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Weekly News Published - August 26, 2014 by the Central Office

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County Deer Advisory Councils will provide great opportunity for local input and deer herd management throughout Wisconsin

MADISON -- Planning for the 2015 deer hunting season is underway, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Conservation Congress encourage anyone interested in discussing their local deer herd to attend a County Deer Advisory Council meeting this fall.

Each CDAC will meet in September, October, and December to determine a three-year deer population goal of increase, decrease, or stabilize.

"County Deer Advisory Councils will give folks the opportunity to become directly involved in managing deer in their county," said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist. "The creation of CDACs is something that has never been done before - we're anxious and excited to be working with a wide range of stakeholders."

In 2014, council meetings will be held at designated locations in all 72 counties. Meeting locations will be arranged locally, and all will begin at 7 p.m. Each council is made up of members who represent various stakeholder groups impacted by deer, including hunters, tourism, agriculture, forestry and others. Each county's meetings will be chaired by a Conservation Congress delegate.

DNR County Deer Advisory Councils are part of an effort to provide for more public input on deer management issues and give stakeholders greater responsibility in managing local deer numbers.

Council meetings will develop recommendations to the DNR regarding deer population objectives in their respective county, antlerless quotas, and season structure options. Through their participation, CDAC members and meeting participants will be given a direct stake in managing Wisconsin's deer herd.

Three meetings will be held this fall, as will happen every three years, to develop deer herd population objective recommendations to the department. Councils will meet each spring to develop antlerless deer harvest quotas for deer hunting seasons and consider various strategies to meet population objectives.

Local department staff will be on hand to present information and answer any questions and discuss possible strategies for managing the local deer herd.

Those unable to attend a local meeting will be able to view meeting agendas and minutes on the department's website.

To find a meeting location in your area [PDF] and learn more about County Deer Advisory Councils, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CDAC."

Deer hunters and those interested in helping manage their local deer herd are encouraged to check out the frequently asked questions [PDF] document for any questions regarding councils. To view a more general FAQ page, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "deer."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589

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2014 Wisconsin wild rice harvest season outlook

MADISON - Reports on the abundance of wild rice across northern Wisconsin vary for the 2014 ricing season, but the season outlook is generally fair, according to state and tribal biologists. Overall, rice maturity will be later due to this year's weather patterns, and rice found within river systems may be maturing slightly earlier than rice found within lakes and flowages.

"Harvesting wild rice is a great way to obtain a local, healthy food source while enjoying the outdoors with friends and family," said Jason Fleener, wetland habitat specialist for the Department of Natural Resources. "Those hoping to find ripe rice during Labor Day weekend may have to do some homework to find areas where rice is ready for harvest."

The 2013 wild rice season resulted in a statewide harvest near the long-term average at over 30 pounds of green rice per trip.

Very few waters will contain rice that is mature for harvest by the end of August. Many waters may reach peak rice maturity later into September this year.

Scouting and research will be the key to finding good rice beds that are ready at the right time, Fleener said. Waters that were productive in recent years may be producing less rice due to a number of factors, such as nutrient cycling and changes in water flow, water levels, water quality, weather, and wave action.

Waters that were once poor rice producers may be good this year. Speaking to local ricers or rice finishers is a good way to find out when rice is ready for harvesting. Wild rice is considered ripe when it begins to fall off the stalk with little effort stroking the flails (ricing sticks) across the rice plants. If very little rice is falling with gentle effort, ricers should consider finding a new area to harvest, or consider returning at a later time to prevent damage to rice beds that are not mature.

Wild Rice waters are divided into two separate categories for harvest: date-regulated and non-date-regulated. A total of 51 date-regulated lakes are located within the Chippewa Indian Ceded Territory in off-reservation areas in the northern part of the state. One exception is Lake Noquebay in Marinette County, a date-regulated lake outside of the Ceded Territory.

Opening harvest dates for date-regulated waters are determined jointly by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and tribal officials. The season will last 60 consecutive days on these waters, and all date-regulated waters will be posted at boat landings and access points at least 24 hours in advance of opening day.

Lake openers and a list of date-regulated lakes will be posted on the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission's Wild Rice website data.glifwc.org/manoomin.harvest.info [exit DNR] at least 24 hours prior to season openers. This webpage also provides rice abundance information for each body of water listed, based on aerial and ground survey information from this summer. Lake openings will be updated regularly throughout the harvest season.

Several date-regulated waters are expected to be closed for the 2014 season due to an absence or lack of rice. Closures are necessary to protect and replenish seed stock to help promote rice growth in future years.

Ricers may encounter other recreationalists on the water, including anglers, boaters, and early season teal hunters. Boaters are encouraged to respect rice beds by creating no wake in the vicinity of these beds and avoiding direct contact when possible.

For more information regarding wild rice licensing and harvest regulations, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "wild rice." Those interested in receiving wild rice updates vía email may sign up online.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Fleener, DNR wetland habitat specialist, 608-266-7408.

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Short course golf learning center opens at Peninsula State Park

FISH CREEK, Wis. - A new six-hole golf course intended to help introduce people to the sport of golf will open this week at Peninsula State Park in Door County.

The new course will complement the existing 18-hole course and driving range already in operation at the park. The Peninsula Golf Course has been in existence since 1921 and is the only golf course in the state park system.

Peninsula Short Course
A couple of young people tee off on the new Peninsula State Park Short Course, a new course designed to introduce students and newcomers to the sport of golf.
WDNR Photo

The Short Course was developed by Lohman Golf Design and will be managed by the Peninsula Golf Association, which operates the existing course and driving range. The association coordinated fundraising for the new course, raising $600,000 in donations for its construction.

"This is a shining example of the importance of partnerships our state parks have with their communities and the local organizations and friends groups that support our parks," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "This new Short Course will expand the opportunities for the local community as well as the more than one million people who visit Peninsula State Park each year."

The short, six-hole golf course was designed especially for the beginning golfers regardless of age or ability, who want to learn the game of golf in a setting that is realistic but not as intimidating as a regulation course. It was built on what had been a hole on the existing 18-hole course that was abandoned in the 1950s. The new Short Course brings that parcel back to a golf venue.

The Short Course is unique with only one or two others of its kind in the state. The holes are short, the longest being just 110 yards, the greens are undulating, and the bunkers strategically placed so that many facets of the game can be practiced. The course will serve youth and school groups who want to learn the game of golf and life lessons through golf, in addition to adults who want to learn the game and people with disabilities who find it difficult to golf on the 18-hole course.

The Peninsula Golf Associates, Inc., formed in 1982, is a non-profit organization that oversees the management and operations of the Peninsula State Park Golf Course through a lease agreement with the Department of Natural Resources. The PGA has made many improvements to the golf course and its facilities such that it has become a premier place to golf for residents and tourists alike. The association held a dedication ceremony for the newly constructed Short Course earlier this month when it had originally hoped to open the course, but the long, cold winter and less than ideal growing conditions this spring have delayed the course opening.

The Short Course development was 100 percent funded by private donations from Peninsula Golf Association members, the Wadsworth Golf Charities Foundation, the Raibrook Foundation and private family foundations and individual donors.

The course will open to the public on Thursday, August 28. The hours of operation through fall season will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fees are $8 for adult with a $5 replay fee, $5 for juniors with a $3 replay. Rental clubs area available for $5 and push carts for $3.

For more information about Peninsula State Park search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "Peninsula." For more information about Peninsula State Park Golf Courses, visit the Peninsula Golf Associates website at www.peninsulagolf.org (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kelli Bruns, Peninsula State Park superintendent at 920-868-3258

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Wisconsin wolf social survey results now available on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website

MADISON - The results of a statewide social survey on attitudes toward wolves are now available on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' website.

Participants from throughout Wisconsin took part in the department's survey. With a large scope and cross-section of respondents, the department was able to gather a great deal of information regarding attitudes toward wolves in Wisconsin.

These survey data provide an important piece of information, and will be used in conjunction with other data and public input to help inform Wisconsin's wolf management decisions.

The department would like to acknowledge the Wolf Advisory Committee, thousands of survey respondents, and a number of stakeholders and volunteers throughout Wisconsin for their continued involvement and assistance with wolf management in Wisconsin.

The "Public Attitudes towards Wolves and Wolf Management in Wisconsin [PDF]" social survey data are available on the department website. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "gray wolf." The survey results can be found within the "publications and reports" section.

The report is in draft format, and an external group of researchers will be asked to review it prior to finalization to ensure unbiased methods and results.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: David MacFarland, DNR large carnivore specialist, 715-365-8917

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Three new trails open to hikers, bikers this summer in Wisconsin

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: Zeloski Marsh trail opening delayed. Heavy rains early in the week have forced a delay in the announced opening of a new 2.5 mile bike and hiking trail in the Zeloski Marsh unit of the Lake Mills State Wildlife Area. The trail was to have opened Sept. 1. No date for the trail opening is available at this time.

MADISON - Hikers and bicyclists have additional trails to explore in Wisconsin this summer and fall with the opening of three new trails this summer.

In July, an 8-mile paved trail was completed through the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest connecting the communities of Manitowish Waters and Boulder Junction. With the completion of this section the paved trail system in Vilas County stretches for approximately 45 miles, running almost to Eagle River. The paved trails began with the first segment connecting North Trout campground to the town of Boulder Junction, funded with a combination of Stewardship and Wisconsin Department of Transportation funding. The new section was primarily funded by the Manitowish Waters Trail Foundation (exit DNR).

The Department of Natural Resources contributed forest land for most of the trail and a gravel pit to provide construction material. The trail goes through some rustic parts of the forests and across some wetlands. One of the main features of the trail are long boardwalks that cross wetlands and Rice Creek.

And as of last weekend, cyclists can ride more easily between Tomahawk and Minocqua with the completion of phase one of the Bearskin and Hiawatha trail connection.

DNR finished building a 6-mile connector stretch that joins the two major trails together in August. The total ride is 32 miles, almost all of which is on designated bike trail. There are still 4.5 miles of riding on county roads; future plans for the project would replace those sections with bike trail in phase 2.

The 18 mile Bearskin State Trail was completed in the late 70s and the Hiawatha Trail was completed in 1989. Both trails use an old railroad corridor and are used in the summer for biking and hiking and in the winter as a snowmobile trail.

Zeloski Marsh bike trail
Zeloski Marsh bike trail. Click on image for larger size.
WDNR Photo

On September 1, (the opening has been delayed by heavy rain earlier this week) a new 2.5 mile recreational trail on the Zeloski Marsh Unit of the Lake Mills Wildlife Area in Jefferson County is set to open. The new trail will connect a planned Jefferson County's London Road bicycle route with the Glacial Drumlin State Trail.

Construction of the bicycle trail was envisaged in the Glacial Heritage Area master plan approved by the Natural Resources Board in 2009. The Glacial Heritage Area is a coordinated series of parks, preserves, wildlife and natural areas and other conservation lands that are linked together and to nearby cities and villages with different types of trails.

The new trail will provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities for cyclists and hikers, according to Mark Witecha, a DNR wildlife biologist who oversees the property.

A state trail pass is required for bicyclists on the Bearskin and Glacial Drumlin state trails but the pass in not required for the Manitowish Waters-Boulder Junction trail or the Zeloski Marsh trail.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Holtan, public affairs manager, 608-267-7517

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Master Planning begins for the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area and nearby properties

MADISON -- The public will have an opportunity to provide input on future management of the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area and three additional nearby state properties at an upcoming public meeting.

The Department of Natural Resources is initiating a master planning process for the Horicon-Shaw Planning Group in Dodge County.

At more than 33,000 acres, Horicon Marsh is the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States. The marsh in renowned for its migrant flocks of Canada geese and is also home to more than 305 kinds of birds that have been sighted over the years. It is recognized as a Wetland of International Importance, as both Globally and State Important Bird Areas, and is also a unit of the Ice Age Scientific Reserve.

The northern two-thirds of Horicon Marsh is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as the 22,000 acre Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The southern third of the marsh is managed by the DNR as the 11,000-acre Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area.

Other properties included in the planning process include the Shaw Marsh Wildlife Area, Sinnissippi Public Hunting Ground and Horicon Rough Fish Station.

The DNR will hold the public meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 10 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center, N7725 Highway 28, Horicon. DNR staff will explain the planning process and invite public to provide input about the future management and any important issues that should be addressed in the master plan.

The meeting agenda is as follows:

  • 5:30-6:15 p.m.: open house with informational displays will be available and staff will be present for one-on-one questions and discussion;
  • 6:15-6:30 p.m.: formal presentation providing an overview of the draft regional and property analysis and preliminary vision and goals;
  • 6:30-6:45 p.m.: question-and-answer: staff will take questions from the floor;
  • 6:45-7:30 p.m.: additional open house with informational displays will be available and staff will be present for one-on-one questions and discussion.

DNR staff prepared a regional and property analysis is that helps set the stage for a future master plan by providing background information about a group of properties. The analysis describes how the properties fit in to larger recreational, socio-economic, and ecological contexts. They have also developed vision and goals that are broad, concise statements that describe the general desired future state, function, and conditions on the properties.

The regional and property analysis, preliminary vision and goals, maps, and other background information, will be available for viewing at the public meeting. They can also be viewed online at: dnr.wi.gov, keyword search "master planning," then click on "Horicon-Shaw Planning Group.

Those without access to the Internet may view copies of the RPA at the DNR Horicon Service Center and at the Beaver Dam, Horicon, Hustisford, Mayville, and Waupun public libraries.

Comments or questions about these documents can be offered at the public meetings or submitted to: Bret Owsley by mail at N7725 Highway 28, Horicon, WI 53032, by phone at 920-387-7874, or by email at bret.owsley@wisconsin.gov; or Yoyi Steele by mail at 101 S. Webster Street, WM/6, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, by phone at 608-266-8169, or by email at yoyi.steele@wisconsin.gov

The DNR will receive comments through Friday, Oct. 10, 2014.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bret Owsley, Area Wildlife Supervisor, Horicon, 920-387-7874; Yoyi Steele, Planner, Madison, 608-266-8169

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Wisconsin DNR proposes to scale back its own gypsy moth suppression efforts

MADISON -- The success of gypsy moth control efforts over the past decade may open up new opportunities for the private sector as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources considers phasing out its control program and encouraging communities to work with local contractors when scattered infestations appear.

Designed to reduce existing high gypsy moth populations so they don't cause heavy tree defoliation, the DNR Gypsy Moth suppression program is one of two state programs that have been very successful at keeping gypsy moth numbers in check. In recent years, DNR's suppression program has combated gypsy moth infestations throughout the eastern two-thirds of Wisconsin.

Although the DNR is considering phasing out its suppression program, the Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection will continue a separate initiative that focuses on delaying the spread or introduction of the gypsy moth in the western third of the state. This "Slow the Spread" initiative will continue to use aerial spraying methods as a way to slow down the movement of gypsy moth into new areas.

Andrea Diss-Torrance, a DNR plant pest and disease specialist, said at the peak of its efforts in 2004, the department sprayed some 50,000 acres in Eastern Wisconsin to control the gypsy moth. The invasive pest defoliates trees during its caterpillar stage and can devastate forests and urban landscapes if left unchecked.

However, easy methods to detect increasing local populations of the pest, effective biological controls such as the gypsy moth specific fungus Entomophaga maimaiga and targeted pesticides have given Wisconsin foresters and communities the upper hand. Demand for suppression spraying has decreased since 2004, and in 2014, DNR's control program treated just 29 acres in south Central Wisconsin.

As the need for the suppression spray program has decreased, forest health program staff members have turned their attention to increased demand for assistance in dealing with new invasive pests and diseases. Diss-Torrance said growing demand for assistance with the emerald ash borer makes private sector involvement all the more important in the fight against gypsy moths.

"The spread of the emerald ash borer now requires at least as much time as we used to spend on gypsy moths," Diss-Torrance said. "With the advent of private aerial applicators and more effective treatment options, gypsy moth control is not something only the state can do."

To help in the transition, DNR staff members have already prepared guidance on detecting increasing gypsy moth populations and control options for yards, communities and woodlots including how to set up an aerial spray. All of this assistance is available through Wisconsin's Cooperative Gypsy Moth website, gypsymoth.wi.gov (exit DNR).

Diss-Torrance credited state and community foresters for important advances in the suppression efforts in recent years, including detection of increasing populations of gypsy moth before they become a problem.

"By counting gypsy moth egg masses, a forester can estimate potential damage nine months before the caterpillars can cause it. This is plenty of time to set up treatment to prevent defoliation of trees in a community or woodlot," Diss-Torrance said. "Although the gypsy moth will never be eradicated from our state, collaboration among DNR, DATCP and local governments has controlled the damage this pest can do. The need for suppression of outbreaks has become more localized and is now best handled through local contracting."

Following Natural Resources Board approval, DNR will move forward to propose options for deactivating the gypsy moth suppression program, including consideration of how to handle potential future outbreaks on state-owned lands. DNR staff members intend to present a plan for public comment and feedback by early December. For more information about current control efforts, visit dnr.wi.gov and search for "gypsy moth."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrea Diss-Torrance, plant pest and disease specialist, 608-264-9247, Andrea.Disstorrance@wisconsin.gov; Rebecca Gray, forest health program supervisor, 608-275-3273, Rebecca.Gray@Wisconsin.gov; Jennifer Sereno, communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov.

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De Pere, Chilton receive awards to start cleanup of contaminated properties

MADISON - Old contaminated properties in two northeastern Wisconsin communities are on track for future cleanup and redevelopment thanks to awards from the Department of Natural Resources.

The awards - each valued between $20,000 to $40,000 - come from DNR's Wisconsin Assessment Monies Contractor Services program. The awards are not grants or loans, but instead pay for the cost of environmental assessments at closed or closing industrial sites, which help ready them for reuse.

"These WAM Awards help get contaminated properties back into the economic asset column for communities," said Darsi Foss, director of the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program. "They are especially helpful for smaller communities because the work that's produced might be leveraged against other sources of funding."

The DNR's WAM award to the city of De Pere is to help assess a 14-plus acre site known locally as the O'Keefe property. The site has a long history of manufacturing and industrial uses, including welding, fabrication and steel recovery.

In Chilton, the WAM award will be put to use at a 4.4 acre site along the South Branch Manitowoc River that was home to Chilton Plating for more than four decades. Two years ago, the U.S. EPA removed hundreds of drums and vats of hazardous waste. The city and its partner, Austin Management Services, LLC, will use the award to help define the extent of contamination and determine what's necessary to perform a cleanup, helping the city market the site for future development.

The agency's WAM awards are administered by the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program. They are no-cost consulting services to the recipient, and therefore require minimal effort by the awardee. This program is especially useful because there is no match or project administration involved.

Applications can be submitted for the program at any time. Eligible sites include closed or closing manufacturing plants and vacant land with a history of manufacturing. Gas stations, dry cleaners, salvage yards and agricultural coops are not eligible.

For more information, search the DNR website for "WAM".

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Darsi Foss, DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program Director, 608-267-6713

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Comment period extended to Oct. 31 for Lake Michigan Integrated Fisheries Management plan

MADISON -- The long-term fisheries management plan for Wisconsin's Lake Michigan waters is being updated and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is extending the public comment period through the end of October to allow more stakeholders a chance to provide feedback.

DNR fisheries biologists hosted four public meetings in early August in Peshtigo, Green Bay, Cleveland and Milwaukee.

"We received a lot of good feedback from the public that we will be able to use," said Brad Eggold, Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor. "However, a number of folks in the charter fishing industry on the lake were unable to look over the plan and provide feedback this summer due to their heavy seasonal work schedule. We want to be sure that all those who want to provide feedback on this important 10-year plan have the opportunity to do so."

The plan will guide Wisconsin's Lake Michigan fisheries management for the next 10 years. "Over the last 10 years we have made good progress and accomplished much of what we set out to do in our previous plan."

However, over the last decade Lake Michigan has undergone major ecological changes and is less productive due to the arrival and proliferation of the exotic quagga mussel. These small freshwater invertebrates remove large quantities of plankton as they filter the water, short circuiting the food chain and ultimately leaving less for prey fish to eat.

Beyond the difficulties caused by invasive species, a looming challenge involves the need to renovate the fish production system, including the Kettle Moraine State Fish Hatchery, which produces all the steelhead rainbow trout stocked in Lake Michigan.

"Given the challenges and opportunities before us, input from anglers and others is critical in developing a plan that keeps Lake Michigan healthy and reflects the interests of sport and commercial fishing interests," Eggold said.

Many stakeholders attended the meetings to learn more and provide input on the plan. As reminder, attendees who spoke on the record will have their comments reflected in the final plan; others who attended and still wish to comment may do so by submitting feedback via email or mail. By extending the comment period from the end of August to Oct. 31, DNR fisheries biologists aim to encourage comments from an even larger group. Comments can be sent by email to DNRLakeMichiganPlan@wisconsin.gov or by mail to: Wisconsin DNR, Attn: David Boyarski, 110 S. Neenah Ave., Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235.

Details of the plan can be found on the DNR website dnr.wi.gov by searching for keywords "Lake Michigan plan."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Eggold, Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor, southern unit, Bradley.Eggold@wisconsin.gov; 414-382-7921; David Boyarski, Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor, northern unit, David.Boyarski@wisconsin.gov; 920-746-2865; Jennifer Sereno, communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov.

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DNR Public Access Lands atlas is perfect for finding public lands to hunt, view fall colors, and enjoy other fall activities

MADISON - With fall colors, hunting seasons, and cooler weather approaching, outdoor enthusiasts are reminded to check out the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' Public Access Lands atlas.

Whether someone is looking for new public hunting grounds or a spot for a fall picnic, the atlas is a great tool for finding new public lands. People can download and print the maps free of charge from a home computer.

"There is no better time than fall in Wisconsin to explore new places and spend time creating new memories in the outdoors," said DNR facilities and lands bureau director Steve Miller. "The PAL atlas is one of several new tools the department has made available to the public to find unique and interesting public places to enjoy their outdoor recreational pursuits."

The PAL atlas contains 441 maps, two indexes, a glossary, and extensive contact information to help you connect with land managers to learn more about the properties. The atlas identifies state, county, federal and others accessible to the public. Hunters are reminded to contact landowners beforehand to verify that hunting is allowed on a given property.

The University Book Store's digital storefront provides a web-based option for those interested in purchasing a PAL Atlas. The original PAL Atlas, with 441 maps, two indexes and a glossary is available for $89.95. A separate PAL atlas is also available for each of Wisconsin's 72 counties for $24.95. Lastly, a DVD with over 450 pages of public lands access data is available for $5.95.

For orders using a check, a mail order form is available on the University Book Store's website. Please do not send cash or credit card information with a mail order form.

To place an order by phone using a credit card, call: 1-800-993-2665 EXT 5929. In order to simplify the purchasing process, be sure to mention the item number (099127660) in your call.

For more general information, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "atlas." To order the Public Access Lands Atlas via DNR's website, simply click the "buy" button.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Doug Haag, DNR real estate director, 608-266-2136

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Natural gas pipeline lateral project may result in the incidental take of rare species

MADISON -- Construction of a new natural gas lateral in west central Wisconsin may result in the "incidental taking" of several rare species under an authorization the Department of Natural Resources proposes to issue for the project. Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the overall population of the species at risk.

Wisconsin Gas LLC (Wisconsin Gas) proposes to construct a new natural gas lateral, referred to as the West Central Lateral Project, in order to provide a reliable supply to existing customers and meet future demand.

The presence of the state threatened prairie leafhopper (Polyamia dilata), state endangered phlox moth (Schinia indiana), state threatened frosted elfin (Callophrys irus), and state threatened wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) have been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of these species; however, they concluded that the proposed project will minimize the impacts to the species by adhering to conservation measures; is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of these species or the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.

The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered/threatened species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the species are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Rori Paloski at 608-264-6040. Public comments will be taken through Sept. 9, 2014 and should be sent to Rori Paloski, Conservation Biologist, WDNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Cosh, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2273

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The Weekly News is updated every Tuesday at noon.
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Last Revised: Tuesday, August 26, 2014