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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published July 1, 2014

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Car-killed deer assessments shed light on deer nutritional condition

MADISON - Following a record-breaking harsh winter, a statewide effort to assess the condition of car-killed deer is helping researchers understand winter's impacts on Wisconsin's deer herd. This information is in addition to radio telemetry monitoring of deer over the last four years has that has also provided insight into winter's impacts on deer.

In general, deer populations in southern Wisconsin came through the winter in better condition than herds in the north, as indicated by fat stores, according to car-killed deer assessments conducted by Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials. This finding coincides with field observations from DNR wildlife biologists throughout the state and reports from the public.

This spring, 522 deer were sampled statewide during a period when fat reserves were at their lowest point of the year. Local wildlife biologists inspected and gathered data from deer that were killed in vehicular collisions to evaluate pregnancy rate and fat stores at various points within the deer carcass, including the rump, around the heart and kidneys and in the bone marrow.

"Last January, we heard a lot of concerns about the potential winter impacts on the deer herd," said Dan Storm, a DNR research ecologist. "From our radio-collared deer studies, we've learned a lot about how winter impacts our northern deer, but we didn't have similar projects in the southern half of the state. Our research and wildlife staff quickly put a plan in place to look at car-killed deer. This was a very inexpensive and informative way for us to monitor winter impacts on deer throughout the state."

Fat stores are a key indicator of nutritional condition as deer rely on these reserves, accumulated during summer and fall, to survive winter. Does with more fat are able to provide better care to their newborns, which increases survival and is important to herd growth rates - fawn survival is closely linked to doe nutritional condition.

In the southern portion of the state, 40 percent of adult deer sampled had rump fat, while rump fat was present in only 14 percent of adult deer sampled in the north. A greater proportion of deer in the north had little or no organ fat, as opposed to deer in the south. Similarly, bone marrow condition was better in the south than the north, and adults were more likely to have fatty marrow than juveniles in both the north and south.

Regardless of where in the state deer in the study were collected, the evaluations revealed that nearly all adult does were pregnant. "Pregnancy rates among adult does were greater than 90 percent across the state, even in the northern forest," said Storm. "We wouldn't expect the severe winter to impact this year's pregnancy rates, because the deer became pregnant before winter began."

However, Storm did indicate that pregnancy rates of the youngest deer will probably be impacted this coming fall.

While adult pregnancy rates did not differ between regions of the state, pregnancy rates of juvenile deer approaching their first birthday and the average number of fawns being carried were found to be quite different from north to south and between major habitat types throughout the state.

"The rate of adults carrying twins exceeded 60 percent in both the central and southern farmland zones, while the rate of single fawns for these zones was approximately 9 percent," said Storm. "In contrast, fewer does in the northern forest zone were pregnant with twins and many were carrying a single fawn."

Juvenile does (under one year old) exhibited much lower pregnancy rates than adult does. Less than 10 percent of juveniles in the northern forest and nearly 20 percent in the central farmland zone were pregnant. Differences in litter size between the farmland and forest zones likely reflected differences in habitat productivity and the late spring experienced in 2013 in the Northern Forest Zone. A late spring limits the food supply available to deer, which in turn limits the amount of resources deer can use to create offspring.

For more information regarding deer research in Wisconsin, search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "white tailed deer research." For more general information regarding deer, search keyword "deer."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Storm, DNR ungulate research ecologist, 608-630-0370

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Most fireworks illegal in state forests and parks

MADISON - People planning on camping in a Wisconsin state park or forest for the Fourth of July should enjoy fireworks displays in nearby communities -- not at picnic areas, campsites or other areas within state parks and forests.

Fireworks are illegal in Wisconsin state parks and forests, according to Jason Fritz, chief ranger for the Wisconsin State Parks program.

"For the safety of our guests and our resources, our rangers strictly enforce the no fireworks laws," Fritz said. "Fourth of July favorites, the sparkler and the snake, are not defined as 'fireworks' per Wisconsin state law, but most park and forest rangers and superintendents would rather not see them at all because they are a fire hazard."

A citation for illegal fireworks in a state park or forest can cost the lawbreaker up to $200 and parents could be liable for the full costs of putting out a fire started by their children playing with or setting off fireworks.

In fact, anyone responsible for starting a wildfire in Wisconsin is liable not only for the cost of putting the fire out but also for any damages, notes Catherine Koele, forest fire prevention specialist with the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry.

As of the last week of June, fire dangers levels throughout Wisconsin were low, but even in low fire danger times, fireworks can start wildfires. So far in 2014, DNR records show 467 fires have burned more almost 2,500 acres in DNR fire protection areas of Wisconsin. Wildfires caused by fireworks only amount to five percent of the annual total, however, these fires typically occur in a condensed timeframe around the Fourth of July holiday.

More information on fireworks and fire danger is available in a "Fireworks cause forest fires and more... [PDF]" brochure available for download from the DNR website.

Fireworks can compromise air quality for individuals with health issues

State air quality officials also caution that the use of fireworks produces high concentrations of chemical particles, which can compromise air quality in a given area for a few hours.

Due to this smoke released during firework displays, individuals with health issues ranging from asthma to emphysema as well as heart and lung disease are advised to take special precautions to avoid exposure, according to Anne Bogar, DNR air quality outreach specialist. In addition, she said, families with small children or elderly adults are at a greater risk of being affected.

Bogar says the best way to reduce an individual's impact of firework smoke is to avoid or eliminate the personal use of fireworks at ground level.

"A better alternative for individuals with health risks is to attend public events where fireworks are launched to a higher altitude, allowing more time for smoke to dissipate before reaching ground level," she said.

For more information on fireworks air quality and health effects, search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "fireworks."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Fritz, DNR chief ranger, 608-266-2152 Catherine Koele, DNR wildfire prevention specialist, 715-356-5211 x208 Anne Bogar, DNR air quality outreach, 608-266-3725, or Paul Holtan, DNR parks, forests, trails and recreation public affairs manager, 608-267-7517

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Tailgating tips for waste reduction

MADISON - The summer tailgating season is officially here and with it the Department of Natural Resources is providing tips on how to reduce waste at games, parties and other cookouts.

"A game day celebration by the grill is even better without litter or waste," says Cynthia Moore, DNR recycling program coordinator. "Whatever your team's colors, you can take a few simple steps to make sure your tailgate remains green."

Tailgaters, says Moore, can reduce waste by purchasing drinks and snacks in bulk without excess packaging. Cardboard casing and plastic film around beverage cases, for instance, are recyclable.

Tailgaters can also bring reusable dishware and cloth napkins to any event.

"You can often find low-cost, durable dishware for tailgating at a local thrift shop," Moore explains, "and bringing a large sealable container to hold dirty dishes until you get home will make transport and cleanup a breeze."

When grilling, Moore notes, tailgaters can use a chimney starter and lump charcoal, all-natural briquettes or an electric grill to cut down on air pollutants.

If driving to a game or park site, groups can often carpool. Not only is it eco-friendly, it also makes finding parking easier and limits the need for multiple designated drivers.

Finally, tailgaters and other groups can bring separate bags for collecting trash and recycling. Tailgaters can recycle leftover bottles, aluminum cans and clean cardboard but having a bag or two already handy makes final clean-up easy and efficient. In larger groups, they can also make recycling into a pre-game activity, asking friends and other fans to vote for their favorite team or player by tossing recyclables in labeled bags.

If there are no public bins on site, tailgaters should take the collected items home to recycle.

Event organizers and those in charge of any event venue should be sure to place trash and recycling bins in easily accessible, visible locations where visitors will be able to see and use them. DNR tips and other free resources for event and venue recycling are available in an online publication by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for "Recycling and Waste Reduction at Your Special Event [PDF]," and more reuse and recycling ideas can be found by searching for "recycling for all seasons."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Lis Olson, 608-264-9258

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Free fishing and archery clinics offered July 19 at Devil's Lake State Park and MacKenzie Center

POYNETTE, Wis. - The Department of Natural Resources MacKenzie Center and Devil's Lake State Park are partnering to host a double-header outdoor skills learning event on July 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants will get hands-on fishing tips at Devil's Lake and learn the basics of archery and get some target practice from certified instructors at MacKenzie. Equipment will be provided and instruction is free.

Both events are "drop-in" style with no reservation required. A Wisconsin fishing license is required for fishing clinic participants age 16 and up and an annual Wisconsin State Parks vehicle sticker or vehicle day pass is needed to bring a vehicle into Devil's Lake. There is no charge to enter MacKenzie. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.

"Archery and fishing are two outdoor skills that can help usher youth into enjoying a lifetime of outdoor recreation," said Kurt Thiede, DNR Division of Lands administrator. "This event will give families a chance to try out both skills at two outstanding outdoor destinations."

The fishing portion of the day is from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Devil's Lake State Park South Shore Concession building. The event will cover fish identification, knot tying, setting the hook, bait and more. Greg Karch, founder of the nonprofit organization, Learn 2 Fish With Us, will be the lead instructor.

The archery part of the day meets at the MacKenzie Center's main lodge parking lot and runs from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Instructors will guide participants through the basics of archery. The clinic will include instruction and plenty of target practice.

You must furnish your own transportation and lunch. Both locations have picnic areas available.

The MacKenzie Center is located at W7303 County Highway CS, Poynette. Devil's Lake State Park is located at S5975 Park Rd., Baraboo. Distance between the two venues is approximately 30 miles with a travel time between the two locations of roughly 35 to 45 minutes.

In addition to the fishing and archery clinics, visitors are invited to hike the trails, swim at the beach and visit the nature center at Devil's Lake and at MacKenzie, view native wildlife with bison, wolves and more and also hike wooded nature trails. Both events are outside so participants should wear appropriate clothing.

For questions or for more information go to dnr.wi.gov and search for "MacKenzie," or call 608-635-8112 or for "Devil's Lake," or call 608-356-8301.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Chrystal Seeley-Schreck, Mackenzie Center, 608-635-8112, Sue Johansen, Devil's Lake State Park, 608-356-8301 or Bob Manwell, DNR communications, 608-275-3317

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DNR will partner with UW-Madison to update statewide land cover map

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to revise the expected completion date of the Wiscland 2.0 map to June 2016.

MADISON - A cooperative effort to update the current vegetation, water and urban land data in Wisconsin will use data collected from satellites to map more than 40 different types of land cover commonly found in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin-Madison are working together on the project, titled Wiscland 2.0, which will replace the current land cover map created by DNR that uses data collected from 1991 to 1993. While the project will help the DNR Forestry Division map the distribution of tree types statewide, it will also serve to greatly improve whitetail deer habitat monitoring.

"Updating the land cover map will provide current information to support many of the new deer program initiatives, such as the Deer Management Assistance Program and county deer advisory councils," said Bob Nack, DNR big game management section chief.

An updated statewide land cover database was a key recommendation as part of Dr. James Kroll's 2012 Deer Trustee Report. New mapping systems will be used to monitor biodiversity, habitat loss and track land management decisions over time.

While Wiscland 2.0 will use data from satellites to map more than 40 different types of land cover commonly found in Wisconsin, the project will also include work on the ground to gather data and assure accuracy. The tentative goal is to have the Wiscland 2.0 land cover map completed by June 2016.

An email distribution list has been created for anyone interested in receiving updates from the project team. To join, please send a blank email to join-landcover@lists.wisc.edu and follow the instructions you receive.

For more information on deer trustee recommendations, please visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "deer trustee report."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob Nack, DNR big game management section chief, 608-264-6137

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11 new wildlife technicians to serve Wisconsin's outdoors

MADISON - Eleven new wildlife technicians will focus on habitat creation and preservation, public recreation, wildlife population monitoring and a wide range of public contact services across Wisconsin.

The new Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources technicians will work together with existing department employees to provide a wide range of wildlife and land management services, according to Tom Hauge, DNR wildlife management bureau director.

"Wildlife technicians are on the frontlines of conservation in Wisconsin," Hauge said. "They are responsible for a great deal of important on-the-ground work and I'm excited to welcome them to the department."

Hauge said each of the new wildlife technician possesses a strong academic background paired with invaluable previous work experience. The new technicians will be heavily involved with citizens in their community as they transition into a new position with DNR.

The new wildlife technicians and the areas they serve include:

To learn more about Wisconsin's Wildlife Management Program, search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for keyword "wildlife." To view an overview of state wildlife areas and other state managed lands, search keywords "wildlife areas."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mia Van Horn, DNR operations program assistant, 608-266-5230 or Kyle Aarestad, DNR communications specialist, 608-264-6280

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Updates proposed to broad incidental take permit and authorization for activities with no or low impact to endangered resources in Wisconsin

MADISON -- A number of activities that have no or low impact on endangered or threatened plants and animals would be included under an existing Broad Incidental Take Permit and Authorization for No and Low Impact Activities, under a proposal that is currently open for public review and comment.

The Department of Natural Resources is proposing to revise a Broad Incidental Take Permit and Authorization for No and Low Impact Activities that was originally approved in 2013 to include additional low impact activities related to utility maintenance, trail maintenance and fisheries management.

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. The revision will also update existing activities including removal of duplicate activities and clarification of activity descriptions.

DNR staff concluded that the incidental take allowed for under this permit and authorization is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of the species or the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action. The department concluded that the take allowed for under this permit and authorization is not likely to appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival or recovery of the species within the state, the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part or the habitat that is critical to their existence.

The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered and threatened species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Permit and Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the species are available by searching the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for incidental take public notice or upon request from Rori Paloski at 608-264-6040 or Melissa Tumbleson at 608-267-0862. Public comments will be taken through July 31, 2014 and should be sent to Rori Paloski, WI DNR Conservation Biologist, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rori Paloski at 608-264-6040 or Melissa Tumbleson at 608-267-0862

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Smart Sand Inc. enters public comment period for Green Tier

OAKDALE -- The public has an opportunity to comment on an application for Wisconsin's Green Tier program by Smart Sand Inc. The application is for Smart Sand's Oakdale facility located on County Highway CA, in Monroe County.

Smart Sand is applying for Tier 1 of the Department of Natural Resources' voluntary Green Tier program, which encourages, recognizes and rewards companies that are committed to superior environmental performance. Applicants must have a good environmental record as well as implement an Environmental Management System, a framework that helps companies achieve environmental goals through consistent control of its operations.

Smart Sand is based out of Yardley, PA. The Oakdale, Wisconsin facility was opened in June 2012. It has an initial capacity of over one million tons per year of sand and is supplying premium "northern white" frac sand in a broad range of mesh sizes to key natural gas producing regions.

Smart Sand management and their employees are committed to running a sustainable and environmentally-responsible facility. As a part of Green Tier, Smart Sand plans to continue to maintain and improve upon their monitoring and testing. Smart Sand also is proposing a voluntary habitat improvement project, improving the aquatic habitat of a trout stream that passes through their property. Smart Sand is currently having an environmental audit conducted and in compliance with Green Tier requirements will utilize these findings in the implementation of their new environmental management system.

The DNR will accept public comments on Smart Sand's Green Tier application through August 8, 2014. Comments may be directed to Gregg Breese, Wisconsin DNR, OB/7, PO Box 7921, Madison WI 53707-7921, by email to gregory.breese@wisconsin.gov, or by phone at 608-509-5046.

More details about Smart Sand Inc. can be found at www.smartsand.net. For more information about Green Tier and Smart Sand's application search the DNR website dnr.wi.gov for Green Tier and click on the link for Smart Sand - Oakdale plant under the applicants tab.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Gregg Breese, 608-509-5046

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 01, 2014




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