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Weekly News Published October 15, 2019

 

Air Program Report Shows Continued Improvements to Wisconsin's Air Quality

Air quality in Wisconsin continues to improve, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 2019 Air Quality Trends Report. - Photo credit: DNR
Air quality in Wisconsin continues to improve, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 2019 Air Quality Trends Report.Photo credit: DNR

Contact(s): Katie Praedel, Air Program Monitoring Section Chief, 608-266-1058, Katie.Praedel@wisconsin.gov

MADISON, Wis. - Air quality in Wisconsin continues to improve, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 2019 Air Quality Trends Report. The report provides the latest official state monitoring data for air pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act. This year's report once again shows that concentrations of most pollutants continue to decrease throughout the state.

The continued decrease in fine particle (PM2.5) concentrations is one of several success stories highlighted in the report. In southeast Wisconsin, for example, PM2.5 concentrations were violating the 24-hour standard just a decade ago. Today, those concentrations are roughly 40% lower than the standard and continue to decrease. Since 2002, overall concentrations of PM2.5 have decreased by 35% across the state.

Other success stories include the 50% drop in emissions of ozone-forming pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) and a 68% drop in sulfur dioxide emissions since the early 2000s. Due in part to these significant reductions, 94% of Wisconsin's population lives in areas meeting all federal air quality standards.

Parts of six counties along the Lake Michigan shoreline are not meeting the federal ozone standards. However, emissions of ozone-forming pollutants continue to decrease across the state, as the federal standard has become more stringent. It is a priority for the department to continue to address the areas not meeting air quality standards through working with partners, conducting additional monitoring research and engaging with other states.

For the first time, this report also includes maps of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) derived from satellite data. From 2006 to 2018, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite observed significant reductions of NO2 across most of the state, with the greatest reductions found in the Milwaukee area. "These data are consistent with the decreases observed by the state's ground-based monitors," said DNR Air Program Director Gail Good. "While the air program does not use the satellite data for regulatory purposes, it does help us understand overall trends and indicates the reduction of this ozone-forming pollutant is widespread."

The 2019 Air Quality Trends Report, along with historical reports and more information on air quality, are available on DNR website. Current air quality conditions in Wisconsin can be found on the Wisconsin Air Quality Monitoring Data webpage.

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Wisconsin Forest Products to be Celebrated

The forest products sector contributes to Wisconsin's economic prosperity by generating $24.1 billion in goods and services annually. - Photo credit: Kristen Held, DNR
The forest products sector contributes to Wisconsin's economic prosperity by generating $24.1 billion in goods and services annually.Photo credit: Kirsten Held, DNR

Contact(s): Collin Buntrock, Forest Products Team Leader, 608-286-9083, Collin.Buntrock@wisconsin.gov

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin forest products will be showcased on Oct. 20-26 during Forest Products Week. According to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources forestry officials, this designated week celebrates the many vital products that come from our forests, the people who work in and care for our forests and the businesses that manufacture wood products.

"While many Wisconsin residents appreciate that forests are an essential part of our state's history, culture and environment, fewer people realize the economic impact of the 17 million acres of forests in Wisconsin," said DNR Forest Products Team Leader Collin Buntrock.

"The forest products sector contributes to Wisconsin's economic prosperity by generating $24.1 billion in goods and services annually and employing more than 60,000 citizens," Buntrock said. "The economic impact reaches every corner of the state, and forestry is the number one employer in 10 Wisconsin counties."

Buntrock said that forest products have a broad impact in Wisconsin as every forestry job supports additional jobs in the state.

"The 1,200 companies in Wisconsin's forest products industry -- plus another 280 companies in the logging and forestry support sectors -- produce a wide variety of products, from doors and windows to flooring," Buntrock said. "And Wisconsin has been the top papermaking state in the nation for more than 60 years."

"Sustainable timber harvests go far beyond the economic impacts and the vital products they provide for our everyday lives," Buntrock said. "They also promote new forest growth, improve wildlife habitat and provide income for woodland owners to improve the ecology of their property."

"Perhaps the best thing about forest products is that they come from a renewable resource," Buntrock said. "They are recyclable, durable and energy-efficient. And healthy, growing forests play a key role in absorbing carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen and storing carbon over time."

Join Wisconsin's forestry community in celebrating our working forests and the many ways they improve our lives! To learn more about forest products, visit the DNR website.

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Natural Resources Board to Meet October 22-23 in Madison

Buckhorn State Park is located on the Castle Rock Flowage, one of three flowages on the Wisconsin River that would have  - Photo credit: DNR
Buckhorn State Park is located on the Castle Rock Flowage, one of three flowages on the Wisconsin River that would have site-specific water quality standards for phosphorus under a proposal the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will consider at its October meeting.Photo credit: DNR

Contact(s): Laurie Ross, board liaison, 608-267-7420, Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov or Sarah Hoye, communications director, 608-267-2773, Sarah.Hoye@wisconsin.gov

MADISON, Wis. -- Requests to consider approval of the Wisconsin Inland Trout Management Plan, request reconsideration and approval of the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area master plan, and informational items on the evaluation of crossbow use in Wisconsin, and the department's Managed Lands Public/Private Partnership Report are among the topics the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will consider when it meets on the first day of a two-day meeting later this month in Madison.

The board will meet beginning at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St. The board will reconvene at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 23 at the same location.

The Natural Resources Board will offer remote participation from the Department of Natural Resources Service Center at 107 Sutliff Ave. in Rhinelander. Remote participation will be for an open forum with the board at approximately 10:15 a.m. on Oct. 23 following a break. The open forum is an opportunity for citizens to provide testimony in Madison or remotely in Rhinelander. Comments generally should address broad general policy rather than the day-to-day operations of the DNR. Opportunities for remote testimony are noted on the meeting agenda. Pre-registration by the posted deadline of 11 a.m. on Oct. 18 is required.

The Wednesday, Oct. 23 meeting agenda includes:

The complete October board agenda is available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword "NRB" and clicking on the button for "view agendas."

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting as well as during open forum (remotely or at the meeting). The deadline for board liaison receipt of requests to testify or provide written comment is 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 18. Registration information is available on the NRB pages of the DNR website. No late requests or comments will be accepted. A future remote open forum will be held in Green Bay for the Dec. 11 meeting in Madison.

Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month's meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.

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Avian Cholera Identified as Cause of Cormorant Mortalities Near Green Bay

To Help Prevent Spread of Avian Cholera, which Does Not Affect Humans, DNR Asks Public to Report Mortality Events of Five or More Birds

In late September - Photo credit: DNR
In late September avian cholera was confirmed in double-crested cormorants along Green Bay.Photo credit: DNR

Contact(s): Lindsey Long, DNR Wildlife Veterinarian// Acting Wildlife Health Section Chief- Bureau of Wildlife Management, 608 219-5038, lindsey.long@wisconsin.gov

GREEN BAY, Wis. - The bacterial disease avian cholera has been identified as the source of double-crested cormorants dying in Green Bay.

In late September, avian cholera was confirmed in double-crested cormorants submitted for necropsy to the USGS-National Wildlife Health Center in Madison. These cormorants were collected from the Cat Island causeway in Green Bay.

Avian cholera is a common waterfowl disease that most frequently affects waterfowl and coots. Scavenger bird species and other water birds can also be affected. It is seen annually in western states in snow geese and Ross's geese.

Avian cholera is caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida and is highly contagious among birds, swiftly spreading through large congregations of waterfowl. Transmission of the bacteria can occur through bird-to-bird contact or from contact with infected carcasses, water, soil, boots and equipment. The bacteria are easily killed with most disinfectants, including 10% bleach.

Generally, the first sign of an outbreak of avian cholera is the discovery of many dead birds. Because the carcasses are a source of further infection, carcass removal may be necessary to reduce the impact. In an initial effort, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff and partners removed more than 1,500 dead birds  from the landscape.

Avian cholera has not been detected outside of Green Bay at this time; however, the mortality event is ongoing, and bird movements associated with fall migration increase the risk of the bacteria being moved to a new location.

"The Wisconsin public plays a vital role in monitoring our wildlife populations in the state, and we are appreciative of their diligence in informing our biologists of any unusual mortalities they find," said DNR Wildlife Veterinarian Lindsey Long. "Should citizens observe any unusual mortality events of waterfowl, typically involving five or more birds, we ask that they contact their local county wildlife biologist."

Wisconsin has not had an outbreak of avian cholera in wild birds since 1980, though reports of this disease in domestic backyard birds occur more regularly in the state. The bacterial strain that affects birds does not generally affect people, and the human disease known as cholera is not the same as avian cholera.

To report dead waterfowl, please contact a county wildlife biologist. Please be prepared to identify the specific location where the carcasses were seen and their approximate numbers.

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Hunters Asked to Help with CWD Detection in Northern Wisconsin

Self-sampling kiosks are a convenient way for hunters to have their deer tested for CWD. - Photo credit: DNR
Self-sampling kiosks are a convenient way for hunters to have their deer tested for CWD.Photo credit: DNR

Contact(s): Chuck McCullough, DNR Wildlife Areas Supervisor, 715-210-5716, Charles.McCullough@wisconsin.gov  

MADISON, Wis. - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is conducting enhanced Chronic Wasting Disease sampling across 18 counties in northern Wisconsin as a part of a multi-year sweep across the state to test for CWD in places where sampling has been more limited in recent years. Hunters who harvest a deer in this area this season are strongly encouraged to have their deer sampled for CWD testing.

"Our goal is to determine where CWD is on the Wisconsin landscape," said acting DNR Wildlife Management Bureau Director Tami Ryan. To meet this goal, the department is seeking to test as many deer as hunters will provide for sampling.

"Deer hunters have a very important role in making this enhanced effort a success," Ryan said. "With their support, we will all gain a more current understanding of where CWD is present on the landscape."

To help hunters submit samples for CWD testing, the department and local volunteers have worked together to provide sampling locations throughout the 18 counties. These locations include self-service kiosks, sampling stations located at businesses/cooperators and the option to meet with local DNR Wildlife Management staff. The Spooner and Rhinelander DNR Service Centers also have free CWD self-sample kits while supplies last. These kits have all supplies necessary to collect and submit a tissue sample for CWD testing.

No matter how hunters submit samples, they need to have their deer harvest authorization number, DNR customer number, current contact information and the location of harvest.

Find an interactive map and searchable database of statewide sampling and deer carcass waste disposal locations by visiting dnr.wi.gov and searching keywords "CWD sampling." Hunters should check their sampling location information before submitting a CWD sample to verify hours of operation as these may change throughout the season.

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2019 Furbearer Trapping/Hunting Seasons Opening Soon

Dryland trapping season opens Oct. 19. Many other trapping seasons open later in the month. - Photo credit: Herbert Lange
Dryland trapping season opens Oct. 19. Many other trapping seasons open later in the month.Photo credit: Herbert Lange

Contact(s): Shawn Rossler, DNR Furbearer Specialist, shawn.rossler@wi.gov or (608) 267-9428, Curtis Twellmann, DNR Assistant Furbearer Specialist, curtis.twellmann@wi.gov or (608) 261-6452

MADISON, Wis. - The 2019/2020 Wisconsin "dryland" furbearer seasons, which include the fisher trapping season and the coyote, fox and bobcat hunting/trapping seasons kick off on Oct. 19.

The raccoon hunting/trapping season will also open on Oct. 19 for Wisconsin residents, while non-residents can hunt/trap raccoons beginning on Nov. 2. The mink/muskrat trapping season opens on Oct. 26, followed by the beaver and otter trapping season opening on Nov. 2.

The Mississippi River Zone has its own season structure - mink/muskrat opens on Nov. 11, and the beaver season opens the day after duck season closes.

Bobcat, fisher and otter require a special zone-specific permit to harvest. Bobcat permits are time specific as well. All three species must be reported within 24 hours of harvest at gamereg.wi.gov or by calling 1-844-426-3734. Harvesters must also register their bobcat, fisher or otter with a Conservation Warden by the seventh day after the month of harvest.

Trappers need to purchase a trapping license, and hunters will need a small game hunting license to pursue furbearers. Purchase licenses through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources GoWild system or at license agents for DNR Service Centers. New trappers must be Wisconsin trapper education certified to purchase a trapping license, and new hunters must have hunter's education certification to purchase a hunting license. Mentored licenses are available, see the regulations for more details.

Unique hunting and trapping regulations apply on many federal properties, and special trapping restrictions apply to both federal and state portions of the Horicon Marsh. Please contact the appropriate property manager for more information.

Small game and waterfowl hunters should be aware that trapping will be taking place on many wildlife areas open to hunting. Bird hunters and others with dogs should keep a close watch on their animals and know the methods for safe and easy release of pets from traps. A Body-grip Traps, Identification, Use and Pet Removal [PDF] brochure is available on the DNR website where hunters can also find season dates, 2019 Trapping Regulations [PDF] and 2019 Small Game Hunting Regulations [PDF].

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Wisconsin Conservation Warden Offers a 'Safety First' Primer for Waterfowl Hunters

Hunters Urged to Train Hunting Dogs, Too
A boat and blind offer close quarters, and dogs need to get accustomed to the situation before the hunting season. - Photo credit: DNR
A boat and blind offer close quarters, and dogs need to get accustomed to the situation before the hunting season.Photo credit: DNR

Contact(s): DNR Conservation Warden Jon King, Administrator of Hunter Education program, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement, Jon.King@wisconsin.gov, (608) 575-2294

MADISON, Wis. -- Two non-fatal incidents early into the waterfowl hunting season highlight the importance of safety afield.

DNR Conservation Warden Jon King, the department's Bureau of Law Enforcement administrator of the hunter education program, says the two incidents that occurred since the Sept. 1 opener prompts his reminder to all waterfowl hunters to think "safety first."

King says that means remembering to use caution and patience and always thinking about safety before hitting the water for the hunt, and during the entire event until off the water.

Adding to the current situation facing waterfowl hunters are the conditions resulting from recent heavy rains. "The higher waters masking sunken debris and strong currents can add new dangers to waterfowl hunters during the ongoing season," King said.

King offers the following primer of things to do and to remember to those planning for hunting outings to make them enjoyable and safe for all.

Waders are heavy, life jackets a must

"This is one of the annual seasons many hunters look forward to. It's a different way to hunt when you are either in a boat or in waders in marshes and other waters to hunt," King said. "Because water is involved, the hunter must remember boating safety as well as firearm safety. No cutting corners."

King says a waterfowl hunter also is wearing the heavy waders. "It is imperative the waterfowl hunter - whether in a boat or the water in waders - wear a life jacket," he said. "Wet, heavy hunting clothes serve as a weight that can pull a person underwater quickly.

Waterfowl hunters are often near hunting partners -- in a boat, in a blind or laying in a cornfield. These close quarters require special attention to proper firearm handling, shooting zones and fundamental firearm safety rules.

Four Rules of Firearm Safety

Moreover, another must-do from King's safety primer is to plan your hunt and hunt your plan - and make sure someone knows that plan.

Dogs need skill training, too

King says many enjoy hunting with a dog. Furthermore, dogs love this. However, to ensure the safety of your dog and fellow hunters, please work with your canine buddy to know the rules of the boat.

King offers a few more easy-to-follow safety tips for waterfowl hunting - as well as any hunting year-round.

Just as important:

To enroll in a hunter education course, visit the DNR website, and search hunter safety.

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DNR Accepting Applications for Municipal Flood Control Grant Program

Elevating structures from flood-damaged foundations is among the many eligible projects funded by the Municipal Flood Control Grant program. The application period is open now through March 16, 2020. - Photo credit: Wisconsin Emergency Management
Elevating structures from flood-damaged foundations is among the many eligible projects funded by the Municipal Flood Control Grant program. The application period is open now through March 16, 2020.Photo credit: Wisconsin Emergency Management

Contact(s): Elisabeth Kuisis, 608-267-5129, Elisabeth.kuisis@wisconsin.gov

MADISON, Wis. - The Department of Natural Resources is accepting Municipal Flood Control (MFC) grant applications for its 2020 grant cycle. Applications are due March 16, 2020.

Cities, villages, towns, tribes and metropolitan sewerage districts can now submit applications to the DNR for grant funding for flood mitigation projects. Funding can be used for the acquisition of property, vacant land, structure removal, floodproofing and administrative support, among other things.

Grants for this highly competitive program are only offered every other year, so now is the time for interested parties to start working on their grant application. The total available funding for this next MFC grant cycle will be about $2.65 million.

Grant funding cannot be greater than 50% of the total eligible costs. Under Wisconsin statutes, the grant amount for a single applicant cannot exceed 20% of the total available funding. The maximum grant available for an individual project during the upcoming MFC grant cycle is $531,000.

To be considered for grant funding, a complete MFC application must be postmarked no later than Monday, March 16, 2020. Anyone who plans to acquire land with an MFC grant, must include an appraisal for the property in question in the application.

Applicants interested in applying can learn about eligibility, application requirements and more on municipal flood control by visiting the DNR website.

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DNR Seeks Public Comment on Water Condition Lists After Assessments Reveal New Additions

More than 80% of Wisconsin's lakes and rivers recently assessed are healthy. - Photo credit: DNR
More than 80% of Wisconsin's lakes and rivers recently assessed are healthy.Photo credit: DNR

Contact(s): Ashley Beranek, 608-267-9603, Ashley.beranek@wi.gov

MADISON, Wis. - More than 80% of Wisconsin's lakes and rivers recently assessed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are healthy, continuing a trend of improved surface water quality across the state. This good news comes as we celebrate the Year of Clean Drinking Water, an initiative introduced by Gov. Tony Evers earlier this year.

However, while the majority are in good condition and are now on the Healthy Waters List, 120 new waterbodies or segments are now classified as impaired. The department is seeking public comment on these new listings beginning Oct. 15.

"For the first time, we are using two water quality lists to categorize impairment listings, the Impaired Waters List and the Restoration Waters List, which aligns our methods with those of our neighboring states," said DNR Surface Water Quality Assessment Coordinator Ashley Beranek. A total of 142 new pollutant listings are proposed, 17 of which are on the new Restoration Waters List and 125 are on the Impaired Waters List. A waterbody can have multiple pollutant listings, and some of the new listings are on waters already identified as impaired. Of the 120 newly listed waterbodies, 14 will be placed directly on the Restoration Waters List because an existing restoration plan covers them.

The 2020 draft of the Impaired Waters List contains 1,546 listings. Placing waters on the Impaired Waters List indicates that they require a restoration plan and may also make them eligible for state and federal cleanup funds, which can help speed improvements. The Restoration Waters List, with 463 listings, includes those that already have an EPA-approved plan. Defining the Impaired Waters List in this way also allows for highlighting restoration progress.

Simultaneously, 116 listings will be removed, including 84 waterbody segments due to a cleanup of residual mercury listings.

The department is soliciting public comments regarding the new listings. Provide written comments to Ashley Beranek, Water Quality, Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707, or by email to DNRImpairedWaters@wisconsin.gov by Nov. 22.

The water condition lists are submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency every even-numbered year in accordance with the Clean Water Act. The department follows standard procedures to assess waterbodies against water quality standards. These procedures are known as Wisconsin Consolidated Assessment and Listings Methods (WisCALM).

The 2020 lists and other materials can be found on the DNR website by searching for "impaired waters."

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Contact information

Need an expert? Contact the Office of Communications.

The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email DNRPress@Wisconsin.gov and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.

For more information about news and media, contact:
Sarah Hoye
Director Of Communications
Office Of The Secretary