ASHLAND, Wis. -- A public hearing on an emergency rule designed to support recovery of lake trout populations in Lake Superior will be held by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Feb. 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. at Ashland High School.
The public hearing will cover the 2014-15 emergency rule adopted by the Natural Resources Board at its December meeting. The emergency rule was designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the lake trout fishery in the Apostle Islands area by reducing the daily bag limit from three lake trout to two lake trout of which only one can be 20 to 25 inches in length and the other must be longer than 35 inches. For waters west of Bark Point, regulations for lake trout remain unchanged; three lake trout with a 15 inch minimum length and only one lake trout longer than 25 inches.
Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, said the emergency rule was necessary because population assessments over the last six to eight years have indicated that the decline in lake trout abundance is largely due to harvest. Lake trout are capable of living in excess of 40 years and do not reach sexual maturity until they are eight to 10 years of age. Thus, it's critically important that the stock be carefully managed, as the welfare of many stakeholders, including commercial fishers, sport anglers, and a host of associated businesses, depends on a strong lake trout fishery in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior.
"The upcoming public hearing provides citizens with the opportunity to offer feedback and continue the dialogue started at a meeting held in early December prior to the Natural Resources board action," Margenau said. The hearing will focus on the need to extend the emergency rule beyond 150 days through early June, to cover the entire lake trout season, which runs through Sept. 30, 2015.
The Feb. 16 public hearing will be held in the auditorium of Ashland High School, 1900 Beaser Ave. A short summary presentation will be followed by an opportunity for citizens to provide oral and written comments. In addition, written comments may be submitted until Feb. 16 to: Terry L. Margenau, Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, PO Box 589, 141 S. Third Street Bayfield, WI 54814; or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the hearing, background on the December public meeting and management of the Lake Superior fishery, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "Lake Superior fisheries management."
MADISON - Now is a good time for tree pruning, while temperatures remain cold, according to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources tree health experts.
"The best time to prune trees in Wisconsin is during winter when a tree is dormant," said DNR Urban Forester Don Kissinger. This is because:
"Timing is especially critical when pruning oak trees," said Kyoko Scanlon, DNR Forest Pathologist. DNR recommends no pruning, wounding, or cutting oak trees from April through July (through October to be extra cautious) to limit the spread of oak wilt, a fatal disease of oaks. Your municipality may have their own oak wilt ordinances that you should follow as well.
To help reduce the spread of oak wilt another way, do not move firewood. "Several recent oak wilt finds in northern Wisconsin were probably the result of infected firewood brought from areas with oak wilt," according to Paul Cigan, DNR Northwest District Forest Health Specialist.
Oak wilt is still uncommon in much of northern Wisconsin. Taking precautions to prevent the spread of oak wilt will help keep it that way.
Trees should be pruned throughout their entire life to maintain strong structure and remove dead wood. "Pruning should not remove more than 25 percent of the live crown of a tree. The lower third of trunks of deciduous trees should be free of limbs," Kissinger said. The DNR pruning brochure offers more detailed, step by step tips for tree pruning. Find it by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "tree pruning [PDF]".
Certified arborists who offer pruning and other tree care services can be found at waa-isa.org/arborists/search.asp (exit DNR).
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Don Kissinger: 715.359-5793, Kyoko Scanlon 608.275-3275, or Paul Cigan 715.416-4920.
MADISON -- Wisconsin's tradition of hunting is built upon ethics where success is defined as using a moral compass to end the hunt satisfied with the knowledge the hunt also was safe, enjoyable and ethical.
Know a hunter who thinks and acts with a strong sense of safe and sometimes selfless direction? Nominate the individual for The La Crosse Tribune/Wis. Department of Natural Resources Hunter Ethics Award - a honor that goes well beyond a wildlife harvest for bragging rights later.
Nominations for this statewide award, now in its 18th year, will be accepted through February 15. The annual honor was established by Bob Lamb, retired outdoors editor of the La Crosse Tribune, Lamb, retired DNR conservation warden supervisor Steve Dewald and retired University of Wisconsin-La Crosse instructor Jerry Davis. Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller joined the award committee four years ago.
Schaller says the award is about recognizing sportsmen and sportswomen who go above and beyond for others who have the same passion or interest - and that is hunting.
"Maybe it's helping a fellow hunter in distress, providing opportunities for disabled hunters, teaching young hunters, coming to the aid of a conservation warden or simply showing other hunters that ethical hunting is part of the hunt," Schaller says.
Schaller says hunters look forward to the annual seasons because traditions - or creating new traditions with young or novice hunters-- remain important. "If you are a hunter in Wisconsin, you must strive to hunt in an ethical manner and to pass on these ethical traditions to the young people in their hunting party."
To become eligible for the 2014 award:
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller, Todd.Schaller@wisconsin.gov; 608-266-1115
MADISON - Learn to Hunt just went lean and clean with a new electronic application form that saves applicants time and effort to organize an event.
"We've made a few tweaks to the Learn to Hunt website and forms," said Keith Warnke, hunting and shooting sports coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "We've tried to make the forms easier to fill out by eliminating unnecessary information and getting them directly where they're supposed to go. We'll be making big-picture website changes later this year. "
Warnke says if applicants are looking for the fastest service, complete, scan and then email the Learn to Hunt documents. There is one bigger change to the Learn to Hunt program this year.
"You must include customer IDs on the Learn to Hunt participant report form [PDF] in order to be reimbursed," Warnke says. "We need this information to collect data and administer programs. We can't track and analyze trends without them." Tracking Learn to Hunt participants by their customer ID numbers will result in greatly improved efficiency and effectiveness.
The process for hosting a Learn to Hunt event is simple. First, pick a date and location. Then, specify on the application whether the event is public or private. Public Learn to Hunt Events will be listed for sign up on the DNR website. Inviting everyone to participate in the training will help broaden the hunting community by helping to create new hunters. Listed on the DNR website and in other important sporting forums, these Learn to Hunts reach out across the state to novices and give them a chance to try something new. If a Learn to Hunt is already filled or not open to public sign up, check the private box.
With a productive location secured, applicants can then go about selecting approved and qualified mentors and having them submit a background check form from the DNR website.
"Approved and qualified mentors are essential to making Learn to Hunt events successful," Warnke said. "They are a crucial link for transmitting knowledge and ethics. A good mentor knows the ways of the woods and the ways of humans. Patience is a key quality in mentoring, especially as novices are usually unaccustomed to spending time quiet in the woods. Good mentors often have that intangible quality -- developed over years in the outdoors -- of knowing what will happen and when. All this helps make for great first hunts—and opens the door to a whole other world."
After finding a spot and mentors, it's time to recruit new hunters. While children make up the bulk of Learn to Hunt participants, Warnke is seeing a greater number of adult hunters. "There's been a great deal of interest from the local food community. Hunting fits in well with people interested in sustainable living," Warnke says. "They supply the interest and we take it from there."
After the event, the next step in getting reimbursed for up to $25 per students. To receive reimbursement, those hosting the hunt must submit a Learn to Hunt Reimbursement Request along with a W-9 form and a Participant Report complete with customer IDs.
Once all the paperwork is done, the rest is up to Mother Nature. Good luck and hunt safe!
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, 608-576 5243 or Kelly Maynard, 608-267-7438
MADISON -- While the fairgrounds and midways of summer may seem a long way off, many summer festival organizers are already planning and laying the groundwork for event recycling success. An online toolkit from the Department of Natural Resources is helping event planners start new recycling efforts and build on last year's momentum.
The DNR's event recycling toolkit is available for free by searching recycling away from home on the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov. The kit contains how-to guides, signs and other materials for print or download that helps make recycling away from home easy for event organizers, vendors and attendees.
"At fairgrounds and concert venues, beer tents and exhibition halls, even sporting events and private parties, Wisconsin residents typically look for a recycling bin, and are disappointed if they can't find one," said Brad Wolbert, DNR recycling and solid waste section chief. "This toolkit helps event organizers meet visitors' recycling expectations."
Wolbert added that recycling materials like clean cardboard, plastic bottles and aluminum cans at public events and venues is required by state law and local ordinances, but starting or improving a recycling program also puts materials back to use and helps the economy, while also enhancing public opinion of the event and reducing its environmental impact.
The toolkit was inspired by recent event recycling successes in 2014. Wisconsin county fairs, July Fourth celebrations and dozens of other summer festivals last year reduced their waste costs and boosted the recovery of recyclable items, proving that a little planning goes a long way.
Organizers of the 2014 Sheboygan County Fair, for instance, started planning in January. By the time the fair opened in July, they had placed 40 low-cost recycling bins throughout the fair park, and during the fair weekend alone crews collected 5,100 pounds of plastic, aluminum, glass, cardboard and paper.
By starting to plan the fair's recycling efforts in advance, Sheboygan County was also able to save the fair's animal bedding and manure for local composting, re-sell 850 pounds of used fryer grease to bio-diesel producers and organize its first annual "Green Fair within the Fair," showcasing local businesses, farmers and non-profits with a vendors market and speaker series.
"Organizing effective recycling at these events is less daunting than it used to be," Wolbert said. "A number of event organizers have shown that it can be done effectively and efficiently. The DNR toolkit will help support these local efforts."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Wolbert, 608-264-6286; Andrew Savagian, 608-261-6422
The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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