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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published April 16, 2013

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Wisconsin regular inland game fish season opens Saturday, May 4

MADISON - Anglers venturing out for the May 4, 2013, opening day of the inland fishing season will find strong fish populations -- particularly for bass -- and will want to use early season tactics to reel them in, state fisheries officials say.

"It's been a long winter and people are eager to get out fishing and enjoy the excitement and tradition of opening day," says Mike Staggs, Wisconsin's fisheries director.

"The key will be for anglers to use early season fishing tactics since many fish species likely won't have finished spawning," he says.

Opening day of the 2013 regular inland fishing season follows the coldest March on record and is shaping up as the polar opposite of the 2012 season opener, which followed the hottest March on record.

As of April 15, many lakes are still ice-covered in northern Wisconsin and water levels are higher than normal on many rivers, according to U.S. Geological Survey's WaterWatch (exit DNR) website for current stream flows and flood watch conditions.

Staggs says that anglers planning to travel for opening day will want to call ahead to local bait shops or check online sources to learn about ice conditions, water levels and fishing conditions and take appropriate precautions.

Anglers can find information about fish populations in specific waters in the 2013 Wisconsin Fishing Report. Forecasts are arranged by fish species.

Longtime DNR fish biologists and technicians share their predictions for the opener and their tips for catching fish given the low water temperatures and late spawning. A few excerpts are featured below and more tips for fishing when spring is late arriving [PDF] can be found by searching the DNR website for "Fishing Wisconsin"

"When we have a late spring and ice-out we usually have the best early walleye fishing," says Russ Warwick, longtime DNR fisheries technician based in Hayward. "The male walleyes are still shallow and are very hungry."

Warwick says northern pike will likely be in the shallow weeds and feeding while bass and panfish will be very early pre-spawn on opening day and in deeper water than normal.

Longtime Madison lakes fish manager Kurt Welke says spring 2013 won't be significantly different than any other opener. He expects things to be a little colder in the morning at first light and the bite may indeed be slower for fish being pursued with artificial rather than natural baits.

"I'd put my money on areas with good exposure to sun and whatever heat might have been driven into the system," he says. "I'll fish slower and deeper - no cast and crank - and try to keep my shadow behind me. I'll be looking at the weather the days before for prevailing winds and any other advantages I can lever."

Dave Seibel, longtime Antigo area fish biologist, expects that northern pike will be post-spawn and feeding heavily in bays and emerging plant growth. Walleye will be at peak spawn or immediately post-spawn and will be transitioning from spawning habitats to feeding habitats. Post-spawn walleye like to feed in shallow bays with emerging plant growth and woody habitat. Muskellunge and perch will be at peak spawn. Crappies and bluegills will be in the shallows enjoying the sun warmed water there and the food life that results from it.

Trout streams will likely still be running high and cool from spring melt waters and rains. Cool water trout fishing may be better in the afternoon, once the water has had a chance to warm and the bug life activates, he says.

"Whatever the weather and water temps, there is only one opening weekend," Seibel says. "Get out and enjoy it and have a safe and memorable time on the water!

Season dates and regulations

The 2013 hook-and-line game fish season opens May 4 on inland waters for walleye, sauger, and northern pike statewide.

The largemouth and smallmouth bass southern zone opens May 4, while the northern bass zone opens for catch and release only from May 4 through June 14, with the harvest season opening June 15. 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 4 in the southern zone and May 25 in the northern zone. The northern zone is the area north of highways 77, 64 and 29, with Highway 10 as the dividing line.

Regulations haven't changed from last year; find the "2013-2014 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations" and "Inland trout regulations" by searching the DNR websie for "fishing regulations." Opening day bag limits for the Ceded Territory are also available online on the regulations web page and anglers are encouraged to check back frequently for any updates or to sign up for free fishing regulations updates.

Discounted licenses seek to reel in new anglers, lure others back to the water

For the second year, anglers who have never purchased a fishing license -- or who haven't purchased one in 10 years -- can get a discounted "first time buyers" license. The discounts are automatically applied when the license is purchased. Residents' discounted license is $5 and non-residents' is $25.75 for the annual licenses.

Anglers who recruit new people into the sport can get rewarded for their efforts. Wisconsin residents who have been designated as a recruiter three or more times within one license year are eligible for a discount on the license of their choice the next year.

Anglers can buy a one-day fishing license that allows them to take someone out to try fishing, and if they like it, the purchase price of that one-day license will be credited toward purchase of an annual license. The one day license is $8 for residents and $10 for nonresidents.

Buying a license is easy and convenient over the Internet through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website at all authorized sales locations, or by calling toll-free 1-877-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.

Fish consumption advice online and more survey takers sought

DNR's online search allows anglers to easily find consumption advice for the fish they eat from Wisconsin's lakes. Anglers can select the waterbody they plan to fish to see a listing of the number of meals anglers can safely eat of various species to avoid buildup of environmental contaminants found in the fish.

General statewide advice calls for women of child-bearing years and children 15 and under to limit themselves to one meal of panfish a week and one meal of game fish a month. Older women and men are advised to limit to one meal of game fish a week and can enjoy unlimited panfish meals. More stringent advice applies to 154 waters where mercury or PCB levels are higher.

DNR and DHS are seeking more male anglers 50 and older to take an online survey [https://study.uwsc.wisc.edu/anglers/] about their fish consumption habits. The survey is aimed at helping better understand the link between fish consumption and health and to shape outreach efforts to better connect with people who eat a lot of fish. Videos about the general fish consumption advice are available in English, Spanish and Hmong and can be found on DNR's YouTube channel fishing playlist.

Anglers reminded to follow invasive species rules and report Asian carp sightings

Anglers can help keep Wisconsin fish and lakes healthy by following rules to avoid spreading aquatic invasive species like Eurasian water-milfoil and zebra mussels and the fish disease viral hemorrhagic septicemia.

Anglers are also encouraged to contact their local fish biologist when they catch Asian carp like those strays that have been documented in the Lower Wisconsin River and the Mississippi River. An angler reported to DNR in April that he caught a bighead carp below the Prairie du Sac dam on the Wisconsin River. Information about Asian carp species and photos to help identify the various species and tell the juvenile fish apart from native species can be searching the DNR website for Asian carp control.

Fishing Wisconsin by the numbers, 2012
  • 2012 saw the second highest total number of fishing licenses sold in the last decade. The 1,310,553 sold was up from 1,275,405 in 2011.
  • In 2012, 29 percent of fishing licenses sold were to female anglers, a total of 372,339 licenses.
  • 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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Staggs (608) 220-2609; or a local fish biologist

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Comments sought on Lake Michigan fisheries management plan update

MADISON - The state is revising its long-term fisheries management plan for Wisconsin's Lake Michigan waters and invites anglers and others to provide ideas for future management goals and tasks.

"We're starting another 10-year look forward and want to know if people have advice for continuing some of the great fishing the current plan has helped deliver, and advice on how to respond to the great changes we're seeing in the ecosystem," says Bill Horns, Great Lakes fisheries specialist for the Department of Natural Resources.

People who are interested in commenting can find the current plan, a review of progress on implementing that plan, and information about challenges to the ecosystem, on DNR's website, dnr.wi.gov, by searching for keyword "Lake Michigan Plan."

Comments can be sent to Bill Horns at William.Horns@Wisconsin.gov or Bill Horns, FH/4, Department of Natural Resources PO Box 7921 , Madison WI, 53707-7921.

DNR manages Lake Michigan fisheries in partnership with other state, federal, and tribal agencies, and in consultation with the public, particularly sport and commercial fishers. DNR's "2003-2013 Lake Michigan Integrated Fisheries Management Plan" set four main goals: provide a diverse, balanced healthy ecosystem, a diverse, multi-species sport fishery, a stable commercial fishery and science based management.

To start the review process, DNR biologists and technicians who work on Lake Michigan and tributary waters reviewed the 2003-2013 plan task by task and inserted comments on whether the particular task or "tactic" was undertaken.

"In general, we made good progress toward the things we said we would do," Horns says. Among those accomplishments were managing chinook populations to fuel a run of fantastic fishing (four of the top six chinook harvests occurred in the past eight years), and then successfully working with states starting in 2006 to adjust stocking levels to better balance the number of fish stocked with available food.

Completing the major renovation of Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery, the main supplier of trout and salmon to Lake Michigan, enhancing walleye and northern pike spawning habitat in the Milwaukee and Menominee rivers and in roadside ditches along Green Bay are among the tasks achieved. Removal of barriers to fish passage in the Milwaukee River, sturgeon rehabilitation using stream-side rearing facilities in the Kewaunee and Milwaukee Rivers, and stocking of Great Lakes spotted musky in Green Bay to support the popular fishery established there over the last decade were among the other accomplishments.

Horns says that over the last decade the open water area in the middle of the lake has become much less productive, a change that most biologists attribute to the arrival and proliferation of the quagga mussel. Quagga mussels have colonized soft substrates in cold, deep waters, and have displaced zebra mussels from nearshore waters. They filter large volumes of water to remove plankton, and are credited with altering the entire food chain from the bottom up.

"The main fact we have to recognize and confront is that the ecosystem has changed and will likely continue to change. So what worked before may not work in the future," Horns says.

Another major challenge is the need for renovating the fish production system, including importantly for Lake Michigan fishing, the Kettle Moraine State Fish Hatchery.

"Given the changes to Lake Michigan and the need to invest in our hatcheries, input from anglers and others is critical in developing a plan that keeps Lake Michigan healthy and provides sport and commercial anglers with good opportunities," Horns says.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Horns (608) 266-8782

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Born wild: Babies best left in nature

Animals' parents most often hiding nearby
Drive with caution, care during animal rush hours of dusk and dawn

MADISON -- With the arrival of spring so, too, will be the arrival of baby wildlife. Well-intentioned animal enthusiasts may mistakenly assume some wildlife babies are abandoned and in need of their help without realizing the babies' mothers most likely are nearby and on the job.

Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists remind outdoor enthusiasts that these wildlife babies are best left in their natural homes and near their mothers, which are likely hiding from sight in an effort to protect their babies.

"Wildlife animal mothers protect, conceal and feed their babies in ways that may be easily misinterpreted by humans who want to help the animal baby that appears vulnerable," said Amanda Cyr , a DNR wildlife biologist. "Unlike humans one way they protect their babies is to conceal them and leave them hidden from predators under natural vegetation."

Cyr says the mother returns to feed the babies, but often under the cover of darkness or brush. This is something humans may not understand because it is so removed from what a human mother does. The well-intended but uninformed person may attempt to rescue or feed a wild animal baby because, in the human world, we perceive the baby as being afraid, alone and abandoned.

"It often is not. Its mother is following natural behavior instincts to help the babies survive and thrive," Cyr said. "Human interventions, while done with good intentions, instead can damage the health and well-being of the baby animal."

Cyr says feeding a wild animal with human foods can cause more damage to the wild animal because their digestive systems are different. Wild animals require different foods and nutrient levels that cannot be met with human diets. Too much human or domestic animal disturbance or activity near a baby animal could also cause the mother to shy away from the area. Especially keep a close watch on pets when they are outdoors so they don't disturb a nest of baby animals.

To help prevent a wild animal from making a nest in a building or too close to human activity, place caps on chimneys, vents and window wells, and seal up any unintended openings or hollows.

Born without body scents for a reason; fawn's spots for survival

Some wild animals are born with little body scent. Their protection from predators, Cyr says, is for them to remain motionless and concealed within the environment.

"Their mothers are keeping watch from afar," Cyr said. "The mother returns a couple of times each day to quickly feed the babies. After feeding, the mother will quickly hide them again from the predators."

Cyr says this is the natural behavior of white-tailed deer and fawns.

"Fawns have little scent to attract a predator and their spots help them blend in to the environment," she says. "They move very little in their first weeks while they are alone in a place the mother selected. If you see a fawn lying on the ground by itself, you should leave the fawn where it is and not disrupt the area."

Baby rabbits also are usually alone in their nest during the day when the mother is not there. The baby rabbit's best protection from predators is to remain in their nest which is concealed with grass or vegetation.

"The mother will come back to the nest a couple times each day to feed the babies," Cyr said.

Don't touch but call for help;drive with care during animal rush hours

If you find a baby wild animal, Cyr says the best policy is to leave them alone. "A good option to really help the animal is to call the DNR Call Center (1-888-936-7463, 1-888-WDNRINFo). We can evaluate the situation and determine if you should be connected with a wildlife rehabilitator in your area."

To get the name of a wildlife rehabilitator in your area, you can contact the WDNR's Call Center (1-888-WDNRINFo / 936-7463) or Bureau of Wildlife Management (608-266-8204), or search for "wildlife rehabilitator directory" on the DNR website.

"Animals tend to be on the move during specific times during the day and the hours around dusk and dawn are especially busy," Cyr said. When driving in more rural or woods areas slow down and watch for animals on the move. Just like humans, animals start getting more active when the weather makes a transition into the warmer temperatures.

What is the law on assisting wildlife?

State and federal laws prohibit the possession of live native wild animals without a license or permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A permit from the USFWS is required to possess all native birds protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. A few species are allowed to be possessed without a license, but the take of these species must be from a legal source.

If it is absolutely necessary to help a young animal that is injured or its mother has been killed, a person may legally have the animal in their possession for up to 24 hours for the purpose of transporting the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

People can learn more about assisting wildlife by searching the DNR website for "orphaned wildlife".

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mandy Cyr, 715-359-5508

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Watch out for gypsy moth - and act soon

EDITORS' NOTE: This is the first of several articles that will be submitted between now and July regarding gypsy moth in Wisconsin. Each highlights a different strategy for managing gypsy moth populations at certain times of year. All of these strategies are effective and some readers may find one more useful than the rest for their situation. Please consider sharing information from all of these releases with your audiences.

MADISON - As spring approaches, state forestry officials urge homeowners to look for signs of gypsy moths. From late April (southern Wisconsin) through May (northern Wisconsin), a new generation of gypsy moth caterpillars will hatch.

"At high numbers, gypsy moth caterpillars are a tremendous nuisance and strip trees of their leaves, which puts the tree's health at risk," says Bill McNee, a forest health specialist with the Department of Natural Resources in Plymouth. "The insect's favorite food is oak leaves, but it will feed on many other tree species such as birch, crabapple, aspen and willow," said McNee.

Gypsy moth populations are potentially damaging this year in Bayfield, Marinette and Iowa Counties and a few southeast counties. Individual trees elsewhere may have high populations. Everyone should be on the look-out for gypsy moth because now is the time to act.

Homeowners can take action to reduce damage to their trees

Gypsy moth egg mass
Gypsy moth egg mass.
WDNR Photo

"As soon as possible in April, search for the tan-colored egg masses and destroy any within reach," McNee says. Egg masses are about the size of a quarter and are often teardrop shaped.

They can be found on any outdoor surface including trees, houses, firewood piles, play- sets, and other objects. Before mid-April, oil the egg masses with a horticultural dormant oil labeled for gypsy moth, such as Golden Pest Spray Oil. Avoid using motor oil or axle grease, which can harm the tree. If property owners prefer, they can scrape the masses into a can and drown them in soapy water for at least two days to kill the eggs.

"Do NOT scrape the egg masses onto the ground, step on them, or break them apart. Many of the eggs will still survive and hatch," McNee cautions. "You will have 500 to 1,000 fewer caterpillars for every egg mass you properly oil before mid-April or drown before hatch."

After oiling or removing all of the egg masses within reach, people can place sticky barrier bands on trees.

"These bands will prevent crawling caterpillars from climbing into your trees," says Mark Guthmiller, DNR forest health specialist in Fitchburg. At a convenient height, wrap a belt of duct tape 4-6 inches wide around each tree trunk, shiny side out. Smear the center of the band with a sticky, horticultural pest barrier available at garden centers. "Routinely sweep the caterpillars gathered under the band from the tree into a bucket of soapy water to kill them," says Guthmiller.

sticky barrier bands on trees
Sticky barrier bands on trees prevent caterpillars from climbing trees.
WDNR Photo

Professional assistance and insecticide sprays for yard trees

After the caterpillars hatch, insecticides can be used to kill them. Insecticides with the active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki (Btk) are effective when sprayed on the leaves that small gypsy moth caterpillars eat. Btk is relatively non-toxic and does not persist in the environment. You can spray the leaves of small trees yourself or hire a certified arborist to do a ground-based spray for you. Insecticide treatments are most effective when done in May and early June.

"Spray while the caterpillars are small. If Btk is used, they will die when they eat treated leaves, so they don't become a nuisance or strip all the tree's leaves," McNee says. "Arborists are busy in the spring, so determine whether this is an option for you and then make arrangements soon."

You can find certified arborists in your area by searching the Wisconsin Arborist Association Web site at [www.waa-isa.org] (exit DNR). Also look in the phone book under "tree service."

Aerial spraying may be an option for property owners with gypsy moth across many wooded acres. For more information on this and other gypsy moth details, visit gypsymoth.wi.gov (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: DNR forest health specialists: Bill McNee, southeast Wisconsin, 920-360-0942; Mark Guthmiller, south-central Wisconsin, 608-275-3223; Brian Schwingle, northern Wisconsin, 715-536-0889.

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More sturgeon call Keshena Falls home

GREEN BAY -- Another group of lake sturgeon is enjoying their new home this week after Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff transported them from below the Shawano dam on the Wolf River to Keshena Falls on the Menominee Indian Reservation.

This wraps up the second year of a 10-year cooperative agreement between the Menominee and the DNR to help restore the sturgeon population in a stretch of the river that was historically one of the larger spawning sites. When dams went in downstream, it prevented the sturgeon from reaching the spawning site.

This week, 35 sturgeon were brought to a small inlet near Keshena Falls where, one-by-one, biologists implanted transmitters and then released them. The movement of the fish can then be tracked using a sonar system along the river.

Biologists say the efforts to re-introduce sturgeon appear to be working.

"Last spring we saw evidence of natural spawning occurring just below the falls and we expect to see it again this year," explained Ryan Koenigs, DNR fisheries biologist. "Working with the Menominee Tribe on this project has been a very rewarding experience for not only us, but for the tribe which has a spiritual and cultural connection with these fish."

In 1993, DNR staff and the Menominee Tribe began restoring the sturgeon population. Fish transfers, like the one done this week, were conducted from 1995 through 2006 when the deadly viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) was found in Lake Winnebago and put an end to all fish transfers. It wasn't until 2010 when it was discovered VHS doesn't affect sturgeon that the transfer operations were reinstated. Tribal law prohibits any person, tribal or non-tribal, from harvesting lake sturgeon from the Wolf River within the Reservation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ryan Koenigs 920-303-5450 or Trish Ossmann 920-662-5122

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Recycle old electronics during spring cleaning to give gadgets a new life

Electronics shouldn't be put in the trash or at the curb

MADISON -- It's the time of the year that many people empty basements, clean out drawers and find new homes for all the clutter that accumulated over the winter. For a growing number of Wisconsin residents that clutter includes used electronics like computers, cell phones or TVs.

A 2010 DNR survey estimated that Wisconsin households had 7.4 million TVs, 16 percent of which were unused, and 4.3 million computers, 26 percent of which were unused.

While it may be tempting to toss the old cell phones in the trash with the rest of the basement junk, or haul the TV to the curb, state law bans most electronics from Wisconsin's landfills and incinerators. Instead, residents can use E-Cycle Wisconsin, a DNR-managed program funded by electronics manufacturers, to recycle electronics at more than 400 locations around the state.

Recently, the DNR asked Wisconsin landfill and solid waste transfer station operators if the 2010 ban appears to be reducing the amount of e-waste that shows up on their properties. While all operators said they see fewer electronics than before the ban, 50 percent are still having electronics abandoned at their facilities and 80 percent still see electronics arrive in garbage loads at least once or twice a month.

"It's unfortunate that these valuable materials are being wasted," said Sarah Murray, DNR E-Cycle Wisconsin coordinator. "The steel, aluminum, plastic and precious metals inside our electronics are commodities that have real value if properly recycled. They do nothing for us in landfills."

Many communities are working to educate residents about the disposal ban by refusing to pick up TVs and other electronics left at the curb. In Milwaukee, for example, putting banned electronics at the curb is an ordinance violation. When garbage crews encounter such an item, they place a bright orange sticker on it, explaining that the item is banned from the landfill and where to take it for recycling. City sanitation inspectors may also issue the property owner a citation for the violation.

In more rural areas, communities have distributed electronics recycling information in tax bills, and many county and local governments have sponsored one-day collection events during spring, summer and fall.

Collection events and permanent drop-off sites registered with E-Cycle Wisconsin have collected more than 100 million pounds of electronics for recycling since the program began in 2010.

The DNR maintains an up-to-date list of collection sites registered with E-Cycle Wisconsin. Residents can find permanent drop-off sites and upcoming special collection events in their county. Many sites accept electronics for free, though some may charge a small fee for some items. Go to dnr.wi.gov and search "ecycle" for details.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Sarah Murray, 608-264-6001

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Citizens honored for their work to collect information about natural resources

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. -- Ozaukee County's fish passage program and a key volunteer in documenting how fish are responding to efforts to restore their migration routes along Lake Michigan tributaries were among the groups and individuals recently recognized for outstanding achievements in citizen-based monitoring of Wisconsin's natural resources.

Other honorees for the Citizen-based Monitoring Awards include two volunteers with Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center, a key volunteer in surveys to collect data about dragonflies, and Dave Redell, the late Department of Natural Resources bat ecologist, who built the Wisconsin Bat Conservation Program.

Separate Wisconsin Stream Monitoring Awards were given by the University of Wisconsin-Extension and DNR to recognize volunteers, employees and teachers for their commitment to monitoring, collecting data, raising awareness and sharing knowledge about Wisconsin streams.

Recipients of those awards included a leader of the Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited Riverkeepers, a Racine high school student, a teacher at Menominee Indian High School in Keshena, a Crawford County stewardship group and the coordinator of stream monitoring for Milwaukee Riverkeeper

"Wisconsin is fortunate to have so many people who care so deeply about our natural resources," says Owen Boyle, who coordinates the Citizen-based Monitoring Network for DNR.

"We appreciate the efforts of each and every one of those volunteers. Our conference offered us a chance to honor in particular some of the groups and individuals who have provided outstanding service and leadership."

Kris Stepenuck, volunteer stream monitoring program coordinator for DNR and UW-Extension, says the recipients were "inspirational." It's a pleasure to be able to learn from these leaders in volunteer stream monitoring," she says.

The awards were given out during the Citizen-based Monitoring conference in Wisconsin Rapids on April 5-6, which was jointly hosted by the Water Action Volunteers and the Citizen-based Monitoring Network. More than 135 people from nature centers, schools, colleges, friends groups, and state and county agencies attended the convention.

A list of award winners and short descriptions of their work follows.

  • Ozaukee County Fish Passage Program was named the Citizen-based Monitoring Program of the Year. Ozaukee County's Parks and Planning Department has procured nearly $8 million in federal, state, local, and other funding since 2006 to carry out fish habitat restoration work. That department has worked with municipalities, consultants, conservation corps, non-profit organizations, and volunteers to remove 180 impediments to fish migration in the county and restore habitats, and to document the effects of their work and provide information that can be used in future planning decisions by state and local governments.
  • Rick Frye received the Outstanding Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring award for his leadership role within the Ozaukee County Fish Passage Program's fish surveys. He has volunteered almost 30 hours at five electrofishing survey events and helps guide new volunteers into the labor intensive process.
  • Robin Squier received the Outstanding Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring for her work with the Urban Ecology Center bird banding program, donating more than 150 hours of her own time in 2012 alone. She also led the effort that made Milwaukee the largest city in Wisconsin to receive the Bird City designation.
  • Dan Jackson received an Outstanding Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring for his work as a citizen volunteer participating in dragonfly surveys and helping build the Web presence of the new Wisconsin Dragonfly Society. Since 2009 he has contributed 4,051 Odonata records to the Odonata Survey, including a first state record of a striped saddlebags (Tramea calverti).
  • Ethan Bott received an Outstanding Achievement in Youth Monitoring for his volunteerism with the Urban Ecology Center. Now 17, the White Fish Bay High School senior has volunteered more than 300 hours since joining the organization at age 12. He has devoted most of his time to the center's bird banding project but has also collected information for monarch, snake, and turtle monitoring surveys.
  • David Redell posthumously received a Lifetime Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring for his work to build the Wisconsin Bat Conservation program after becoming DNR's first bat ecologist in 2004. He worked to enact vanguard regulations to protect Wisconsin bats and developed a plan that will guide the state's response to white-nose syndrome, a disease devastating hibernating bat populations in North America. Redell also helped created citizen-based monitoring efforts that now involve nearly 500 volunteers. All future lifetime achievement awards will be named the "David N. Redell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Citizen-based Monitoring."
Wisconsin stream monitoring awards
  • John Gremmer of Winneconne was recognized as the outstanding adult monitor for the Wisconsin Stream Monitoring program. Under his leadership, Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited Riverkeepers has grown to support 25 teams who monitor across a six-county area including Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago, Green Lake, Fond du Lac, and Marquette counties. Gremmer does media outreach about Riverkeepers' activities, seeks funding to support the group's efforts, and participates in stream improvement work days.
  • Crawford Stewardship Project, based in Crawford County, was recognized as the outstanding group. They began in 2007 to address concerns about the effects of land use on water quality in rural Crawford County and the lower Kickapoo River Watershed. Their monitoring has identified some stream sites with runoff pollution issues. The group started a statewide network to foster clean water and organized a community educational workshop about potential impacts of sand mining on surface and ground waters.
  • Joe Rath was recognized as the outstanding employee of the year. He has been the monitoring coordinator for Milwaukee Riverkeeper since 2010. By 2012 this network had grown to support 63 volunteers monitoring 100 sites. He was instrumental in pilot testing a volunteer phosphorus monitoring effort in streams across the watershed, the largest volunteer phosphorus monitoring initiative ever carried out in Wisconsin.
  • Maya Dizack of Racine was recognized as the outstanding student monitor. Dizack is completing her freshman year at The Prairie School in Racine and began testing a site near her home seven years ago. Today, she and her family monitor three different locations and Maya is an integral member of the Prairie Stream Consortium - a local alliance of community members, She has made presentations to local officials and at the statewide Volunteer Stream Monitoring Symposium.
  • Dan Hannen-Starr was recognized as the outstanding teacher. A high school science teacher at the Menominee Indian High School in Keshena, he worked with tribal elders and community members to bring his students to the streams to monitor them and to assist with sturgeon rehabilitation efforts. In 2011 he and the Menominee Indian High School received a technology grant that allowed students at the high school to increase their participation in volunteer stream monitoring.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Owen Boyle, 608-261-6449

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Want to trap in fall? Do required safety course now

More than 2,000 finished course in 2012 thanks to expert instructors

MADISON -- Trapper education courses are under way statewide and open for those needing this required training before doing any trapping this fall, a Department of Natural Resources furbearer ecologist says.

"These courses are popular and can fill up quickly," said Geriann Albers, DNR assistant furbearer ecologist. "The courses are led by volunteer instructors who are experts in trapping. However, not all counties have the trapper courses so it's best to find the course in the county closest to you and sign up now."

Albers says the course is required for those who have not previously held a trapping license and are not actively engaged in farming. She also recommends students be at least 10 years old.

Just more than 2,000 completed the trapper education course in 2012.

"The credit for that graduation rate goes to our many dedicated volunteer instructors and education coordinators from the Wisconsin Trappers Association who put in countless hours to keep this program top-notch," Albers says. This course includes strong attention on trapper ethics and trapper responsibility besides the important basics of rules and regulations, traps and trap setting, history of furbearer management and biology of furbearers.

Wisconsin's trappers, can participate in regulated trapping seasons in other states with the exception of Minnesota, Michigan, Hawaii and Washington, D.C. Oftentimes trapper education is a requirement and our Wisconsin course is recognized and accepted by others.

The trapper education course cost is $12 and pre-registration is required. To learn more about this course and where the courses are taught, search the DNR website for "trapper ed."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Geriann Albers, Assistant Furbearer Ecologist, 608-261-6452; Jenny Pelej, public affairs manager, Bureau of Wildlife Management,

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Learn to Hunt Bear application process open

MADISON -- People interested in learning to hunt Wisconsin's largest game animal have until May 24 to apply to participate in a Learn to Hunt Bear outing featuring classroom and field instruction capped with a real hunt with skilled mentors.

"The Learn to Hunt Bear program represents an opportunity of a lifetime for novice hunters of any age," said Keith Warnke, hunting and shooting sport coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources. "Working in partnership with many dedicated bear hunters and local conservation organizations, wardens and wildlife managers, successful Learn to Hunt Bear events have been held across northern Wisconsin during the last several years."

In 2012, DNR conservation wardens and dedicated bear hunters coordinated LTH Bear events for 56 participants in nine counties. A total of 42 bear were harvested: 25 over bait and 17 using dogs. Conservation Warden Jill Schartner who organizes the Bayfield County LTH bear event said those who participate in these events leave with the skills and basic building blocks needed to hunt for a bear in the future.

Schartner said last year instead of only hunting the weekend for just two days, a day was added on each end of the weekend in September 2012.

This change, she said, gave both hunters a little more time to spend with their mentors and those two extra days really made a difference. While all the LTH bear events are different (not all are four days long), every group goes to extra lengths to ensure the novice hunters are well trained.

Schartner believes the mentors are the ones who are crucial to this program. "If not for their experience, money, time and energy, there would be no program," she said.

Schartner, who has more than 16 Bear Hunting Mentor Groups who help run this program, said mentors share their experiences to keep improving the program each year. Participation in the DNR Learn to Hunt Bear program is limited, so qualified applications will be evaluated and winners drawn and notified in mid-June. Documents and applications for the Learn to Hunt Bear program can be found by searching the DNR website for "LTH."

The program is limited to novice bear hunters only. A novice hunter is anyone age 10 and older who has not participated in a Learn to Hunt Bear event and has not previously purchased a Class A or Class B bear license. Applications must be postmarked by May 24

In 2005, the DNR began the Learn to Hunt Bear program as another outreach program for novice hunters. Other Wisconsin wildlife featured in the Learn to Hunt program include turkey, deer, pheasant, upland game and waterfowl. For more information search the DNR website for "LTH."

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

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 16, 2013




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