NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 3,138 days

ARCHIVED Weekly News Published January 14, 2014

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Recycling continues to gain in popularity statewide, DNR report shows

MADISON - Wisconsin residents and businesses turned in another strong recycling performance in 2012, according to recent data compiled by the Department of Natural Resources.

The information, available on the Recycling Studies and Reports page of the DNR website, showed the state recovered about 750,000 tons of used paper products and food and beverage containers from residents and commercial establishments.

"Over the course of the year, the average Wisconsin household recirculated about 630 pounds of paper and containers - nearly the same weight as two upright pianos - back into the economy through recycling at home, at work and while out and about," said Brad Wolbert, DNR Recycling and Solid Waste Section chief.

Wolbert added that recycling tonnages have held steady over the past five years in Wisconsin, despite the continued development of lighter food and beverage packaging as well as increases in on-line publishing.

Every year, counties, towns, cities and villages send reports to the DNR with data on the amount of recyclable paper and container products recycled by their residents. Facilities that process these materials for recycling, called Material Recovery Facilities or MRFs, provide similar reports, and include information from commercial collections. The department combines the data in these reports to determine how much material was captured for recycling each year, target technical assistance to local communities and respond to information requests from legislators, public officials and citizens.

"Wisconsinites have a strong recycling ethic," said Cynthia Moore, DNR Recycling Program coordinator. "In addition to the 750,000 tons cited in the report, many households and commercial businesses commonly recycle, reuse or compost additional materials such as scrap metal, appliances, batteries, yard trimmings, motor oil and filters, textiles, wood products, and food scraps."

Moore also noted that, on average, Wisconsinites recycle far more discarded paper and containers than state law requires. Over the past five years, residents have collected about 143 pounds per person of paper and containers, compared to the state's per-capita standard of 82 pounds for rural areas and 106 pounds for urban areas.

Agency recycling experts point to two important conveniences that generally lead to higher recycling participation and collection rates. "First, more than 50 percent of the population now has access to 'single stream' recycling collection," said Moore. "This is where all recyclables are collected in a single bin, which is later sorted into different commodity types at a processing center."

Second, Moore said more than 50 percent of the population has access to curbside collection. Communities with greater than 5,000 residents are required under state law to provide curbside collection, and many smaller communities also offer curbside collection as a service to their residents.

Another factor state officials point to for the continued growth in recycling includes the state law that requires most electronic devices to be recycled. Electronics manufacturers help fund collection and processing of used household and school electronics under the DNR's E-Cycle Wisconsin program.

Also, under a new pilot program that began in Wisconsin in 2013, the DNR is recognizing the highest-performing community recycling programs for excellence in reducing costs and maximizing collection amounts.

In December the department gave out Recycling Excellence Awards to 50 local governments and the Ho-Chunk Nation last year, and intends to expand the recognition program in 2014 to help foster friendly competition and support local recycling efforts.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Moore, 608-267-7550

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Draft master plan for the Green Bay wildlife, fisheries and natural areas available for public input

PESHTIGO, Wis. - Protection of aquatic resources and habitats - including northern pike and sturgeon spawning areas - and high-quality and rare natural communities are among the objectives of a draft plan for the management and use of the Green Bay Planning group, a collection of Department of Natural Resources properties scattered along the west shore of Green Bay.

The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the Green Bay Planning Group Draft Master Plan and Environmental Assessment at an upcoming public meeting scheduled for January 29 in Oconto.

The draft plan describes proposed future land management strategies, recreational opportunities, and boundary modifications for the properties, which include wildlife areas, fisheries area and State Natural Areas. The following properties are covered by the planning process: the 11 units of the Green Bay West Shore Wildlife Area - Charles Pond, Little Tail, Long Tail, Oconto Marsh, Peats Lake, Pecor Point, Pensaukee, Peshtigo Harbor, Rush Point, Sensiba and Tibbett-Suamico; the Badger Gift Lands, a 757-acre parcel adjacent to and north of the Peshtigo Harbor Unit of the Green Bay West Shore Wildlife Area that was given to the DNR as part of a 2002 consent decree with the Fort James Operating Company as part of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment for the Fox River; Bloch Oxbow State Natural Area; and other scattered wildlife and fisheries lands.

Highlights of proposed management include:

The DNR also has received a request from a local snowmobile club to route a connector trail from the Marinette County snowmobile trail network across a portion of the Peshtigo Harbor Unit in order to access Green Bay and is seeking public comment on this proposal.

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 29 from 6-8 p.m. at the Oconto High School auditorium, 1717 Superior Avenue, Oconto.

The meeting agenda is as follows: open house with informational displays available and staff present for one-on-one questions and discussion, 6-6:45 p.m.; formal presentation providing an overview of the draft plan, 6:45-7 p.m.; formal question-and-answer period 7-7:15 p.m.; additional open house and one-on-one questions and discussion, 7:15-8 p.m.

The proposed action is not anticipated to result in significant adverse environmental effects. The DNR has made a preliminary determination that an environmental impact statement will not be required.

The Draft Master Plan and Environmental Assessment, along with maps and other background information, will be available for viewing at the public meeting. They can also be viewed online by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "Green Bay master plan."

The Draft Master Plan and Environmental Assessment will also be available for review at the DNR Green Bay Service Center, DNR Peshtigo Service Center and at the Peshtigo Public Library, Farnsworth Public Library in Oconto and Brown County Library, Weyers-Hilliard Branch, in Green Bay.

Comments or questions about these documents can be offered at the public meeting, online through the master planning page of the DNR website or submitted to: John Huff by mail at 101 N. Ogden Road, Suite A, Peshtigo, WI 54157, by phone at 715-582-5047, or by email at john.huff@wisconsin.gov; or Yoyi Steele by mail at 101 S. Webster Street, WM/6, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, by phone at 608-266-8169, or by email at yoyi.steele@wisconsin.gov

The public may submit comments through February 28, 2014.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: John Huff, Area Wildlife Supervisor, Peshtigo, 715-582-5047; Yoyi Steele, Planner, Madison, 608-266-8169

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Snowmobilers urged to slow down, gear up & have fun

Int'l Snowmobile Safety Week: 'You make snowmobiling safe'

MADISON - Wisconsin Snowmobile Administrator Warden Gary Eddy today urged all snowmobilers to mark the upcoming International Snowmobile Safety Week in two ways: ride with a safety mindset and take a friend snowmobiling.

"As we have another snowstorm moving through Wisconsin this week, wardens anticipate snowmobilers will be anxious to get back out on the many fun trails this state is known for," Eddy says. "In order to keep snowmobiling the fun and enjoyable experience it is for families and friends, it's important to remember to operate safely at all times."

This is the purpose of the International Snowmobile Safety Week, started in 1995 by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association and supported by the Department of Natural Resources conservation wardens. This year's safety awareness week is January 18 - 26. The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association's themes include "Safe Riders: You make Snowmobiling Safe' and 'Take a Friend Snowmobiling."

"Now is a great opportunity to pledge to yourself, family and riding companions that you will take steps to be a safer rider," Eddy says. "And if you know of someone who has never experienced snowmobiling, consider introducing that person to the fun on the trails."

Easy-to-remember safety tips include slowing your speed. "It's easier to see Wisconsin's great scenery that way," Eddy says. "We have 25,000 miles of groomed trails thanks to volunteers and others who support this sport. These trails are found statewide."

Another tip is to hold off on any adult alcoholic beverages until the snowmobile is parked for good that day. Put on the helmet is another solid safety measure, along with taking a snowmobile safety course.

Speed, alcohol and night-operation are the three main factors behind the seven fatalities of the first weeks of the 2013-14 snowmobile season. Preliminary information shows three of the seven fatalities involved alcohol, six involved speed and three occurred at night.

"As with every winter, there are temperature changes and storms - and these affect snowmobile conditions," Eddy said. "The recent warm-up recently caused some counties to close their trails. As a result, some riders head to private properties, road ditches or frozen waterways, exposing riders to even more hazards due to lack of snow cover, potential thin ice and overall icy conditions."

It's always a good idea to check your county's trail status. Travel Wisconsin maintains an online map detailing the status of county snowmobile trails. www.travelwisconsin.com/snowreport/ (exit DNR).

Wisconsin law also requires snowmobile riders who are at least age 12 and born after Jan 1, 1985, to complete a snowmobile safety course. That means people that are 29 years old as of Jan. 1, 2014 are required to complete a snowmobile safety course prior to operating. This law has been in effect since 1999. Riders age 16 and older may take a Wisconsin internet snowmobile safety course. Information regarding all snowmobile safety courses can be found on the DNR's snowmobile web page.

"Snowmobiling safety classes can be a family event or something you can do with your friends," Eddy says. "Parents are encouraged to take the course with their children to reinforce what has been taught and to make it a fun family experience."

To learn more about snowmobile safety classes and more, visit dnr.wi.gov, use keywords "snowmobile."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Eddy, 608-245-2315 and Joanne M. Haas, Bureau of Law Enforcement public affairs manager, 608-209-8147

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DNR seeks many partners in its mission to preserve Wisconsin's hunting heritage

MADISON -- A new grant program, aimed at increasing hunter recruitment and retention in Wisconsin, will provide up to $10,000 in cost-sharing grants to organizations with creative plans to attract and train new hunters and mentors.

The Hunter Recruitment, Development, Training and Education Grant Program will be managed by the state Department of Natural Resources and will make a total of $200,000 in grants available every two years, beginning this year. A broad range of organizations will be eligible for the grants - including local clubs, organizations, communities, governments, Wisconsin tribes, and colleges and universities.

DNR is seeking public input on the draft guidance document which will assist those interested in applying for a grant. The form can be found by searching the DNR website for keywords "program guidance." Public comments will be accepted through Feb. 3. The document contains timelines for applications and awards. The DNR plans to begin accepting applications this year beginning March 3.

The grant money will be drawn from the state's share of federal excise tax revenue from the sale of guns, ammunition and hunting equipment, commonly known as Pittman-Robertson funding.

By capping the grants at $10,000 and making more of them available, DNR officials said they hope to attract a diverse group of applicants and a broad range of ideas and pilot projects.

"We want lots of groups involved," Scott Gunderson, DNR assistant deputy secretary, told the Sporting Heritage Council at a meeting in Madison.

The 12-member council will review applications for the grants and provide input. The final decision on grant awards will be made by the DNR secretary. The council, which includes four legislators, was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker to advise the governor, the Natural Resources Board and the legislature on hunting, fishing and trapping issues with a focus on recruitment and retention and increasing access to resources and outdoor opportunities.

"We know we need to work with our partners as we search for ways to preserve Wisconsin's hunting heritage and to ensure that future generations of safe and ethical hunters will have the knowledge, skills and abilities to enjoy the hunt and all the benefits that hunting provides" said Keith Warnke, a DNR hunter recruitment specialist.

The Hunter Training, Development, and Education grant program will also focus on developing and pilot-testing various programs and evaluating effectiveness of those programs.

The secondary purpose of this new grant program is to continue the Learn to Hunt reimbursement program for Learn to Hunt sponsor groups and individuals.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke 608- 576-5243, Paul Heinen, 608- 266-2120, or Ed Culhane 715-781-1683

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Think spring and plan your Learn to Hunt turkey event for adults & other novice hunters

MADISON -- Think of it as Thanksgiving in the spring with a meal-time theme for families and others enjoying the great outdoors and Wisconsin traditions.

Call it what you want. Keith Warnke calls it Learn to Hunt Turkey and considers the time when winter tightens its grip as the perfect time to plan your Learn to Hunt turkey event.

"Many adults who did not come from hunting families and are interested in hunting often have no idea how to start," said Keith Warnke, Department of Natural Resources hunting and shooting sports coordinator. "These Learn to Hunt events are a great way for them to learn in a controlled and safe environment with an experience hunter."

Learn to Hunt events truly are for interested novices who would not otherwise have the chance to explore hunting which, Warnke adds, is key to successfully preserving our conservation heritage.

"The composition of Learn to Hunt events has continued to evolve, with more females and adults participating in recent years," Warnke said. "Compared to 2011, last year's number of females participating in Learn to Hunt events increased by 53 percent."

Learn to Hunt events may be scheduled before, during or after the six spring turkey time periods. However, most are held in late March and early April. Interested individuals and clubs will want to get started now to complete the necessary steps.

The department has made it easy for sponsors to organize Learn to Hunt events with on-line applications, reimbursement opportunities, assistance in finding event insurance and event advertising on the DNR's website.

Sponsors will need to submit a completed application form to the local wildlife biologist for approval, and should make sure at least one of the event instructors is a certified Hunter Education Instructor. Mentors assisting in the event will need to submit an application to be a mentor. Following the event, sponsors must submit a report of event participants and may apply for a $25 reimbursement per participant to assist with event costs. In addition, Warnke says the program will help advertise events by posting them on the DNR's Learn to Hunt web page and the Hunter's Network Facebook page.

More information on the Learn to Hunt program is available on the DNR website dnr.wi.gov, keyword "LTH."

For those of you interested in taking hunter education there are more courses being offered now than any other time of year, so go the dnr.wi.gov and type "hunter safety" into the keyword search box to get more information

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Keith Warnke, 608-576-5243; Joanne M. Haas, 608- 209-8147

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Now is the time to take hunter education

MADISON - People who will need a hunter safety certificate to hunt this year should not wait until fall to get enrolled in Hunter Education if they want to in the woods hunting this fall, according to state hunting safety officials.

"There are more hunter education courses taught now than any other time of year," said Jon King, hunter education administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, must have completed a hunter education course and show the certificate to purchase any hunting license in Wisconsin.

Hunter education courses are led by trained and certified volunteer instructors and are offered statewide throughout the year. Hunter education covers the firearm handling skills, regulations and responsibilities of a safe and ethical hunter. Every year, almost 30,000 youth and adults in Wisconsin become certified in hunter education.

King says people can choose from three convenient ways to get your hunter education certification:

"Thanks to the hunter education program, hunting is safe and getting safer," King said. "Get enrolled now and join the ranks of today's hunter education graduates who are ensuring the future of Wisconsin's hunting heritage."

Wisconsin hunter certification is recognized by all states and provinces requiring hunter education.

People can get more information and look for a nearby class by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keywords: "hunter safety."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Warden Jon King, Hunter Education Administrator, 608-575-2294, Joanne Haas, public affairs manager, 608-209-8147.

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Online map details shooting ranges open for public use

MADISON - People looking for a shooting range to sharpen their shooting skills now have a new online resource to help them find target ranges.

A new Department of Natural Resources online map details shooting ranges on public property and private ranges open for public use. The Public Shooting Range map details the types of shooting activities allowed and links to the individual range websites. To view the site search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keywords "shooting ranges." People who operate a Wisconsin-based shooting range open to the public can have it added to the map by contacting Mike Watt at Michael.watt@wi.gov or 608-266-8597.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Watt Michael.watt@wi.gov or 608-266-8597

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Wisconsin teachers! DNR Offers Free Arbor Day seedlings.

MADISON -- Elementary school teachers are eligible to order free white pine seedlings for fourth grade students before March 15 from the Department of Natural Resources' State Nursery Program as part of a statewide Arbor Day celebration in April. Seedlings will be delivered to local DNR offices as close to Arbor Day as possible.

Teachers should use the online form on the Fourth grade Arbor Day free tree program page of the DNR website.

Arbor Day celebrates trees and their importance to the environment and quality of life of all. It started in Nebraska in 1872 and is marked nationally and in other countries. Wisconsin celebrates Arbor Day annually the last Friday in April.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Carey Skerven (715) 424-3700 carey.skerven@wisconsin.gov, Joanne Haas, 608-209-8147

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Stream crossing project may result in the incidental take of rare frog

MADISON - A bridge replacement on a Grant County road may result in the "incidental taking" of a rare frog under an authorization the Department of Natural Resources proposes to issue for the project. 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.

Grant County proposes to replace the Airport Road bridge over the MacPherson Branch of the Platte River in the Town of Ellenboro. In addition to widening the bridge, the roadway will be slightly realigned in its approach to the bridge. The roadway will be closed to traffic during construction of this project.

The presence of the state endangered northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans) has been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some frogs

DNR staff concluded that the proposed project is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence or recovery of this species within the state, the whole plant-animal community of which it is a part and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.

The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the northern cricket frog are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Rori Paloski at 608-264-6040. Public comments will be taken through Feb. 11, 2014 and should be sent to Rori Paloski, Conservation Biologist, DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rori Paloski, 608-264-6040

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EDITOR'S ADVISORY: Jan. 16 online chat focuses on eagle watching opportunities

Extensive ice cover and a record number of eagles makes 2014 a great year to catch a glimpse of bald eagles in some of their traditional open water haunts. There were a record number of breeding eagle pairs and occupied nests in 2013. The Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, in fact, boast some of the largest concentrations of wintering bald eagles in the lower 48 states.

Join us for a chat all about the bald eagle this Thursday, Jan. 16, at noon. To participate, visit the DNR home page, dnr.wi.gov, and look for the box on the right to enter the chat, or search the phrase "ask the experts." You can also join the conversation on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/WIDNR, by clicking the "Cover it Live Chat" box on the top of the page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Gaumnitz, 608-264-8942 or Trish Nitschke, 920-360-3252

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, January 14, 2014




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