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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published July 14, 2015

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Federal breeding survey estimates highest continental duck population on record

MADISON -- Fall waterfowl hunting seasons are right around the corner, and 2015 U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates show the highest continental duck populations since the survey began in 1955.

The total 2015 duck population estimate is 49.5 million birds, with mallards and green-winged teal estimates at a record high 11.6 million and 4.1 million, respectively. Continental blue-winged teal estimates are at 8.5 million, which is the third highest estimate on record.

"This is exciting news for hunters in Wisconsin," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "Record numbers are a positive step toward another great year in the field, and we hope this great news from our federal partners will encourage new hunters to experience waterfowl hunting."

More information can be found in the full USFWS report [PDF] (exit DNR).

"The numbers are particularly encouraging for Wisconsin duck hunters since green-winged teal, blue-winged teal and mallards are three of the top four harvested duck species in Wisconsin," said Kent Van Horn, DNR migratory game bird ecologist.

As a reminder, after USFWS selects a season framework, public hearings regarding Wisconsin's proposed waterfowl seasons will be held Aug. 3 through Aug. 6. Public input will help inform final Wisconsin season recommendations presented to the Natural Resource Board for consideration and approval at its Aug. 12 meeting.

Public hearings regarding waterfowl season proposals are as follows:

For more information regarding waterfowl management in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "waterfowl management."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kent Van Horn, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, 608-266-8841

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Sale of wildlife stamps has restored and enhanced millions of acres of habitat in Wisconsin

MADISON - More than half a million acres of wild turkey habitat restored and enhanced and nearly half a million acres of pheasant habitat restored and enhanced, mostly on lands open to public access for hunting are among the projects Wisconsin sportspeople have contributed to through the purchase of state wildlife stamps.

For many years, Wisconsin's Wild Turkey, Pheasant, and Waterfowl Stamp programs have provided opportunities for wildlife and habitat management and hunting. Currently, work is about to begin for the most recent cycle of stamp-funded projects.

Turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters are required to purchase a species-specific stamp in order to legally harvest these game birds in Wisconsin, with income supporting habitat management and restoration projects, education, research, equipment purchases, and the administration of species management programs. Non-hunters can also purchase habitat stamps without purchasing a hunting license, thereby contributing to these efforts.

Wild Turkey Stamp funds have been providing opportunities for turkey management in Wisconsin since 1996. Sales of the stamp bring in approximately $750,000 annually, and applications for projects benefitting the state's turkeys are solicited every other year.

"Some fantastic projects will be undertaken in 2016 and 2017," says Scott Walter, upland wildlife ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "We'll investigate the influence of landscape characteristics on turkey distribution, restore oak savanna and forest habitat, and create education and outreach materials to further Wisconsin's wild turkey management program, and that's just a sample of the projects selected for funding."

Money from each of the stamp programs is available for projects that are administered by DNR personnel, conservation groups and organizations, and other units of government. Work is about to begin for the 2016-2017 fiscal biennium, and members of the DNR turkey advisory committee recently approved $1.4 million in funding for nearly 50 projects across the state.

Since 1996, $14.5 million has been allocated from the sale of Wild Turkey Stamps funding nearly 1,100 projects statewide, and $12.3 million in cost-share dollars have been allocated to partners for turkey management activities, resulting a more than half a million acres of wild turkey habitat restored and enhanced, mostly on lands open to public access for hunting

Wisconsin's Pheasant Stamp funds have supported ring-necked pheasant management and hunting opportunities since 1992. On average, annual revenues exceed $375,000, with 40 percent of pheasant stamp revenues applied to the restoration and management of wild pheasants in the state. The remaining 60 percent is directed toward the management of the state game farm, which raises pheasants for release on public hunting grounds each fall.

For the 2016-2017 funding cycle, members of the DNR pheasant advisory committee have approved a total of $440,000 in funding statewide. Projects will be undertaken by the DNR Bureaus of Wildlife Management and Natural Heritage Conservation, with additional funding going to external partners such as Pheasants Forever and Wings Over Wisconsin.

Since 1992, $9.7 million has been allocated from pheasant Stamp funding, with $7.5 million in cost-shared dollars to partners, funding more than 450 projects

Since the inception of the Waterfowl Stamp program in 1978, more than $11 million in revenue has been generated supporting wetland habitat projects throughout Wisconsin. Over the next two years, $835,636 will be allocated to 34 waterfowl habitat projects in Wisconsin. Projects will mainly involve wetland restoration, and major maintenance of dikes and dams along waterfowl impoundments.

Additionally, several major projects in Manitoba, Canada will occur over the next two years, benefitting migratory waterfowl that pass through Wisconsin during migration. Ducks Unlimited, and Delta Waterfowl Foundation will be responsible for implementing these Canadian habitat projects, using 33 percent of revenues generated by the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp.

"Purchasing a Waterfowl Stamp is a great way to support waterfowl and wetland conservation here in Wisconsin and in Canada," said to Jason Fleener, DNR wetland ecologist. "The funds not only benefit waterfowl populations for hunting purposes in the state, they also benefit many other birds and wildlife, improve water quality, and provide flood control. Wisconsin's contribution toward Manitoba habitat is a good investment that manages critical habitat in one of the continent's best breeding duck areas, while strategically stretching the dollar and leveraging funds from other conservation partners."

For more information regarding Wisconsin's wildlife stamps, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "wildlife stamps."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Krista McGinley, 608-261-8458

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Entries for wild turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl stamp design contest due July 24

MADISON - Artists interested in having their work featured on the 2016 Wisconsin Wild Turkey, Pheasant, or Waterfowl Stamp need to submit their entry before July 24. Collectively, these stamps raise about $1.5 million each year for habitat conservation in Wisconsin.

Judging will take place July 31, and the top three pieces of artwork for each stamp will be displayed in the Natural Resources Park, located in the southwest corner of the grounds, as part of the 2015 Wisconsin State Fair from Aug. 6-16. Visitors are encouraged to check out a number of interactive exhibits offered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Close to 40 pieces of artwork were submitted for last year's contest. Robin Raab of Delavan took first place in the 2015 Wild Turkey and Pheasant Stamp contests, and James Pieper of Iron Ridge won the 2015 Waterfowl Stamp contest.

A Wild Turkey, Pheasant, and Waterfowl Stamp is required for hunters pursuing these species, but anyone who appreciates wildlife and wildlife art and would like to contribute to habitat conservation can purchase the electronic stamp privilege at any license vendor. Those who would like a physical copy of the stamp should ask for Form 9400-567 if they are collectors, or Form 9400-599 if they are hunters who have already purchased the stamp privilege.

For more information regarding Wisconsin's wildlife stamps, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keywords "wildlife stamps."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Krista McGinley, DNR assistant upland wildlife ecologist, 608-261-8458

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Draft master plan for Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area available for public input

RHINELANDER, Wis. - Early-successional forest habitats and protection of lake, stream, and wetland communities are among the primary objectives of the draft Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area Master Plan, a Department of Natural Resources managed property located 10 miles west of Rhinelander.

The public can review and comment on the Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area Draft Master Plan and Environmental Assessment at an upcoming public meeting scheduled for July 23 in Harshaw.

The draft plan describes proposed land management strategies, recreational opportunities, and boundary modifications for the property. Highlights of proposed management include:

The department has received a request from a local ATV club to route a connector trail across a portion of the Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area, and is recommending that the trail be included in the draft master plan based on a 2014 trail feasibility study.

A public meeting will be held on Thursday, July 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Northwoods Community Elementary School, 9086 County Highway K, Harshaw. The meeting agenda is as follows: 6-6:45 p.m.: open house with informational displays available and staff present for one-on-one questions and discussion; 6:45-7 p.m.: formal presentation providing an overview of the draft plan; 7-7:15 p.m.: formal question-and-answer period; 7:15-8 p.m.: additional open house and one-on-one questions and discussion.

The proposed actions are not anticipated to result in significant adverse environmental effects. The Department 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 at: dnr.wi.gov, keyword search "master planning," and then click on the link for "Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area master plan."

The Draft Master Plan and Environmental Assessment will also be available for review at the DNR Rhinelander Service Center, Lac du Flambeau Library, and Tomahawk Public Library.

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: Jeremy Holtz by mail at 107 Sutliff Ave., Rhinelander, WI 54501, by phone at 715-365-8999, or by email at jeremy.holtz@wisconsin.gov; or Yoyi Steele by mail at WM/6, P.O. 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 Friday, August 7, 2015.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeremy Holtz, Wildlife Biologist, Rhinelander, 715-365-8999; Yoyi Steele, Planner, Madison, 608-266-8169

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Updates to FFLIGHT include access to all managed dove fields on DNR property

MADISON -- Bird hunters in Wisconsin can now find every managed dove field on Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources land with ease through the Fields & Forest Lands Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool.

FFLIGHT gives hunters the ability to access all dove managed fields, whether it's from a desktop computer at home or in the field through their mobile phone. Along with new dove updates, the tool also gives hunters an interactive summary of young aspen and alder habitat to find woodcock and ruffed grouse public hunting areas and pheasant-stocked public hunting grounds throughout Wisconsin

"Wisconsin has a strong bird hunting history and tradition, and FFLIGHT is great example of how the department is using new technology to support those traditions," said DNR migratory game bird ecologist Kent Van Horn.

Features available within the program will help hunters locate DNR public parking areas, overlay township descriptions, and provide access to topographic maps and aerial photos of prospective hunting areas. FFLIGHT allows users to print maps and find GPS coordinates to assist in navigation and provides measuring tools to help estimate acreage and walking distance. Mobile users can use the tool on-the-go to find habitat suitable for the species they wish to pursue.

The FFLIGHT mapping application is compatible with all major desktop and mobile web browsers (internet access is required). To learn more and start your search for hunting land, visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword "FFLIGHT."

If you have any questions regarding FFLIGHT, dove fields or dove hunting please contact Taylor Finger, assistant migratory game bird ecologist, (608) 261-6458 or at taylor.finger@wisconsin.gov.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Taylor Finger, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, 608-261-6458

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Universal Acoustic & Emission Technologies to begin 30-day Green Tier public comment period

STOUGHTON, Wis. - The public has an opportunity to comment on an application for Wisconsin's Green Tier program by Universal Acoustic & Emission Technologies. The application covers their Beloit, Muscoda and Stoughton facilities.

Universal Acoustic & Emission Technologies is applying for Tier 1 of the Green Tier program, which is designed to encourage and recognize companies that are committed to superior environmental performance. To be accepted into the program, applicants must have a good environmental record and must have or commit to implementing an Environmental Management System.

Previous environmental achievements are numerous for Universal AET's Beloit, Muscoda and Stoughton facilities. At the Muscoda production facility over the past three years, three-fourths of the plant's metal halides have been replaced with T5 lighting fixtures. The Muscoda production facility also changed their welding process on a product line that requires 10,000 pounds of welding wire annually. By changing welding wires, the company significantly reduced its annual chromium 6 composition to 1.3 percent, down from 23.5 percent.

Universal AET's Beloit facility has replaced all boilers and air compressors with energy efficient systems, as well as installed motion sensors in the shop and office area to turn lights off when unoccupied. Stoughton and Muscoda facilities also jointly participate in Renewable Energy Credits with Wisconsin Public Power Initiative's local utility companies, purchasing 65 credits monthly. This offset is the equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from 34.4 passenger vehicles each year. (Source: EPA, www.epa.gov/greenpower/pubs/calculator.htm exit DNR)

Universal AET has identified several goals for continual improvements in 2015, including implementing an Environmental Management System to further reduce environmental impacts, gain operational efficiencies, and ensure regulatory compliance at all facilities. Universal AET is also working with Focus on Energy and has several energy efficiency capital projects both underway and planned.

The Department of Natural Resources will accept public comments on Universal Acoustic & Emission Technologies' Green Tier application through August 14, 2015. Comments may be directed to Tom Eggert, Wisconsin DNR, OB/7, PO BOX 7921, Madison, WI 53707, by email to Thomas.Eggert@wisconsin.gov.

More details about Universal Acoustic and Emission Technologies and its Green Tier application can be found on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laurel Sukup, 608-267-6817

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Visual Impressions to begin 30-day Green Tier public comment period

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- The public has an opportunity to comment on an application for Wisconsin's Green Tier program by Visual Impressions, Inc. of Milwaukee.

Visual Impressions is applying for Tier 1 of the Green Tier program, which is designed to encourage and recognize companies that are committed to superior environmental performance. To be accepted into the program, applicants must have a good environmental record and must have or commit to implementing an Environmental Management System.

Visual Impressions is a screen printing and garment embroidering facility. It is a single point source for its customers, working to provide sustainable options including efficient layouts, packaging and transportation logistics.

Visual Impressions began their sustainability program in 2011, establishing a Sustainability Committee and receiving a sustainability study grant from the Milwaukee Economy, Energy & Environment (Me3) program. Visual Impressions participated in both Milwaukee's Me3 and Me2 (Milwaukee Energy Efficiency) programs, and participates in the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership, which is a non-profit sustainability certifier of printing facilities.

Visual Impressions implements continuous improvement projects throughout their facility from pre-press planning to final shipping. A few examples include:

Future sustainability initiatives include:

The DNR will accept public comments on Visual Impressions' Green Tier application through August 14, 2015. Comments may be directed to Jessica Lawent, Wisconsin DNR, 2300 N Martin Luther King Jr Dr., Milwaukee, WI 53212, by email to Jessica.Lawent@wisconsin.gov or by calling 414-263-8653.

More details about Visual Impressions and its Green Tier application can be found on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jessica Lawent, Jessica.Lawent@wisconsin.gov, 414-263-8653

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Last Revised: Tuesday, July 14, 2015




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