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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published September 7, 2010

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Fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse seasons open Sept. 18

Hunter safety should be a top priority

MADISON - The 2010 Fall Wild Turkey and Ruffed Grouse seasons are set to open at the start of shooting hours on Sept. 18, and state wildlife officials say hunter prospects are good for both seasons.

Overall, Wisconsin's statewide wild turkey population remains strong and wildlife officials have maintained the number of fall turkey permits at 95,700, the same number that was offered during last year's fall turkey season. Despite a slight drop in statewide population levels, Wisconsin ruffed grouse hunters should also experience a rewarding season.

Hunters may now use dogs statewide to hunt wild turkey for the fall 2010 season; use is no longer restricted to the nine-county area in place during the 2009 hunt.

This will be the second year that an extended fall season, running Nov. 29 through Dec. 31, will be in place. This extended season will take place in Turkey Management Zones 1-5 ONLY.

Hunters are reminded of the requirement for blaze orange on ground blinds (page 9 in Fall 2010 Small Game Regulations) on DNR lands during any Gun Deer Season. Ground blinds on DNR lands left unattended must also have the owner's name and address or DNR Customer Identification Number attached near the door opening. Ground blinds may not be left out overnight. Please note that these ground blind rules do not apply to ground blinds being used for hunting waterfowl or to blinds built only out of natural vegetation found on the DNR property.

Grouse and turkey hunters should also note that during any gun or muzzleloader deer season, including the Oct. 9-10 Youth Deer Hunt, antlerless hunts and CWD hunts (see 2010 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations), blaze orange clothing is required. A hat, if worn, must be at least 50 percent blaze orange.

Turkey, grouse hunting have special safety concerns

Hunters need to keep safety in mind when hunting these challenging game birds.

"There's something very special about turkey and grouse hunting," says Tim Lawhern, hunter education administrator for the state Department of Natural Resources. "And with the enthusiasm that goes with this type of hunting, we should all be mindful of making sure we return home safe and sound at the end of each hunt."

Here are some things Lawhern says hunters need to keep in mind when going afield after ruffed grouse and fall turkey:

Lawhern suggests that hunters also consider wearing some type of eye protection. A good pair of clear or light-colored safety glasses can go a long way toward avoiding injury to eyes and sight.

Grouse and turkey hunters also need to be aware that there might be other hunters afield at the same time after other types of game. Bow hunters may be perched in tree stands and other turkey hunters may be under a tree. Most of them will be wearing full camouflage and will therefore be very hard to see.

"Famed conservationist Aldo Leopold once wrote, 'There are two kinds of hunting: ordinary hunting, and ruffed grouse hunting,'" Lawhern says. "Don't let careless hunting practices spoil this special tradition."

Fall Wild Turkey & Ruffed Grouse Season Dates & Reminders

2010 Fall Wild Turkey Season Dates:

2010 Fall Wild Turkey Extended Season Dates for Zones 1-5 ONLY:

2010 Ruffed Grouse Season Dates:

For more information see the Wisconsin Wild Turkey and Grouse of Wisconsin pages of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Sharon Fandel, Acting Upland Wildlife Ecologist: (608) 261-8458; Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist: (608) 264-8963; Tim Lawhern, Hunter Education Administrator: (608) 266-1317; or Bob Manwell, Office of Communication: (608) 264-9248

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Youth Waterfowl and regular season Canada goose hunts about to open

Early Season goose hunting to close on Sept. 15

MADISON - Regular season Canada goose Exterior Zone hunting opens Saturday Sept. 18, which also marks the start of the two-day youth waterfowl hunt. In 2010, the Horicon and Collins zones hunts will open on Sept. 16.

Exterior Zone Canada goose seasons

Hunters should note that the season is closed in the South and Mississippi subzone from Oct. 11-15 during the duck season split. This is year four of a five-year trial period in which the exterior Canada goose zone will have a stable season length of 85 days and a two bird daily bag limit.

Horicon and Collins zones Canada goose seasons

The Horicon zone Canada goose season for 2010 has two time periods:

Hunters who applied for the Horicon zone will receive six harvest tags. The daily bag limit is two Canada geese.

There are three time periods in the Collins zone:

Hunters who applied for the Collins zone will receive six harvest tags. The daily bag limit is two Canada geese.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt

This year's Youth Waterfowl hunt will be held Sept. 18-19; regular season bag limits and hunting hours apply. This special hunt offers youth age 12 through 15 (or those 10 or over hunting under the new mentored hunting law) the opportunity to learn skills from an adult without the pressure encountered during the regular season. Participants are reminded that they need to be HIP registered (free of charge) and that for hunting geese they must possess a goose tag for the zone in which they wish to hunt. In Wisconsin, 82 percent of waterfowl hunters have introduced someone new to the sport and are encouraged to continue mentoring with this great opportunity to introduce a son, daughter, relative, or neighbor to the tradition of waterfowl hunting.

For more information see the Watefowl in Wisconsin page of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: James Christopoulos, Assistant Migratory Game Bird Ecologist (608) 261-6458

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Hot, wet weather won't dampen 2010 colorama in Wisconsin

MADISON - Autumn 2010 is shaping up to be a wonderful time to get outdoors to appreciate the state's forest resources and to view Wisconsin's version of colorama.

"Department of Natural Resources foresters throughout the state are just starting to see the beginning of colors at various locations in the state," according to Virginia Mayo Black, a communications specialist with the Forestry Division. "While fall color is very much determined by local conditions, the shift to fall weather patterns means Colorama 2010 will be debuting very soon."

Although the official start to autumn begins on September 23, it's the daytime and overnight temperatures that really control when leaves will turn red, yellow, purple, and orange.

"A series of days with cool nighttime temperatures and sunny days will result in the brightest fall foliage colors," Mayo Black said. "It's been a warm and wet summer in Wisconsin this year, but cooler nighttime temperatures are now starting to replace the hot and humid weather forecasts."

According to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR), autumn tree color is in the 0-to-25 percent range. But anyone traveling in the state has probably spotted a few trees in both rural and in urban areas starting to change color.

'That's not an unusual situation," Mayo Black said. "If a tree has been stressed by extreme weather or by physical conditions like compacted soil or some form of damage or if a tree is not healthy, the tree's leaves may turn color earlier than usual. For at least the past 7-plus years, areas of Wisconsin have experienced drought conditions. This year, there have also been areas of the state that have gotten a lot of precipitation. It's that combination of stressful growing conditions most likely accounts for some trees turning color well before the official start of autumn."

Based on reports from DNR foresters throughout the state, colorama will probably start "in earnest" after the first week in September."

A tree's leaves change color in Wisconsin and other temperate-climate states in response to decreasing exposure to sunshine coupled with cooler night temperatures. Leaves get their green color from chlorophyll, a pigment that enables a tree to process sunlight, eventually converting the other chlorophyll and other chemicals in the leaves to food for the tree. Once autumn weather conditions start, the chlorophyll in a tree's leaves stops being manufactured, and other chemicals in the leaves (the carotenoids and xanthophyl that result in leaves changing from green to yellow, orange, and brown and the anthocyanins that result in red and purple leaves) become visible.

So when is the best time to see fall color in Wisconsin?

"Generally speaking, peak colors start to develop in mid-to-late September in northern portions of the state and can continue into October and the first half of November," Mayo Black said. "The one thing that will cut colorama short is a big wind-driven rainstorm moving through an area and blowing the leaves off of the trees."

While there's no absolute way to predict when trees will turn colors or how long the display of autumn colorama will last, Mayo Black said fall in Wisconsin offers multiple opportunities to enjoy the state's 16 million acres of forestlands and its millions of urban trees.

"Autumn is always a breathtaking time in Wisconsin, and Badger State residents are fortunate to live in a state where the seasons change," Mayo Black said. "Whether it's going for a ride in the country, spending time camping at a state forest or park, walking through a woodlot or natural area, or taking a walk walking through a neighborhood or local park, fall is a great time to get outdoors to view and appreciate the state's rural and urban forest resources."

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Virginia M. Mayo Black, 608.261-0763.

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Trout streams in peak condition

Last weeks of inland trout season often the best

MADISON - With the Sept. 30 close of the inland trout season fast approaching, anglers will find they enjoy some of the best trout fishing of the season, state fish biologists say.

"It's been a tough summer to be out trout fishing because the heat and the humidity, but the next few weeks should be fantastic," says Larry Claggett, Department of Natural Resources cold water ecologist.

"Every stream I see is flowing above normal but not flooding, and that creates good habitat, abundant food, and cooler water temperatures, which means the fish are going to be a little more active again."

trout fishing
Enjoy great fishing and fall colors in the last few weeks of the 2010 inland trout season.
WDNR Photo

Claggett says DNR fisheries surveys are showing good trout populations, and fish managers are telling me "the fishing is as good as it's ever been."

Dave Vetrano is one of those fish managers who believes the fishing's never been better. He's been working for 30 years directly on improving fishing in western Wisconsin counties of Crawford, Vernon, Monroe and La Crosse.

"Because of the abundant rainfall we have base flows far higher than what they have ever been. Our streams are in the best shape ever from a fisheries standpoint."

Vetrano says that the high water levels this year, as well as the flooding in 2008 and 2007, have benefitted trout populations and anglers.

"There's a misconception that the water just blows the fish out but in reality they hunker down and as long as they don't get moved by a big log that pushes them out, they try to find the low current areas and they'll be just fine."

The flood waters scour the sediments from the river beds, revealing the cobbled substrate that the trout need to spawn. "We've seen a tremendous increase in recruitment and young of year and increase in the invertebrate populations, so for all intents and purposes, the fishing is the best it's ever been."

Vetrano cautions that anglers will want to watch stream flows carefully, and wait until the water comes back down in a stream and clears up a little. That doesn't take long in western Wisconsin, where the stream flows rise and fall quickly, sometimes within 24 hours.

"The trout are sight feeders. They can't see the lure. The best fishing is just as water starts to get a little dirty or a little clear. In that interim, that's the time to get out. They go on a major feed. Depending on the rain event, they may have not eaten for two or three days."

Mike Miller, a DNR stream ecologist and avid trout angler, advises fly fishers to try fishing the mouths of tributaries to larger rivers and use a grasshopper, ant or cricket fly pattern. Large brown trout try to avoid bright sunlight so spin fishers fishing near dusk using lures that imitate minnows or crawfish can hook some impressive fish.

"The brown trout and brook trout are fall spawners so they will be thinking of moving upstream so often times you can find some big fish in spots you might not normally find them," Miller says. "The fish should start stacking up close to these smaller tributary streams, smaller streams."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Claggett (608) 267-9658

Trout fishing reports as of Sept. 7, 2010

Fish managers responded to a last-minute request for condition reports on streams in their areas headings into the last few weeks of the inland trout season. Below are fishing reports from those able to respond. More information about fish populations are found in the Wisconsin Fishing Report 2010. Look for the county listing for the water you want to fish.

Trout maps, trout stream classifications, and more can be found on Wisconsin Trout and Salmon by scrolling to the "Locating" section.

Northern Region

Summer rains in the northern part of the state have restored stream flows, which have been very low during several years of protracted drought. These rains have not recharged the groundwater sources yet so the benefits might be temporary. However, higher stream flows and cooler temperatures should reduce angler concerns about handling stress to trout caught in this final month of the season. - Steve Avelallemant, regional fisheries supervisor, Rhinelander

Barron and Polk counties

Water levels on trout streams in northwestern Wisconsin are generally back to normal after several years of low water from drought conditions. Better trout fishing will be found near the headwater areas of local trout streams as trout stage for fall spawning. Trout populations are strong and the streams are fished very lightly this time of the year. One new area that local trout anglers can check out is Turtle Creek in Barron County. The DNR just completed a large stream habitat restoration project located downstream of Barron County D in the Barron County Forest. The stream restoration project consists of a series of plunge pools, deflectors and boulder clusters. In addition, a new angler walking trail and parking area was created at the County Highway D crossing for anglers that prefer more accessible fishing opportunities.- Heath Benike, fisheries biologist, Barron

Bayfield and Sawyer counties

Namekagon River and tributaries: Summer 2010 saw highest water temperatures ever recorded at the U.S. Geological Survey station on Leonard's Spur at Cable. Eleven days with daily maxima exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit! Luckily flows were up due to the summer rain events. It is becoming evident that the Namekagon may hold a valuable race of brown trout adapted to higher temperature. Our surveys could detect no evidence of thermal stress. We sampled healthy, feeding adult brown trout during daylight hours, in midstream -- even when temperatures exceeded published "lethal" values. Namekagon trout densities are still holding in the 1,000 to 2,000 fish per mile range with greater than 25 percent of the adults exceeding 15 inches. That translates to good fishing this fall. Brook trout are increasing in the Cable reach below Cap Creek, where they now dominate brown trout. Baby trout are waiting in the wings, too. The extraordinary 2008-2009 brown trout year class has been followed by an even bigger one in 2009-2010. In lower Mosquito Brook, we estimated about 15,000 young-of-year per mile, about 15 times the long-term average. When those fish smolt to the Phipps reach of the Namekagon at ages 2-3, watch out! These small trout probably result from favorable mild winter conditions. At least for a while, a backside benefit of climate change may be better trout reproduction and recruitment. - Frank Pratt, fisheries biologist, Hayward

Langlade and Lincoln counties

We always see a pulse of fishing activity in September. People want to get out one or two times before the season ends. Water levels have been higher than in the recent past. We've kind of broken out of the eight-year drought a little bit with adequate rains this summer. Streams have good flow, the weather is cooling off, the fall colors are right around the corner, and the trout populations are very good based on 2010 preliminary survey evidence. - Dave Seibel, fisheries biologist, Angtio

South Central Region

I know folks around here have enjoyed some nice fish on spinners in Dane County streams. Water levels are returning to normal levels and clarity is good...I have been on Black Earth, Elvers, West Branch and Garfoot in the past week and all were looking good. Some late grasshoppers are around so that may be an opportunity. My brother-in-law has been in Western Wisconsin (Vernon County) and reports stellar days of 30-plus fish with a dozen each day greater than 16 inches. They are there, they are hungry and the access and stream conditions lend them selves to a late season quality experience. - Kurt Welke, fisheries biologist, Fitchburg

Crawford, Grant, Iowa, Richland and Vernon counties

All of our streams continue to be significantly above historical base flow levels so we've got small streams that used to be too small for trout but are bigger now and will have trout. The quality of the water in what has historically been trout streams has improved because base flow has increased, and that's carried on downstream in the bigger waters. So we've got more trout in all three types of water and it all has to do with significant increase in base flow. We've had good reproduction because of the increase in water quality so our trout numbers are good. That goes along with the feral trout we've been stocking. Those feral trout survive better and reproduce a lot better than the domestic trout and they are producing multiple year classes. The fish are on average larger and heavier than they have been and that goes back to improvement in water quality which has improved the food base and the living conditions. Northern Grant County, Richland, Crawford and Vernon counties -- that's as good as it gets anywhere in the Midwest. - Gene Van Dyck, fisheries biologist, Dodgeville

West Central Region

Heavy August rains and major flooding scoured out the Rush and Kinnickinnic rivers deepening many of the holes. In addition many trees were washed off the banks and are deposited in new areas. Adult trout numbers should be pretty good even after the flooding. Anglers will find water levels back to normal, however recent rains will add some color to the water making trout easier to catch. Fall is a great time to get out and enjoy the cooler weather and beautiful scenery. - Bob Hujik, fisheries supervisor, Eau Claire

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Horicon Marsh fall naturalist programs to begin September 18

HORICON, Wis. - The fall season and change of weather mark the beginning of the annual naturalist program at the Horicon Marsh International Education Center in Dodge County.

Programs are presented both Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 18 through Oct. 31. Programs are about one hour long and most include both an indoor and an outdoor component. All hikes are an easy walk and offer good access to the marsh.

The naturalist programs and the hikes that go with them are free, open to the public and require no advance reservation. Programs introduce participants to the geology, history, wildlife and management of the Horicon Marsh ecosystem.

There are two programs offered every Saturday, one beginning at 10 a.m. and the second at 1 p.m. And two programs presented on Sundays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Each program is unique and stands on its own. Programs will be held at the International Education Center, located on Highway 28 between the cities of Horicon and Mayville.

Horicon Marsh is internationally known as a major flyway that provides habitat for endangered species and is a critical rest stop for thousands of migrating ducks and Canada geese. The spectacle of watching the annual migrations attracts amateur birders and professional ornithologists from Wisconsin and throughout the Midwest. The marsh is recognized as a Wetland of International Importance and ranks high on the lists of important global and state bird areas.

The northern two-thirds of Horicon Marsh is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. The southern third of the marsh is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area.

For more information on the Horicon Marsh Naturalist Program contact Naturalist Bill Volkert at 920-387-7877.

For a full schedule of events please visit the Horicon Marsh Naturalist Programs and Lecture Series page of the DNR website.

2010 Horicon Marsh Fall Naturalist Program Schedule

Saturday, September 18 - 10 a.m. The Birds of Horicon (Hike); 1 p.m. Fall Migration (Hike)

Sunday, September 19 - 11 a.m. Birding Basics (Hike); 1 p.m. Mammals of Wisconsin

Saturday, September 25 - 10 a.m. Birds and Bird Banding (Hike); 1 p.m. Management & Ecology of Horicon Marsh

Sunday, September 26 - 11 a.m. Marsh Food Webs (Hike); 1 p.m. Horicon Marsh History

Saturday, October 2 - 10 a.m. Horicon's Indian History; 1 p.m. Dabblers and Divers; Wis. Waterfowl

Sunday, October 3 - 11 a.m. Sharing Nature with Children (Hike); 1 p.m. Animal Adaptations (Hike)

Saturday, October 9 - 10 a.m. Fall Migration (Hike); 1 p.m. The Geese of Horicon

Sunday, October 10 - 11 a.m. Horicon Marsh History (Hike); 1 p.m. Wisconsin Mammals (Hike)

Saturday, October 16 - 10 a.m. The Birds of Horicon (Hike); 1 p.m. Waterfowl Management

Sunday, October 17 - 11 a.m. Marsh Food Webs (Hike); 1 p.m. Fall Colors (Hike)

Saturday, October 23 - 10 a.m. Muskrats, Mink & Other Mammals; 1 p.m. The Geese of Horicon

Sunday, October 24 - 11 a.m. Horicon Marsh Habitat Hike (Hike); 1 p.m. Mammals of Wisconsin

Saturday, October 30 - 10 a.m. Managing Wisconsin's Deer; 1 p.m. Wisconsin's Ice Age

Sunday, October 31 - 11 a.m. Birding Basics (Hike); 1 p.m. Winter Adaptations (Hike)

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Volkert, DNR Horicon Marsh educator 920-387-7877

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Invasive Plant Field Guide Now Available

Pocket-sized books provide information for identifying and controlling invasive plants

MADISON - A new field guide is available to help people identify and control invasive plants in Wisconsin. A Field Guide to Terrestrial Invasive Plants of Wisconsin provides photographs, identification and control information, as well as resources for more information for 58 invasive plant species that disrupt wetlands, grasslands and forests, as well as home gardens and yards.

Invasive Plant field guide
A Field Guide to Terrestrial Invasive Plants of Wisconsin

The Department of Natural Resources forestry and endangered resources programs developed the new pictorial guide to help people learn to identify and control some of the invasive species that are covered by an invasive species control rule Wisconsin adopted last year, according to Tom Boos, who coordinates DNR control efforts for forest invasive plants.

The new rule, Chapter NR 40, Wis. Admin. Code, classifies invasive species as either restricted or prohibited. For both groups of species it is illegal to transport, transfer (including purchase or sale) or introduce them.

Species classified as restricted are already widespread and landowners are not required to control them. Restricted plants include many that are well known and despised, such as buckthorn, bush honeysuckle, garlic mustard, spotted knapweed, Canada thistle, wild parsnip and phragmites.

Prohibited species are those that are not yet established in Wisconsin with the exception of small pioneer stands. Wherever they are found, DNR staff, partners and volunteers hope to contain these new invaders before they can become widespread and cause extensive damage. Most of these plants are not as well known, at least in Wisconsin. A sampling includes Japanese stilt grass, giant hogweed, poison hemlock, kudzu and mile-a-minute vine.

The field guide will help people to learn to identify all of these plants, and it also provides details on methods for successful control as well as recommendations for minimizing the spread of invasives.

The Field Guide to Terrestrial Invasive Plants of Wisconsin (pdf; 6.7 mb) is available in portable document format on the DNR website and printed copies are for sale via an online order form or by calling 608-267-5066. Single copies are $5 plus shipping, with discounts for large purchases.

When a new population of a prohibited invasive plant is found, citizens are asked to report the infestation and to help control it if possible. Prompt reporting to the DNR can help to prevent the plants from going to seed and spreading further. Reporting can be done by calling 608-267-5066 or emailing invasive.species@wi.gov. Where possible, photographs and/or samples of the plant should be collected to aid in identification.

"The public's help in reporting stands of the prohibited classification of invasive species is greatly appreciated," Boos says. "This resource will aid people in identifying and controlling of any prohibited species so that we can work together to keep new invaders out of Wisconsin."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Boos (608) 266-9276; Bryn Scriver, invasive species specialist (608) 267-5066

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New members appointed to Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council

Five others reappointed to advisory group

MADISON - Four new members were recently appointed by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Matthew Frank to serve on the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council.

The new Urban Forestry Council members are:

Individuals reappointed to the Urban Forestry Council are: Bob Dahl, representing the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; John Gall with Wachtel Tree Service in Merton, representing the Wisconsin Arborist Association; Art Ode, volunteer forester for the City of Bayfield; Ken Ottman with First Choice Tree Care of Junction City, representing the Wisconsin Council on Forestry; and Kelli Tuttle, with Bluestem Forestry Consulting in Drummond. Tuttle was elected chairperson of the Urban Forestry Council, and Tom Dunbar, executive director of the Center for Resilient Cities, was elected vice chair.

Urban Forestry Council appointees thanked for their service included: R. Bruce Allison, with Allison Tree Care of Verona; former Menomonie Mayor Dennis Kropp; Logan Nelson of Edgerton (a registered consulting arborist); and Bruce Slagoski, with the City of Beloit Department of Public Works.

The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council advises the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on the best ways to preserve, protect, expand and improve the state's urban and community forest resources.

"The Forestry Division greatly appreciates the time these and other members of the Urban Forestry Council spend participating on this important advisory group," Wyatt said. "Members gather information from stakeholders and helping to direct and formulate urban forestry policy for Wisconsin Communities."

Others members continuing their service on the Urban Forestry Council include: Shirley Brabender Mattox of Oshkosh, a community advocate; UW-Stevens Point professor emeritus Bob Brush of Plover; Leif Hubbard, representing the Wisconsin Department of Transportation; Developer and UW-Madison Business School Adjunct Professor Thomas Landgraf; Deena Murphy, assistant planner/zoning inspector with the City of Onalaska; Vijai Pandian, University of Wisconsin-Extension Brown County; Bryan Spencer of Oconomowoc, representing the Wisconsin Parks & Recreation Association; Daniel Traas of Appleton, president of Ranger Services Inc.; Jeffrey Treu, We Energies regional forester; Les Werner, chair of the UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources; Kevin Westphal, superintendent of parks and forestry for the City of Cedarburg; Joe Wilson, executive director of Greening Milwaukee; and Jeff Wolters of Johnson's Nursery in Menomonee Falls, representing the Wisconsin Green Industry Federation.

Additional information about the Council and the work they do can be found on the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council pages of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Laura Wyatt, Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council liaison, 608.267-0568.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 07, 2010




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