NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 4,474 days

ARCHIVED Weekly News Published May 18, 2010

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Efforts to control aquatic invasive species helping, but invaders continue to spread

MADISON - Memorial Day weekend arrives with Wisconsin lakes and rivers better protected against aquatic invasive species because of state actions, state invasive species officials say. But the confirmation of zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil in new waters in 2009 underscores the need for boaters, anglers and others to continue taking steps to prevent the invaders from spreading.

"New laws, more local partners, and good awareness of the prevention steps give us a stronger foundation to keep new invaders out and control the spread of the invaders that are already here," says Jeff Bode, longtime leader of Department of Natural Resources lake protection and aquatic invasive species control programs.

"But the key is for boaters and anglers to be vigilant about taking the required prevention steps," he says. "There are more waters with invasive species this year, and that means more opportunities for people to accidentally spread the invaders if they are not careful."

Those steps generally require boaters and anglers to avoid moving water, plants, fish and other organisms from one lake or river to another.

New law requires boats to be clean before they leave launch

While boaters and anglers have long been advised to clean off their boats before leaving the landing, a new law prohibits boats from leaving the launch "dirty."

It is illegal for people to drive away from a boat landing with aquatic plants or animals attached to their boat, trailer or vehicle. A first citation of this so-called "transporting" law carries a penalty ranging from $232 to $767.50 and a second offense within three years carries a penalty that ranges up to $2,657.

DNR conservation wardens and specialized deputy wardens known as "Water Guards" will be making traffic stops of vehicles travelling on public highways and observed to have aquatic plants or zebra mussels attached to the vehicle, boat, trailer or other equipment. They will be issuing warnings and educating people about the new law, says Water Guard Mac Hannon.

"We will be stressing education over enforcement," Hannon says. "While citations may be issued in some cases, our goal is to get all boaters to voluntarily follow this law in order to protect Wisconsin lakes, rivers and fish."

Rapid response to new invaders working

Wisconsin's new invasive species rule, which was effective Sept. 1, 2009 and classifies invasive plants and animals as "prohibited" or "restricted" and sets regulations for each category, has been working.

"The new rule has allowed us to respond quickly to contain early introductions of new invasive like the red swamp crayfish, yellow floating heart and Brazilian water weed," Bode says. "We can get on it by engaging the local community and working quickly to try to eradicate it if possible."

The rule allowed a response last fall when red swamp crayfish, a destructive, invasive crayfish found for the first time in Wisconsin in two Germantown ponds, and when the invasive plant yellow floating heart was found in two stormwater ponds near Lake Delavan in Walworth County. DNR staff were able to work with local officials to rapidly develop and carry out control plans.

Another new rule, effective February 2010, regulates the ballast water of large oceangoing ships; ballast water is the main source of new invaders to the Great Lakes.

Local prevention and control efforts grow

The number of local partners working on controlling aquatic invasive species continued to grow in 2009, bolstered by a second year of increased state prevention and control grant money available to communities. DNR expects to award nearly $4 million this year in grants in 2010, roughly the same amount provided last year to counties, tribes, universities, lake groups and other eligible recipients.

"We're excited about the growing awareness and active participation by local partners," says Bob Wakeman, who coordinates aquatic invasive species control efforts for DNR. "Without these local partners and a dedicated corps of volunteers, aquatic invasive species would be even a greater struggle to contain."

More than 30 county and regional partners now have staff coordinating their efforts to prevent and contain the spread of invasive species. In addition, the corps of dedicated volunteers who spend their weekends and holidays educating boaters or conducting plant surveys continued to hold steady and play a vital role in education, boat inspection, and monitoring waters for new invaders. Volunteers accounted for about one-third of the hours spent on boat inspections statewide in 2009.

Invaders continue to spread but good news as well

Despite these efforts, the number of waters with invasive species continued to grow at a pace similar to recent years. Twenty-two new waters were found to have Eurasian water milfoil and 10 were confirmed as having zebra mussels. Spiny water fleas were found in the Madison chain of lakes, representing the third inland occurrence in Wisconsin.

The silver lining: quagga mussels, the more damaging cousin of zebra mussels, did not spread inland from Lake Michigan, nor did round gobies. Testing also did not find any inland sites where fish had viral hemorrhagic septicemia, although the virus that causes the disease was confirmed in fish from Lake Superior, where it had been suspected because it is connected to waters where VHS had already been found.

Aquatic Invasive Species fast facts

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Bode (608) 266-0502 or Bob Wakeman (262) 574-2149

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Walleye bag limits to increase on 369 northern lakes

MADISON - Daily walleye bag limits will increase May 21 on 369 lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory to reflect spring spearing harvest by six Wisconsin bands of Chippewa Indians.

A daily bag limit of two walleye will increase to three walleye per day on 83 lakes. In addition, 286 lakes will go from an initial bag limit of two or three walleyes per day to the state daily bag limit of five, according to Joe Hennessy, who coordinates the treaty fisheries management program for the Department of Natural Resources.

Anglers should consult the 2010-11 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations, signs at boat landings, and the 2010-2011 Revised Ceded Territory Walleye Bag Limits pamphlet for lake-specific information.

As part of a 1983 Federal Appellate Court decision affirming Chippewa off-reservation hunting, fishing, and gathering rights, the six bands of Wisconsin Chippewa set annual harvest quotas for off-reservation lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory. To assure the combined tribal and recreational angler harvest does not exceed a sustainable level, the state sets recreational bag limits in lakes declared for harvest by the Chippewa bands.

An administrative rule passed by the state Natural Resources Board in 1998 allows the department to adjust initial bag limits annually to reflect actual spring spearing harvests and projected summer harvests.

Of the 243 lakes with bag limits less than five, 83 lakes will have a bag limit of two walleye per day, and 160 lakes will have a daily bag of three walleye per day. The six Chippewa tribes together harvested 34,157 as of May 15, 2010.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Joe Hennessy - (608) 267-9427

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Musky seasons open May 29 in northern zone and Lake Michigan including Green Bay

WOODRUFF - Good news for anglers looking forward to the May 29 opening day of the northern zone musky season.

Moquah Lake musky
Jason Folstad, DNR fisheries tech, holding a 38-inch musky, sampled during the spawning run on Moquah Lake, Ashland County.
WDNR Photo

The early spring experienced in northern Wisconsin and most of the state means the muskies are done spawning and ready to concentrate on eating. Even an early May blast of snow in many parts of northern Wisconsin shouldn't put a damper on the bite, says Steve Gilbert, Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist for Vilas County.

"We had 2 to 3 inches of snow in early May and the water temperatures did drop 4 or 5 degrees, but the temps are going to rebound fast," Gilbert says. "The muskies are done with spawning. Things are going to warm up. We still have nearly two weeks before the opener and the weather forecast looks cool but not unusually cool, so the muskies will be in their post-spawn, late-spring pattern."

Fishable populations of musky are found in 711 lakes and 83 stream segments in 48 Wisconsin counties but the heaviest concentration of lakes with musky is found in the headwater regions of the Chippewa, Flambeau, and Wisconsin rivers. Online lists of lakes and rivers can steer anglers to where musky populations are known to be found.

Season details

The musky season opens May 29 in Wisconsin north of U.S. Highway 10, excluding Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters, and runs through Nov. 30, 2010. The daily bag limit is one and the minimum length limit is 34 inches in most cases, but some lakes have special regulations. Please see the "Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations 2010-11."

Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters opened for musky fishing on May 15. The southern zone musky season opened with the regular game fish opener on May 1.

Lake Michigan waters north of Waldo Boulevard in Manitowoc open for musky fishing May 29. Included in this season are the Bay of Green Bay, the Fox River upstream to the DePere dam, Sturgeon Bay and other bays to Lake Michigan and Green Bay. The daily limit is one, the minimum length limit is 50 inches, and the season closes Nov. 30.

The Lake Michigan season for musky south of Waldo Boulevard in Manitowoc is already open. It runs May 1 through Dec. 31, 2010, and the daily limit is one. There is a minimum length limit of 50 inches.

A few fish managers took a break from their busy season of fish population surveys to file updated forecasts and condition reports. Other notes on season prospect have been pulled from the 2010 Wisconsin Fishing Report; check the report for more information on musky and other species.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Simonson (608) 266-5222

Northern Zone season forecasts

Barron and Polk counties - Musky completed spawning by mid-late April in many northwestern Wisconsin waters mainly due to an early ice out and rapidly warming spring water temperatures. Expect fish to be active and on the feed if the weather cooperates come the opener. More specifically, Barron staff finished a two-year musky population estimate on Deer Lake in Polk County this past spring. We found a solid number of 35 to 38-inch fish present in the population as well as respectable number of mid-40 inch present. The fish were in great condition and should continue to provide a fishery with high angler catch rates as well as an above average size structure. - Heath Benike, fisheries biologist, Barron

Chequamegon National Forest in Price, Sawyer, Ashland counties - Saturday May 29 marks the musky opener in the Northern zone and fishing prospects look excellent. Most musky have completed their spring spawning ritual and the fish should be active with the warming temperatures. Abundance is still high on many small waters in the Chequamegon National Forest and anglers just looking for action should try Day Lake Flowage, Spider-Moquah Lakes, and English Lake in Ashland County; and Ghost Lake, Lower Clam Lake, and Black Lake in Sawyer County. On these smaller lakes with a high abundances of musky, the key is to downsize your baits. Large forage is generally scarce in these lakes and the musky are used to chasing smaller baitfish - so anglers should adjust accordingly. Others waters with good abundances of musky include Butternut Lake, the Phillips Chain, Solberg Lake, and the Pike/Round Chain in Price County. With cooler water and early season conditions, small bucktails and jerk baits should provide some good action and look for the fish to be holding on the deep edges of newly forming weed beds. - Skip Sommerfeldt, fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Iron County - The Turtle-Flambeau Flowage musky population also has improved over the past 12 years. Surveys show that musky abundance is similar from 1997 to 2009 but the size structure has dramatically improved. In 1997, 17 percent of the fish sampled were 40 inches and longer while no fish were captured exceeding 45 inches. In the spring of 2009, 31 percent of the fish sampled were 40 inches or longer while eight percent exceeded 45 inches. There was no evidence of natural musky reproduction and the population and fishery remains dependant on stocking. - Jeff Roth, fisheries biologist, retired.

Lincoln County - A comprehensive survey on Lake Mohawksin, a 1,910-acre impoundment on the Wisconsin River in Tomahawk, found strong, self-sustaining populations of walleye, musky, northern pike, smallmouth bass and panfish. There is a strong musky population with many fish up to 45 inches long. - Dave Seibel, fisheries biologist, Antigo

Oneida County - A comprehensive survey of Gilmore lake found abundant musky. About 71 musky were handled during the survey, which sizes from 30 to 47 inches. A survey on the Minocqua chain of lakes found that most musky ranged from 36 to 45 inches with the largest 50.5 inches. - John Kubisiak, fisheries biologist, Rhinelander

Price County - Fall 2008 and spring 2009 surveys of Butternut Lake allowed sportfish population comparisons to goals outlined in the 2005 Butternut Lake Fishery Management Plan. Capture rates for musky ranked in the 81st percentile among spring netting surveys on similar "fast-action" musky waters, suggesting that musky density remains above the goal of 0.2 - 0.3 adults per acre. Anglers are encouraged to selectively harvest a musky 34 to 40 inches long once in a while to help attain goals for musky, perch and walleye. - Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Taylor County - Anglers of all skill levels can pick from a variety of fishing opportunities that Spirit and North Lakes offer. Novice and avid musky anglers should enjoy fast-action with a decent chance to land one of memorable size. Netting in spring 2009 yielded 31 musky ranging 29.5 to 42.5 inches. Musky abundance and size structure were better in North Spirit Lake where 42 percent were 38 inches or longer. - Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Marinette and Oconto counties - In Marinette County, Caldron Falls has been stocked by the DNR for more than 20 years and it supports a very good fishery. Those fish have expanded into the next flowage known as High Falls. Both impoundments produce several legal-size musky each year. White Potato is also a stocked fishery but it is located in central Oconto County. White Potato is a large shallow water lake that also supports a good musky fishery. DNR recently assessed Brule Flowage in Florence County and that information confirms a decent musky fishery exists in that flowage located just north of Florence. - Mike Donofrio, fisheries supervisor, Peshtigo

Marathon and Portage counties - The musky stocking program for the flowages on the Wisconsin River between Stevens Point and Wausau has been very successful and the local fishing has benefited. The stocking program continues to get better with the assistance of local musky clubs, and the DNR is taking a more active role in management by marking every stocked musky with an elastomer jaw tag, used for evaluating natural reproduction. These tags are invisible to anglers, however a large number of adult muskies are now marked with orange internal anchor tags, placed between their pectoral and pelvic fins (belly). Anglers should report these tag numbers along with length and waterbody by calling the telephone number listed on the tag, as this is valuable recapture information for biologists. - Tom Meronek, fisheries biologist, Wausau

Price County - Fall 2008 and spring 2009 surveys of Butternut Lake allowed sportfish population comparisons to goals outlined in the 2005 Butternut Lake Fishery Management Plan. Capture rates for musky ranked in the 81st percentile among spring netting surveys on similar "fast-action" musky waters, suggesting that musky density remains above the goal of 0.2 - 0.3 adults per acre. Anglers are encouraged to selectively harvest a musky 34 to 40 inches long once in a while to help attain goals for musky, perch and walleye. - Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Taylor County - Spirit and North Spirit lakes - Anglers of all skill levels can pick from a variety of fishing opportunities the Spirit Lakes offer. Novice and avid musky anglers should enjoy fast-action with a decent chance to land one of memorable size. Netting in spring 2009 yielded 31 musky ranging 29.5 to 42.5 inches. Musky abundance and size structure were better in North Spirit Lake where 42 percent were 38 inches or longer. - Jeff Scheirer, fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Shawano County - Musky have continued to provide a great fishery on Shawano Lake, with several 45- to 50-inch musky captured/observed during our fall assessments. This past year the DNR stocked 2,500 musky fingerlings. In 2010, department staff are planning to conduct fyke netting surveys on Shawano Lake to obtain more comprehensive information on the entire fish community. - Al Niebur, fisheries biologist, Shawano

Vilas County - This year we had one of the earliest ice outs on record and conditions remained warm and dry all spring. This means musky spawning will be over on all county lakes several weeks before the opener. Fish should be on the move looking for a meal to replace reserves used during spawning. If the weather holds up we should have good fishing for the opener. Anglers should note that Long and Big Sand lakes in the Town of Phelps have 50-inch minimum length limits. - Steve Gilbert, fisheries biologist, Woodruff

Green Bay forecast

Green Bay - Green Bay musky fishing should be fantastic. While fall 2009 wasn't particularly great in terms of catch rate, huge schools of forage fish comprised of gizzard shad and emerald and spotfin shiners were present. This healthy forage base resulted in some massive fish and there were plenty of 50-plus inch fish caught and released that would have weighed in at over 45 pounds. This spring DNR crews collected eggs from the Lower Fox River for the hatchery system and in one night 82 muskies were netted and averaged 44 inches. These fish are now finished spawning and will be starting to move back out into the bay. Fishing transition points may produce good results, before the fish disappear to their summer deep-water haunts. In the northern part of Green Bay, muskies may still be spawning when the season opens because of the colder water. DNR crews have implanted radio transmitters in some female fish to study the spawning behavior. If anglers happen to catch a fish with an antenna sticking out of it they should leave it in the fish and release the fish. Fish larger than 54 inches have been sampled this spring. Fish seem to relate more to structure in the northern bay and casting in early June is really an effective pattern, even in this big water. Anglers pursuing musky on Green Bay need to be prepared with an adequate-sized landing net and a good pair of pliers and side cutters for removing hooks. Oh, and make sure to have your camera ready. - David Rowe, fisheries biologist, Green Bay

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National Safe Boating Week May 22-28

MADISON - National Safe Boating Week, the last full week before Memorial Day, marks the traditional start of the recreational boating season in Wisconsin. The focus is to promote a safe boating season with an emphasis on life jacket wear.

Last year in Wisconsin none of the 16 fatal boating victims were wearing a life jacket. In fact from 2007 - 2009 there were 42 people who drown in boating incidents in Wisconsin and 88 percent of them were not wearing lifejackets. This mirrors the national statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard which has shown over the past few years that 90 percent of all boaters who drown were not wearing a life saving jacket.

"Tragically already this year we've had three fatalities, two of those were drownings in the same incident. Life jackets were not worn, in fact the lifejackets on that boat were found stored in a compartment," reports Roy Zellmer Department of Natural Resources boating law administrator. "Life jacket wear is one of the simplest ways to save lives while boating."

National Safe Boating Week is a good time to review other important safety items for boaters as well:

"Mixing alcohol with a high-speed motor on a watery track is a recipe for disaster," Zellmer said. We would like to make 2010 the safest boating season ever. We can do it if everyone follows safe boating practices." For more information on boating in Wisconsin visit dnr.gov and search boating safety.

More information about Safe Boating in Wisconsin is available on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Roy Zellmer

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2009 Big Game Summary available

MADISON - The 2009 Wisconsin Big Game Hunting Summary is now available in printed and online versions. The summary contains harvest totals for all deer, black bear and turkey seasons and additional reports on deer ages, agricultural damage shooting, chronic wasting disease seasons, tribal harvests and hunting incidents.

The reports can be found online on the Wisconsin Wildlife Surveys page of the DNR website.

Deer

Hunters registered a final total of 330,485 deer during the 2009 gun and archery seasons. Archers (all seasons) tallied 87,241 deer and gun hunters (all seasons) tallied 241,862.

Clark County maintained its spot as the top county for gun deer registrations with a total of 8,609 deer registered. Waupaca was the top county for archery registrations at 3,024.

The 2009 deer hunting season was among the safest on record with a single fatality and 7 non-fatal shootings. Once again a majority of shootings (67 percent) were self inflicted while 33 percent of shootings involved the victim and shooter being members of the same hunting party.

Black Bear

Results from a new black bear population study completed in 2008 indicated a higher Wisconsin black bear population than previous estimates. Biologists accordingly increased black bear harvest permit availability 57 percent between 2008 and 2009. A total of 7,310 permits were issued among 95,384 applicants. Hunters registered 4,009 black bears in 2009 for a 55 percent success rate. Zone A produced the largest registration total with 1,541 bear followed by Zone B (885), Zone D (881), Zone C (695) and 7 unknowns.

Turkey

The 2009 turkey seasons yielded a total harvest of 60,862 birds. The spring season produced 52,581 registrations for a 24 percent overall success rate and the fall season finished with 8,281 birds registered for 12percent success rate. Zone totals for the spring hunt were Zone 1 - 15,729; Zone 2 - 10,253; Zone 3 - 12,947; Zone 4 - 9,630; zone 5 - 2,645; Zone 6 - 863 and Zone 7 - 358.

Printed copies of the 2009 Wisconsin Big Game Hunting Summary are available from Jason Fleener (608) 261-7589 jason.fleener@wisconsin.gov.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Fleener (608) 261-7589

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Universe in the Park' sheds light on night sky for state park visitors

MADISON - Wisconsin state park visitors will have more opportunities to this summer to view and learn about the night sky by participating in the "Universe in the Park" outreach program conducted by the Department of Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

There will be 46 programs held at 24 different parks through the summer and early fall.

A typical session begins just after sunset, usually about 9 p.m., with a 20- to 30-minute talk and slide show about astronomy intended to present a broad overview of astronomy or recent astronomical news. After the talk, when the sky is dark, visitors have an opportunity to view whatever astronomical objects are available through telescopes.

Most of the question-and-answer period takes place around the telescopes. The sessions run as long as there are people interested in looking through the telescope, and the parks typically close before the interest has been sated. During the height of the summer, the sessions can attract audiences of 70 to 80 people.

Visitors can show up for the slide show and question-and-answer period even if it is cloudy and the sky cannot be viewed through the telescope. The sessions are held if it is raining only if there is a shelter available.

"Universe in the Park," (exit DNR) which began in 1996, is predicated on the idea that the best environment in which enjoy astronomy is outside under dark skies, according to Prof. Eric M. Wilcots, who coordinates the program.

Universe in the Park events themselves are free, but visitors to Wisconsin State Parks and Forests must have a daily or annual vehicle admission sticker.

Anyone interested in attending a session should always contact the park to make sure the program is on as scheduled, because the schedule occasionally changes.

2010 Universe in the Park Schedule

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Wisconsin State Parks - (608) 266-2181

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Great Lakes photo contest winners announced

MADISON - Six Wisconsin photographers earned top honors for their entries in the Department of Natural Resources' second annual "Wisconsin's Great Lakes" photography contest. Their photos will be featured in a calendar available this summer.

Sturgeon Bay Offshore
"Sturgeon Bay Offshore" by Doug Stamm, 1st Place People Enjoying Wisconsin's Great Lakes

Joann Will of Manitowoc, Eric Poggemann of Fredonia, Doug Stamm of Prairie du Sac and Sue O'Halloran of Superior won first place awards in the contest's four categories.

Bill Mattes of Odanah, Paul Schwengel of Egg Harbor, Philip Schwarz of Menomonie and Dave Miess of Oregon all received second place honors for their photos. Stamm, O'Halloran, Mattes, Poggemann and Miess also submitted photos that received "honorable mention" awards.

Below Zero
"Below Zero" by Joann Will, 1st Place cultural and Historic Features

Their photos will be featured in the 2010-2011 sixteen-month calendar that DNR's Office of the Great Lakes will give out at the 2010 Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, Aug. 6-16, 2010, according to Jo Temte, the Great Lakes office water specialist who coordinated the contest.

"We were thrilled with the participation in this year's photo contest," says DNR Water Division Administrator Bruce Baker. "These images show how beautiful these lakes are and how valuable they are to Wisconsin."

Photographers from across Wisconsin as well as from Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan and Arizona submitted more than 200 photos from August 2009 through February 2010.

The DNR also coordinates a "Wisconsin's Great Lakes" Writing Project, and this year received a short essay and several poems which are available on the Office of the Great Lakes website. Poems by Jean Biegun of Two Rivers, Bonnie Dickmann of Cedar Grove, and Barbara Spring of Grand Haven, Mich., will be included in this year's calendar.

The DNR Office of the Great Lakes will begin accepting photos for next year's contest on Aug. 4, 2010.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jo Temte (608) 267-0555

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Two senior DNR managers named

MADISON -The Department of Natural Resources has announced the promotion of two employees to top managerial positions within the agency.

Mary Rose Teves has been named director of the Bureau of Community Financial Assistance and Richard Doty has been named director of the Bureau of Technology Services.

"It is especially gratifying to promote accomplished DNR staff to our leadership positions. Both Mary Rose and Richard bring knowledge of the department, energy, commitment and a strong customer service ethic to the table," said Vance Rayburn, DNR Customer and Employee Services administrator.

Teves is a 9-year veteran of the department who has served as chief of the Grants Section in the Bureau of Community Financial Assistance since 2001. The bureau awards on average more than $ 40 million in grants and up to $300 million in loans annually to local governments and interested organizations to develop and support projects that protect public health, natural resources, the environment, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Teves has overseen the awarding of more than $600 million in grants. Prior to joining DNR, she was grants and evaluation chief for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and before that a planner, public participation coordinator, and manager for the Hawaii Department of Health. She earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She resides with her husband, Tom Dawson, in Madison.

Doty, a 3-year DNR employee, has served DNR as chief of Technical Services since 2007. The Bureau of Technology Services provides computer, programming, web, telephone and technology support to all of DNR's 24 major programs. Prior to joining DNR, Doty was IT Systems and Development manager and Director of Global Customer Relations at TomoTherapy, Inc. in Madison and served in management roles at Camtonics Medical systems. He is an honors graduate in communications electronics from Erwin Technical Center. He resides in Madison with his wife, Liesl, and two children.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Vance Rayburn - (608) 266-2241

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DNR offices closed on May 28

Memorial Holiday weekend vacationers urged to plan ahead

MADISON - State offices, including all Department of Natural Resources offices, will be closed Friday, May 28. Friday is an unpaid, furlough day for state employees as part of state government cost cutting measures.

Key DNR services will be maintained. State conservation wardens will be on duty. State parks, forests and trails will be open and staffed as necessary.

DNR partners with more than 1,400 retail stores offering convenient service and hours for purchasing hunting and fishing licenses. A list of agents is available on the DNR Web site.

Customers can visit the online licensing center through the DNR website or call 1-877-945-4236 24/7 to buy a license. Phone callers can, for example, order a fishing license, get a confirmation number, and head out fishing right away.

Questions on rules, regulations, or other DNR program, can be directed to the toll free DNR call center available seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 1-888-WDNRInfo [1-888-936-7463,] with Hmong and Spanish service also offered.

Live on-line chats are available on the DNR Web site 7 a.m. until 9:45 p.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Diane Brookbank (608) 267-7799

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Turtle Tagging Clinic Offered

BABCOCK - People can help biologists assess the status of some of Wisconsin's turtle species by participating in a Turtle Tagging Clinic at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center.

Participants will join Sandhill wildlife biologists as they conduct research surveys for nesting female turtles on an evening outing, Saturday, June 12. The clinic focuses on collecting biological information on snapping turtles, painted turtles and Blanding's turtles. Such information is used to assess population trends and the status of these species. This evening clinic will run from 5 to 10 p.m.

Participants should bring a sandwich and refreshment for supper while biologists brief participants on the evening's activities. Space is limited to 10 people, ages 12 and up. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Register by mailing in a registration fee of $15 per person by June 4. Checks should be made out to DNR-Skills Center. Include the name of each participant, and the address and daytime phone number of one person in each party. Participants may stay in the center's dorm on the night before or after the course for a donation of $15 per person per night. Send your registration fee to: Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, PO Box 156, Babcock, WI 54413. Inquiries on the status of registrations may be sent via e-mail to: Richard.Thiel@wisconsin.gov.

The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center is located 20 miles west of Wisconsin Rapids on County Highway X, 1 mile north of Highway 80 near Babcock, Wisconsin on the 9,000 acre Department of Natural Resources Sandhill Wildlife Area.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sandhill Skills Center at: (715) 884-6333 or (715) 884-2437

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 18, 2010




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