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Weekly News Published - July 25, 2017 by the Central Office

 

Visit the DNR at the 2017 Wisconsin State Fair

WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- Find out everything you need to know to 'Enjoy Wisconsin's Wild Side' by stopping by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' area at the Wisconsin State Fair's Exploratory Park.

Visitors to the DNR Booth at the Wisconsin State Fair can learn about how to Get Outdoors and enjoy Wisconsin's parks, forest, trails and natural areas.
Visitors to the DNR Booth at the Wisconsin State Fair can learn about how to Get Outdoors and enjoy Wisconsin's parks, forest, trails and natural areas.
Photo Credit: DNR

Never been to a state park before or realize all the fun things you can do in the outdoors? Then stop by the DNR area and find out what's in store for you at a state park, forest or natural area. Whether it's swimming, hiking or riding the ATV trails you can find something to enjoy in the outdoors.

Visitors to the DNR's Wisconsin State Park System booth will discover everything they need to know to visit a Wisconsin state park, forest, trail or recreation area. State Park Visitor Guides will be available that list all park properties across the park system and what activities and facilities are available at each location.

Two large screen TVs will allow visitors to select from more than a dozen videos that highlight the different experiences and activities people can participate in at different properties.

While the information booth will not offer park stickers or trail passes for sale, visitors will be provided with information on the many options for purchasing those items at park offices, DNR service centers or by phone or online through the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Hunting and fishing licenses will also not be on sale at the State Fair, but the public can now easily purchase and print licenses from a computer or smart device using the DNR's online Go Wild system to enjoy Wisconsin's wild side.

Maybe you'd like to find out more about Wisconsin's plants, animals and landscapes. Then stop by and talk to one of our experts from the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation and learn more about the rare wildlife in our state, learn how to build a bat house or how you can help endangered species. Register at the NHC exhibit for a chance to win one of our eagle license plates.

The DNR booth is located in the north building at the entrance to the new Exploratory Park at the fair.
The DNR booth is located in the north building at the entrance to the new Exploratory Park at the fair.
Photo Credit: DNR

Don't forget-the DNR is still at the Wisconsin State Fair and you can find us in the North Building at Exploratory Park, located directly across from the Original Cream Puff Pavilion.

"We are excited to once again be at the Wisconsin State Fair! It's been great working in partnership with the Wisconsin State Fair to operate the Exploratory Park this year," according to Joe Liebau, Jr. Secretary's Director for Southeast Wisconsin. "We're mindful of the history of the DNR's involvement with the state fair. That involvement continues but with an emphasis on our state parks, forests, and natural areas," he added.

The 2017 Wisconsin State Fair takes place from Aug. 3 to 13 and is located at 640 S. 84th St. in West Allis. The DNR exhibit is open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Public comments sought on final draft master plan revision for Brule River State Forest

BRULE, Wis. -- The public has a final opportunity to review and comment on proposed revisions to the master plan for the Brule River State Forest that proposes additional recreational opportunities for the property.

"Following a thorough assessment and public review of the previous master plan completed in 2002, the proposed plan revisions are intended to accommodate new recreational uses to meet increased public interests and demands," said Dave Schulz, forest superintendent. "In order to maintain the revered character of 'the Brule,' and the integrity of its abundant resources, the proposed master plan revisions are balanced and are very minor in scope and relatively conservative."

Plan revisions include additional remote campsites along Lake Superior and the Brule River.
Plan revisions include additional remote campsites along Lake Superior and the Brule River.
Photo Credit: DNR

Plan revisions include expanding the popular Afterhours ski area, including additional miles and developments, additional remote campsites along Lake Superior and the Brule River, and a small number of electric campsites. No changes to the project boundary are proposed and users indicated there is a good balance of existing open and closed roads for access and use.

The revised draft Brule River State Forest master plan and associated documents are available for review on the Department of Natural Resources website by searching keywords "master planning," and clicking on the link for Brule River State Forest. The documents will also be available during a public open office scheduled at Brule River State Forest Ranger Station, 6250 South Ranger Road, Brule, on August 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and August 3 from 2 to 8 p.m.

A 21-day public comment period runs from July 25 to August 14, 2017. People can submit comments online, by email or by U.S. Postal Service mail. Contact information is available on the Brule River State Forest master planning web page.

Wisconsin administrative code requires the department to review each master plan every 15 years to determine if any changes should be made. The Brule River State Forest master plan review began in 2016 with an analysis of current conditions, changes in recreation interests and trends, and updated resource inventories.

The public had opportunities to review and comment on proposed plan revisions during public comment periods held from Oct. 19 to Nov. 30, 2016 and from Feb. 10 to March 20, 2017. During the review period a land management classification variance was also completed as part of a larger Northern State Forest statutory requirement.

Following this final public review of the Brule River State Forest Master Plan a draft revised master plan will be presented to the state Natural Resources Board for consideration and approval.

For more information about the forest, search the DNR website for keywords "Brule River."

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Annual statewide water report highlights efforts to protect Wisconsin's public water supplies

MADISON - According to the Department of Natural Resources 2016 Annual Drinking Water report [PDF], more than 99 percent of the state's public water systems provided water that met the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Maximum Contaminant Level standards.
Click on image to view report
Click on image to view report

"DNR could not successfully manage the state's drinking water resources without its partners," said Steve Elmore, bureau director for DNR's Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater. "With vigilant monitoring and creative approaches to resolving compliance challenges, we are able to manage a sustainable supply of safe drinking water from public water systems."

Wisconsin leads the nation with the more than 11,400 public water systems in the state, the vast majority relying on groundwater sources. Surface water from Wisconsin lakes provides drinking water to some of the state's largest communities, including Milwaukee and Green Bay.

"The excellent compliance record we see in Wisconsin reflects the hard work that is being done by public water system operators, DNR staff and our partners around the state," said Adam DeWeese, DNR section chief of the Public Water Supply Section.

One major change for public water systems occurred on April 1, 2016 when the federal drinking water regulations changed. DNR and the state's public water systems worked hard to implement the new requirements of the Revised Total Coliform Rule. The rule emphasizes finding sources of microbial contamination and fixing the problems that allowed them to enter drinking water supplies.

Another challenge facing Wisconsin's drinking water supplies is replacement of lead service lines. During 2016, DNR created an innovative, first-of-its kind program to fund replacement of both the public and private parts of lead service lines. The Private Lead Service Line Replacement Funding Program made $14.5 million available to disadvantaged communities in 2016, and 38 communities applied for funding.

To help public water systems meet the challenge of aging infrastructure, DNR's Safe Drinking Water Loan Program awarded $23.5 million in financial assistance to 14 communities in Wisconsin during 2016. The funding, both loans and principal forgiveness, allows communities to make needed infrastructure improvements to their drinking water systems. Since the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program began in 1998, 295 projects in Wisconsin have received more than $579 million in financial assistance for drinking water infrastructure improvements.

The 2016 Annual Drinking Water Report is available to the public. To learn more, visit DNR's web site at dnr.wi.gov and search "drinking water," or contact the Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater DG/5, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 7921, Madison WI 53707, 608-266-1054.

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Wisconsin firefighters head to northwest and Canada to assist with suppression efforts

MADISON -- Increased wildfire activity in the northwest and Canadian province of British Columbia has prompted a request to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources fire control program to assist in suppression and protection efforts.

Three Type 6 fire engines (four-wheel drive truck carrying 270 plus gallons of water) staffed with three operators per unit, are headed to Lame Deer, Montana near the Cheyenne Indian Reservation and will be assisting in initial attack operations while local resources continue to be exhausted with steady fire activity. In addition, seven firefighters are also en route to aid in fire suppression efforts in British Columbia, Canada through an agreement Wisconsin has with Ontario and the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact.

"With the recent widespread rain and flooding we've seen over the last couple of weeks here in Wisconsin, our fire risk is at a minimum. Unfortunately, the northwest has not been so lucky," says Trent Marty, WDNR Forest Protection Director. "They need assistance and it's with great pride we can offer our support."

Personnel and fire suppression equipment are allocated to these fires through mutual aid agreements outlined by federal firefighting agencies and the Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact which is comprised of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Manitoba and Ontario, Canada. The Compact's main goal is to promote resource sharing throughout the great lakes region, including personnel, equipment, information and technology.

"Requests like this from other agencies are not uncommon. Last year was a very active year and this could set the stage for another active fire season, especially in the southeastern US which is typically more active in late summer and early fall. In 2016, we sent resources to 31 different wildfire incidents across 16 states, plus engines and operators to Ontario," said Marty. "Over the years, we have brought out-of-state resources into Wisconsin too. Everyone benefits from this type of effort."

The sharing of federal and provincial resources is an approach that helps all agencies involved make more efficient use of available resources. Other added values with these out-of-state fires include increased training opportunities and the ability to gain outside experience which can be brought home to enhance fire management programs.

Currently, there are 119 active wildfires burning over a million acres in the US alone. Most of this wildfire activity is occurring in Montana, Idaho and Nevada and are related to dry lightning strikes in dense wooded areas with remote access. The firefighters and engines from Wisconsin are slated to be on assignment for two weeks or until the fire severity subsides. Several more Wisconsin single resources have been made available and could be assigned to fires in the coming weeks.

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Annual citizen-science deer survey to begin Aug. 1

MADISON-Operation Deer Watch, an annual citizen-science survey that collects information on deer, gives Wisconsin residents a great opportunity to assist with deer herd management efforts.

Data from this survey provides insight to the reproductive status of Wisconsin's deer herd for 2017 and helps shape deer management for the state. To get involved, record all bucks, does and fawns seen during the day from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30. Daily observations can be tracked using an online tally sheet found at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "deer watch."

"This is a fun and useful opportunity for everyone to enjoy Wisconsin's plentiful wildlife," said Brian Dhuey, Department of Natural Resources surveys coordinator. "The Department of Natural Resources encourages anyone interested in deer, from hunters and trappers to outdoor enthusiasts, to take part."

Data from the survey is also used by County Deer Advisory Councils to develop deer season framework, harvest quotas and permit level recommendations.

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Bonus antlerless deer tags available for purchase starting Aug. 14

MADISON - Bonus antlerless deer tags will be available for purchase starting Monday, Aug. 14 at 10 a.m. through the Go Wild website and license sales locations.

The fall deer hunt is just around the corner - visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword "deer" and prepare for another season in the woods.

Bonus tags will be sold at a rate of one per person per day until sold out or until the 2017 deer hunting season ends. Bonus tags cost $12 each for Wisconsin residents, $20 each for non-residents and $5 each for youth ages 10 and 11.

For a list of units with bonus tags available for purchase, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "bonus availability." These and all other deer hunting licenses and tags are available online through the Go Wild website, GoWild.WI.gov (exit DNR) or at any of more than 1,000 Go Wild license sales locations.

To prepare for the sale, each day at 9:45 a.m., an online queuing system will be put in place to manage volume in the Go Wild system. At 10 a.m. all online users that are on the site will be randomly assigned a number and staged into a "virtual" line regardless of the actual time you entered into the system. There is no advantage for customers who enter the site before 9:59 a.m. Please note that customers who enter the site after the randomization that occurs at 10:00 will be added to the end of "virtual" line in the order in which they arrive. All visitors to the site during this time period will experience the queuing system.

When you access the Go Wild site, follow the prompts until you reach your personalized dashboard. To purchase a Bonus tag, click the "Buy Licenses" button from the dashboard to open the sales catalog - from there, you will find the Bonus Antlerless Deer Tag at the very top of the list. If you haven't had the chance to get your license in advance, Go Wild can help you purchase one after you select the Bonus Antlerless Deer Tag.

Hunters will need to know the deer management zone, unit, and determine whether they will hunt on public or private land in order to purchase unit-specific bonus tags.

The first three days of bonus tag sales are management zone-specific and will be available as follows:

As a reminder, Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless tags are now available for distribution. Depending on the deer management unit, one or more Farmland (Zone 2) antlerless deer tags are included with the purchase of each gun and archery deer hunting license.

Gov Delivery

Those interested in receiving occasional email reminders can sign up to receive messages about season dates, license and tag types, and other information. Visit dnr.wi.gov and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page for "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select a list of your choice.

For more information regarding deer hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "deer."

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773