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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published July 9, 2013

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"Endangered Resources" bureau name changes but mission stays the same

MADISON - The state program charged with caring for Wisconsin's endangered resources, nongame animals and State Natural Areas is taking on a new name and organizational structure to better reflect and carry out its broad mission.

As of July 1, the Bureau of Endangered Resources officially became the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation within the Department of Natural Resources.

The name change is the most visible of several changes resulting from discussions with staff and DNR and external partners over the last six months to develop a blueprint for the future, says Erin Crain, who took over in October 2012 as bureau director.

"Our name has changed but our mission is the same," Crain says. "We wanted a name and structure that would better reflect and support our mission to work with citizens to preserve the special places and species that make Wisconsin, Wisconsin."

Natural Heritage Conservation staff work with citizens, private landowners and businesses to track, assess and manage nongame species; provide regulatory protection to endangered and threatened species; manage State Natural Areas to preserve the best remnants of Wisconsin's original landscapes; and consult with other DNR partners and private landowners to help them manage their land to help maintain Wisconsin's unique plants and animals and special places.

Changes in organizational structure and budgeting will free up money to fill vacancies in the field so that staff can respond more quickly to provide timely reviews and advice to partners and landowners to help them manage their lands to safeguard nongame species, Crain says. More field staff also will allow DNR to better manage state natural areas to control invasive species and maintain habitat for rare species, and engage more citizens and landowners in things they can do to conserve nongame species.

"Our partners told us loud and clear that they wanted more people in their communities, and we are very pleased to respond to their needs," Crain says. "Our goal is to keep plants and animals off the endangered and threatened species list in the first place. We think having more people in the field where they can advise partners and private property owners can help us better achieve that goal."

State Fair Aug. 1-11 a chance to see nongame species up close

Crain invites people to see up close some of the nongame animals her staff are actively working with citizens to help protect and manage at the bureau's display at DNR Park at the Wisconsin State Fair, Aug. 1-11 in West Allis. Visitors to the fair also will be able to visit a photo booth where they can pose for photos showing themselves doing common activities staff do including conducting a bat survey, a prescribed burn, a snake survey or a prairie survey.

"We are eager to have people join us for state fair to see what we do and how they can help join the community of caretakers for Wisconsin's nongame species, our unique plants and our special places," she says.

"In 2012 we celebrated 40 years of the state's endangered resources law and working with citizens to return bald eagles, osprey and trumpeter swans to our skies, safeguarding hundreds of other native plants and animals, and secure pristine prairies, savannas, forests and wetlands for our children and grandchildren to enjoy," Crain says. "We're eager to continue that work together and to build the community of caretakers for our tremendous natural heritage."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Erin Crain 608-267-7479

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Petroleum cleanup program gets new home at DNR

MADISON -- Wisconsin's petroleum tank clean-up program is getting a new home with the signing of the state's biennial budget bill. Effective July 2, the petroleum environmental cleanup fund award program, known as PECFA, moved to the Department of Natural Resources Remediation and Redevelopment Program. It had previously been in the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. The program reimburses petroleum tank owners for a portion of the costs associated with cleaning up discharges from petroleum or home heating oil storage systems.

"This is a real benefit for the people of Wisconsin," said Mark Giesfeldt, director of the DNR Bureau for Remediation and Redevelopment. "The move will save taxpayers just over $1 million in the next two years, and customers who use the program will find improved service through the consolidation of environmental cleanup programs under one roof."

The PECFA program has been around in Wisconsin since the late 1980s, in response to the costs of federal requirements enacted to prevent the release of petroleum and other regulated substances from underground storage tanks into the environment. Until now, DSPS (and formerly the Department of Commerce) was responsible for low- and medium-risk sites, while DNR managed high-risk sites.

Giesfeldt said consolidation of these two, similar cleanup programs reduces duplicative costs in some cases and streamlines customer service through the implementation of consistent standards and unified management.

While the technical and financial oversight portions of PECFA are moving to DNR, the storage tank regulatory program and the statewide tank registry database are moving to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Eighteen staff and several vacant positions are associated with the transfer; about half of them to work out of DNR's central office in Madison, and the rest at field offices and service centers around the state.

"DNR looks forward to welcoming these new staff into our ranks, and to continue providing excellent customer service to new and existing customers in the PECFA program," Giesfeldt said.

Information about the program can be found by searching the DNR website for PECFA .

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Giesfeldt at 608-267-7562

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Invasive Japanese hedgeparsley taking hold in southern Wisconsin

Has potential to spread to most regions of the state

MADISON - A relatively new invasive plant species has started spreading widely in southern Wisconsin and has now been found as far north as Portage County, but state invasive species specialists say most populations are still small enough to be contained before they expand.

"Landowners who have finished pulling garlic mustard for the year, may need to search their forests for Japanese hedgeparsley," says Nisa Karimi, a plant pest and disease specialist with the Department of Natural Resources.

Japanese hedgeparsley was first reported in Wisconsin in 1976. It has started spreading widely in Green, Dane and Iowa counties in the last 10 years. It has also been found in the Kettle Moraine area, around Portage County, and in other locations.

"It has the potential to spread to most regions of the state," Karimi said.

Japanese hedgeparsley (Torilis japonica) is a member of the carrot family and is considered a winter annual (germinating in fall) or a biennial.

"The first year plants have finely divided fern-like leaves in a rosette near the ground. It can be easily hidden amongst other plants and generally isn't found until it flowers. In the second year, flower stalks 'bolt' and can grow anywhere from a few inches to 6 feet," she said.

Most plants are found in the 2 to 4-foot range. Fern-like leaves along the flower stem give rise to thin branches that hold multiple umbrella shaped clusters of small white flowers. This plant blooms much later than garlic mustard, typically in early July in the southern counties. The flowers quickly develop into small seeds with burrs that catch on fur and clothing.

According to Dan Wallace, an "Invader Crusader" award winner and volunteer who has been fighting this plant at Brooklyn Wildlife Area for many years, dogs are particularly efficient at transporting seeds from one spot to another. People walking through or letting their dogs run through weedy areas should carefully remove and dispose of all attached seeds before leaving the property.

Small patches are easily hand pulled. If the plants are already flowering or have seeds, they should be dried and burned or bagged up and put in the trash. As with other regulated invasive plants, there is an exemption from the yard waste rule that allows these plants to be sent to a landfill to prevent further spread of their seeds.

Matt Zine, a DNR natural areas management specialist, said larger patches can be mowed when they are in the early flowering stage.

"Similar to garlic mustard, prescribed fire in the fall can be effective in reducing the number of plants that will flower the following year. Late fall or early spring are good times for herbicide application as the rosettes will be green when most native plants are dormant," Zine said.

He recommends using 2-4,d, triclopyr or metsulfuron. Glyphosate tends to not be as effective for this plant. Regardless of the control methods used, once a plant has been allowed to go to seed it is likely there will be new seedlings germinating for at least six years. As with most invasive plants, persistence and removing all flowering plants is the key to keeping this plant from taking over your forest.

Anyone finding Japanese hedgeparsley outside of the south central counties should send their report to invasive.species@wi.gov. More information about this plants can be found by searching the DNR website for Japanese hedgeparsley.

Japanese hedgeparsley photo gallery.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Nisa Karimi - 608-267-0729

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Photo contest underway for 2014 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar

Calendar to be featured as part of the December 2013 issue of the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

MADISON - People have until the end of August to enter their favorite photographs from a Wisconsin state park, forest trail or recreation areas in a contest to be included in the 2014 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar.

New for 2014, in addition to being available for purchase, the calendar will be distributed to more than 82,000 subscribers of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine in the December issue.

This is the fifth year the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks has sponsored the photography competition.

"There are lots of activities happening at Wisconsin state parks during the four seasons," said Patty Loosen, state friends group liaison with the Department of Natural Resources. "So we're asking for entries that include in addition to the beautiful scenery, activities like geocaching, art in the park, stargazing, candlelight skis, kayaking, horseback riding, and mountain biking."

The deadline for all submissions is Friday, August 30, 2013.

Submissions are only accepted from amateur photographers ages 14 and over. Professional photographers who earn more than half of their income taking pictures are not eligible. Employees of the DNR and board members of the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks and their immediate family members are not eligible to win. Friends of Photographs must have been shot within the past three years (since Jan. 1, 2011) and no more than four photos may be entered.

A panel of Friends of Wisconsin State Parks board members and staff will review accepted entries and select the winning photos. Photo awards will be presented at the organizations' Annual Awards banquet in October, 2013.

More information and details on entering and contest rules are available on the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks website friendswiparks.blogspot.com (exit DNR) by clicking on the tab for "photo contest."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia Loosen, Friends of Wisconsin State Parks coordinator, 608-264-8994

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2013 Gold Seal Awards contest underway

Visitors can vote for their favorite state park property in 10 different categories

MADISON - What Wisconsin state park offers the best view from a tower? How about the best park for walking the dog, listening for an owl or holding a family reunion?

Those are among the categories for the 2013 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Gold Seal Awards contest categories.

"If you are a camper, biker, hunter, angler, or park visitor, cast your vote for your favorite state park, forest, or trail in one of our new categories," said Patty Loosen, state park friends coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources.

The winning parks, forests, and trails will be honored with a Gold Seal Awards at the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Awards Banquet in October. The statewide Friends of Wisconsin State Parks organization runs the Gold Seal Awards program each year to highlight Wisconsin's parks, trails, and forests.

This year, the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks have named the following categories:

People can cast their entries and find out more by visiting the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks website friendswiparks.blogspot.com (exit DNR) and clicking on the tab for "Gold Seal Awards."

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks work to promote, protect, preserve, restore, and enhance the State Park System in order to protect state parks and their resources for future generations.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patty Loosen, Friends of Wisconsin State Parks coordinator, 608-264-8994

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 09, 2013




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