NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 4,074 days

ARCHIVED Weekly News Published June 14, 2011

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Boating best enjoyed sober: Operation Dry Water on deck

Impaired operators, education focus of June 24 - 26 multi-agency patrol

MADISON -- The thrill of gliding across open water while steering a boat loaded with family and friends on a summer day is one of those make-a-memory afternoons remembered for years.

Unless you're drunk.

"Wisconsin waters are more fun, and a lot safer, with a clear head," says Conservation Warden Todd Schaller, also the DNR Section Chief of Recreation Enforcement and Education. "The start of the summer boating season is a good time to remind everyone who enjoys serving at the helm to remember vision, balance and a clear mind are important to the safety of their boat mates as well as everyone else on the water."

As a gentle reminder, DNR wardens will join other area authorities in a national public education/enforcement campaign called Operation Dry Water the weekend of June 24 - 26 on Wisconsin lakes and rivers. Boaters will see more officers on duty sharing information about the dangers of operating under the influence of alcohol while also arresting those undermining public safety on the water by operating while legally intoxicated.

Started in 2009 by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, Operation Dry Water seeks to heighten water enthusiasts' awareness about the dangers of boating while intoxicated with extra patrols during the public education and enforcement weekend.

Boating under the influence is a primary contributing factor in nearly 1 in 5 boating fatalities nationwide, according to the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

"We want recreational boaters to be safe and enjoy themselves. That means not boating under the influence. It's just too dangerous," Schaller says.

Boaters found operating a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher will have their excursion ended.

"Staying sober is vital to staying -- and playing -- safe."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Schaller, DNR Section Chief of Recreation Enforcement and Education, Todd.Schaller@wisconsin.gov; 608-267-2774 or Joanne Haas, Public Affairs, Bureau of Enforcement and Science, joanne.haas@wisconsin.gov; 608-267-0798.

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40,103 turkeys registered in Wisconsin's 2011 spring turkey season

Fall season permit applications due August 1

MADISON - Preliminary estimates show that Wisconsin hunters registered 40,103 turkeys during the 2011 spring turkey season. A total of 210,059 permits were issued for the spring hunt, according to licensing officials.

Zone 1 produced the highest overall turkey harvest at 12,253 birds, followed by Zone 3 with 9,848 turkeys. The best hunter success appears to have been in Zone 2, with a preliminary success rate of 25 percent, followed by Zones 1, 3, 4, and 5, all at 18 percent success. Overall, the statewide success rate was 19 percent and, as in past years, success rates were higher in the earlier time periods.

This registration total shows a 16 percent decrease from the 2010 harvest of 47,722 birds.

"Until very recently, turkeys in Wisconsin experienced weather conditions conducive to population growth," said Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources. "There was a long string of mild winters combined with the warm, dry spring weather favorable for breeding. However, weather over the last few years has been challenging for wild turkeys across the state. "

Wisconsin does not attempt to estimate statewide wild turkey populations but several long, snow-filled and cold winters (2007-2010) and recent wet (2008) or cold (2009, 2011) springs have provided the perfect recipe to nudge turkey numbers downward according to wildlife biologists. Snow, wind, and rain during portions of the first three 2011 spring time periods also may have reduced hunter effort and success, further contributing to the drop in total harvest.

National Wild Turkey Federation staff and volunteers have also fielded several questions regarding the impacts of an extended spring and heavy, late snowfalls on the birds, according to NWTF regional biologist Rick Horton.

"While we don't discount the possibility of some local wild turkey winter mortality, we feel that the perception that there were fewer birds was largely because the late spring delayed winter flock dispersal and breeding activity," says Horton.

Regional Similarities

Other Midwestern states have experienced similar declines in the 2011 spring turkey harvest. Harvests in Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and South Dakota were all down between 9 percent and 25 percent as compared to 2010 levels. Turkey biologists across the region agree that a combination of hard winters and, in particular, cool/wet springs have affected turkey behavior and numbers. In addition, poor conditions during the spring hunt may have reduced hunter effort and success in some areas.

"The fact that harvests declined across such a broad region this spring certainly suggests that weather is the likely culprit," said Walter.

Wildlife officials say turkey restoration is one of the greatest wildlife management success stories in Wisconsin. Opportunities for turkey hunting and viewing abound in Wisconsin's mix of woodlands and farmlands. The adaptability of turkeys has been a pleasant surprise, resulting in far more birds and hunting opportunities than thought possible even 15 years ago.

2011 Fall Season

Some hunters have expressed concern that the upcoming fall turkey season may reduce turkey numbers and impact their chance of bagging a turkey next spring. But fall permit numbers are set at conservative levels in consideration of impacts on future hunts, say wildlife managers.

While the fall season allows for the harvest of hens few hens are harvested during the fall hunt in Wisconsin. For example, only 4,191 hens were harvested statewide during the 2010 fall season.

"Harvesting fewer than 5,000 hens in the entire state is highly unlikely to have a negative effect on the population as a whole," says Walter.

The 2011 Fall Turkey and 2012 Spring Turkey Regulations are included in the 2011 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 2011 Wild Turkey Season will run from Sept. 17 through Nov. 17, with an extended season for Zones 1-5 likely, pending final approval by the legislature. If approved, the extended season would run from Nov. 28 through Dec. 31 for Zones 1-5 only. Hunters should check the DNR wild turkey webpage for updates.

Registration system changes; fall turkey season permit deadline Aug. 1

A big change beginning with the fall 2011 turkey season will be the initiation of online and phone-in turkey registration. Turkey hunters should note that in-person registration at traditional registration stations will no longer be available, beginning with the fall 2011 season. Instead, hunters will need to register their birds either online or via the telephone. Details regarding these convenient new turkey registration systems will be available soon.

The deadline for applying for a fall permit through the preference drawing process is August 1. 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). Conservation Patron's License holders are exempt from the $3 application fee.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Walter, Upland Wildlife Ecologist: (608)267-7861 or Rick Horton, NWTF Regional Biologist: (218) 326-8800

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Annual survey indicates unexpected rise in state ruffed grouse population

Three out of four regions show increase

MADISON - There is good news for ruffed grouse hunters coming from 2011 spring drumming counts. Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials report that Wisconsin's ruffed gouse population appears to have increased from last year, according to data collected by wildlife staff, foresters, wardens, and countless volunteers.

"Statewide, the ruffed grouse population increased about 38 percent between 2010 and 2011," said Scott Walter, DNR upland wildlife ecologist.

"The southwest study region showed the greatest increase in drumming activity over the last year with a 118 percent increase, with all routes either increasing or remaining stable," said Walter. "The central and northern regions both showed healthy increases of 31 percent and 43 percent, respectively." No drumming grouse were heard on transects run in the southeast region, which contains the least amount of grouse cover in the state.

Grouse populations in northern Wisconsin tend to cycle predictably over an 8- to 11-year period. The previous high was in 1999, and it was assumed that Wisconsin had reached the peak of the current grouse cycle two years ago, in 2009. Biologists interpreted the reported 5 percent decrease in drumming activity observed during the 2010 survey as an indication that the ruffed grouse population had begun its cyclic downswing.

This year's robust increase in drumming activity, however, suggests that perhaps Wisconsin hunters and wildlife enthusiasts have yet to see the peak in the current population cycle.

"This is surprising, and potentially very good news for grouse hunters in the state," said Walter. "It will be interesting to see if survey results indicate similar increases in other parts of the upper Midwest. It's important to note, however, that good brood-rearing conditions over the next few weeks will also be important in determining how many grouse hunters can expect to flush come September."

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. They are closely linked to young forest habitats that develop following large disturbances, notably logging activities.

"While we often focus as hunters on grouse numbers in a single year, it's important to remember that the long-term health of grouse and other early-successional wildlife is dependent upon our ability to create the dense young cover they require," Walter added. "Lacking significant, broad-scale forms of natural disturbance such as fire, we need to ensure that intensive timber harvests remain a component of our forest management activities."

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 allow biologists to track grouse population changes.

"Ruffed grouse drumming surveys are helpful in tracking statewide population changes over the long term," says Sharon Fandel, assistant upland wildlife ecologist. "However, they are not necessarily the best 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 hunting zones (pdf) in the state. The hunting dates for Zone A are Sept. 17, 2011 through Jan. 31, 2012. The dates for Zone B are Oct. 15, 2011 through Dec. 8, 2011. Daily bag limits are five birds per day in Zone A and two 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: Scott Walter, Upland Wildlife Ecologist, (608) 267-7861 or Sharon Fandel, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist, (608) 261-8458 Krista McGinley, Assistant Upland Wildlife Ecologist (608) 264-8963

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Game bird brood observations can be reported online

MADISON - Outdoor enthusiasts and hunters can help the state monitor the brood production of a variety of game birds including ring-necked pheasant, ruffed grouse, turkey, bobwhite quail, gray partridge, prairie chicken and sharp-tailed grouse by reporting brood sightings to the Department of Natural Resources via an online survey. The 2011 Game Bird Brood survey period runs June 12 through August 20.

"This survey provides the department with an estimate of game bird brood production during the summer and is similar to a survey run by department personnel," said Brian Dhuey a DNR research scientist. "Combined with other spring surveys and harvest information it can help us determine the overall status of game birds in the state."

During the survey period, the DNR is asking citizens to report the type of bird seen, the county it was seen in, and the number of hens and chicks observed on the online survey form. Observers are asked to not include multiple observations if the same brood is being seen repeatedly.

"Observations can be recorded at the end of every day or, for times when you 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," says Dhuey.

During the summer of 2010, citizens reported 950 observations of wild turkey, ring-necked pheasant, ruffed grouse, prairie chicken, sharp-tailed grouse, gray partridge and bobwhite quail broods. The most frequently observed game bird species were wild turkey (765 observations) and ruffed grouse (117 observations).

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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Qualified bass tournaments can start culling starting June 14

MADISON -- Starting June 14, anglers fishing in permitted tournaments can cull, or sort, smallmouth or largemouth bass under a new law signed last month by Gov. Scott Walker.

The new law allows culling in Wisconsin but limits the practice to participants in a Department of Natural Resources-permitted bass tournament in which the bass are caught, held in a live well, and released to the water, according to Jon Hansen, the DNR fisheries biologist coordinating the tournament permit system. In an earlier pilot study in 2005 and 2006, culling bass was allowed in seven tournaments on an experimental basis. The new law does not allow culling for any species other than bass.

Culling is defined as the practice of releasing a live fish from an angler's possession and replacing it with another fish. The released fish does not count towards the angler's daily bag limit after it is released if the angler is participating in a permitted bass fishing tournament. The number of fish held by the tournament angler at any one time cannot exceed the daily bag limit authorized for that water, even if the fish are later released. Any released fish must be able to swim away under its own power. Anglers who are culling must have a functioning live well.

To minimize delayed mortality caused by stress of holding fish in live wells at warmer water temperatures, bass tournaments occurring between the first Saturday in July and the second Sunday in August will generally still have a three-fish daily bag limit, unless the DNR has data that shows the water temperatures will be below 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Only DNR authorized fishing tournaments can cull, so small tournaments that do not now have a permit but want to be able to cull bass must seek a permit to gain that privilege, Hansen says.

A tournament permit is needed if any of the following apply: the tournament involves 20 or more boats, or 100 or more participants; targets any trout species on waters classified as trout streams; is a catch-hold-release tournament with an off-site weigh-in; or has a total prize value of $10,000 or more, or the participants will be culling largemouth or smallmouth bass during the tournament.

In 2010, there were 211 permitted bass tournaments in Wisconsin, and so far there are 207 permits for bass tournaments in 2011, Hansen says.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jon Hansen (608) 266-6883

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Kayaker deaths show pre-launch conditions check crucial

Wardens: weather sites, boat registration should be part of paddle prep

BAYFIELD, Wis. -- Two recent cases of kayakers who fell victim to cold Lake Superior water have Department of Natural Resources wardens urging all who enjoy the popular sport to check weather and water conditions before pushing off shore into sudden life-threatening situations.

Wardens Amie Egstad and Dave Oginski say the deaths were similar in that each victim had good equipment, including life jackets and wetsuits, and both launched from Little Sand Bay in Bayfield County to cross Lake Superior in rough waters.

"Both cases are tragic, because lives were lost, and our condolences go out to the victims' families. The lesson is the best equipment will not save you in rough, cold conditions. Your best defense is to call and check with local authorities or online sites for the current water and wind conditions. What looks like a good day for an outing from the shore may evolve into a nightmare once you're far from shore," Egstad said. "Kayaks are little boats that are easily bounced about in the strong waves of Lake Superior."

Case in point: When four kayakers launched from Little Sand Bay to cross Lake Superior on June 7, much of Wisconsin was baking in a dangerous heat wave with real temperatures pushing 100 degrees.

The perfect day for a paddle? Hardly, says Egstad, who notes the water temperature was well under 50 degrees and big waves awaited. Authorities believe the 20-year-old kayaker died from hypothermia after his boat capsized into water about 47 degrees and he was separated from his group. Hypothermia also was suspected in the death of the kayaker in October 2010.

"There are credible, easy-to-use websites where kayakers can find current conditions, along with other information about Lake Superior," Oginski said. "Knowing how cold the water is and how strong the winds may be when they get away from shore certainly should be part of a check-before-launching routine for all."

Two sites recommended by the wardens are: [www.crh.noaa.gov/greatlakes/?c=obs&l=ls&p=a] and [tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/ofs/lsofs/fore_wind.shtml] (both links exit DNR).

Both are National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration sites that feature lots of information any paddler could use to map a trip -- or use to reslate an outing to a safer day.

Egstad also suggests registering kayaks. Minnesota requires it, while Wisconsin has a voluntary registration. "Registering the vessel makes it a lot easier for wardens to figure out who belongs to a found kayak."

In addition to the weather conditions check and the boat registration, the wardens say you are best to stay with your boat should you flip. "That will keep you afloat and make it easier for you to be found," Oginski says.

However, it is most important to note the current Great Lakes water temperatures are prime for hypothermia.

Hypothermia occurs from being in cold water, causing the body's normal temperature to fall. The average normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees. So, Egstad says, any water temperatures lower than the body's temperature will cause hypothermia over time.

"The colder the water, the faster hypothermia hits the body," Oginski says. "Everyone is susceptible to it." As the body temperature falls, the person will become confused and lose feeling in the extremities, and it can eventually lead to death.

The wardens also offered these tips for safe water fun:

"Kayaking is a fun sport. However, to keep it a fun, safe sport, it is truly crucial to check those water and wind conditions and follow these safety tips," Oginski said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Conservation Warden Dave Oginski, 715-685-2929, Conservation Warden Amie Egstad, 715-779-4035, or Office of Communications Public Affairs Manager for Bureau of Enforcement and Science Joanne Haas, , 608-267-0798

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Look out for Turtles on the Road

MADISON - State conservation officials are urging drivers to be on the alert for turtles crossing roads and highways.

During late May and early June, turtles leave their aquatic habitat near lakes, wetlands and streams to find drier areas where the female will deposit her eggs. Turtles can often be seen crossing roadways during this trek and throughout the summer and fall when hatchlings appear.

Turtle crossing video

Retired DNR herpetologist Bob Hay cautions motorists to watchout for turtles on the roadway during their breeding season.
[VIDEO Length 2:58]

Although there are several key reasons for the decline in turtle populations such as habitat loss and egg predation by skunks and squirrels, road mortality has a large affect on the population of common turtle species such as snappers and threatened turtles such as the Blanding's and wood turtles.

Turtles mature slowly and take a long time to reach reproductive age. For example, ornate box turtles take 12 to 14 years before they can reproduce and Blanding's turtles take 17 to 20 years. Female turtles mature slower than males and are killed at a much higher rate because they must travel on land to find a nesting place, often crossing several roads.

While most turtles generally stop moving when they feel or see an approaching vehicle, motorists are encouraged to do the following during nesting season:

Wisconsin is home to 11 species of turtles, five of which are listed as either threatened, endangered or species of concern. This spring use caution when driving near wetlands and waterways and help save some of Wisconsin's turtles.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tara Bergeson, Aquatic and Terrestrial Monitoring Specialist, (608) 264-6043

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New role for sports, gun clubs: Find next generation of hunters

DNR shooting sports coordinator sets goal of 2,000 new participants for 2011

Here's a thought for Wisconsin hunters: Picture your kids' teachers, your hair stylist, grocery store clerk, doctor, or neighbor kid enjoying their first hunt. You can make it a reality and help preserve a Wisconsin tradition, and the Department of Natural Resources will help.

It's an exciting time to be in sports, rod and gun and conservation clubs. Club members have a focused sense of purpose and challenge -- find the next generation of hunters. Think about recruiting participants from your community. Reach beyond the local hunter education class to other adult friends and their children.

Hunting offers an opportunity to meet new people, exercise, connect with nature, spend quality time with family and friends, and have the opportunity to bring home high quality food. Let's share it and see if we can introduce hunting to at least 2,000 new people this year. I know a lot of hunters who want to help, and I think we can do it.

The reality facing hunting in Wisconsin and other states is the majority of participants are Baby Boomer generation, marching through middle age into their 60s with reduced participation in the more recent generations. The gradual loss of the hunting population threatens to reduce the relevance of hunting to our strong conservation community.

In the challenge there is also opportunity -- all those baby boomers also represent an army of qualified mentors for the next decade. Wisconsin citizens recognize the importance of hunters to conservation in our state and they strongly support us. It's up to us as hunters - as well as business organizations, youth groups, churches and neighborhood organizations -- to make sure that great tradition continues.

A good way to introduce people to hunting is a Learn to Hunt event. Nearly 1,000 joined a Learn to Hunt turkey event this past spring. If your group hosted an event, make sure you send in the final roster to the DNR at Learn to Hunt Coordinator LE/8, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53707.

The processes and application forms sponsors need to organize a Learn to Hunt event are available on the DNR website. Sponsors should work closely with the local wildlife biologist or warden when planning an event, and ensure at least one of the event instructors is a certified Hunter Education Instructor. Remember, this opportunity is open to novice hunters of all ages. Consider planning an event for parents who don't hunt and include their children.

Mentors are screened by the DNR using background checks at least two weeks before the hunt. There is also a reimbursement program through which groups can receive $25 per novice hunter to help cover the costs of hosting a learn-to-hunt event. If you are interested in hosting an event or have any questions about LTH, see the DNR website: or contact Warnke at the number below.

The DNR initiated the Learn to Hunt program in 1998 to provide novice hunters of all ages opportunities to experience a hunt with an experienced hunter. It does involve classroom instruction and field work before an actual hunt. More than 3,000 novice hunters in the past two years have gone to a Learn to Hunt event. In addition to turkey, the program also includes small game, pheasant, wild turkey, waterfowl, bear, and deer.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, Hunting and Shooting Sport Coordinator, 608-576-5243 or Joanne M. Haas, Office of Communications Public Affairs Manager for the Bureau of Law Enforcement, 608-267-0798

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DNR, Brewers team up to "Root, Root Root, for the Brewers' Plant a Tree Program"

MADISON - The Department of Natural Resources and the Milwaukee Brewers are teaming up to plant trees along the Hank Aaron State Trail as part of the Brewers Green Week promotion and the 100th anniversary of Wisconsin's state tree nurseries.

The Brewers have committed to purchase and plant one native Wisconsin tree for every 20,000 home tickets sold during the 2011 regular season.

"What a fantastic opportunity to work with the Brewers, celebrate our state tree nursery anniversary and enhance one of our most popular state trail corridors," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "When this project is completed later this fall, I hope to be able to travel the trail and see first hand the results of this effort."

As part of the partnership, the DNR also will distribute 7,500 spruce seedlings to fans exiting Miller Park following the 1:10 p.m. June 22 game with the Tampa Bay Rays.

"This is a great complement to our organizational efforts to be more proactive on issues related to sustainability," said Milwaukee Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. "Adding these trees to our surrounding environment is one of the key activities we have planned for our Milwaukee Brewers Green Week, which is scheduled to begin on Monday."

Over the past 100 years Wisconsin State Nurseries have produced more than 1.5 billion tree seedlings to help reduce soil erosion, provide habitat for wildlife and remove carbon from the air. "Plant a Legacy," the slogan for the year long nursery centennial celebration, hopes to inspire people to look to the future and plant a tree as this simple act will benefit generations to come.

"Wisconsin state nurseries have played an important role in helping to improve the quality of our forest resources," said Jim Storandt, manager of Griffith State Nursery in Wisconsin Rapids. "Growing and distributing seedlings to Wisconsin landowners is an opportunity to give nature a helping hand."

Trees also add to urban property values according to several studies. In Portland, OR for example, trees were found to add $8,800 in value to a mid- $200s home. In colder climates, trees properly placed around buildings as windbreaks can save up to 25 percent on winter heating costs.

"We enjoy developing close working relationships with partners like the Milwaukee Brewers in the metro area," said Melissa Cook, Hank Aaron State Trail property manager. "The trees the Brewers donated will add more green space and beauty to our trail visitors' experience. It's a gift that will be enjoyed for many years to come."

All trees planted along the state trail will be native to Wisconsin. Fifteen species have been designated including serviceberry, musclewood, bitternut hickory, hackberry, hickory, pagoda dogwood, hawthorn, Kentucky coffee tree, American hophornbeam, sycamore, cherry, white oak, American white cedar, basswood and American elm.

Trees will be planted in two batches. The first planting will take place shortly after the Brewers Green Week celebration. Based on estimated game attendance to that point in the season, the first planting would likely amount to 60-plus trees. A second planting will take place at the conclusion of the regular season when overall ticket sales are tallied.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Storandt, manager, Griffith State Nursery (715) 424-3702

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Wisconsin's working list of rare species updated

MADISON - State endangered resources officials have completed a comprehensive review of more than 3,000 plant and animal species found in Wisconsin and have published an updated list of natural communities native to Wisconsin.

The Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Inventory program updated the NHI Working List on June 1. The list is available online and is used by conservation groups, government agencies, corporations, academia, and the public-to make informed decisions about managing natural resources.

"Documenting the unique environmental and habitat needs of the studied species is crucial to evaluating any potential impacts to those species caused by human activities," said Laurie Osterndorf, director of the DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources. "This is a proactive way to conserve wildlife and natural places for future generations."

The NHI Working List identifies natural communities native to Wisconsin and includes species legally designated as "endangered" or "threatened" and in the advisory "special concern" category.

Special concern species are those about which some problem of abundance or distribution is suspected but not yet proven. This category is designed to focus conservation efforts on certain species before they become endangered or threatened hopefully heading off more expensive or restrictive regulatory actions.

51 species removed from special concern list

State and national agencies, organizations, universities and naturalists throughout the state started the revision effort in early 2010. Changes or new information on a species' population condition, status and distribution were reviewed and new rankings assigned. Rankings indicate the relative condition of the species and its requisite habitat needs. More than 1,000 state ranks were revised through the process with 120 species being added to the special concern category but new information and finds removed 171 species from the list.

"The working list is meant to be a dynamic document that is updated as often as new information becomes available," says Osterndorf. "We welcome citizen input on any aspect of the list, as well as observations of these species and communities."

Bureau of Endangered Resources

For more than 25 years, the Bureau of Endangered Resources has worked to conserve Wisconsin's biodiversity for present and future generations. The bureau's goals are to identify, protect and manage native plants, animals and natural communities from the very common to critically endangered and includes working with others to promote knowledge, appreciation and stewardship of Wisconsin's native species and ecosystems. The program relies on contributions for more than one-third of its budget. Gifts will be used to help preserve Wisconsin's priceless natural heritage and can be made via the tax-checkoff, by purchase of a license plate, and by direct donation.

New Email Service Available

Stay up-to-date with Endangered Resources News with their new email subscription service. Get information on bird outings, new publications, and more - direct to your inbox or iPhone. Sign up through the Bureau of Endangered Resources page of the DNR website.

Alerts on other topics are also available through the GovDelivery feature. At the DNR home page select "Subscribe to DNR Updates" and select the topics you want to follow.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurie Osterndorf, (608) 267-7552 or Julie Bleser, Natural Heritage Inventory Data Manager, (608) 266-7308

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Invader Crusaders recognized across the state

June is Invasive Species Month

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species has announced the 2011 Invader Crusader awards that are being given to several outstanding individuals and organizations across the state for their work to stop the spread of invasive species.

This year, Invader Crusader Awards will be given in conjunction with the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin's 10th Anniversary event on Saturday, June 18 at the Swamplovers Foundation property in Cross Plains, Wisconsin. More information about this event can be found at [ipaw.org] (exit DNR).

The 2011 recipients of Invader Crusader Awards are:

Professional
Volunteer

"It is important that we recognize and encourage all of the different individuals and organizations that are working tirelessly to keep Wisconsin's special places free of invasive species that choke out native plants and animals - both on land and water," said Paul Schumacher, chair of the council and Wisconsin Association of Lakes board member. "The fight to reduce invasive species' presence and keep them out of Wisconsin will be a long and hard battle for many years to come. We would not be able to do it without these and many other Invader Crusaders."

Since 2006, Invader Crusader Awards have honored Wisconsin citizens and organizations - both volunteer and professional -- for their significant contributions to the prevention, management, education, or research of invasive species that harm Wisconsin's land and waters. The award recognizes efforts working at all scales - from neighborhoods to statewide parks, lakes, and forests.

Invasive plants and animals threaten Wisconsin's water and land by outcompeting native plants and animals and by disrupting natural habitat systems. They also threaten the productivity and economic viability of Wisconsin's agricultural lands by creating overwhelming competition with crops. Millions of dollars, both public and private, are spent each year for the control of invasive plant and animal species in Wisconsin's waters, wildlands and agriculture lands.

From garlic mustard to Asian Carp, there are hundreds of invasive species on land and water already in Wisconsin and many more are on their way. If left unchecked, many of these plants, insects, and animals could permanently alter the quality of Wisconsin's precious natural areas that inspire residents and draw millions of tourists every year. That's why these Invader Crusaders play such an important role in the prevention and management of invasive species.

Invader Crusader awards are given during the month of June, which is Invasive Species Awareness Month. During June, the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species advertises events in which hundreds of citizens of all ages across the state will take part on the website [invasivespecies.wi.gov] (exit DNR). These events include volunteer invasive species removal and education activities at nature centers, botanical gardens, natural areas, lakes, rivers, agricultural fields, parks, schools, institutions of higher learning, and more.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Boos, DNR - 608-266-9276 or Belle Bergner, 414-967-1350

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Grassland and Savanna Management activities may result in incidental take of rare species under proposed permit

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Wisconsin's endangered species law (s. 29.604, Wis. Stats.) requires the Department of Natural Resources to notify the public when it proposes to authorize the incidental taking of a state endangered or threatened species.]

MADISON - The incidental taking of endangered and threatened species that may occur in grassland and savanna areas of Wisconsin would be authorized during specific management activities intended to preserve and enhance that habitat, under a Broad Incidental Take Permit and Authorization the Department of Natural Resources is proposing for such activities. Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the overall population of the species at risk.

A Broad Incidental Take Authorization for Grassland and Savanna Management was initially approved in 2000, and minor changes are now being proposed for this document. Additionally a Broad Incidental Take Permit is also proposed to allow DNR staff, as well as other agencies, organizations and individuals, to conduct management activities to benefit grassland and savanna species.

A variety of grassland habitats are included in the permit and authorization, including prairies, sedge meadows, shrub-wetlands, fens, brush prairies, sand barrens, bracken grasslands, and sphagnum bogs. Also included are pastures and fields dominated by non-native grasses and forbs with or without shrubby invasion, and plantings of native grasses and forbs. Savannas include oak and pine barrens, glades, oak openings, and open oak woodlands.

These grassland and savanna habitats and the species that inhabit them are dependent upon management to set back natural succession. These activities include prescribed burning, mowing and haying, selective tree or brush cutting and harvesting, herbicide application, and grazing.

The disturbance caused by these management activities may result in some mortality of individual plants or animals that are listed as endangered or threatened species. To minimize any incidental taking of rare species, DNR staff designed specific protocols for each endangered or threatened species found in these habitats.

DNR staff concluded that by adhering to these management protocols and conservation measures: grassland and savanna management activities would minimize impacts to the species; would not likely jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of these species or the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.

Additional information regarding the proposed Broad Incidental Take Permit and Authorization for Grassland and Savanna Management, including a list of species covered and conservation measures to minimize take are available on the DNR website or upon request from Madeline Emde, DNR Bureau of Endangered Resources, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707, madeline.emde@wi.gov, 608-266-7012. Public comments will be taken through July 15, 2011 and should be sent to Madeline Emde at the above address.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Madeline Emde, DNR, Bureau of Endangered Resources, 608-266-7012 or P.O. Box 7921 Madison, WI 53707-7921.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 14, 2011




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