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Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

December 2006

Readers Write

Bone to Pick
Something Fishy About That Smallmouth
Outreach Key To Wetland Protection
Growing A Legacy Begins With Basics
Praise For Stellar Publication
Kettle Moraine Pines Questioned
Update: Scouting The Borer

Bone to Pick

I greatly enjoyed your recipe section in the August 2006 issue (Come and get it!). However, in the poached walleye recipe (which is delicious), the submitter suggested trying the recipe with perch or crappie, but not with "softer" fish, like bass and bluegill. I have caught, filleted and cooked about every species for over 60 years. I've surprised many with a meal of skinned bass fillets, when they thought they were eating walleye, and they raved about it.

Both bass and bluegill flesh is firmer than crappie. don't get me wrong, I enjoy them all. Here is how I rate them for firmness: firm – walleye, bass, perch, bluegill and northern pike; softer – crappie, catfish, white bass, trout and bullheads.

If you learn how to fillet a northern with no "Y" bones, it is great. Melted butter for dipping seems a must!

Jim Cox

Something Fishy about that Smallmouth

I was born in 1934 in Rice Lake. When I was six years old my dad bought me a casting rod and reel. One day I was fishing with my father and grandfather in back of the old canning factory and caught my first fish – a four-pound northern. I was hooked, as most young kids are – fishing was in my blood. One day in 1947 I was casting for smallmouth bass below the Allen St. bridge on the Red Cedar River. After catching three or four small ones, I pulled one in that had a small white string hanging out of its mouth. It looked like a fish tapeworm so I didn't keep it or throw it back. There was a sewer pipe coming from the milk creamery into the river near there. I wonder if what I saw was a fish tapeworm.

Richard Kortsch

Normally, bass tapeworm larvae stay in the flesh of the fish and adult worms develop in the intestine. But small tapeworms have been known to migrate to other locations in the fish, for reasons unknown. DNR's fish health specialist Sue Marcquenski recently examined a largemouth bass from a northern Wisconsin lake that had small tapeworms attached to the gill area and extending through the mouth. It is very possible that the worm you saw in the 1940s was a tapeworm. Eating the fillet is not a human health concern as long as the fish are cooked thoroughly. To prevent spreading this parasite or other fish diseases, infected fish or entrails should never be returned to the water and should be buried or disposed of in the garbage.

Outreach Key to Wetland Protection

As a yearly Conservation Patron, I am a regular reader and have enjoyed many articles in your magazine. Your recent article by Patricia Trochlell, Wetter – or not! (August 2006) was quite well done and of particular interest to me.

I am the president of an ecological consulting firm that works on a daily basis with Wisconsin DNR staff and landowners on both simple and complex wetland issues across Wisconsin and the Midwest. This article is a great example of efforts by DNR staff to educate the public on what is, and perhaps just as importantly what is not, a wetland. Too often the public is unaware of why wetlands are important and what regulations are in place to protect wetland resources. Although the science of wetlands and the associated regulatory environment are often complex, continued education is critical to further public understanding of the importance of wetland functions and values on the landscape.

In the last 10 years I have seen an increasing number of wetland educational opportunities offered by the public and private sectors as well as conservation organizations. These efforts are beginning to bring about a change in thinking. One example? Construction projects that propose to preserve and enhance wetlands as part of the residential or commercial development. Although many accomplishments have been made, there is room for improvement. Ongoing education and outreach will be the key to public understanding of wetland resources and your recent article is one additional step in the right direction.

Scott Storlid
Natural Resources Consulting, Inc.
Cottage Grove

Growing a Legacy Begins with Basics

We enjoy your magazine. I applaud the articles on trees, The forest where we live: Growing a Legacy, in the August 2006 issue that mentions the benefits of trees and includes information about champion trees.

I have a concern about a photo on page two showing a man and a boy planting a tree whose roots are still in a wire basket. A tree in a basket will never be a champion tree. In fact, according to Dr. Laura Jull, woody ornamental specialist for UW-Extension, you should NOT plant a tree in such baskets and should remove all burlap and twine as well. Trees in baskets develop girdled roots and die. My husband and I have first-hand experience.

Two years ago we purchased a home, and I noticed that several trees were planted strangely. They had mulch like a volcano around them and looked like they were just plopped in the soil. The trees had large trunks but not a lot of branches. We rented a metal detector and sure enough, the trees in decline were all in baskets. We began to dig around and remove them. The tree root balls were still bundled in the intact baskets!

It is unfortunate that people are spending a lot of money planting trees in baskets that will be doomed to a short lifespan. Improperly planted trees will never be a legacy and will be in decline within a few years. I certainly do not want anyone to have the same unfortunate experience as we have had.

Mary Lou Qualler

The first version of The forest where we live, published in October 2002, served as more of a guide on tree care. It included a story, Anchoring roots the right way, that provided detailed planting instructions about removing containers and cutting back burlap and baskets as you describe. Your suggestion is well taken. The tree in the photo you described is being rolled into place but the hole isn't quite ready for planting.

Praise for Stellar Publication

I absolutely loved the latest publication on urban forestry. The cover photo totally grabbed me and away I went. It was just great – well written, well designed and I especially loved the quote by Kim Sebastian about why we are drawn to parks, neighborhoods – perhaps it's because of the trees. It got me thinking about the places I love and it's absolutely true. You all should be really pleased with this work. It is stellar!

Julie Graziano

Kettle Moraine Pines Questioned

I was reading the article 100 years of Wisconsin Forestry (February 2004), and have a question. Does anyone know when and why the Kettle Moraine State Forest, and the Richard Bong State Recreation Area near Kenosha, were planted with pine trees? My husband and at least one of the Bong employees recall planting trees at the Bong site when they were at Burlington High School about 40 years ago. Neither of them remembers much about it but have some recollection that their high school biology teacher was instrumental in the project.

Janet Leffelman
Libertyville, Illinois

Forester Mike Sieger recalls that tree planting began in 1941 on the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Southern Unit shortly after the lands were acquired. Conifers were planted on former field areas to increase the forested area of this property. Wisconsin foresters had been replanting extensively through the late 1920s and 1930s to reforest lands that were cut-over and burned in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Conifer species, especially white and red pine, were readily available from state nurseries, so they were the primary trees planted. A couple of sites were planted with jack pine, and white and Norway spruce. Hardwood planting simply wasn't being done. Most of the planting occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. Tree planting was halted in the early 1970s until a master plan could be prepared to guide further management. The master plan was finalized in 1991, and tree planting resumed on this property, following guidelines in the plan. Planting on the property is now dominated by hardwoods (red and white oak, black cherry, occasionally others) with lesser numbers of conifers mixed for wildlife benefit and aesthetic diversity.

Randy Cooper, forester at the Richard Bong Recreation Area since 1989, offered this explanation for pine plantings on that property: The spruce and pine windbreaks were planted by wildlife staff in the mid 1970s when the property was a wildlife area. The site was wide open and provided little cover. After Bong was designated as a recreation area in the late 1970s, numerous trees and shrubs, primarily hardwoods were planted through the mid 1990s in the campgrounds and picnic areas. More recently, conifer planting has been generally avoided at Bong since pine and spruce were not presettlement vegetation. A tree planting project a few years ago supported with Turkey Stamp funds included 1,000 white pines with 27,000 hardwoods (red, white, bur and swamp white oak, along with green ash and walnut) on about 30 acres.

Cooper believes conifers – especially white pine, white cedar and white spruce – are suitable for winter cover for wildlife, windbreak and screening purposes.

"There is no better place to find wild turkeys or deer on a cold January day," he says. "If a landowner's goal is pre-settlement vegetation, then tamarack or red cedar are probably more suitable. Most of the private land tree plantings I have been involved with in the past 10+ years have included a mix of hardwoods and conifers, especially under the CRP program."

Update: Scouting the Borer

State and federal crews will sacrifice nearly 6,000 ash trees in 17 counties to scout for signs of emerald ash borer moving into Wisconsin. The state has about 717 million ash trees and this destructive forest beetle is spreading westward and northward. Borer infestations claimed 15 million ash trees in Michigan since detected in 2002 and have already invaded trees in pockets of Maryland, Indiana and Ohio. They were found in northern Illinois this last summer.

Survey crews from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the state and federal departments of agriculture are marking ash trees in a grid pattern that will target about one tree every two square miles over a 17-county area of Wisconsin. The crews are marking ash trees less than 10 inches in diameter that already appear to be in declining health. Ash borers attack weakened and dying trees and these trees will be monitored for signs of infestations. Counties under the watch either neighbor infested areas or attract lots of tourists who might unintentionally bring infested firewood into the state. If emerald ash borers are found, officials would start eradicating all ash trees within a half-mile of infected trees. The borers only move up to a half-mile a year and eradicating trees would substantially slow or stop disease spread.