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Weekly News Published - September 23, 2014 by the Central Office

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Wisconsin's Northern and Mississippi River zone duck seasons and Mississippi River Canada goose subzone open Sept. 27

MADISON -- Hunters should look forward to seeing good numbers of waterfowl when Wisconsin's Northern and Mississippi River zone duck hunting seasons and Mississippi River Canada Goose Subzone open Sept. 27, according to state wildlife officials.

"Although a few areas in the southern half of Wisconsin have started to dry out, areas in northern portion of the state have received abundant rainfall, and Wisconsin waterfowlers have potential for a good hunting season," said Kent Van Horn, migratory game bird ecologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Continental breeding surveys that have been conducted for 59 years have reported record numbers of ducks this spring. However, even with excellent continental breeding indications, local water levels, fall weather, and time spent scouting will be the most important factors when pursuing ducks this fall."

The duck hunt in the Northern Zone will open Saturday, Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. and will continue through Nov. 25. The Mississippi River Zone will also open Sept. 27 at 9 a.m. and will run through Oct. 5. The first portion of the Mississippi River Zone will be followed by a 12-day split and will reopen Oct. 18 and continue through Dec. 7. After opening day in each respective zone, hunting hours will begin 30 minutes before sunrise.

The Southern Zone duck season will open Oct. 4 at 9 a.m., and will run through Oct. 12. Following a brief closure, the Southern Zone will reopen Oct. 18 and run through Dec. 7.

The Mississippi River Canada Goose subzone will open Sept. 27, and will run through Oct. 5. Following the same 12-day closure as the Mississippi River Duck Zone, the Mississippi River Canada Goose Subzone will reopen Oct. 18 and run through Jan 8, 2015.

Many of the ducks harvested statewide are birds that breed in Wisconsin's wetlands, Van Horn said. The four most abundant ducks in Wisconsin's fall hunting harvest are mallards, wood ducks, green-winged teal and blue-winged teal.

The daily bag limit statewide will be six ducks, including no more than:

  • four mallards, of which only one may be a hen;
  • three wood ducks;
  • one black duck;
  • two redheads;
  • three scaup;
  • two pintail; and
  • one canvasback.

The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, to include no more than two hooded mergansers. The daily bag limit for coot is 15.

The possession limit has been increased from two times the daily bag limit and is now three times the daily bag limit.

"As always, hunters who do the early legwork - scouting for good wetland conditions and observing what areas birds are using -- will be the ones having a good hunt," Van Horn said. "Hunter survey data in Wisconsin show that duck hunters who scouted there or more times harvested an average of 14.7 ducks, while those who did not scout harvested an average of 4.8 ducks per season."

Licenses and stamps required include a Wisconsin small game license, Wisconsin waterfowl stamp, and 2014 federal migratory bird stamp. Those who wish to hunt Canada geese are required to purchase an additional zone-specific goose hunting permit.

A $15 federal stamp can be purchased at a U.S. Post Office. Hunters may also purchase a federal stamp privilege at license vendors for an additional $2.50 surcharge. This purchase will be noted on their license, but the stamp itself will arrive at a later point via mail.

Waterfowl and other migratory bird hunters must also register each year with the federal Harvest Information Program, which places them on a list of hunters that may receive a mailing with an option to provide a harvest summary. HIP registration is free, and can be completed at the time each hunter purchases a license. HIP registration may be completed at a later time if a hunter decides he or she may pursue migratory game birds.

State licenses and stamps, permits, and HIP registration are also available through Wisconsin's Online Licensing Center.

For information on-the-go hunters can use a mobile device to check out the official DNR hunting and fishing mobile application to gain access to useful fishing, hunting and wildlife watching information. Users are able to easily locate great places to enjoy the outdoors and view on-the-spot species profiles, rules, regulations, permit and license details and sunrise and sunset times. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "mobile apps."

For more information regarding waterfowl hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "waterfowl."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn, DNR Migratory Game Bird Ecologist - (608) 266-8841

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Wisconsin growing populations of trumpeter swans, whooping cranes on the move soon

Waterfowl hunters reminded to carefully identify all birds before shooting

MADISON - Cooperative efforts to restore trumpeter swans in Wisconsin have been highly successful, and similar efforts to reintroduce whooping cranes continue to show progress.

Trumpeter swans were removed from the state endangered species list in 2009 and the number of nesting pairs has reached 240 in 25 counties, according to preliminary results from 2014 surveys. The effort to restore whooping cranes has resulted in 93 cranes in Wisconsin as of late August.

As trumpeter swans and whooping cranes begin to fly through Wisconsin skies en route to their winter homes, state wildlife officials are reminding waterfowl hunters to carefully identify all birds before shooting.

Trumpeter swans in flight
Trumpeter swans in flight.
Photo © Donna Dewhurst

"Hunters have done a great job in learning the differences between swans, geese and whooping cranes," said Sumner Matteson, avian ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation. "As trumpeter swan populations continue to increase, unintentional shootings of these birds are still an issue, so we urge hunters to continue to be vigilant in identifying their game."

Both wild swans and whooping cranes are protected species in Wisconsin and illegal to shoot.

Young trumpeter and tundra swans are grayish and may be mistaken for a Canada goose, especially on a cloudy day. Mature swans are white with a black bill, often resembling snow geese from a distance. Adult whooping cranes are also white (juveniles are brown and white), but are much larger, standing at nearly five feet tall with long legs that trail behind in flight.

The best way to distinguish each species is through call identification. Observers have described the trumpeter's call as resonant, deep, loud and trumpet-like. The snow goose has a high-pitched, quavering call.

Whooping cranes, which are protected under state and federal endangered species laws and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, are found mostly in central Wisconsin as the result of an ongoing reintroduction project called the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership (exit DNR).

Whooping crane chicks that are partially raised and trained by Operation Migration (exit DNR) at DNR's White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County are slated to take off in late September behind ultralight planes and make their way out of Wisconsin to their winter home at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge near Tampa, Fla. Additionally, up to four crane chicks being raised by captive cranes will be released at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge as part of the parent reared project (exit DNR).

The unintentional shooting of a protected swan can result in state fines and restitution costs exceeding $2,000. The state penalty for intentionally shooting a whooping crane is a fine not less than $2,000, nor more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than nine months or both. In addition, violators face a three-year revocation of all hunting privileges. Federal penalties may also apply.

More tips and photos to help identify swans are available through Identifying Swans [PDF].

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sumner Matteson, 608-266-1571, sumner.matteson@wisconsin.gov; Davin Lopez, 608-266-0837, davin.lopez@wisconsin.gov; Kent Van Horn, 608-266-8841, Kent.VanHorn@Wisconsin.gov

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Wisconsin Bat Festival comes to Milwaukee Oct 3, 4 and 5

MILWAUKEE -- Wisconsinites will have the opportunity to see rare bats from around the world, including a bat with a 6-foot wingspan, and learn why bats are so important to the environment when Wisconsin Bat Festival flies into Milwaukee on October 3.

"Bats are mysterious animals that are rarely observed because they fly at night," says Jennifer Redell, Department of Natural Resources cave and mine specialist and coordinator of the event. "The Festival provides a unique opportunity for people to see them up close and in a controlled setting."

This year the free festival has been expanded to three days and will be held at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Urban Ecology Center at Riverside Park and Milwaukee County Zoo's Zoofari Conference Center. There will be a variety of different events and activities.

Visitors are invited to join Rob Mies, the Executive Director of the Organization for Bat Conservation, as he presents Bats of the World featuring a wide diversity of live bats, including fruit bats, vampire bats, Wisconsin's backyard bats and the world's largest bat, a Malayan flying fox. Seating is limited so pre-registration through the Festival webpage is recommended.

Guests can also enjoy a special screening of the movie Battle for Bats- Surviving White-nose Syndrome daily and hear from bat and white-nose syndrome experts during the Bat Science Symposium. Experts from U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center, U.S. Forest Service, Wisconsin DNR and local universities will present on topics ranging from recent research to the state's response to the recent arrival of this deadly bat disease.

Favorite activities from years past are back, including the chance to learn about bat monitoring field techniques with bat scientists and listen to bat echolocation calls. An inflatable cave for kids to explore and other hands on activities, crafts and games will be available for all ages. Exhibits will highlight bat conservation needs, night-time secrets of bat biology and how to become a Citizen Scientist for the Wisconsin Bat Program.

For a full schedule of daily events and to pre-register for live bat programs, please visit the Wisconsin Bat Festival website [Exit DNR].

For more information on Wisconsin bats, search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keyword "bats."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Redell, 608-267-0281, Jennifer.redell@wisconsin.gov

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Salmon star at DNR open house events

Learn to fish and learn about fish with free activities for all ages

MADISON -- Chinook salmon will star at upcoming open house where visitors will get a front-row view of the annual spawning spectacle during which thousands of fish make their way up key rivers and streams along the Lake Michigan shore.

The open house events at the C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility on Oct. 4 and Root River Steelhead Facility on Oct. 11 highlight efforts by Department of Natural Resources biologists to give Mother Nature an assist through the collection of eggs and milt to produce the next generation of fish for Lake Michigan stocking.

With the chinook often running 20 pounds or more, the process of egg and milt collection is no easy task. But for anglers and other salmon lovers, it's well worth the effort. The salmon are a mainstay of the Lake Michigan sport fishery and a delicious source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

"There's a reason chinook are known as king salmon and in Lake Michigan, they're at the top of the food chain, said Brad Eggold, Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor. "Through our rearing and stocking programs, we're making a strong fishery even better. The free open house events offer a chance for people to learn more about these fish and the great fall angling opportunities in our rivers and lakes. "

Mike Baumgartner, who supervises the Besadny facility in Kewaunee, said he anticipates visitors will be treated to a strong run of fish this year.

"Chinook populations remain strong and with the recent rain, we're expecting to see a lot of activity," Baumgartner said.

In addition to egg collection demonstrations, expert anglers also will be on hand to provide insights into Lake Michigan fishing, casting techniques and knot tying. The Besadny open house features an opportunity to adopt tagged fingerling sturgeon and participate in the river release of these young fish.

The events are free and open to the public and include food and beverages for sale as well as guided facility tours and activities geared to youth. Trails near the fish hatchery facilities offer opportunities for families to explore the river environment and enjoy wildlife and bird viewing.

The Oct. 4 event at the Besadny facility in Kewaunee runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The facility, on the Kewaunee River, was built in 1989-1990 and collects eggs from chinook and coho salmon as well as brown and steelhead or rainbow trout for rearing in a series of ponds. A processing building featuring a lobby with displays and a public viewing window was completed in 1996.

The Oct. 11 event at the Root River facility in Racine also runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The facility was built in 1992-1993 along the Root River by the DNR in partnership with the Salmon Unlimited fishing club. The hatchery serves as Wisconsin's primary source of steelhead eggs and brood (parent) stock and plays an important role in the collection of biological data relating to overall fish health, growth rates, migration patterns and other important information.

A third egg collection facility, Strawberry Creek Chinook Facility outside Sturgeon Bay, does not have an open house per se but all three facilities are open to the public during times when crews are processing fish.

The fall egg collection marks the start of DNR's propagation process. The eggs will be hatched and raised at DNR facilities until they are ready for stocking at about 4 months for chinook and at 1 1/2 years for coho, steelhead and brown trout. The different species are stocked according to the stage in their lifecycle at which naturally reproducing fish would normally leave the tributaries to live in Lake Michigan. That stage is much earlier for chinook.

The vast majority of fish populations in Wisconsin are naturally self-sustaining, but Lake Michigan chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout are not. The Pacific coast fish are not native to Wisconsin, but were stocked in the late 1960s to control alewives, an exotic species whose populations were exploding because sea lampreys had killed off their main predators.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Eggold, Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor, 414-382-7921, bradley.eggold@wisconsin.gov; Mike Baumgartner, C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility supervisor, michael.baumgartner@wisconsin.gov, 920-388-1025; Jennifer Sereno, jennifer.sereno@wisconsin.gov, 608-770-8084.

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Sturgeon fest highlights partnership between Wisconsin DNR, Riveredge Nature Center

MILWAUKEE -- With a goal of re-establishing sturgeon in the Milwaukee River, a nearly decade-long partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Riveredge Nature Center will again celebrate progress with Sturgeon Fest on Saturday, Sept. 27.

Sturgeon Fest
Youngsters enjoy activities at a previous Sturgeon Fest.
Contributed Photo

The free, family-oriented event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will be held at Lakeshore State Park in downtown Milwaukee. With hands-on activities, a scavenger hunt, a bouncy house obstacle course and educational displays, the event draws the young and the young at heart to learn more about Wisconsin's oldest and largest fish species.

Sturgeon release
A youngster gets ready to release a sturgeon at a previous Sturgeon Fest.
Contributed Photo

A suggested donation to the "Return the Sturgeon" restoration project allows participants to release a baby sturgeon into Lake Michigan.

"Lake sturgeon were abundant in Lake Michigan as recently as 150 years ago and they continue to provide us with important information on the changing Lake Michigan ecosystem," said Brad Eggold, Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor. "Today, thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers, our partners at Riveredge Nature Center and DNR staff, the Return of the Sturgeon Project promises to restore a reproducing sturgeon population to the Milwaukee River within 20 years."

Jessica Jens, executive director of Riveredge Nature Center, said the nature center's partnership with DNR and other organizations exemplifies the public-private collaboration that's needed to help preserve, protect and in some cases restore Wisconsin's rich natural heritage.

"For the past nine years, we've been working with DNR to collect sturgeon eggs during the annual spawning run in the Wolf River and raise the young sturgeon in a streamside rearing facility along the Milwaukee River," Jens said. "These efforts now produce approximately 1,200 fish each year. It's exciting to know that our efforts are contributing to what will be a reproducing population of lake sturgeon in the Milwaukee River for the first time since the late 1800s."

Free parking for Sturgeon Fest is available at designated Summerfest parking lots and a shuttle to Lakeshore Park will be available. The sturgeon release follows a 20 minute ceremony that starts at noon. The ceremony includes a blessing of the fish by a Native American representative.

To learn more about sturgeon, visit dnr.wi.gov and search for "lake sturgeon." For more about the festival, visit the Riveredge Nature Center website and search for "Sturgeon Fest" (both links exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Eggold, Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor, Bradley.Eggold@wisconsin.gov, 414-382-7921; Jessica Jens, Riveredge Nature Center executive director, jjens@riveredge.us, 262-375-2715; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov.

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Youth deer hunt Oct. 11-12 will provide great opportunity to introduce young hunters to the outdoors

MADISON -- Youth hunters and those interested in mentoring young hunters are reminded to mark their calendars for this year's youth deer hunt. This special hunt takes place Oct. 11-12 and state wildlife officials say it provides a valuable learning experience and great opportunity to introduce young hunters to one of the many outdoor opportunities Wisconsin has to offer.

The youth hunt allows boys and girls ages 10-15 to hunt with a gun or other legal weapon prior to the regular firearm seasons. The youth hunt is open to all resident and non-resident youth hunters with a gun deer license and appropriate tags.

"Deer hunting in Wisconsin is an exciting time of year, and the youth hunt is a perfect way to get young folks interested in the outdoors with an adult close by," said Keith Warnke, hunting and shooting sports coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Experienced hunters provide important guidance, advice, and instruction to help build a framework for constant safety improvement."

It is important to note that buck and antlerless deer permit tags included with a junior gun deer license are valid statewide for youth hunters.

All youth hunters must be accompanied by a mentor 18 years of age or older. Youth ages 12-15 with a hunter education certificate may hunt within visual and voice range of a mentor. When accompanying one or two youth ages 12-15 that have successfully completed hunter education, a mentor is not required to possess a hunter education certificate or a current hunting license.

Hunters ages 10 and 11, as well as those ages 12-15 that have not completed hunter education, may gain hunting experience under the Hunting Mentorship Program. This program requires youth to hunt within arm's reach of a qualified mentor who has completed hunter education and holds a current hunting license. Only one weapon may be possessed jointly between youth and mentor. Mentors may not hunt using a firearm during the youth deer hunt weekend, and must possess a valid Wisconsin hunting license for the current hunting season. License type does not matter, unless the mentor will be hunting other game.

Hunters of all ages are reminded to follow the four rules of firearm safety:

  • Treat every gun as if it were loaded;
  • Always point the muzzle in a safe direction;
  • Be sure of your target and beyond; and
  • Keep your finger out of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.

First-time hunters and those that have not purchased a license in at least 10 years are eligible for a discounted first-time buyer license. Visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "license" for more information.

As in previous years, those new to hunting can celebrate their first harvest with the official first deer certificate. Simply follow the instructions on the page to upload a photo of your first deer and describe your experience. For more information, and to create your own first deer certificate, search keywords "first deer."

To learn more about youth hunting and general deer season regulations, search keywords "youth hunt" and "deer" respectively.

All 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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, DNR hunting and shooting sports coordinator, 608-576-5243

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Sauk Prairie Recreation Area open Nov. 22-30 for deer hunting and other recreation activities

BLUFFVIEW, Wis. -- Portions of the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant, that are owned by the Department of Natural Resources, the Bluffview Sanitary District and the U.S. Army will again be open during the nine-day gun deer season Nov. 22-30. The DNR owns 3,400 acres of the more than 7,300-acre property.

"We're pleased to be able to open parts of this remarkable property to the public for a brief period so that hunters can participate in the November gun deer hunt tradition and non-hunters can also enjoy the late fall seasons here," said Steve Schmelzer, Devil's Lake State Park property manager who also oversees the recreation area.

All legal firearms for hunting in Sauk County as well as bow and arrow and crossbow will be legal for use in this hunting season. Hunters should check the 2014 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet for further information on legal weapons, daily hunting hours, and other material.

There are a number of changes in Wisconsin deer management and hunting rules for 2014 that also are detailed on the DNR's deer hunting webpages. Hunters should familiarize themselves with the new regulations before they head to the woods. The changes are intended to simplify hunting rules and provide hunters with more input to herd management and deer season structure. The DNR call center is staffed 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week to answer any questions.

In addition to deer hunting visitors may trap, hike, bird watch, pick mushrooms, berries, and apples, study nature, take photographs and other traditional outdoor activities. No fishing opportunities are available.

Visitors may drive, bike, or horseback ride only on roads within the complex that are designated as open. Parking is permitted only in established parking lots and on shoulders of open roads. No parking or driving on closed roads or in fields is allowed.

How to access the property

The public may access the area at the main gate off of U.S. Highway 12 and on state Highway 78 (Gate 7, just north of Kilpatrick Drive) daily one hour before shooting hours. The gates will close one hour after shooting hours. Shooting hours change slightly each day and can be found in the hunting regulations pamphlet or through the DNR's Official Guide for Wisconsin's Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife mobile app, which has replaced the retired Sunrise Sunset app that previously provided shooting hours.

No scouting access is allowed prior to the season. This is the only fall hunting opportunity on the property this year. Future hunting opportunities are being developed as part of the property master planning process currently underway.

Some areas remain closed to public access due to safety issues. No entry into these areas for any purpose is allowed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Dairy Forage Research Center lands are closed to hunting and all other public recreation activities. Visitors are asked to refrain from entering areas and roads closed by the Dairy Forage Research Center's and the U.S. Army.

The property will close to public access on Dec. 1 so that contractors can access the property to crush and consolidate concrete rubble from buildings around the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant site. The rubble will be used by the Department of Transportation in the reconstruction of U.S. Highway 12 next year.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Devil's Lake State Park, 608-356-8301 or Bob Manwell, DNR communications, 608-275-3317

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Sunrise-sunset app replaced by Wisconsin's fishing, hunting and wildlife app

MADISON - Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts who downloaded the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources original Sunrise-Sunset mobile app released back in 2012 need to upgrade their app to have current sunrise and sunset times.

The free Official Guide for Wisconsin's Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife (Wisconsin Pocket Ranger ® ), mobile app unveiled late last year is also the official upgrade for the sunrise-sunset app. The original 99-cent sunrise-sunset app is no longer supported and all its functions have been transferred to the new app.

This new version is available on iTunes and Android Market by searching "Wisconsin Pocket Ranger" from and Apple or Android mobile device. People can also find more information by visiting dnr.wi.gov, search keyword "mobile apps."

The sunrise-sunset calculator, now included in the Wisconsin Pocket Ranger ® , continues to help hunters check for legal hunting times and the regulations for any day but the new app also provides access to useful fishing, hunting and wildlife watching information in the palm of your hand.

With the new app, hunters and anglers will be able to locate Wisconsin's fishing, hunting and wildlife watching sites and gain immediate access to on-the-spot species profiles, rules, regulations, and permit and license details all from within a single mobile app.

"We greatly appreciate the support we had for of the original sunrise-sunset app. Now that it has been discontinued, we encourage you to download the new Wisconsin Pocket Ranger ® ," said Karl Brooks, DNR deputy chief warden.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Karl Brooks, 608-266-7820

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Wisconsin boaters and anglers work to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species

MADISON -- Wisconsin boaters and anglers have increased their compliance with regulations designed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, a new study shows.

According to the study, boaters and anglers surveyed in 2013 reported they were more likely to remove plants and animals and drain water from their craft before leaving a boat landing than those surveyed in 2009. The surveys were both conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.

"These results are good news," said Bob Wakeman, aquatic invasive species coordinator for DNR. "Boaters and anglers are taking the time to clean off their boats and trailers and drain water before moving to another water body. This means a lot to the protection of the state's lakes, rivers and wetlands."

DNR works with a variety of partners to help inform the boating public about aquatic invasive species control efforts. Anglers, hunters, recreational boaters and trappers all play a role in prevention by properly cleaning and draining equipment.

"Looks like the message has been sent and received, which is great news," said Mike Engleson, executive director of Wisconsin Lakes. Information about how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species can be found on signs at water access points and displays at public events. In recent years, volunteers have been stationed at boat landings to provide additional information to interested boaters.

The results of the survey also identified some areas where improved understanding of the aquatic invasive species law is needed. For example, a majority of boaters and anglers were unsure if they were required to perform certain preventive steps, such as disinfecting their watercraft. Boaters and anglers are not required to disinfect their boats, trailers and equipment.

"The results of this survey will help develop future outreach initiatives that will help clarify what boaters and anglers are required to do to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species," said Tim Campbell, a communication specialist for UW-Extension and DNR.

Overall, the survey showed boaters and anglers are aware of the environmental challenges related to aquatic invasive species. Additionally, their opinions indicate that preventing the spread of these unwanted species is important to them and compliance with the regulations is high.

"There is no doubt that these high levels of compliance are helping protect Wisconsin's water resources," Wakeman said. "We want to thank our boaters and anglers for doing their part to stop aquatic hitchhikers."

As a reminder, Wisconsin law requires boaters to:

  • Inspect boats, trailers and equipment.
  • Remove any attached aquatic plants or animals (before launching, after loading and before transporting on a public highway).
  • Drain all water from boats, motors, and all equipment.
  • Never move live fish away from a water body.

For more information on aquatic hitchhikers, visit DNR.wi.gov and search for "aquatic invasives." An executive summary of the survey [PDF] can be found on the UW-Extension website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Wakeman, 262-574-2149, robert.wakeman@wisconsin.gov; Tim Campbell, 608-267-3531, tbcampbell2@wisc.edu.

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Timber sales from state lands create record value for Wisconsin

MADISON -- Record timber sales from state lands during fiscal 2014 reflect continued progress toward improving forest health and diversity while contributing nearly $12 million to support habitat management, recreation and other work by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Paul DeLong, chief state forester, said timber sales totaled more than $11.7 million during fiscal year 2014, up nearly 9 percent from the $10.8 million during fiscal 2013 and up 126 percent from the levels of a decade ago. The numbers highlight the value of the select hardwoods and other timber that covers state lands while offering important insights into the need for continued forest management to maintain healthy and diverse wildlife populations, protect key watersheds and provide opportunities for public recreation.

The timber sales were generated from state forests, fish and wildlife properties, state parks and other properties.

"Our state forests and other lands are managed based on long-term plans that balance current environmental, social and economic benefits while ensuring opportunities for future generations," DeLong said. "The plans are based on scientific best practices and integrate input from wildlife experts, ecologists, water quality specialists, recreational interests and citizens statewide."

The record timber sales reflect in part the fact that the department has been working hard to reduce a backlog of timber sales needed to implement objectives outlined in master plans for state properties. Despite these record sales, Wisconsin's state-owned forests keep growing, adding a net 11 million cubic feet of saw timber each year. Similarly, forests in all ownership categories throughout the state are adding a net 185 million cubic feet of saw timber annually or enough to frame about 139,000 homes.

"Wood is a wonderful renewable resource and our forests are one of Wisconsin's great natural assets," DeLong said.

DeLong said Wisconsin has a diversity of forests types and management objectives spanning the array of public and private lands. From wilderness areas and old growth forest to thriving young forests, that diversity means the state's 17 million acres of forests provide a wide array of benefits to the people of Wisconsin.

"On our state lands, our long-term management plans respond to the feedback we receive from our citizens regarding the benefits they want to see. Fortunately, we are able to manage forests to produce a wide array of benefits, from wood products to diverse wildlife habitats and recreational settings," DeLong said. "Given the importance of the forest products industry to our state's economy, it is a real plus that our state-owned forests will continue to deliver high yields from timber sales that help power the economy in many rural communities throughout the state."

Overall, Wisconsin's public and private lands generate forest products valued at nearly $19 billion each year and support more than 46,800 jobs based on numbers from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

To learn more, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "timber sale."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul DeLong, chief state forester, 608-264-9224, paul.delong@wisconsin.gov; Jennifer Sereno, communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.sereno@wisconsin.gov

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Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership sets sights on working together to enhance young forest habitat

MADISON -- A partnership between county, state and federal agencies, non-profit conservation organizations, and forestry companies has formed with the goal of enhancing young forest habitat in Wisconsin.

"This partnership is unprecedented in Wisconsin," says Jeremy Holtz, Chairman of the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership Steering Committee. "Together we have already begun to make a difference for many wildlife species reliant on young forest habitat."

Members of the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership include the U. S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin County Forests Association, Wildlife Management Institute, American Bird Conservancy, Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and The Forestland Group, LLC.

This group will work to identify, promote and deliver conservation programs that assist landowners with land management through the use of combined resources between agencies, organizations and companies. Through a focus on increasing young forest habitat, wildlife populations dependent on these early successional forests will be provided with additional habitat in the hopes of increasing their range throughout the state.

The Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership will educate and encourage public and private landowners to consider options that will enhance young forest habitat. "Many private landowners are eager to increase the amount and variety of wildlife on their land" says Holtz. "We provide them with the information they seek, and direct them to habitat programs that help fund those projects."

According to DNR Private Forestry Specialist Carol Nielsen, many of the 360,000 private woodland owners in Wisconsin include wildlife habitat as one of their top goals. Working together to meet the needs of these woodland owners and wildlife is a win-win situation.

For more information regarding young forest habitat and what you can do to help restore habitat in Wisconsin, visit www.youngforest.org/wi [exit DNR].

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeremy Holtz, DNR wildlife biologist and Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership Steering Committee Chairman, 715-365-8999; Carol Nielsen, DNR private forestry specialist, 608-267-7508; Callie Bertsch, Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership habitat coordinator, 715-362-5941; Scott Walter, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, at 608-267-7861

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DNR tree, shrub seedlings available for sale October 6

MADISON -- Private landowners should start planning now for next spring's tree planting projects.

Tree and shrub seedlings go on sale at the Department of Natural Resources beginning October 6. Orders are accepted on-line and applications also are available at all DNR offices.

"This valuable program gives landowners the opportunity to grow forest products for the future while creating wildlife habitat and promoting conservation practices," said Pat Murphy, DNR nursery team leader. "Cost-sharing may be available to eligible landowners to help defray the cost of seedlings and site preparation."

The minimum purchase is a packet of 300 trees and/or shrubs, 500 shrubs or 1,000 trees. Stock may only be used for conservation purposes. Contact your local DNR forester for tree planting assistance.

Murphy said the seedlings will be distributed next April and May.

For ordering information, call Griffith State Nursery at 715-424-3700 or go to the DNR website dnr.gov.wi and search "tree planting."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Pat Murphy, nursery team leader, 715-839-3760; Joanne Haas, DNR public affairs manager, 608-209-8147

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The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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Last Revised: Tuesday, September 23, 2014