NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 4,436 days

ARCHIVED Weekly News Published June 15, 2010

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47,539 turkeys registered in Wisconsin's 2010 spring turkey season

Fall season permit applications due August 2

MADISON - Wisconsin hunters registered 47,539 turkeys during the 2010 spring turkey season. The registration total was a 9.6 percent decrease from the 2009 harvest of 52,581 birds.

Zone 1 produced the highest overall turkey harvest at 15,120 birds, followed by Zone 3 with 10,953 turkeys. The best hunter success rate appears to be in Zone 2 with a preliminary success rate of 28.5 percent, followed by Zone 4 at 22.4 percent success.

A total of 217,444 permits were issued for the spring hunt, according to licensing officials. This was a decrease of 689 permits compared to the 2009 spring hunt.

"Despite a slight decline in harvest totals from 2008 and 2009, Wisconsin's statewide turkey population remains stable and resilient. The wet spring in 2008 and the cool summer in 2009 meant below-average brood production for turkeys during the past two years. When combined with more normal winter conditions, the slight decrease in the number of turkeys harvested was expected," said Sharon Fandel, acting upland wildlife ecologist for the state Department of Natural Resources.

Hunter success rates also fell slightly to 22 percent in 2010 versus 24 percent in 2009, but were still quite good. As in past years, success rates were generally highest during the early and middle hunting periods.

"Hunters recorded a 31 percent success rate during the first period," says Krista McGinley, DNR assistant upland wildlife ecologist. "Success was 23 percent and 21 percent for the second and third periods, respectively. A decrease over the periods is expected but is still telling of good hunting conditions."

The preliminary results show that adult toms comprised 80.7 percent of the total harvest, which is higher than the long-term average of 74 percent but less than the 86 percent recorded last year. An increased proportion of adults in the harvest can be a sign of lower brood success from the previous year, although hunter selection can also play a role.

2010 Fall and 2011 spring seasons

The 2010 Fall Turkey and 2011 Spring Turkey Regulations are included in the 2010 Small Game Regulations pamphlet available on the Hunting Regulations page of the DNR website and in hard copy at license vendors. More information is available on the wild turkey page of the DNR website.

The Fall 2010 Wild Turkey Season will run from Sept. 18 through Nov. 18, with an extended season running from Nov. 29 through Dec. 31 for Zones 1-5 only. Hunters should check the DNR Wild Turkey webpage for updates.

The deadline for applying for a fall permit through the lottery process is August 2. Applications cost $3 and can be purchased over the internet through the Online Licensing Center, at license sales locations, or by calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4263).

FOR MORE INFORMATION on Wisconsin's turkey seasons contact: Sharon Fandel, Acting Upland Wildlife Ecologist: (608) 261-8458,or Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist: (608) 264-8963

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Low spring waterfowl numbers in Wisconsin reflect drought conditions

MADISON - Breeding duck numbers are lower than average for 2010 in Wisconsin due to severe drought conditions across northern Wisconsin and fewer seasonal wetlands observed in southern Wisconsin, according to waterfowl biologists.

"Year to year local and regional variations in wetland habitat and breeding ducks is part of the natural cycle in the world of wetland wildlife," said Kent VanHorn, Department of Natural Resources migratory waterfowl biologist.

"There has been less seasonal wetland habitat available in Wisconsin during our 2009 and 2010 surveys, but that's balanced by more wetland nationwide during the same period in the prairies of the United States. Since ducks are migratory birds they have learned to move to the water and adapt to annual differences in breeding conditions."

Indicators of breeding conditions

Three primary sources of information on yearly waterfowl breeding conditions are used to determine the fall season structure for Wisconsin. So far, wildlife managers only have data from the Wisconsin-based survey.

"We've completed the annual Wisconsin Breeding Waterfowl Survey, which is very important since a large proportion of the ducks harvested in Wisconsin are raised in Wisconsin," Van Horn said. The survey is available on the waterfowl surveys page of the DNR website.

A cooperative survey of Canada geese, the Mississippi Valley Population (MVP) Breeding Survey organized by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, has been completed but results are not yet available.

The final piece is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service breeding waterfowl survey for the northern United States, Canada and Alaska. That information is expected in the next few weeks and will form the framework for the 2010 fall hunting seasons. Only preliminary rainfall data is available at this time.

The full results of the 2010 Wisconsin Waterfowl Breeding Population Survey will be posted on the Waterfowl in Wisconsin page of the DNR website later in the week.

Ducks

Waterfowl breeding areas in parkland and prairie Canada this spring had fair to very good conditions with smaller areas of poor habitat. Breeding is expected to be good overall. Precipitation and wetland habitats in North and South Dakota prairies for 2010 were good to very good for most areas. Minnesota had dry conditions and below average wetland numbers similar to Wisconsin. Breeding duck numbers for Minnesota are expected to be similar to last year and below average. In North and South Dakota breeding duck numbers and production should be average to good.

Despite better than normal winter precipitation in Wisconsin, spring came early and was dry in many areas. At the time of the Wisconsin waterfowl survey, late April to early May, the state was very dry, particularly in northern Wisconsin where severe drought conditions exist and many lakes are at all time low water levels. The long term drought in northern Wisconsin will require significant periods of above average precipitation to restore more normal water levels.

Across the state, spring 2010 was drier than 2009 and drier than our long term average. Wetland numbers were 59 percent and 47 percent below the long term average in our two northern survey regions. In the two southern survey regions wetland numbers were 37 percent and 26 percent below the long term average.

"Following the survey in late May and early June we have had good rain and wetland conditions improved across most of the state, particularly in the south," says VanHorn. "Ducks that nested should have fair to good brood habitat in which to raise their young. However, it looks like some ducks went looking out of state for water, particularly blue-winged teal."

The four most abundant ducks in Wisconsin's fall hunting harvest are mallards, wood ducks, green-winged teal and blue-winged teal. Van Horn notes that many of the ducks harvested in Wisconsin come from birds that breed in Wisconsin, in contrast to other states in the flyway that rely more heavily on birds raised in the prairies or boreal forests of Canada.

"These are population estimates - not exact counts - so changes of near 20 percent up or down in the estimates each year may not reflect any real change in the actual population," Van Horn said.

The 2010 total mallard population estimate of 198, 242 is essentially unchanged from the 200,497 estimate in 2009 and remains about 9 percent above the long-term average (37 year average). Mallards contribute to nearly 40 percent of the overall state duck harvest in Wisconsin. Overall the breeding population of mallards in Wisconsin appears to range between 200,000-250,000 in recent years depending on annual wetland conditions. For 2010 we should expect average production and fall mallard numbers.

The second most abundant duck in the fall harvest is the wood duck. In 2010, the population estimate for wood ducks is 106,785 which is statistically similar to the 2009 estimate of 113, 523. Because the Wisconsin wood duck population has increased significantly from the early years of the survey the 2010 population estimate remains 41 percent higher than the long term average.

The 2010 blue-winged teal breeding population estimate of 50,188 is a significant decrease from the 2009 estimate of 112,792 and is well below the long term average. While conditions suggest that a decline in the number of blue-winged teal breeding in Wisconsin for 2010 is real, biologists believe that the early spring reduced the ability of observers to see teal and exaggerated this low population estimate.

The decrease in the Wisconsin estimate of breeding blue-winged teal is in contrast to the previous 6 years when Wisconsin breeding population estimates were above 100,000. It is also in contrast to the continental blue-winged teal population which has been near historic high populations at over 6 million breeding blue-winged teal from 2007-09. Blue-winged teal are known to move around the continent in order to find the best water for breeding and a dry Wisconsin in the spring of 2010 offered poor habitat. Biologists also continue to be concerned over the lack of secure grassland nesting cover important to this duck species, particularly in light of the loss of nearly 200,000 acres of CRP grassland set aside in Wisconsin since 2007.

The 2010 total Wisconsin breeding duck population estimate of 386,501 is down 23 percent from 2009 and is 12 percent below the long-term mean (37 years). With mallard and wood duck population estimates similar to 2009 the decline in the total breeding duck estimate was heavily impacted by the decline in the blue-winged teal population estimate. If the current rainfall pattern continues improved wetland conditions should help to hold Wisconsin produced ducks into the fall and attract migrants from areas of the continent that experienced better breeding conditions.

"It is important to remember that wetlands are dynamic systems that experience wet and dry periods," says Van Horn. "The dry years are important to the long term health of these habitats but can have significant short term impacts on wildlife associated with those habitats. As a result, wetland dependent wildlife such as ducks normally experience cycles of high and low populations. It is important to protect the wetlands and associated habitat during dry periods so that when the rains return so will the breeding duck numbers."

Canada Geese

"There are two different populations of Canada geese that represent most of the geese in Wisconsin during the regular fall hunting season. The average over the last several years has shown the hunting harvest split roughly 50:50 between these 2 populations during the regular hunting seasons," Van Horn said.

One population, called resident giant Canada geese, nests in Wisconsin. The 2010 Wisconsin breeding Canada goose population estimate of 165,853 is up 12 percent from 2009 and is twice as high as the long-term (24-year) mean. Factors that likely contributed to this increase in the resident Canada goose population estimate include good production in 2009, a low Wisconsin Canada goose harvest in fall 2009 and an early spring in 2010.

"We expect an abundant Canada goose population this fall, particularly for the Early September Canada goose season," Van Horn said.

By federal rule, the Early September Canada goose season harvest must remain over 90 percent giant Canada geese which nest in Wisconsin or adjacent states and it is scheduled early to target this population.

The second Canada goose population is the Mississippi Valley Population, which is made up of slightly smaller birds that nest along the coast of Hudson Bay in northern Ontario and migrate through Wisconsin and other Midwestern states. The breeding survey data are not yet available for this population but early indications are that the breeding should be average to above average. This spring was one of the earliest years ever on the Hudson Bay coast and this normally has a positive impact on breeding effort and success for these Canada geese. Preliminary nest study data indicates that the number of nests observed was near average but that nest predation rates, primarily from gulls, were high this spring. The early spring may help to increase brood survival and in the end provide for average productivity for 2010.

"These preliminary numbers indicate a mix of conditions. We will not know for sure what this means for the waterfowl season structure until after the Mississippi Flyway Council meeting at the end of July," Van Horn said. "As we do each year, the public will have opportunities to provide input on waterfowl hunting season during our meetings and hearings. These public meetings are also a great opportunity to hear the latest on waterfowl management and population status. We'll take the public input to the Natural Resources Board along with a season structure proposal for approval on August 11th."

The Mississippi Flyway Council, which is made up of waterfowl specialists from the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan within the Mississippi Waterfowl Flyway will meet later this summer to advise the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on waterfowl conditions before the federal agency establishes a framework under which states and provinces can set waterfowl hunting seasons.

Following the flyway council meeting and after the USFWS sets a season framework, public hearings on Wisconsin's proposed waterfowl seasons will be held in August. The final Wisconsin seasons will be set by the state Natural Resource Board at its Aug. 11th meeting.

The DNR's proposed waterfowl seasons will be online at the end of July on the Waterfowl in Wisconsin pages of the DNR website. Comments on the proposal can be sent to to the Assistant Migratory Game Bird Ecologist before midnight on Thursday, August 5.

The following meetings on the status of waterfowl populations and possible season structures will be held:

2010 Pre-Flyway Meeting

2010 Post-Flyway Meetings

2010 Waterfowl Status Presentation/Public Hearing Locations

Natural Resources Board Meeting

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn - (608) 266-8841

Public comments can be directed to the Assistant Migratory Game Bird Ecologist via email, phone, fax, or mail:

James Christopoulos
DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management
PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921
phone: (608) 261-6458
fax: (608) 267-7857
e-mail: james.christopoulos@wisconsin.gov

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DNR and Wisconsin Waterfowl Association to restore wetland habitat

DNR and Wisconsin Waterfowl Association to restore wetland habitat

MADISON - Approximately 300 acres of privately owned, mixed wetland habitat plots in 12 counties will be restored to create breeding and nesting habitat for waterfowl and other wetland species under a partnership between the state Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association (WWA).

The projects are possible thanks to a $60,000 grant from the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp fund.

"Habitat of all types is critical to sustaining healthy and abundant wildlife populations," said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. "Through Stewardship grants and programs like the waterfowl stamp fund, we are able to work with our partners to preserve and protect many more acres than we could alone."

Mallards, blue-winged teal, wood ducks, great-blue heron, egrets, rails, yellow legs, sandpipers, and other shorebirds are expected to utilize the habitat created by these projects according to WWA project managers.

The dollars to pay for these projects come from the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp Fund. In addition to a hunting license waterfowl hunters must purchase two stamps, a Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp for $7 and a federal Migratory Bird Stamp for $15. Money from Wisconsin Waterfowl stamp sales is used for a variety of projects like this, all intended to provide important breeding, nesting and resting habitat for waterfowl.

Planned work under the cooperative agreement signed by Frank last week includes filling in agricultural ditches, removing drainage features, removing sediment and building low berms and water control structures to create and regulate water levels and is done in cooperation with willing landowners.

"Putting Waterfowl Stamp funds 'right back into the ground', is a perfect application of the sporting publics' dollars", said Don Kirby, WWA's Executive Director. "It's partnerships like this one that provide critical assistance and support to efforts to restore and enhance wetland environments, on both public and private lands, throughout our great state."

All projects are scheduled for completion in 2010. Counties where projects are located include Marquette, Dodge, Jefferson, Manitowoc, Rock, Columbia, Oneida, Waushara, Walworth, Green Lake, Washington and Fond du Lac.

The waterfowl stamp fund provides approximately $570,000 annually. One-third of the revenue is shared with Canadian conservation organizations for habitat work there since many migrating waterfowl that appear in Wisconsin are hatched in Canada.

For more information about the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, and the wetland restoration work they do in the state of Wisconsin, see their website at: [www.wisducks.org] (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ricky Lien (920) 892-8756 ext 3045 or Michelle Kille (608) 266-7408

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Annual survey indicates slight drop in Ruffed Grouse population

Three out of four regions show decrease

MADISON - Wisconsin's ruffed grouse population appears to have deviated from its four-year rise, according to data that state wildlife managers collected during the 2010 spring drumming counts.

"Statewide, the ruffed grouse population decreased about 5 percent between 2009 and 2010," said Sharon Fandel, Acting Upland Wildlife Ecologist with the Department of Natural Resources.

"The southwest showed the greatest decrease in drumming activity over the last year with a 21 percent decrease," Fandel said. "The central and northern regions showed a slight decrease of 4 percent and 6 percent, respectively, whereas the southeast region experienced a large increase of 60 percent more drums than in 2009. The southeast region contains the least amount of grouse cover in the state and minor increases in grouse drumming numbers can have a large influence on the drumming index."

For reasons not well understood, grouse populations cycle up and down over an 8- to 10-year period. The previous high was in 1999, and it would appear that Wisconsin has reached the peak of the current grouse cycle. Biologists note that while the 5 percent statewide decrease from last year's drumming survey results supports the idea that the ruffed grouse population may be on the downswing, the change is not statistically significant and may be due to random chance or smaller samples sizes representing a given area.

Ruffed grouse are one of Wisconsin's most popular upland game birds. Their characteristic "drumming" noise is readily recognized and is produced by males during the spring breeding season. The male grouse will stand on drumming logs and rapidly beat their wings with the intention of attracting female grouse.

Ruffed grouse drumming surveys are divided into four regions around the state. Each spring since 1964, wildlife biologists, wardens, foresters, members of the Ruffed Grouse Society, and other volunteers have driven survey routes, stopping to listen at predetermined locations for the unmistakable sound of drumming ruffed grouse. These drumming counts and observational data on breeding success are used to estimate grouse population changes.

"Ruffed grouse drumming surveys are helpful in tracking statewide population changes over the long term," says Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist. "However, they are not good predictors of local harvest or hunting opportunities. The most successful hunters are usually those who spend the most time in the field and cover the most ground."

There are two ruffed grouse management zones (pdf) in the state. The hunting dates for Zone A are Sept. 18, 2010 through Jan. 31, 2011. The dates for Zone B are Oct. 16, 2010 through Dec. 8, 2010. Daily bag limits are 5 birds per day in Zone A and 2 birds per day in Zone B. Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit. Additional information can be found on the ruffed grouse page of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist (608) 264-8963 or Sharon Fandel, Acting Upland Wildlife Ecologist (608) 261-8458

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Public asked to report game bird brood observations

MADISON - Outdoor enthusiasts and hunters can help the state monitor the brood production of a variety of game birds including pheasant, ruffed grouse, turkey, quail, gray partridge, prairie chicken and sharptailed grouse by reporting sightings to the state Department of Natural Resources.

State wildlife officials say brood sightings are an important measure of the reproductive success.

"People often see game birds and their broods while they are out enjoying Wisconsin's summertime," said Brian Dhuey a DNR research scientist who monitors wildlife abundance and distribution across Wisconsin. "The public can help us monitor the reproductive success of these birds by reporting sightings on the Game Bird Brood Observation survey page of the DNR website."

People interested in participating in this survey can find survey instructions and record their sightings online on the Game Bird Brood Observation survey. The survey period begins June 13 and runs through August 21 2010.

DNR is interested in the type of bird seen, the county it was seen in, the number of hens and chicks seen, and the activity people were engaged in and for how long when the observations were made. People can record observations at the end of every day, or for times when they do not have access to the Internet and would like to keep track of your observations, a tally sheet (pdf) has been provided to help record sightings.

Each summer, wildlife personnel around the state are asked to fill out ten-week brood observation reports. These 10-week brood surveys have been ongoing for some species for more than 30 years. Ruffed grouse, gray partridge, and pheasant 10-week brood surveys have been collected since 1970. Wild turkey was added to the 10-week brood survey in 1987. Prior to 1970 department personnel did game bird brood observations for ruffed grouse and pheasants. Information gathered on game bird brood production is used by DNR for monitoring population indices, making fall hunting forecasts, and monitoring regional trends.

Questions about the Game Bird Brood Observation survey, accessing the tally sheet, reporting your observation, or the results of the survey, can be referred to Brian Dhuey at (608) 221-6342.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Dhuey (608) 221-6342

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Hearings set on proposed rules to implement Great Lakes Compact

MADISON - Proposed rules that would implement the Great Lakes Compact and would affect municipal water suppliers, industry, irrigators and others who use large amounts of surface water or groundwater, are the topic of public hearings statewide later this month.

The hearings will cover three of the seven water use rules the Department of Natural Resources will ultimately develop to carry out the Great Lakes Compact, formal agreements between the Great Lake states and two Canadian provinces, and the Wisconsin legislation, according to Shaili Pfeiffer, the Department of Natural Resources water specialist involved in conducting outreach on the rules.

While the compact applies only to the Great Lakes Basin, some aspects of the state implementing legislation apply statewide. As a result some elements of the rules apply statewide and some elements apply only in the Great Lakes Basin.

The compact commits the states and provinces to manage water in the Great Lakes watershed collectively, including managing in basin water uses, banning water from being "diverted," or piped out of the basin with a few limited and strictly regulated exceptions, and instituting a water conservation program within the basin.

One rule proposed for the hearings, Natural Resources Chapter NR 856 of the Wis. Admin. Code, defines who must register and annually report their water use to allow the state to understand how much water is being withdrawn, where, and how it's being used. The rule applies statewide, would impact people who have the capacity to withdraw an average of 100,000 gallons per day or more in any 30-day period, and people who divert any amount of water from the Great Lakes Basin, Pfeiffer says.

A second proposed rule, Natural Resources Chapter NR 850, establishes fees to be paid by people who withdraw more than 50 million gallons per year from the Great Lakes Basin. This fee is in addition to the $125 annual fee that the Wisconsin law set for all registered water withdrawers, statewide.

The third rule, Natural Resources Chapter NR 852 Water Conservation and Water Use Efficiency, establishes the water conservation requirements that will be mandatory in the Great Lakes basin for water users seeking new or increased withdrawals or diversions, and mandatory elsewhere in the state for those with water losses that exceed 2 million or more gallons per day in any 30-day period.

The hearings all begin at 6 p.m. on the following dates at locations listed:

The public comment period on these rules is open until July 7, 2010.

The proposed rules and supporting documents, including the fiscal estimate may be viewed and downloaded and comments electronically submitted through the Wisconsin Administrative Rules website (all links exit DNR):

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Shaili Pfeiffer (608) 267-7630

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State owned ATV trails will be evaluated for Utility Terrain Vehicle use

MADISON - Trails opened to all-terrain vehicles in Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources properties will be evaluated on a case by case basis to determine whether the trail will be open to Utility Terrain Vehicles as well under a UTV pilot program in effect until June 30, 2012. Under the pilot program, utility terrain vehicles, also known as lightweight utility vehicles or side by sides, may be allowed on certain all-terrain vehicle trails and routes statewide.

Additionally, in order for a county-operated ATV trail to be open for UTV use, interested counties must pass a resolution indicating they want to participate in the pilot program and file it with the DNR and any law enforcement agency within their jurisdiction. Municipalities within those counties may pass a resolution to opt out of the program if the municipality doesn't wish to participate.

"DNR property managers that currently have designated and open ATV trails will evaluate if UTVs are an appropriate addition to all or portions of their ATV trails," said Brigit Brown, DNR state trails coordinator.

Some of the criteria managers will look at to evaluate whether UTVs are suitable on a trail include: trail width and surfacing, the current level of ATV use, and speed of ATV traffic. They will also review other property operations, visitors, and natural resources.

The following DNR-operated state trails currently open to ATVs are being considered for UTV use (state trails are those linear trails that span from one town to another and are often located on former railroad properties):

Brown notes that due to the high level of connectivity between these linear state trails and the county ATV system, UTV use will be implemented on linear trails owned and operated by the DNR (state trails) after the respective county has passed a resolution allowing UTV use on county ATV trails. Some northern forests also have designated ATV trails. Those properties will also undergo a case-by-case evaluation of possible UTV use on their designated ATV trails.

Additionally, state trails operated by county partners may be considered for UTV use by the respective counties. The following are county-operated state trails currently allowing ATV use:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brigit Brown - 608-266-2183

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Now is great time for well water checkup

MADISON - Now's a great time for a well water check up, and with an new online tool "the water doctor is always in" to help private water uses diagnose concerns with their drinking water.

The online informational tool, "What's Wrong with My Water?" was developed to reflect questions that state drinking water staff most commonly receive about private well water based on the signs they're noticing such as water that smells like gasoline, looks rusty, or otherwise looks, tastes or smells funny.

"Now's a good time to test your well water to make sure it's safe for your family to drink," says Mark Putra, who leads the Department of Natural Resources private water section. "People are headed back up to their cottages and reopening them for the summer."

Putra says that well owners have successfully used the information tool in the past to sort out their own problem. "It's the only comprehensive and objective tool we know of for diagnosing well problems based on symptoms," he says. "The tool also links people to the wealth of brochures we have on specific topics so they can learn more, and see what next steps might be."

DNR water supply specialists recommend that well owners sample their wells once a year for bacteria and any time they notice a change in taste, odor or color. Test Your Private Well Water Annually features a video on how to properly collect a water sample for accurate testing, and contains links to lists of laboratories that can do the testing, as well as brochures describing different contaminants.

Wisconsin has 800,000 to one million private wells, and up to 10,000 new wells are drilled every year. Private well owners are responsible for testing their own water.

While the state has some of the nation's most protective groundwater laws and well construction codes, some wells still may become contaminated with bacteria that is not filtered out as the water soaks into the ground. Surviving bacteria can finds its way into the groundwater by moving through shallow fractured bedrock, quarries, sinkholes, inadequately grouted wells or cracks in the well casing. Insects or small rodents can also carry bacteria into wells with inadequate caps or seals.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Putra (608) 267-7649 Dorie Turpin (608) 266-0162

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Green and Healthy Schools Program a success in the 2009-2010 school year

MADISON - With the school year drawing to a close, records show an increasing number of Wisconsin schools are taking steps to create a healthy, safe and environmentally friendly learning environment.

The Green and Healthy Schools Program is a three-step, voluntary program available to all Wisconsin public and private elementary, middle and high schools. The program takes schools through and environmental assessment and guides students and staff as they make changes to make improvements.

To date, 121 schools are enrolled in the program. This year, 22 schools completed step one of the program, 10 schools completed step two and six schools completed step three. A total of 30 schools have now completed all three steps of the program to become a Green and Healthy School, certified by the departments of Natural Resources and Public Instruction. A complete listing of participating schools is available on the Green and Healthy Schools page of the DNR website.

"Schools enrolled in the program made great strides toward improving their environment and community," says Tessa Jilot, Green and Healthy School coordinator. "Madison Middle School in Appleton encouraged the lunchroom to switch from plastic foam trays to reusable trays and reduced lunchroom waste by 60 percent. The Howard-Suamico School District made many small changes, including raising school temperatures a few degrees in the summer and lowering a few degrees in the winter and switching to energy efficient light bulbs. The changes have saved the district enough to prevent staff layoffs in a difficult economy."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tessa Jilot - (608) 267-7622

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 15, 2010




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