Contact(s): Alex Wenthe, DNR ecologist, 608-267-7758
MADISON - Would you like to know more about the plants and animals that call your property home?
Wisconsin landowners can again enter a lottery to win 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. The report is based on a DNR review of state records and winners also have the option of receiving a site visit from a DNR ecologist.
"More than 1,000 landowners from nearly every county entered last year, so we are happy to make this program available again to meet the growing demand," says Drew Feldkirchner, who directs the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation program.
"The overwhelming interest in this lottery really speaks to the passion Wisconsin residents have for conserving native species on their property. We hope to continue the rich history of private land conservation in Wisconsin by again providing customized reports that help landowners know what may be on their land and how to maintain or improve natural habitat."
The lottery runs from Jan. 3, 2017, until Jan. 31, 2017; 100 landowners who voluntarily enter their name will be randomly selected to receive the customized report, known as a Landowner Conservation Report. To learn more about Landowner Conservation Reports and enter the lottery, visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search the keyword "lottery."
Entrants who did not win previously get preference points this year
Again this year, landowners who entered previous lotteries but did not win will get preference points to improve their chance of winning in 2017. Previous applicants will receive one point for each year they have entered a landowner lottery but were not selected. Each point will earn an additional entry into the 2017 lottery. Previous winners can register again for different properties but will not receive preference points.
Wenthe says the site visit and the recommendations provided are completely voluntary. Information collected during the review process will not affect what landowners can subsequently do with their property. "We are trying to provide landowners with the best information possible and let them make the decisions that are right for their property. We hope they will think of Wisconsin's rare and native species when managing their land."
To create the reports, Wenthe reviews various DNR and federal databases containing information about the rare plants and animals documented through field surveys of public lands or lands owned by nongovernmental organizations. 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 with information about the rare species found in their area, which is the foundation for successful management" says Wenthe. The report also contains general information about the natural communities, soils, and geology in the area; as well as specific 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 and implement detailed conservation plans.
Wenthe says it's been gratifying to have landowners use the report information and enroll in other DNR or governmental programs that can provide technical and financial help to further habitat work. "We are excited to continue to support these landowners as they conserve their land for future generations."