NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 2,331 days

ARCHIVED Weekly News Published March 22, 2016

All Previous Archived Issues


Good news for Wisconsin wildlife - winter severity index data shows a mild Wisconsin winter so far in 2015-16

Contact(s): Daniel Storm, DNR research scientist, 608-630-0370

MADISON - With winter coming to a close in Wisconsin, 2015-16 winter severity index data shows it is shaping up to be considered a mild winter, overall.

The winter severity index is a tool used by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to gauge the effects of winter weather on deer survival. The index is calculated by adding the number of days with 18 inches or more of snow on the ground to the number of days when the minimum temperatures were zero degrees Fahrenheit or below.

A winter with an index of less than 50 is considered mild, 50 to 79 is moderate, 80 to 99 is severe and over 100 is very severe. In Wisconsin, the average winter severity index through March 2016 was approximately 20. The winter severity index for the record-setting winter of 2013-2014 was 149, and biologists will continue to keep an eye on winter conditions through April.

In a deer mortality study, the department found that over-winter mortality is strongly related to winter severity, and that few deaths occur during a mild winter.

"Travelling through deep snow really drains deer fat reserves and can weaken them," said Daniel Storm, DNR research scientist. "Relatively shallow snow throughout much of the state this winter has been a real benefit to deer."

Each spring, DNR wildlife staff examines deer that have been struck by a vehicle - these general health assessments evaluate examine fat levels at numerous parts of the body and check for pregnancy. With a goal of ten assessments per county, the department will use this information in conjunction with winter severity index data to learn more about winter's effects on Wisconsin wildlife.

With help from health assessments, winter severity index data, and other important tools, the department is able to closely monitor and manage Wisconsin's deer herd. This information is put to good use at County Deer Advisory Council meetings, which resumed in March. To learn more about joining a council, visit and search keyword "CDAC."

For more information regarding deer management in Wisconsin or the winter severity index, search keyword "deer."



Public comment period for preliminary antlerless harvest quota recommendations begins April 4

Contact(s): Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589

MADISON -- County Deer Advisory Councils will release their preliminary recommendations regarding antlerless harvest quotas, permit levels and season structure for public review on April 4. These recommendations will help determine the 2016 Wisconsin deer hunting season structure.

A public comment period will run from April 4-17, 2016. To review preliminary recommendations and provide feedback, hunters and those with an interest in deer management can search the Department of Natural Resources website,, for keyword "CDAC," and click "Find" to search for county information and access the public comment form.

Antlerless quotas influence the number of antlerless permits available for the 2016 deer hunting seasons. Quotas and permit levels are tools CDACs will use to help move the local deer herd toward their 2015-17 population objectives of "increase," "decrease" or "maintain."

In 2016, based upon the Deer Management Zone and Deer Management Unit, councils may have the option to recommend a Holiday Hunt, antlerless-only hunts for all deer seasons, number of Farmland Zone antlerless permits given with each license, and metro subunit-specific antlerless permits. For more information regarding management zones and management units, search keyword "deer."

Once the public comment period has closed, meetings will resume in April and councils will review public feedback before submitting final quota, permit and season structure recommendations. Public comments will continue to be accepted at April meetings. To provide comments, contact a CDAC chair (contact information is available on the CDAC web page) or submit feedback via email to



Comprehensive bird survey begins second year

Contact(s): Nick Anich, DNR breeding bird atlas coordinator, 715-685-2930; Ryan Brady, WBCI bird monitoring coordinator, 715- 685-2933

Organizers encourage volunteers to submit early-season sightings, attend April 1 - 3 kickoff event

ASHLAND, Wis. -- With this year's El Nino weather and early spring, volunteer sightings of species breeding early are coming in daily for a statewide breeding bird survey.

The Northern cardinal is among the species now beginning to show signs of early breeding activity across Wisconsin.
The Northern cardinal is among the species now beginning to show signs of early breeding activity across Wisconsin.
Photo Credit: Nick Anich

"Reports are coming in to the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II detailing early nesting activities. Sandhill cranes and northern cardinals are pairing up, crows and ravens are building nests, and great horned owls and red-tailed hawks are already incubating eggs," says Nick Anich, lead coordinator of the atlas survey and conservation biologist with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Anich and other survey organizers are encouraging all Wisconsin birders and wildlife watchers to submit breeding observations to the project to capture these early sightings. They also urge current and potential participants to join them in a weekend-long symposium taking place April 1-3 near Wausau to kickoff the second year of the survey.

Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II (exit DNR) is being led by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative and the Wisconsin DNR.

"This statewide effort is critical for conserving the birds of Wisconsin. It is important that anyone with an interest in Wisconsin's birds joins the effort, and the Kickoff is a great way for newcomers to the project to get up to speed, and for veteran atlasers to learn how they can delve deeper into the project this year," says Anich.

The survey is the follow-up to a first Atlas conducted from 1995-2000. Information collected during that period is still used in species conservation and land management planning today, but changes in habitat and anecdotal shifts in bird populations make it important to get a more current picture of Wisconsin's breeding bird population, says Ryan Brady, science coordinator for the atlas survey and research scientist with DNR.

"We are already seeing indications that some species are expanding their range, while others appear to be contracting," says Brady. "However, it's still early in the project, and we have a lot of locations that need additional coverage.

Sample Caption and Alt Text
Early indications from the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Survey hint at a decline in purple martins, particularly in northern Wisconsin.
Photo Credit: Jack Bartholmai

The benefits of having comprehensive atlas data extends to all Wisconsin birds, the abundance and habits of which are captured in a standardized form accessible to current and future scientists for understanding and conserving birds.

Changes in land use, expansion of invasive species, and various forms of human development continue to have impacts on our birdlife, other wildlife, and natural resources, says Brady. The atlas will play key role in assessing some of those impacts for more than 200 bird species.

All birders encouraged to help

More than 700 volunteers documented over 1.8 million birds of 229 species in the first year of the five-year survey to document breeding bird distribution and abundance. This included eight species not confirmed as breeders during the first bird atlas. This year, Brady and other organizers hope to grow their volunteer base to more than 1,000 participants and increase participation from areas of the state where little to no data was submitted in 2015 and relatively few birders reside.

"Now that we're into the second year of the survey, we really want to focus on the northern and western parts of the state, and some central counties, to continue to fill gaps in coverage," says Kim Kreitinger, president of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. "We need to motivate those birders in less-populated areas, and encourage our birders from well-covered areas to take a few road trips to help us out this season."

This map shows in white those areas of Wisconsin where volunteers are needed to survey birds.
This map shows in white those areas of Wisconsin where volunteers are needed to survey birds. Black areas represent those with the most volunteer effort in 2015, the survey's first year, followed by those with blue. The survey runs five years. Click on image for larger size.

Survey participants collect data by observing birds, noting the date and location, and entering their sightings online into an eBird database specially developed for the project by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The records are then checked by a team of professional and volunteer ornithologists. When the project is completed the data will be published in a hard-copy book and online, and the dataset will be available for use by researchers, land managers, and others working to conserve birds and their habitats.

Attend the Season 2 Kickoff April 1-3

The Season 2 Kickoff will take place April 1-3 at the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center in Rothschild. Highlights of the weekend include field trips, specialized training geared to both first-time and returning atlas contributors, tips from the experts, eBird workshops and more.

Advance registration is closed, but walk-in registration is still available the day of the event for $35.

For a complete list of events and speakers, visit

To learn more about how you can support or participate in the survey, visit (exit DNR).



Early spring disrupts biocontrol of purple loosestrife, volunteers sought

Contact(s): Brock Woods, DNR wetland invasive plant coordinator,, 608-266-2554; Ed Culhane, DNR communications., 715-781-1683

MADISON - State officials are asking observant citizens to be on the lookout for resurgent populations of purple loosestrife - an exotic and potentially destructive wetland perennial - and to consider joining the battle against this harmful invader.

Leaf eating Galerucella beetles are the best defense against purple loosestrife.
Leaf eating Galerucella beetles are the best defense against purple loosestrife.
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cornell University

The best weapon against purple loosestrife is the leaf-eating Galerucella beetle, an import from Europe. Careful research in Wisconsin for more than a decade has shown these little brown beetles target purple loosestrife while posing no threat to other plants. Their extensive feeding reduces plant height and seed output when they are present in large numbers.

However, the early arrival of spring can disrupt the life cycle of this specialist beetle and impede its work to control purple loosestrife.

"Early warm weather can bring beetles out to reproduce more quickly than usual, often before loosestrife in the field - or in volunteers' beetle-rearing pots - is sufficiently large to keep them adequately fed," said Brock Woods, wetland invasive plant coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

This reduces the number of new beetles produced and in turn allows purple loosestrife to grow taller and produce more seeds for dispersal to new sites.

Purple loosestrife has been a serious exotic invader of state wetlands for decades. When uncontrolled, it grows taller than native plants, spreads prolifically and quickly dominates invaded wetlands. It degrades wildlife habitat and displaces native animals. It can choke waterways, making them difficult to navigate.

"We need help from Wisconsin residents to turn back the recent gains made by purple loosestrife," Woods said.

Woods said the state's purple loosestrife biocontrol program, run by DNR and the University of Wisconsin-Extension, is seeking individuals and groups to help raise these special beetles and to report any local increase of this invasive plant with its striking purple flower spikes.

A volunteer helps set up netting for raising beetles. DNR is seeking additional volunteers throughout the state to help rear Galerucella beetles.
A volunteer helps set up netting for raising beetles. DNR is seeking additional volunteers throughout the state to help rear Galerucella beetles.
Photo Credit: WDNR

"We need citizen cooperators, perhaps some who have released beetles in the past, to put more beetles out on old release sites if loosestrife there has become more vigorous, and to help release them into new loosestrife patches."

Free equipment and starter beetles are available to anyone interested in helping.

"Raising and releasing these safe and effective beetles is a fascinating and easy project," Woods said. "To be effective, projects must start early in spring when local wetlands with loosestrife thaw out."

People interested in helping can learn more about the project online by visiting the DNR website,, and searching for "purple loosestrife biocontrol" or by contacting Woods at 608-266-2554 or at Additional information about exotic, harmful plants and how to report them can be found on the DNR website by searching for "invasives."



Steelhead setting up for spring run in Bois Brule, other Lake Superior tributaries

Contact(s): Paul Piszczek, DNR fisheries biologist,, 715-392-7990; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications,, 608-770-8084

SUPERIOR, Wis. - Anglers can look forward to the possibility of a good bite and a fair fight as the spring steelhead run approaches on the Bois Brule and other Lake Superior tributaries.

Among the reasons to look forward to the upcoming season? Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologists reported an increase in steelhead numbers during the fall 2015 count and anticipate better access to the water as much of the snow has melted, said Paul Piszczek, a DNR fisheries biologist in Superior.

Kevin Grand, a DNR fisheries technician in Superior, handles a 20-plus inch steelhead captured and released in the Bois Brule River, Douglas County. DNR Photo: Paul Piszczek
Kevin Grand, a DNR fisheries technician in Superior, handles a 20-plus inch steelhead captured and released in the Bois Brule River, Douglas County. DNR Photo: Paul Piszczek
Photo Credit: WDNR

"The fall 2015 run was the highest fall return since 2010," Piszczek said. "For nearly nine consecutive weeks starting in September, steelhead exhibited movements of 400 or more fish past the Brule fishway. This is a marked improvement over the past three of four fall seasons, when steelhead counts exceeded 400 fish for only two or three weeks."

From July 1 through Dec. 31, 2015, a total of 5,660 steelhead passed through the fishway monitoring site, up from 3,036 the previous year. The steelhead significantly outnumbered the 3,930 brown trout and 1,680 coho salmon observed then.

More than 60 percent of the steelhead counted ranged from 20 to 25 inches long. Another 25 percent exceeded 26 inches, the legal minimum length to keep a fish when the season opens this Saturday, March 26.

Steelhead trout are members of the family Salmonidae, which includes coho and chinook salmon. Unlike salmon, however, steelhead typically live six to eight years and may spawn more than once in their lifetime. They mature in three to five years and after gaining size while feeding in the open waters of the Great Lakes, they return to their natal streams to spawn.

Steelhead are a lake-run form of rainbow trout that undergo a physiological conversion process to prepare for living in the lake. Once in Lake Superior, steelhead gain access to more space and forage than the trout that remain in the Brule River. As a result, steelhead attain larger sizes than the resident rainbow trout that spend their entire lives in the river.

Piszczek said the Bois Brule River sports a two-season run of steelhead each year from Lake Superior. Some fish return in late fall to overwinter in the lower reaches of the river, while others begin returning in late March. Spawning typically occurs in April.

Although steelhead are not native to Lake Superior - they were introduced in the mid-1890s by state and federal agencies concerned about declining populations of native brook trout - they now reproduce naturally and have established a self-sustaining population. With the legal-size fish often exceeding eight pounds, this world class fishery generates some 33,000 angler visits per year, Piszczek said.

As a result, the prized fishery bears close watching by DNR fisheries biologists who in recent years have focused efforts on restoring spawning habitat, increasing in-stream living space for the fish and conducting fish surveys.

DNR monitors the adult steelhead run by operating a video recording system at the Brule River sea lamprey barrier and fishway. Fish are counted during the fall and spring. The barrier was installed in 1986 to keep lamprey from spawning in preferred areas upstream from the barrier.

In addition to the headcount, DNR is planning an angler creel survey in fall 2016 to document fishing pressure and fish harvest. Given the higher fish count and other factors, Piszczek said he anticipates a good showing by anglers this year.

"The higher fall steelhead count combined with the size of fish we are seeing has many anglers anticipating some of the better steelhead fishing we've seen in several years," Piszczek said.

To learn more about the Lake Superior fishery, visit and search "Fishing Lake Superior." Also, visit to find the video monitoring summary reports.



Spring snowmelt and rain can contaminate wells

Contact(s): Liesa Lehmann, DNR private water section chief, 608-267-7649,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,

Well owners encouraged to pay attention to their drinking water

MADISON -- As spring approaches, warming temperatures, snow melt, residual frozen ground and rain can create conditions that may affect private wells and drinking water.

"Now is the time of year for well owners to watch for signs of flooding and note any change in the color, smell or taste of their drinking water," said Liesa Lehmann, private water section chief with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Owners who see flood waters very near or over their wells should assume their water could be contaminated. Take the following steps:

Flood waters and rain runoff may contain bacteria and other contaminants that can affect water supplies and cause illness. Wells located in pits, basements and low-lying areas are especially susceptible to contamination.

"Disinfection and sampling is best done by a licensed well driller or pump installer," Lehmann said. "Any water supply system that has been submerged by flood waters should be pumped out once the floodwater recedes, then thoroughly disinfected and tested to determine that the water is safe."

To ensure safe drinking water, well owners are encouraged to make sure they have a properly constructed well and test it annually for bacteria. More information on bacteriological contamination of drinking water wells, along with lists of licensed well drillers, pump installers and labs certified to analyze water samples can be found by searching the DNR website,, for keyword "wells."

For individuals who receive drinking water from a public water supply, these systems are designed and operated to keep out contaminants. If you have concerns about the safety of your community's drinking water, contact your public water supplier.



Farmers encouraged to check wetland rules before digging ditches or placing drain tile

Contact(s): David Hon, DNR water regulation and zoning specialist, 715-839-1600,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,

MADISON -- Approximately one-third of Wisconsin farms depend upon constructed drains to remove excess water and with spring arriving, some farmers may be considering projects that involve ditches and drains.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources encourages farmers to check wetland rules before proceeding with projects such as constructing new ditches or installing drain tile. These projects may affect wetlands and may require permits before proceeding.

"Agriculture is a critical industry in Wisconsin and farmers are looking to improve or expand the uses of their land," said David Hon, a water regulation and zoning specialist. "We want to encourage farmers to work with DNR staff and use our convenient online resources to learn more before implementing costly capital improvements that may affect wetlands."

In the past five years, DNR has seen a large increase in the number of proposals for projects related to ditching and drain tiling. Farmers considering these and other major projects should contact DNR ahead of time to learn if a permit is needed.

Wetlands are a valuable natural resource and provide a variety of benefits including flood protection; storm water storage; water quality protection; natural scenic beauty; habitat for fish, aquatic life and wildlife; groundwater processes; and shoreline protection. For more information, search the DNR website,, for "wetland disturbance" or search the staff directory for your local water regulation and zoning specialist.



Well-known ornithologist and state wildlife biologist to be inducted into Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame

Contact(s): Joe Passineau, Wis. Conservation Hall of Fame president, 715-677-4047 or

STEVENS POINT, Wis. - The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame will honor two leaders who have contributed much to Wisconsin's Conservation Legacy.

Noel Cutright (1943-2013), a well-known Wisconsin ornithologist, and LeRoy Lintereur (1920-1995), a state wildlife biologist who specialized in wetland protection, will be inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame during a ceremony April 30 in Stevens Point.

Noel Cutright
Noel Cutright
Photo Credit: Contributed photo

Cutright devoted his personal and professional life to bird conservation, citizen science, and ecological restoration. After receiving his master's and doctorate degrees from Cornell University, Cutright worked for We Energies in Wisconsin for 29 years as senior terrestrial ecologist.

As president and project leader for the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, Cutright advanced the organization's research, science and conservation efforts. He was senior editor of the landmark Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas. As a long-term advisor to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, he promoted the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, the State Natural Areas Program, and Neotropical migratory bird conservation efforts.

Cutright helped to create the Bird City Wisconsin Program, now recognizing 87 communities statewide and helped the state develop management plans to restore populations of osprey, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, trumpeter swans and bluebirds. He also helped to establish State Natural Areas in Wisconsin and Neotropic Nature Reserves in Belize and Costa Rica.

LeRoy Lintereur
LeRoy Lintereur
Photo Credit: File photo

Lintereur was born in Two Rivers and spent much of his personal and professional life protecting the places and things he knew best -- the natural resources and wetlands of northeastern Wisconsin. After serving in the army during World War II, he graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in biology and wildlife ecology. In 1952 Lintereur began his 30-year career in Burlington as a game manager and conservation warden with the Wisconsin Conservation Department, first in Burlington and finally in Marinette.

Later in his career as area wildlife manager for the DNR in Marinette, Oconto, Shawano, Florence and Menomonie counties, Lintereur used his many skills to enforce resource laws, acquire and protect critical wildlife and plant habitat, and educate sportsman, farmers, land owners, and the public.

Lintereur received state and national recognition for his efforts, as an expert witness, to defend and objectively classify wetlands in a legal case that went to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The outcome of this court action established precedent-setting case law for Wisconsin, and ultimately preserved many wetland areas in Wisconsin.

Lintereur shared his love of nature by leading ecological walks and tours, teaching classes at schools, colleges and The Clearing, a Door County folk school and nature center, and writing more than 700 articles for local newspapers.

The induction ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. at the Sentry Theater in Stevens Point, located at the Sentry Insurance Headquarters, 1800 North Point Drive. The ceremony will include tributes by invited speakers and the presentation of recognition plaques that will be displayed in the hall of fame gallery in Schmeeckle Reserve. A noon luncheon at the nearby Sentry World complex will conclude the day's activities. Luncheon reservations cost $25, and can be made by calling 715-346-4992 (Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center).

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame and Visitor Center, located at UW-Stevens Point Schmeeckle Reserve, was established in 1985 to advance the conservation legacy of Wisconsin and now recognizes 86 leaders who have contributed significantly to it. The hall of fame is a cooperative venture of 20 state-wide conservation organizations. Individuals may be nominated for induction by member organizations or by the public.



2015 Bureau of Wildlife Management award winners recognized at statewide meeting

Contact(s): Sawyer Briel, DNR communications, 608-261-0751

MADISON - A number of key external partners and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff members received awards for their work in 2015 at the Bureau of Wildlife Management's annual statewide meeting March 1, 2016.

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 12 photos

2015 Wildlife Management awards

2015 Wildlife Biologist Award

Ron Lichtie, a wildlife biologist in La Crosse County, received the 2015 Wildlife Biologist Award.

Lichtie works closely with local groups and the general public to address a number of wildlife issues in the La Crosse area. He is a leader in education and outreach strategies to assist the public and develop strategies to deal with potential wildlife conflicts. Lichtie has provided rewarding hunting opportunities for a number of individuals with disabilities in the La Crosse area, and has used his reputation within the community to act as a great representative for the Bureau of Wildlife Management and Department of Natural Resources as a whole.

2015 Wildlife Technician Award

Erin Grossman, a wildlife technician in Bancroft, received the 2015 Wildlife Technician Award. Grossman was recognized for her passion for wildlife management and teamwork across a number of projects. She is an expert in grassland management, and initiated a large-scale rotational grazing project in conjunction with a local certified grazing expert, attracting positive attention from the conservation and the agricultural communities. She has the ability to form invaluable relationships and gain support from local landowners.

2015 Leadership Award

Tim Babros was named the 2015 leadership award winner with the Bureau of Wildlife Management. The Wildlife Management Leadership Award was initiated in 1993 to provide field staff with an opportunity to recognize an individual who has provided exemplary leadership in the Wildlife Management field.

Babros, a wildlife supervisor in Jackson County, was recognized for his role as a mentor to a number of past and present department staff. He has enjoyed a 32 year career with the department, with projects ranging from heavy equipment training to chronic wasting disease monitoring. Babros' leadership helped spearhead a six year, three-phase cooperative effort with the Friends of McGilvray Road at the Van Loon Wildlife Area to lower portions of the roadbed for flood mitigation and restoresome of the historic floodplain connectivity.

Wildlife Conservation Excellence Awards

Justin Blindert and Kevin Wallenfang each received a 2015 wildlife conservation excellence award from the Bureau of Wildlife Management.

Blindert, a wildlife technician in Washington County, received the limited term employee excellence award and is known for his strong work ethic and stellar customer service. In his time at DNR, he has shown that he can adapt to a number of different situations and challenges throughout his career with the department. Blindert's responsibilities include posting property boundaries, burning, mowing firebreaks, treating invasives, conducting surveys and stocking pheasants. He also acts as a liaison for the Voluntary Public Access and Turkey Hunter Access programs, where he works closely with landowners.

Wallenfang, the department's big game ecologist, received the permanent employee excellence award for his work on a number of key projects and initiatives within the Big Game Program. He is known for his positive attitude and ability to work well with key stakeholders and the public. Wallenfang and his team are responsible for coordinating the current elk reintroduction project and working with counties in Wisconsin through County Deer Advisory Councils.

Friends Awards

Dave Matheys and Mike Foy received the 2015 Friends Awards - Matheys for his work with the Forestry Division, and Foy for his work with the Natural Heritage Conservation Bureau.

Matheys, a wildlife biologist in Viroqua, was recognized for his role as a key liaison between wildlife and forestry. Foy, a wildlife biologist in Dane County, was recognized for his role as an ever-present voice in support of preserving and creating wildlife habitat in southern Wisconsin.

Special Recognition Awards

In 2015, six individuals and groups received special recognition awards from the Bureau of Wildlife Management. Recipients included Linda Nelson, Ray Leonard, Lori Bankson, Sue DeBruin, Gail Garrity-Reed, Mike Reed, the City of Muskego, Karen Sexton, and Jerry McNally.

Nelson and Leonard were recognized for their extraordinary contributions to Wisconsin Wolf Monitoring and the Volunteer Carnivore Tracking Program. They have been a fixture within each of these programs for a number of years, and play a key role in Wisconsin's wildlife management.

Bankson, DeBruin, Garrity-Reed, and Reed accepted the award on behalf of the Bay Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation Program in Green Bay. This program plays a vital role in rehabilitating injured wildlife and also conducts training onsite to help manage the influx of injured animals. The program's educational materials also help support the department's Keep Wildlife Wild initiative.

The City of Muskego, represented by Tom Zagar, was recognized for its exceptional wildlife conservation partnership efforts in southeast Wisconsin. Muskego partnered with the department in 1995 to help transform Big Muskego Lake into a thriving habitat for fish and wildlife species. The city provided logistical and financial support and aided in development of management plan. This plan still guides lake management today and for the future, and the city continues to help monitor indicators identified in the plan.

Sexton, a key member of current elk reintroduction efforts in Wisconsin, is a wildlife biologist for the Wisconsin Ho-Chunk Nation in Black River Falls. She helped secure both federal and tribal funding for the current elk reintroduction project, and has acted as a key ambassador for the Ho Chunk Nation in a number of wildlife-related projects. In addition to her role in restoring elk to the Jackson County landscape, her efforts are help preserve heritage and instill cultural values in Ho-Chunk Nation youth.

McNally was recognized for his work with the Friends of Crex Meadows in northern Wisconsin. Over the years, he has donated an incredible amount of his time as a volunteer in the area. McNally has played a key role in a number of fundraising and land acquisition efforts, and was previously recognized as the Friends of Crex Volunteer of the Year in 2007 and Exceptional Volunteer of the Year in 2013.

For more information regarding wildlife management in Wisconsin, visit and search keywords "wildlife management."



Statewide permit and authorization for grassland management may result in the incidental take of rare frog

Contact(s): Rori Paloski, 608-264-6040 or

MADISON -- The Department of Natural Resources proposes to revise the Broad Incidental Take Permit and Authorization for Grassland and Savanna Management in Wisconsin. The permit and authorization will allow for the "incidental taking" of a rare frog that may occur as a result of grassland and savanna management activities in Wisconsin. 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 Broad Incidental Take Authorization for Grassland and Savanna Management was originally approved in 2000 and has since been revised several times. This revision will create a protocol for the state endangered Blanchard's cricket frog (Acris blanchardi).

The disturbance caused by grassland and savanna management may result in some mortality, however grassland and savanna species are dependent upon management to set back natural succession and take is minimized by following protocols designed for each species. The Department has concluded that the grassland and savanna management activities covered under this permit and authorization would minimize impacts to the Blanchard's cricket frog by adhering to conservation measures; is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence or appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and/or recovery of the state population of this species or the whole plant-animal community of which it is a part and the habitat that is critical to its existence; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.

The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the Blanchard's cricket frog will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Permit/Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the Blanchard's cricket frog are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Rori Paloski (608-264-6040 or The department is requesting comments from the public through April 5, 2016. Public comments should be sent to Rori Paloski, WDNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921or


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Need an expert?

The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.