contact information for local grant coordinators, application materials and changes to the grants program, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "lake grants."
MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Tuesday confirmed test results showing chronic wasting disease in a 3 1/2 year old buck harvested on private land in Crawford County.
Tami Ryan, DNR wildlife health section chief, said the result represents the first positive test for CWD detected in the county. The buck appeared healthy at the time of the kill, which is not unusual with CWD detections as it takes up to 16 to 18 months before infected animals display symptoms.
"Crawford County is already classified as a CWD-affected county, so the finding will not result in any regulatory changes," Ryan said. "We have interviewed the hunter to confirm the location, which is in the town of Clayton, west of Richland Center. The deer was harvested 13 miles from the nearest previous positive test result."
Crawford County and the surrounding counties of Vernon, Richland and Grant are already classified as CWD affected counties and have baiting and feeding bans in place.
DNR appreciates the assistance from hunters in providing samples from their harvest to advance monitoring efforts, Ryan said. CWD monitoring remains a priority for DNR and the department continues to work with cooperating taxidermists and meat processors within targeted surveillance areas. The department also has piloted new self-serve kiosks around the state to make it more convenient for hunters to submit deer heads for testing.
"Hunters have played a key role in expanding our knowledge of CWD in Wisconsin," Ryan said. "Their willingness to deliver samples is absolutely essential to disease monitoring efforts that inform our understanding of CWD distribution and prevalence."
Test results are generally returned within three to four weeks. To learn more about CWD in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for keyword "CWD." For information about restrictions on moving carcasses from areas affected by chronic wasting disease, search "carcass movement." The website also contains more information about "sampling and registration" and locations where samples can be delivered, by searching "hunting registration stations."Wisconsin's deer hunt continues through Jan. 31 for archery and crossbow harvest in some metro subunits.
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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