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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published December 2, 2014

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Recommendations regarding three-year deer population objectives will be finalized at December County Deer Advisory Council meetings

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: The following news release was previously issued to Wisconsin media outlets.]

MADISON -- The final County Deer Advisory Council meeting of 2014 will be held in each county in December, and will provide the public with an important opportunity to provide input regarding each county's deer population objectives before recommendations are advanced to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

These objectives will guide deer management decisions for the next three years - the public is encouraged to attend and participate in a local council meeting.

December meetings will be open to the public for any additional comments as the councils finalize their recommendations. To view a meeting schedule, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CDAC."

An online survey is also available through Dec. 5 for those who are unable to attend their county's meeting and would like to provide feedback.

Preliminary recommendations, made during October council meetings, suggested an increase, decrease or maintenance in the local deer population. Councils considered scientific deer metrics and stakeholder and public opinion to develop a preliminary population objective recommendation.

To develop a final recommendation, each council will consider survey responses and professional opinions from department wildlife biologists, foresters and law enforcement. Final population objective recommendations will be presented to the department following December council meetings, after which they will be sent to the Natural Resources Board for approval in March. Once approved, population objectives will go into effect for the next three years, starting with the 2015 deer season.

Beginning in February, County Deer Advisory Councils will reconvene to develop antlerless quota recommendations that will move the deer herd toward their population objectives.

For more information regarding CDAC population objective recommendations, agendas and membership, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CDAC" or email DNRCDACWebMail@Wisconsin.gov with any additional questions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589

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Comments from Lake Michigan yellow perch meeting help chart next steps

MILWAUKEE -- Following a late October meeting that drew some 65 citizens concerned about Lake Michigan's declining yellow perch population, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will form a team to investigate options for stocking and habitat improvement to restore near-shore yellow perch fisheries in the river estuaries and harbors in Milwaukee and possibly other Wisconsin Lake Michigan ports.

Ron Bruch, DNR fisheries chief, said the team will create a plan that outlines steps needed to accomplish key tasks such as funding, collaboration with other state and federal agencies, identification of the best yellow perch strains for stocking, potential rearing locations, stocking numbers and plans for evaluation of the effort. The group, composed of fisheries team members and leaders from collaborating institutions and agencies, is expected to begin meeting in January 2015.

"At our October meeting and in previous forums, anglers and interested citizens have urged fisheries managers to restore a perch fishery that is accessible to near-shore anglers," Bruch said. "We've listened carefully and after reviewing research from DNR scientists as well as collaborators from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences, the Great Lakes National Program Office and Great Lakes Fishery Commission, we believe it may be feasible to restore a local yellow perch fishery."

Brad Eggold, Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor, said the effort will not overcome the impact of aquatic invasive species such as quagga and zebra mussels in the lake as a whole, but instead will aim to provide better opportunities for urban anglers in key Lake Michigan harbors and estuaries. The invasive mussels have reduced the food available for young perch in the open lake, but there is hope that some strains of perch may be able to reproduce in the protected estuary areas where more food may be available.

"We've seen significant support for attempts to re-establish a yellow perch fishery in high priority areas and we intend to work with our team of stakeholders and collaborators to develop a viable strategy to achieve this," Eggold said. "As part of our overall strategy to maintain healthy native fish populations, we believe perch play an important role by providing a delicious catch for anglers of all ages and experience levels."

Highlights of the October 23 meeting, held at the School of Freshwater Sciences, included a discussion of changes in the food web and an overview of yellow perch populations throughout the lake. A panel of experts and citizens also jointly explored bottlenecks in perch reproduction and the feasibility of public-private partnerships for habitat improvements and fish rearing efforts.

For a summary of the meeting including video of the presentations, visit dnr.wi.gov and search for "Lake Michigan yellow perch meeting."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Eggold, Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor, 414-382-7921, bradley.eggold@wisconsin.gov; Jennifer Sereno, communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov

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Wild Rose hatchery gets latest gift as salmon club's donations create lasting impact

WILD ROSE, Wis. -- For more than 20 years, Salmon Unlimited Wisconsin has worked closely with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to support and enhance the region's world class Lake Michigan salmon and trout fishery.

A recent $2,500 gift to the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery marks the latest chapter in the Racine nonprofit group's efforts to ensure the next generation of anglers will be able to pursue the prized coho and chinook salmon reared at the hatchery. The donation will help fund feeders, replacement motors and scales needed for the hatchery's rearing tanks, raceways and ponds.

Wild Rose donation
From the left, Ron Seeger, Allen Scheef, Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery Propagation Supervisor Randy Larson and Bob Weidman met recently at DNR's Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery for the presentation of a $2,500 gift from Salmon Unlimited Wisconsin.
WDNR Photo

"We're extremely grateful for this gift and for the long-term commitment demonstrated by Salmon Unlimited Wisconsin," said Randal Larson, Wild Rose hatchery fish propagation supervisor. "The group's continued support including volunteer participation and direct charitable giving really boosts our efforts to ensure opportunities for anglers now and in the future."

Allen Scheef, treasurer of Salmon Unlimited, said his group asked the Wild Rose Hatchery for a wish list of items needed to improve salmon rearing and identified the need for replacement motors in early rearing automatic feeders, hanging feeders for the coho ponds and different scales for accurately inventorying small fish and transferring larger fish.

Previously, Salmon Unlimited has undertaken multi-year fundraising efforts to help pay for significant renovation and construction projects, including $150,000 to support construction of the Root River Steelhead Facility Racine. The weir was built in 1992-93 and is used to collect steelhead trout eggs as well as eggs from coho and chinook salmon. Additional support has been provided to the Kettle Moraine Springs Hatchery.

"We're a bunch of people who enjoy fishing and if we want things to keep going, the fishery needs a helping hand here and there," Scheef said. "We know it's a lot of hard work to run these facilities and when we help out, it benefits everyone. So, we make gifts both large and small."

Larson said the Salmon Unlimited group's philanthropic focus also has boosted the fishery in other important ways. Through its roughly 200 members, the club has established an endowment to fund scholarships at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for students interested in fisheries management careers. Six of DNR's current fisheries team members benefited from Salmon Unlimited scholarships as students at Stevens Point.

Scheef said the club's annual scholarship support generally totals from $3,000 to $7,000 per year, depending on the performance of the endowment. The scholarship money has proven an important factor in helping motivated students pursue their passion academically, Larson said.

"The more you learn about fishing, the more you realize the resource is not the 'wild west' of years ago," said Scheef. "There are a lot of things out there that can destroy what we enjoy. We depend on the DNR and knowledgeable staff members to keep important programs going."

Formed in 1973, Salmon Unlimited also supports an annual youth fishing event and hosts the Salmon-a-Rama fishing contest in Racine in July. The club recently received approval to start a net pen operation for the salmon released in Racine.

For more information on DNR's hatchery operations, visit dnr.wi.gov and search for "hatcheries and rearing stations."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Randal Larson, DNR Wild Rose hatchery fish propagation supervisor, 920-622-3527 ext. 202, Randal.Larson@wisconsin.gov; Jennifer Sereno, DNR Communications, 608-770-8084, Jennifer.Sereno@wisconsin.gov.

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Annual report highlights Natural Heritage Conservation achievements

MADISON - Additions to the State Natural Areas program, increased citizen-based monitoring efforts, additional bat cave monitoring, and a new free public portal to improve permitting processes were among the highlights in the last year for the Natural Heritage Conservation program in the Department of Natural Resources.

2014 Annual Report
Click on image for annual report in portable document format.

The Natural Heritage Conservation program annual report highlights accomplishments, successful partnerships and crucial strides in research and development as well as other important milestones throughout the year.

"I'm so proud to be able to share the incredible accomplishments of our dedicated staff, partners and volunteers in their work to conserve Wisconsin's greatest natural resources," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp.

The report recognizes efforts over the year to protect and preserve Wisconsin's native species and also looks at their future management through the Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan, including an update in 2015, which will continue to guide partners in the conservation of habitats and animals statewide.

"The consistent support of our partner groups and volunteers makes it possible for us to not only pave the way in conservation but also combat the challenges we face," said Erin Crain, the Natural Heritage Conservation Bureau Director.

Here are a few notable accomplishments in 2014:

The Natural Heritage Conservation Bureau aims to identify, protect and manage native plant and animal species, natural communities and other natural features as well as to enhance and restore populations and habitats of rare or endangered species. Additionally, program staff works to promote the knowledge, appreciation and stewardship of Wisconsin's native species and ecosystems for present and future generations.

To learn more about the work DNR is doing to conserve Wisconsin's natural heritage, read the 2014 Annual Report: Conserving Wisconsin's Natural Heritage [PDF] online or pick up a copy of the December 2014 issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. People interested in getting involved can visit the DNR website at dnr.wi.gov and search the keyword "NHC."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tyler Brandt, NHC Marketing Specialist, 608-264-6271; Erin Crain, NHC Bureau Director, 608-267-7479; Erin Gordon, DNR Communications, 608-264-8528

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Natural Resources Board to review changes to Wisconsin's invasive species rule

MADISON - Proposed revisions to Wisconsin's invasive species rule is among the topics that will be considered at the Dec. 10 meeting of the state Natural Resources Board in Madison.

The Department of Natural Resources is proposing listing additional species and delisting currently regulated species under the state's Invasive Species Identification, Classification and Control rule, Chapter NR 40 of the Wis. Admin. Code. The proposed rule changes also include some revised rule language and updated scientific names of species.

"This proposal results from several years of work with stakeholders to develop an approach based on sound science and common sense that meets the department's charge from the legislature to address invasive species," says Dreux Watermolen, social science services section chief.

A list of the proposed species changes and literature reviews are available by going to the DNR website and searching keyword "NR 40."

Among other topics, the board will also:

The proposed rule packages and supporting documents and information on how people can participate at the Natural Resources Board meeting area available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov,for keyword "NRB" and clicking on the button for "View agendas" and the link for the "December 10, 2014 NRB agenda."

The board will convene at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 10, in Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 South Webster St., Madison. Registration deadline to testify or to submit written comments is 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 5.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: on the Invasive Species Rule contact Terrell Hyde, wildlife biologist, 608-264-9255 or email DNRInvasiveSpecies@wisconsin.gov; on the Natural Resources Board meeting contact Laurie J. Ross, board liaison, 608-267-7420 or Laurie.Ross@wisconsin.gov

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2015 Wisconsin State Park stickers now on sale

MADISON -- People looking for the a holiday gift that keeps giving throughout the year can give outdoor enthusiasts access to thousands of miles of trails, hundreds of nature hike opportunities, dozens of beaches, and some of the most scenic areas found in Wisconsin with a 2015 Wisconsin state park admission stickers or state trail pass.

2015 stickers and state trails passes went on sale Dec. 1 at state park facilities and Department of Natural Resources service centers statewide. State park properties will honor 2015 stickers and passes for admission to parks, forests, recreation areas and trails beginning Dec. 1, 2014.

2015 Wisconsin State Park Sticker

The admission stickers are designed by high school students and the winning design is chosen in a statewide contest.

The winning design for the 2015 Wisconsin State Parks admission sticker features a butterfly atop of a purple coneflower and was designed by Josie Tollaksen, a junior at Poynette High School. The winning design was selected from 167 entries into the design contest. It will be printed on state park and forest annual vehicle admission stickers and displayed on more than 150,000 vehicles.

The vehicle admission stickers provide access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation area properties across Wisconsin. The stickers are required on all motor vehicles stopping in state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require a sticker.

Due to a mistake made in printing the non-resident annual stickers, those stickers will not be available this year until after Dec. 12, 2014. Until then non-residents may call the Department of Natural Resources' toll free customer service line at 1-888-936-7463 to purchase stickers and they will be mailed out as soon as they are received and well ahead of the holidays.

A state trail pass is required for all people age 16 or older biking, in-line skating, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, or off-highway motorcycling on certain state trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking.

Admission stickers cost is $25 for Wisconsin residents or $35 for nonresidents - the same as last year. A family with more than one vehicle registered to the same household may purchase additional state park stickers at half price. A senior citizen annual sticker for $10 is available for Wisconsin Residents 65 years of age and older. Annual trail passes are $20 for residents and nonresidents.

In addition to park, forest and trail offices and DNR service centers, stickers and trail passes are available over the phone from the DNR call center. Phone customers can call the DNR at 888-936-7463 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. Customers need to order stickers and passes by Monday, Dec. 15 to receive them for the holidays.

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks also offers online sales of admission stickers and trail passes with a donation to the statewide friends group through the organization's website www.fwsp.org (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: DNR Customer Service, 1-888-936-7463 or Paul Holtan, Office of Communications, 608-267-7517

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Plan your winter outings with Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine's December issue

MADISON -- Just in time for the holidays the December issue of Wisconsin Natural Resource magazine delivers the 2015 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks calendar featuring winners from the Friends' state park photo contest. In a second insert, read about the important work of the Natural Heritage Conservation Program to conserve rare and endangered species in Wisconsin.

December 2014 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine

The magazine's cover story, "The Kettle Moraine State Forest has the cure for cabin fever," traipses the snowy hills and trails of the Kettle Moraine State Forest's various units. Then, get in the holiday spirit and return to a festive and farm fresh past-time by decorating a Wisconsin-grown Christmas tree in "Back in the Day."

Find out why those who (ice) fish together stay together in "Angling for a new romance?" Find a cozy corner and discover some fine winter reading materials that also make great gifts in "Good reads on a cold night."

Delve into a recreational and ecological wonderland at the Dunnville State Wildlife Area in "Bringing back 'The Bottoms'." Learn about more conservation efforts, but this time on the shores of Lake Michigan in "Champions of conservation."

Take a tour of the Seth Peterson Cottage at Mirror Lake State Park in "Traveler" and "Wisconsin, Naturally" presents a show-and-tell with the frozen waterfall and sandstone cliffs at Pine Hollow State Natural Area.

Not a fan of winter? Warm up with thoughts of spring planting and gardening. Discover Frank Lloyd Wright's other passion - gardening - in "The Wright time to garden." Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine will be on hand at the Wisconsin Garden Show in Madison in February.

WNR magazine also has an e-newsletter "Previews and Reviews" to keep our readers informed about upcoming stories and past articles. Sign up to receive the e-newsletter and other email updates.

(Under the Publications box, select Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine).

Not a subscriber? Here's what you are missing:

Already a subscriber? Remember to consider Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine as a thoughtful and inexpensive gift that gives all year. Share what you value about the outdoors with family, friends, customers and professional colleagues. Subscribe toll-free at 1-800-678-9472, online at www.wnrmag.com or by mail. Subscription blanks and single issues are also available from our circulation office at P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Natasha Kassulke at 608-261-8446.

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Give gifts that provide year-round fun and knowledge of Wisconsin's outdoors

MADISON -- People searching for that perfect holiday gift for people who love Wisconsin's outdoors have a variety of options for gifts that keep giving throughout the year.

Vehicle admission stickers provide year-round access to more than 60 state park, forest and recreation areas and annual trail passes provide access to more than 20 state trails and hundreds of miles of off-road mountain biking trails. A new atlas showing all public lands open for recreation is a great resource for anyone who likes hunting and fishing. Guide books are available that show the best birding spots, what types of reptiles and amphibians to find in Wisconsin and how to unlock the secrets of Wisconsin's more than 80,000 miles of streams.

A gift subscription to Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine will bring the natural world and current environmental issues to the doorstep of friends and family six times a year.

Native tree seedlings and shrubs from the state nursery are available to give to nature lovers looking to attract wildlife or other conservation purposes.

Many of these gifts can be purchased online immediately. In some cases, you may need to make a call or email someone to secure the gift. And while DNR staff and vendors handling the calls will try their best to turn around the requests quickly, consider letting the recipient know with a card that a great gift is on the way.

To find more information about what is available, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for keyword "gifts."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Holtan, 608-267-7517

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 02, 2014




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