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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published October 29, 2013

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New Zealand mud snails discovered in Black Earth Creek

First occurrence in inland Midwest

Editor's note: This release was updated 11/7/2013 to clarify prevention guidelines.

MADISON - The invasive New Zealand mud snail that has been a problem in western U.S. streams has been detected in Black Earth Creek, a renowned trout stream in Dane County.

The discovery, the first in an inland Midwestern stream, is spurring the state to begin rapid response procedures to try to contain the snail, and to call on waterfowl hunters, trappers anglers and hikers to take precautions to avoid accidentally spreading the species.

"This is a significant and disappointing find in Wisconsin," says Bob Wakeman, who coordinates the Department of Natural Resources aquatic invasive species efforts. "The New Zealand mud snail can be extremely prolific, has altered the food chain and may be having an impact on fish populations in Western streams."

"We don't know what the impact will be in Wisconsin, but we do know that there is no good way to eradicate the snails so we are focusing on containing them as quickly as we can and ask for citizens' help in doing that as well."

Wakeman says DNR has notified partners of the discovery, and will work with citizens, the River Alliance of Wisconsin, Trout Unlimited, University of Wisconsin-Extension, Wisconsin Sea Grant and Dane County to contain the species through increasing awareness of prevention steps among those who might inadvertently help spread the snail: hunters, anglers, trappers and hikers.

Signage, and wash stations along the area where the invasive species has been detected are among the educational efforts likely to be used, Wakeman says.

The department's discovered the snails during routine stream monitoring. The snails were first identified by the Aquatic Biomonitoring Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and then confirmed earlier this month by Dr. Kathryn Perez from UW-La Crosse, who identified all individuals in the samples as belonging to the "Clone 1" population, previously found only in the western states as far east as Colorado. A "Clone 2" population also exist in the Great Lakes, which arrived by ballast water.

The New Zealand mud snail, the size of a grain of sand, has a black and brown shell and is capable of reaching high densities - up to 500,000 per square meter. The snails outcompete native aquatic insects that are food for fish and other aquatic life but are not good food sources themselves.

The snails are listed as a prohibited species in Wisconsin, meaning it's illegal to buy, sell, possess or transfer them without a permit.

Although trout season on the creek has closed for winter, hunters, hikers and trappers visiting the Driftless area should take care to review gear disinfection protocols - particularly for waders, where the tiny snails can cling to rubber or mud.

"This is why it's so important to clean your equipment before leaving a lake or stream -- and ask your friends and guests to do the same," Wakeman says. "We need everyone's vigilance to help contain this invasive species."

Take these prevention steps after leaving the water to keep Wisconsin streams healthy:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Wakeman, 262-719-0740; David Rowe 608-275-3282

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Comments sought on economic impact of proposed changes to the invasive species rule

MADISON -- Businesses, developers, scientists and citizens have through Dec. 31 to submit comments on the potential economic impact of proposed changes to a state rule to prevent the introduction of new invasive species to Wisconsin and to control or eradicate those here but not yet established.

Proposed changes to the rule, Natural Resources Chapter 40 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, include adding 86 plants and animals to the list of regulated species. Activities that include habitat restoration, soil movement, outdoor recreation, water usage, landscaping, gardening, or habitat management may be affected by the proposed changes.

Department of Natural Resources staff will use the information submitted regarding the potential costs and benefits of the proposed changes to the rule to prepare the economic impact analysis now required by law.

DNR invasive species staff worked with the Wisconsin Council on Invasive Species (exit DNR) and affected stakeholders to review and propose revisions to the invasive species rule, which first became effective in 2009.

The invasive species rule classifies invasive species into two categories: "prohibited" and "restricted." With certain exceptions, the transport, possession, transfer and introduction of prohibited species are banned. Restricted species are also subject to a ban on transport, transfer and introduction, but possession is allowed, with certain exceptions.

The current proposal calls for adding 51 new species for listing as prohibited including the plants water lettuce and water hyacinth and animals including the nutria and the Malaysian trumpet snail. The proposal also calls for listing 33 more species as restricted, and two as both prohibited and restricted.

A preliminary draft of the changes to the rule, the potential economic impacts, and detailed information on the proposed species are available on the DNR website (dnr.wi.gov) by searching keyword "NR 40." Administrative rule documents are also available at: the Wisconsin Administrative Rules [exit DNR] website

Comments about the economic impact may be submitted electronically to: Invasive.species@Wisconsin.gov or may be mailed to: Wisconsin DNR- Bureau of Science Services, Invasive Species EIA Solicitation, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707. Comments are to be postmarked no later than Dec. 31, 2013.

Any local governmental unit that is affected by the proposed rule changes also may request to coordinate with DNR on preparation of the economic impact analysis. That governmental unit must notify DNR of its request to coordinate when it submits comments on the economic impact analysis.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Terrell Hyde 608-264-9255 or Dreux Watermolen 608-266-8931.

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Online survey will help shape the state's future walleye stocking strategy

MADISON -- Walleye anglers and others interested in walleye management are invited to take an online survey to help shape the state's future stocking strategy for walleye now that a $13 million investment to upgrade facilities and increase operating funds is expected to significantly boost the number of larger walleye stocked in Wisconsin.

"The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative has the capacity to increase seven, eight, even 10 times the number of larger walleye for stocking in Wisconsin waters where natural reproduction isn't getting the job done," says Ron Bruch, a Department of Natural Resources fisheries section chief co-leading public involvement efforts.

"That increase is significant, and we need to take a look both at our walleye stocking strategy and our walleye management plan in general. We want to hear what the public thinks are the most important considerations for how we manage walleye fisheries in the future and for where we put these fish."

The survey is found on DNR's Wisconsin Walleye Initiative Web page, which contains a variety of materials relating to the walleye initiative. It can be reached from DNR's home page by searching for "walleye" and clicking on the "take the survey" link.

The survey is part of DNR's ongoing efforts to reach out to walleye enthusiasts, tribes and business interests with a stake in walleye fishing in Wisconsin to help chart the future, Bruch says. Earlier this month, the same survey was shared with people who attended public meetings in Hayward, Rhinelander and Oconomowoc and with participants in two business focus groups.

Bruch says that results from the survey will be incorporated into the stocking strategy that state fisheries officials present to the state Natural Resources board in December. That stocking strategy needs to be determined soon for DNR to figure out logistics for where to raise the fish, how many of particular strains, and where to deliver them next year.

The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative is a two-year investment of fishing license fees and state tax dollars to help produce for stocking in more waters more of the larger walleye that have better survival rates in the wild. In addition to DNR hatcheries receiving $8.2 million for repairs and upgrades and more money to raise more fish for the next two years, the initiative provides for a one-time, $2 million competitive grant program for municipal, tribal and private fish hatcheries for upgrades to increase their capacity to raise fish, and $500,000 for the state to purchase fish from non-state hatcheries.

Sign up for free updates on the walleye initiative

Get the latest stocking reports, videos, and other information about the walleye initiative, walleye management and walleye fishing in Wisconsin by signing up for free email updates or mobile alerts. From the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative Web page, click on the subscribe button and enter your email address or cell phone number for mobile alerts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron Bruch 608-267-7591; Steve Avelallemant 715-365-8987

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Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2013 to air in November

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY -- CORRECTION: The Saturday Nov. 9 rebroadcast of the Deer Hunt 2013 on Wilwaukee Public TV is at 9 a.m., not 9 p.m. We regret the error.]

MILWAUKEE -- Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2013 is the 22nd annual hour-long special designed to help hunters prepare for the upcoming firearms deer season. Host Dan Small will interview Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp and other DNR staff to discuss research on Wisconsin's deer herd, efforts to recruit new hunters, the impact of deer on forest habitat, new regulations and a forecast for this year's hunt.

Viewers will also learn how they can share photos and video of their hunts and connect with DNR via social media, get a look at new hunting gear, and hear stories of successful hunts from several young hunters who bagged deer during the October Youth Hunt.

The show will air at the following times and the stations listed:

The show will also be available on the DNR website dnr.wi.gov by looking for a promotion on the home.

Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2013 is a production of Dan Small Outdoors, LLC, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Small, 414-588-4082

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Hunters urged to donate venison for food pantries

MADISON - Hunters can donate deer to help feed the hungry through a partnership that over the past 13 years has provided food pantries across the state with 3.7 million pounds of ground venison, state wildlife officials say.

The Wisconsin Venison Donation Program and its affiliates, Hunt for the Hungry and Target Hunger, along with more than 120 participating meat processors, are ready to accept and distribute venison donated by hunters during this deer hunting season, according to Dan Hirchert, the Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist coordinating the venison program.

"There has been great interest this year from hunters who are anticipating a productive season" Hirchert said. "We need your help again this season to share the harvest and help families in need."

In the past 13 years, hunters have donated 83,120 deer which were processed into more than 3.7 million pounds of ground venison and distributed to food pantries across the state.

Two separate programs for donation are available for hunters, one in the chronic wasting disease zone and another in the rest of the state. Be sure to view the list that applies to your area. Both lists of participating meat processors, and instructors for donating, are available on the DNR website: dnr.wi.gov (keyword, "Deer Donation").

Hunters can donate a deer by following a few simple steps:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Hirchert, 608 267-7974 or Jenni Pelej, 608-264-9248

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Learn to Hunt Pheasant programs scheduled for early December

Friends of Poynette Game Farm and Pheasants Forever to host separate programs

POYNETTE, Wis. - Youth and novice hunters age 10 and older are invited to sign up for free Learn to Hunt Pheasant programs sponsored by the Friends of Poynette Game Farm and Pheasants Forever. Two programs at two different locations are offered; Dec. 7-8 at the Department of Natural Resources MacKenzie Center near Poynette and Dec. 13-14 at the Wern Valley Sportsmens Club in Waukesha.

All food and equipment will be provided. Adults and family members are encouraged to attend. Program applications can be found at: www.friendsofwihunting.org (exit DNR) or 608-635-8120. Programs are limited to 20 participants and applications should be mailed to Friends of Poynette Game Farm, PO Box 606, Poynette, WI 53955 by Nov. 22, 2013.

The Dec. 7-8 program at the MacKenzie Center will focus on the basics of pheasant hunting in a fun and relaxing atmosphere. Overnight lodging is provided in the MacKenzie Center dormitories.

The Dec. 13-14 program at Wern Valley Sportsmen Club will include a Friday evening classroom discussion followed by outdoor activities on Saturday.

Programs include classroom instruction on pheasant biology and management, dog training demonstrations, trap shooting, and a mentored pheasant hunt. The MacKenzie Center program will include a tour of the Poynette Game Farm.

Friends of Poynette Game Farm is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing pheasant hunting opportunities, promoting the strong tradition of upland bird hunting in Wisconsin and in supporting the game farm's mission. In 2013, 75,000 pheasants from the Poynette facility will be released on more than 91 public hunting grounds across the state.

In addition to support for the pheasant stocking program, FPGF promotes pheasant and small game hunting as a family activity. FPGF organizers are passionate about their time spent hunting with family and friends.

"We have many fond memories of hunting trips and want new hunters to make memories of their own", said Vic Connors, FPGF president.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Nack, director, state game farm, 608-635-8120; or Bob Manwell, DNR communications, 608-275-3317

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New Web page helps people locate DNR multilingual publications

MADISON -- In continued efforts to increase customer service opportunities, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources launched a new webpage featuring published publications in Spanish and Hmong languages. The page provides easy access to educational and informational documents on hunter safety and regulations, fish consumption advisories, children's activities and recycling and waste reduction tips.

A record number of people are now speaking Spanish and it remains the most spoken non-English language in the U.S., according to Pew Research. Wisconsin also has the third largest Hmong population in the United States.

"We are beyond thrilled to see this new web page," says Elisabeth Olson, Recycling & Waste Reduction Communications Coordinator for the DNR. "The page provides a great opportunity to share our existing resources in Spanish and Hmong and expand our customer audiences."

Native speakers, educators and staff can find the page by searching the DNR website (dnr.wi.gov) for multilingual publications.

"I am pleased that the DNR continually looks for ways to improve service and communication with our customers through inclusion and by honoring diversity," says Regina Kammes, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Program Specialist with the DNR. "This site is one way we strive to inform and include customers with limited English proficiency."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Erin Gordon, 608-264-8528

BILINGUAL INQUIRIES: (1-888-936-7463)

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 29, 2013




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