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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published April 26, 2011

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Late date for inland fishing opener a keeper for anglers

MADISON - Wisconsin's inland fishing season opens as late as it can possibly on the 2011 calendar -- May 7 -- and that's setting up nicely for anglers, particularly people who fish from shore, and for many mothers across Wisconsin.

"The later opener should lead to warmer temperatures, lower stream flows, and more active fish than typical years," says Mike Staggs, Wisconsin's fisheries director.

"Looks like things are coming together for a good outing Saturday -- and then take your mother fishing for Mother's Day on Sunday!"

A new one-day fishing license will help make that even easier if mom doesn't already have a license or wants to try it out before committing to upgrading to an annual license, he says. Chances are, she'll get hooked. Time with the family, beautiful scenery, and hungry fish are a winning combination.

The later start this year gives walleye, musky and other game fish a little more time to wrap up spawning and get ready to put on the feedbag, fish biologists say. They'll be in close to shore, giving shore anglers a chance to find them in the weeds.

DNR fish crews out on lakes and rivers in recent weeks to assess fish populations are reporting nice catches. The crews weigh, measure and tag fish they capture in nets or by using electro-fishing boats before returning them to the lake or river.

"We've been on Lake Wissota sampling and we've marked a lot of fish and have seen a lot of nice fish out there, a lot of walleye in the 20-plus inch range," says Bob Hujik, fish supervisor for west central Wisconsin. "There's going to be a lot of good action this year."

Fishing forecasts for specific waters are available in the 2011 Wisconsin Fishing Report. These reports, filed by fish biologists, use past survey results to predict the kind of fish populations anglers will find in many of their favorite waters.

Following are reports as of April 26 on how conditions statewide are shaping up for the opener.

Regional Reports

Northern Wisconsin Fish Supervisor Steve Avelallemant reports "pretty close to normal" conditions in northern Wisconsin. "It always happens this way; the northwestern side is a week ahead, whether it's survey work on the Chippewa Flowage since the end of last week and the Thompson Hatchery crew took some eggs over the weekend for walleye and muskies, while the Oemcke Hatchery in Woodruff hasn't been able to set a net. Two-thirds of the lakes on eastern side still have ice on them, but it's very shaky. It's going to go momentarily, so many lakes will have been ice-free for two weeks before the opener. The walleyes will be done spawning in the west and pretty close in the east with the late opener. Water-wise, our seepage lakes are still pretty low and access is still difficult. We have seen a little response to the rain we got last summer, and the drainage lakes, especially the flowages, are actually pretty good right now from an access standpoint."

West Central Wisconsin Fish Supervisor Bob Hujik reports, "It's been a late spring here but the positive is the warm up is going to put the walleyes and the northerns on the feed. That will be a good thing. We've been on Lake Wissota sampling and marked a lot of fish and have seen a lot of nice fish out there, in the 20-plus inch range. What we need is some warm weather and warm water temperatures and fish activity will increase. We've been sampling the Petenwell Flowage and finding a lot of fish in 20-26 inch range. That's in the no-harvest slot of 20-28 inches, but there are a lot of fish out there. Trout streams are in good shape, the early trout season has been very productive once the water levels have come down."

Northeastern Wisconsin Acting Fish Supervisor John Nelson reports the spawning activity is starting to catch up after last week's cooler temperatures cooled the action. "Things are going to be a little bit behind but it should be pretty good, especially for walleye. Should be 95 percent done by opening day and the fish will be ready to roll. The other species are slowly catching up. Anglers are starting to catch panfish. The Winnebago system should be in good shape. Trout fishing should be excellent throughout the region."

South Central Wisconsin Fish Supervisor Scot Stewart reports that game fish spawning is a little bit behind in southern Wisconsin. Walleye should still be hanging around in the shallow water by new weeds or last year's crop. Bluegill are starting to stage in the channels and will provide some good opening day action to people who know where to find them. Trout waters are in good shape, but he advises going a little later in the day when water temperatures warm a little and fish are more active.

Southeastern Wisconsin Fish Supervisor Randy Schumacher reports that more cold and rainy days are forecast before the opener, "and that's good because northern pike which will be done spawning will be active and spawning, largemouth bass will be very active still, congregating over dark organic bottoms on north side of lakes to warm themselves up for spawning. Generally they'll be in shallow waters. The best time to fish for largemouth is probably in the middle of the day. If you're going for largemouth bass, there's no point in going early in the morning unless you need to get a spot at the boat landing. Otherwise, large female bass are still feeding to help mature their eggs. As far as our recent surveys go, we caught a 51.5 inch musky in Pewaukee Lake, so we're really happy to see strong populations there. There's a good walleye population in Pewaukee as well. It's showing once again it's a lake for everybody -- good largemouth bass, good crappie, bluegills. We're also netting on big Elkhart in Sheboygan County and found a good walleye population there as well, which was good news because we hadn't surveyed for years there and we worried the population may have gone down."

Season dates and regulations

The hook-and-line game fish season opens May 7 on inland waters for walleye, sauger, and northern pike statewide.

The largemouth and smallmouth bass southern zone opens May 7, while the northern bass zone opens for catch and release only from May 7 through June 17, with the harvest season opening June 18. Statewide, the harvest seasons for bass have a minimum length limit of 14 inches with a daily bag limit of five fish in total.

Musky season opens May 7 in the southern zone and May 28 in the northern zone. The northern zone is the area north of highways 77, 64 and 29, with Highway 10 as the dividing line.

The seasons for rock, yellow and white bass, panfish, bullheads and rough fish, catfish, cisco and whitefish are open all year. Check the "2011-2012 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations" for special regulations listed by county, for regulations on the Great Lakes and boundary waters, and for tributary streams to Green Bay and Lake Michigan. The complete guide is also available at DNR offices and license agents.

New one day fishing license available

New this year DNR is offering a one-day fishing license that allows people to try fishing, and if they like it, to upgrade to an annual license. The one day license is $8 for residents and $10 for nonresidents.

"This is a good entry level license that lets you do everything but fish for the premium species of trout and salmon," Staggs says. "It's a great way to introduce a friend or family member to the fun of fishing."

The one-day license is good until midnight on the day it is purchased.

People can buy this new license and the 20 other different fishing licenses DNR offers in three convenient ways:

  1. Over the Internet through the DNR Online Licensing Center;
  2. From one of the 1,500 DNR license vendors/; or
  3. By calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236).

Wisconsin residents and nonresidents 16 years old or older need a fishing license to fish in any waters of the state. Residents born before Jan. 1, 1927, do not need a license and resident members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty are entitled to obtain a free fishing license when on furlough or leave.

Find a lake web feature the gateway to maps, other information

Also, new this year, anglers can use DNR's new "Find a Lake" web feature to find new waters to try out, get maps and detailed lake information, and learn about boat access, local boating ordinances, and other and other facilities. Anglers can search for lakes by region, alphabetically by lake name, or by features they want to make sure are available on the waters they choose, like boat ramps, beaches and parks.

Anglers reminded of rules to stop the spread of VHS and other invasive species

Anglers are reminded to follow rules that help prevent the spread of the fish disease viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, and other aquatic invasive species that can harm fish. Earlier this month, VHS was determined to be the cause of a March 2011 fish kill of gizzard shad in canals to the Milwaukee River. The rules, aimed at preventing anglers and boaters from moving water and fish from one lake to another, also will help prevent the spread of other fish diseases and aquatic invasive species such as Eurasian water-milfoil and zebra mussels.

For more information on VHS and steps that all water users can take, visit VHS Prevention.

Fish consumption advisory video now available in Spanish

Fish caught from Wisconsin waters are a good, low-cost source of nutrition and a brain booster to boot, but make sure that those who eat the fish are following Wisconsin's fish consumption advisory to reduce their exposure to environmental contaminants such as mercury and PCBs. A video about the general consumption advice is now available in Spanish. Inland waters are covered by the same general advice with the exception of 150 waters where more stringent advice applies because mercury or PCB levels are higher in those waters.

Governor's Fishing Opener in Chippewa County

The 46th Governor's Fishing Opener, officially kicking off Wisconsin's big game fishing season, takes place at Lake Wissota in Chippewa County on Saturday, May 7. Gov. Scott Walker has been invited to reel in a fish at his first opener as governor -- a feat that has eluded many previous governors since Governor Warren Knowles started the tradition in 1965. The angling event is held at various locations in western and northern Wisconsin each year and is sponsored by the Wisconsin Indianhead Country Tourism group. This event is also by invitation only to key people in the media and state and local government officials.

Fishing Wisconsin by the numbers
  • Fishing, like the Packers, bratwurst, beer and cheese, holds a special place in Wisconsinites' hearts. Fully 53 percent of the adults responding to an October 2009 statewide UW-Madison Badger Poll said they fish, although they may not do so every year.

  • The latest statewide mail survey shows that anglers in Wisconsin catch an estimated 88 million fish and keep about 33 million of them, or a little more than one-third. While walleye is the top target, panfish are the most frequently caught and consumed. Learn more online about fishing in Wisconsin.
  • About 1.4 million licenses are sold each year to adult anglers in the state and Wisconsin trails only to Florida in the number of days nonresident anglers spend fishing here.
  • Anglers have 15,000 inland lakes, 42,000 miles of streams and rivers plus the Great Lakes shoreline and 260 miles of the Mississippi River to fish in Wisconsin.
  • Sportfishing generates $2.75 billion in economic benefits, supports 30,164 jobs, and generates $200 million in state and local tax revenues.
  • FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Staggs (608) 267-0796 or your local fish biologist

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    International Migratory Bird Day May 14

    MADISON - Wisconsin is home to a great number, and a great variety, of migratory birds. The range of habitat found between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes brings many migrating bird species, from waterfowl to warblers, to Wisconsin each year. To highlight the importance of involving new youth and adults in learning about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation, this year's International Migratory Bird Day, held Saturday, May 14, is themed Go Wild, Go Birding.

    International Migratory Bird Day is held each year on the second Saturday in May to draw attention to the plight of migratory birds that yearly make incredible journeys between their breeding grounds in North America and their wintering grounds in Mexico, Central, and South America. Many of these birds are declining in numbers, primarily due to the loss of habitat.

    For those interested in learning about birding in Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources offers a series of five highway-based bird and nature viewing guides, each highlighting unique regional ecosystems of the state. Each Great Wisconsin Birding & Nature Trail guide links a set of waypoints, refuges and wild places that offer the best birding and wildlife watching opportunities and other nature experiences.

    Together, the complete set offers wildlife viewers 368 specific sites where they can view the best of Wisconsin's wildlife in the habitats they depend on for survival.

    The guides can be found on the DNR website as well as the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative Web site at www.wisconsinbirds.org/trail and Wisconsin Department of Tourism TravelWisconsin.com websites (both links exit DNR).

    International Migratory Bird Day activities are being held throughout Wisconsin in May. To find an event in your area, visit www.birdday.org (exit DNR).

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Volkert, Wildlife Educator/Naturalist, 920-387-7877; Andy Paulios, Wildlife Biologist, 608-264-6137

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    Celebrating Clean Air

    MADISON -- May is Clean Air Month and the actions we take each day can affect the quality of the air we breathe. Clean Air Month is a great opportunity to focus on improving air quality and learning about clean air.

    With a 40 year track record of successfully reducing pollution while allowing economic growth, the Clean Air Act has brought significant reductions in dangerous smog and air pollutants.

    Following are several easy ways to learn about air quality and protect your health:

    For more information on how to participate activities to reduce air emissions visit: www.italladdsup.gov (exit DNR).

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Lindsay Haas - (262) 574-2113

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    2011 marks 75th anniversary of well code to protect private drinking water supplies

    [EDITOR'S NOTE: May 1-7 is National Drinking Water Awareness Week. This year Wisconsin marks the awareness week with a special focus on private wells, which provide one-third of all Wisconsin families with drinking water and are not regulated as municipal water supplies are.]

    MADISON -- With nearly 1.7 million Wisconsinites drinking water from private wells and another 3 million reliant on groundwater from public water wells, the 75th anniversary of the construction code governing private wells is something all Wisconsinites can raise a glass to, state drinking water officials say.

    "Our well code was the first in the nation and it has served us well," says Mark Putra, who leads the private water section for the state Department of Natural Resources. "Wisconsin families and groundwater are much safer as a result."

    The Wisconsin Well Code, established in 1936, sets standards for well construction, including the distances required between the well and septic tanks, sewer lines, farm feedlots, manure pits, buried fuel tanks, fertilizer and pesticide storage sites and other potential sources of contamination.

    Such standards are particularly important because private wells are not regulated; routine testing of water from such wells is strongly recommended by the state but not required. Private well owners are responsible for testing their water regularly, unlike with municipal wells, where routine testing is mandatory for the water suppliers, Putra says.

    "When it comes to private wells, we rely on licensed individuals following the construction standards in the code to consistently produce safe drinking water," Putra says. "Those construction features are what protect you from surface and near-surface contaminants."

    Those features also protect other users of groundwater, be they neighboring well owners, municipal water suppliers, farms or other businesses.

    If a well and water system is properly located, constructed, installed and maintained, it should be able to provide safe water continuously without the need for treatment, according to "You and Your Well." (pdf) People noticing problems with their water can check "What's Wrong with My Water" diagnostic tool for help.

    Key milestone in providing safe drinking water

    The well construction code was one key milestone in Wisconsin's nation-leading efforts to provide safe drinking water. In the 1800s and early 1900s, lakes and rivers were the main sources of drinking water as well as where people disposed of human and industrial waste. Wastewater treatment wasn't sophisticated at the turn of the century and many lakes and rivers became grossly contaminated, according to Walking on Water, a story in the June 1998 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

    The resulting tainted drinking water was too often fatal. Deaths and illnesses from waterborne diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, small pox, diarrhea and gastroenteritis were common. In the early 1900s the death rate from diarrhea and gastroenteritis was about 11 per 1,000 people; typhoid fever cases were about 100 per 100,000 people.

    The quality of drinking water in Wisconsin remained largely unregulated until 1919 when state law started requiring municipalities to follow basic sanitary engineering principles, review of construction plans for proposed treatment plants, and regularly analyze water quality at the State Lab of Hygiene.

    In the 1920s and 30s, under the State Board of Health's direction, sewage treatment improved and drinking water was routinely treated using chlorine as a disinfectant and filtration systems to eliminate waterborne disease contamination. Wisconsin's last typhoid outbreak attributed to a public water system occurred in 1929.

    Wisconsin's leadership in the mid-1930s set the national standard for protecting private wells and home water supplies when the well code was adopted in 1936. Additional requirements have increased protection for water from both private and public wells since.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Putra (608) 267-7649 or Lisa Gaumnitz - (608) 264-8942

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    Spring is the time to test private wells for bacteria

    MADISON -- Private well owners should test their well water at least once a year for bacteria, periodically for nitrate, and should consider testing for other contaminants to keep their families safe, state health and drinking water officials say.

    A recent survey found that well owners are not testing as regularly as they should and are not testing for the range of contaminants that may be in groundwater, says Dr. Lynda Knobeloch, a senior toxicologist with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

    More than 7,300 Wisconsin residents took part in the 2008-9 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey that included questions about well testing.

    The survey found that one-third of Wisconsin families depend on private wells for their drinking water and that less than a quarter of those wells had been tested within the past year, the recommended frequency. Far fewer families tested their water for other kinds of contamination such as solvents, gasoline, fuel oil, toxic metals, or pesticides.

    The Department of Natural Resources advises people to test their water for bacteria at least once a year and if they notice changes in taste, odor and appearance of their water. Private wells also should be tested periodically for nitrate, and more often if they are near corn, soybean or vegetable fields, operations where fertilizer is manufactured, or animal feedlots and manure storage facilities, says Mark Putra, who leads the private water section for the DNR drinking water and groundwater program.

    And well owners may need to test for other contaminants such as arsenic or agricultural chemicals, depending on the surrounding land use practices.

    Spring thaw often brings increase in bacterial contamination

    Most private wells provide safe drinking water if they are properly located, constructed, installed and maintained, Putra says. "However, we tend to see an increase in well contamination problems after spring thaw when melting snow soaks into the ground."

    Some wells may become contaminated with bacteria that is not filtered out as the water soaks into the ground; such problems may be exacerbated during flooding. Surviving microbes can enter the groundwater by moving through 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, he says.

    When flooding occurs, well owners should suspect that their drinking water is contaminated by floodwaters if the well casing becomes inundated; if there's a change in taste, color or sediment; or if the well does not have a deep casing and is near areas that have been flooded. Well owners should not drink from flooded wells until waters recede and the well test shows the water is safe. Wells located in pits and basements are especially susceptible to contamination.

    Knobeloch urges well owners to find out more about common contaminants in their area and have their water tested regularly. "While contaminated water often looks and tastes fine, it can increase your risk of illnesses ranging from diarrhea to cancer and heart disease."

    She noted that the main reason well owners provided when asked why they didn't test their water was that the water seemed to be safe based on its taste, odor and appearance. Nearly half of the homeowners who had never tested their water stated that they didn't know what to test for or weren't sure where to send their water for testing.

    More information about testing, which laboratories can do the analysis, and what contaminants to test for can be found on the Test Your Private Well Water Annually of the DNR website. http://dnr.wi.gov/org/water/dwg/privatewelltest.htm

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Putra (608) 267-7649; Lynda Knobeloch, DHS (608) 266-0923

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    DNR employee awarded Washington fellowship

    Malcolm joins prestigious presidential leadership training program

    MADISON -- Karl Malcolm led a group of 22 novice hunters ages 19 to 31 on a wild turkey hunt in southern Wisconsin. Then, they ate.

    And they may never view wild game the same again.

    That was the goal of University of Wisconsin-Madison wildlife ecology graduate student and now outgoing staffer of the Department of Natural Resources Bureau of Enforcement.

    "I wanted to show those who are interested in healthy, sustainable food sources, and haven't hunted, how hunting can be one of the most straightforward ways of eating well and appreciating nature," Malcolm said of the turkey hunt he organized with the Willy Street Food Cooperative in Middleton.

    Malcolm, who also helped introduce the current and most previous DNR secretaries to baby bear cubs in the wild, is on his way to the nation's capital. He will be one of 10 graduate students in the biological sciences to serve in the Presidential Management Fellows Program.

    Started in 1977 through an executive order, the fellows program provides two years of leadership training for those interested in public service careers. Malcolm and nine others were selected from a national application pool.

    "The program is designed to encourage select graduate students from throughout the nation to pursue leadership-level careers with the federal government when degree work is completed," Malcolm said. "After some of the best years of my life in the Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at UW-Madison, I am excited to start the next phase of my career."

    And, says DNR Chief Warden Randy Stark, Malcolm's intellect and energy will serve him well.

    "Karl worked in our hunting and shooting sport recruitment and retention program, and was a critical piece in recruiting college students to hunting," Stark said. "His most recent and very successful event that highlighted the benefits of hunting as a high quality and organic food source shows how he uses his energy and creativity to introduce Wisconsin's traditions to those who have had very little exposure to it.

    "Karl has performed valuable service to Wisconsin and we hope he comes back to Wisconsin," Stark said.

    As part of his doctorate degree program, Malcolm worked on a six-year study of Wisconsin's black bears with the DNR's bear management program. Malcolm will spend the remainder of the calendar year in Madison, completing his doctoral thesis, hunting, fishing, and helping the DNR with outdoor recruitment programs before joining the fellows program full time.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Randy Stark, DNR Chief Conservation Warden, 608-266-1115; Karl Malcolm, DNR Bureau of Enforcement; or Joanne Haas, Public Affairs, Division of Enforcement and Science, 608-267-0798

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    Wisconsin Wildlife Federation honors three DNR conservationists

    State forester DeLong named "Conservationist of the Year"

    STEVENS POINT, Wis. -- The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the state's largest conservation organization, has named Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry administrator Paul DeLong the federation's "Conservationist of the Year." The formal presentation of the award was made at the federation's annual meeting on April 9, in Stevens Point.

    "Paul DeLong...has done an excellent job in leading Wisconsin's highly successful forestry program and assuring the sound management of Wisconsin forests for both today and for future generations," said Jack Nissen, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation president. "Wisconsin's forests are a major factor supporting Wisconsin's fish and wildlife, our papermaking and printing industries, and our highly-important tourism industry."

    In accepting this honor, DeLong shared the recognition with those he works with in the Forestry Division and its partner programs: "The hard work and dedication of my colleagues here at DNR is in large measure responsible for these accomplishments and, therefore, they deserve to be co-recipients of this award. It takes a team effort to successfully accomplish our work here."

    DeLong has overseen the completion of the Statewide Forestry Plan; has obtained the green certification of Wisconsin's public and private forests; has worked to maintain large blocks of forestland and minimized development in the wildland-urban interface; has explored possibilities for expanding the use of forest biomass for energy; and addressed the increasing threat of invasive species in Wisconsin's forests.

    Bayer receives warden of year award

    Jason Bayer, a DNR conservation warden stationed in Price County, received the "Warden of the Year" award. Bayer helped the Phillips Cub Scouts get hooked on fishing, allowed citizens to ride-along on shifts, and waded through complex game investigations in 2010. Bayer hosts an annual learn-to-hunt turkey program and added a learn-to-hunt bear program in 2009. Bayer hosted a "Get Hooked on Fishing" event for the Phillips Cub Scout troop, as well as numerous safety presentations on hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, all-terrain vehicle operation and boating.

    Vetrano receives water conservationist of the year award

    Dave Vetrano, a recently retired DNR fish manager for 33 years stationed at La Crosse, received the "Water Conservationist" honor. In 1983 Vetrano pioneered the idea of stocking the local trout streams with fingerlings raised from wild trout rather than hatchery fish. This resulted in a survival rate improvement of 6-1 and made many of the streams self-sustaining once again. Vetrano also developed a new system for bank stabilization. Working on flood-prone streams in the hill country of Western Wisconsin, he created what is called the "the Little Underwater Neighborhood Keepers Encompassing Rheotaxic Salmonids" or "Lunkers." The result was increased trout populations.

    The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is comprised of 160 hunting, fishing, trapping and forestry-related organization and is dedicated to conservation education and the advancement of sound conservation polices. Through its Conservation Achievement Awards, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation honors individuals, affiliates, businesses, organizations and others for their outstanding contribution to conservation and conservation products.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: George Meyer, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Executive Director - (608)-516-5545

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    Matching grants available for trail maintenance and development

    MADISON -- Municipalities and other eligible entities have until June 15 to submit applications for matching grants for development and maintenance of recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail uses in Wisconsin.

    Towns, villages, cities, counties, tribal governing bodies, school districts, state agencies, federal agencies and incorporated organizations are eligible for matching grants up to $45,000 under the Department of Natural Resources Recreational Trails Program. The funds are provided through federal gas excise taxes paid on fuel used by off-highway vehicles. Eligible sponsors may be reimbursed for up to 50 percent of the total project costs.

    Eligible projects include:

    Projects are ranked in order of funding priority under the following criteria:

    1. Rehabilitation of existing trails.
    2. Trail maintenance.
    3. Trail development.
    4. Trail acquisition.

    Eligible sponsors may use these funds in conjunction with the state snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle programs and Nelson Knowles Stewardship Program development projects. For more information, contact a DNR Community Services Specialist.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Parsons - (608) 267-9385

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    Entries sought for Wisconsin wild turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl stamp design contests

    MADISON - Wisconsin artists can again submit artwork for consideration for the 2012 wild turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl stamps in a contest that will be judged August 27 in Baraboo.

    After a successful inaugural event last year, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has decided to once again hold the judging for all three contests at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo. The Leopold Center and the surrounding 1,500-acre Leopold Memorial Reserve offer the perfect setting in which to explore and appreciate the earliest attempts at habitat restoration in Wisconsin and to celebrate the contribution of wildlife art to habitat conservation.

    The DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management will be accepting stamp contest entries from May 10 through August 8, 2011. The contest judging will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 27, and will be followed by a small reception for the artists and public from 3 to 5 p.m.

    "We are pleased to be able to offer our dedicated stamp artists the opportunity to have their artwork publicly displayed in this unique setting, and those attending the event will have the chance to view approximately 50 pieces of wildlife artwork from artists across the state," said Tom Hauge, director of wildlife management.

    In addition, those in attendance will be the first to get a "sneak peek" of the winning designs for the 2012 Wild Turkey, Pheasant, and Waterfowl Stamps. Wildlife Management staff will be available to discuss the history and accomplishments of the three programs, as well as the central role that wildlife art has played in the state's habitat conservation efforts.

    All stamp contest applicants should review the contest rules carefully to ensure the eligibility of their entries. Artwork must meet the technical requirements specified in these rules in order to be properly processed and prepared for display at the Leopold Center. The contest rules, entry forms, and Reproduction Rights Agreements for the 2012 wild turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl stamp programs are now available on the wildlife stamp programs page of the DNR website.

    A new and convenient way to stay informed is to sign up for email updates using the DNR's GovDelivery service - follow the prompts and enroll in the "Waterfowl, Wild Turkey, and Pheasant Stamp Design Contests" distribution list. Members of the service receive occasional email reminders about contest entry deadlines, detailed event information, and the announcement of the winning artwork for 2012.

    For those artists already on the DNR wildlife stamp contest mailing lists, postcard announcements have already been sent out and should arrive soon.

    For more information about the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center and related events, please consult the Leopold Center's website at [www.aldoleopold.org/legacycenter/] (exit DNR).

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist & Wildlife Stamp Coordinator, at Krista.McGinley@Wisconsin.gov or (608) 264-8963

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    Morning is for the birds - bird watching workshop

    BABCOCK, Wis. - Beginning and intermediate bird waters can join Department of Natural Resources staff on a morning birding trip at Sandhill Wildlife Area. The workshop will lead participants on a tour through Sandhill in search of feathered friends. Participants should bring binoculars and cameras. There is no fee, but preregistration is required by May 13. The first 10 applicants will be accepted.

    To register, include the name of the class, the names of each participant, and the address, e-mail address, and daytime phone number of one person in each party, and send to:

    Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, PO Box 156, Babcock, WI 54413.

    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: Britt Searles at 715-884-6335

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    New video available showing Lake Michigan research vessel construction progress

    MADISON -- A new video shows work winding down on the Lake Michigan fisheries research vessel now being built in Manitowoc by Burger Boat Company.

    The R/V Coregonus, designed and built in Wisconsin, will replace the 74-year-old R/V Barney Devine, which provides information vital to managing the $500 million annual sport and commercial fisheries in Wisconsin's waters of Lake Michigan.

    The new video along with previous videos and more information on the research vessel can be found on the R/V Coregonus page of the DNR website.

    A dedication event originally scheduled for late April has been postponed; DNR is hoping to dedicate the boat in June.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Staggs - (608) 267-0796

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    Read more: Previous Weekly News

    Last Revised: Tuesday, April 26, 2011




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