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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published June 8, 2016

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Great Lakes Photo Contest winners announced

Contact(s): Jo Temte, DNR Office of the Great Lakes water specialist,, 608-267-0555; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications,, 608-770-8084

MADISON - Nine photographers from Wisconsin earned top honors for their entries in the Department of Natural Resources' eighth annual "Wisconsin's Great Lakes" photography contest.

Their photos will be featured in a calendar available this summer at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Wisconsin Great Lakes Photo Contest 2016 video
Video Credit: DNR

Joe Polecheck of Superior, Sam Purdy of Mayville, Jonathan Cody of Sauk City and Mason Morris of Port Washington won first place honors in the contest's four categories.

Polecheck was awarded second place in a separate contest category. Brian Taylor of Wausau, Paul Schultz of New Berlin, Holly Smith of Mount Horeb, Bob Gross of Ashland and Jamey Penney-Ritter of Washburn also won second place for their photographs.

This year's winning photos will be featured in the 2016-2017 16-month calendar [PDF] that DNR's Office of the Great Lakes will give out at the 2016 Wisconsin State Fair in West Allis, Aug. 4-14, 2016, according to Jo Temte, the Great Lakes office water specialist who coordinates the contest.

Photographers from across Wisconsin and beyond submitted more than 500 beautiful photos of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

"We are always impressed by the photos we receive," said Steve Galarneau, Office of the Great Lakes director.

New for this year's contest, the Office of the Great Lakes introduced the category of lake stewardship activities and asked participants to submit not only a photo, but a brief description of their Great Lakes project.

"We were excited to receive nine submissions in this category," said Galarneau. "We know there is a lot of great work going on to help protect and restore Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and we are happy to be able to highlight some of those projects this year."

In addition to the photo contest, DNR coordinates a "Wisconsin's Great Lakes" writing project and this year received 15 submissions which can also be found on the Office of the Great Lakes website. Poems by Patricia Williams of Iola, Breanna Mekuly of Shorewood, Deano Samens of Colfax, Marilyn Zelke-Windau of Sheboygan Falls, Jude Genereaux of Sarona, Sheila Larkin of Oconomowoc and John Bourgeois of St. Germain will be featured in this year's calendar.

DNR's Office of the Great Lakes is now accepting photos of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior for next year's contest. Contest information and instructions for submitting photos and writings can be found on the Office of the Great Lakes website. Search the DNR website, for "Great Lakes Photo Contest."



Meetings set for Lake Superior cisco management plan

Contact(s): Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries manager, 715-779-4035,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,

ASHLAND, Wis. -The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will host two public meetings on June 22 in Bayfield and June 23 in Ashland to discuss potential adoption of a Lake Superior cisco management plan.

Cisco hold significant commercial value and also represent a key link in the Lake Superior food chain, eating zooplankton and serving as prey for lake trout. In addition, cisco eggs serve as a primary food source for whitefish - another valuable commercial and recreational species.

Cisco may be sold fresh, smoked or in fish cakes but it is their roe that has gained significant commercial interest and it is prized in Scandinavian countries as "bluefin caviar."
Cisco may be sold fresh, smoked or in fish cakes but it is their roe that has gained significant commercial interest and it is prized in Scandinavian countries as "bluefin caviar."
Photo Credit: DNR

Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, said the commercial harvest of cisco in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior has increased dramatically since 2008 when commercial processors began accepting whole fish. Cisco - also known as lake herring - may be sold fresh or smoked but their roe holds the greatest value and is sold in Scandinavian countries as "bluefin caviar."

"The annual harvest from 2008 to 2014 averaged nearly 1.4 million pounds, a level more than three times the average annual harvest from 2000 to 2007," Margenau said. "The cisco harvest from Wisconsin waters now accounts for two-thirds of the total Lake Superior harvest and there is concern among Wisconsin fisheries managers as well as those from neighboring states and Canada about survey data that shows declining abundance of the fish.

Margenau said cisco are vulnerable to over-harvest because they are most valuable and also easiest to catch during fall spawning when they congregate in easily accessible spawning grounds in Wisconsin waters. Wisconsin DNR is seeking stakeholder input to develop a management plan that recognizes the economic importance of the present-day catch while ensuring the resource will sustain future commercial activity and the related lake trout and whitefish fisheries.

"Indications are that there is a lake-wide decline in cisco abundance and we would like to gather stakeholder input to develop a management plan so that we are better prepared to address the situation should surveys show further population declines," Margenau said.

The upcoming meetings will start at 6 p.m. and will be held:

A short summary presentation will be followed by an opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions and provide comments. In addition, written comments may be submitted until July 6 to: Terry L. Margenau, Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 589, 141 S. Third St. Bayfield, WI 54814; or email to

For more information about the public meetings or on management of the Lake Superior fishery, search the DNR website,, for "Lake Superior fisheries management.



Volunteers needed for statewide breeding bird atlas

Contact(s): Nick Anich, 715-685-2930; Ryan Brady, 715-685-2933

ASHLAND, Wis. - With birds building nests, incubating eggs, or training their offspring in the ways of the world, now is a great time for bird lovers to grab their binoculars and pitch in to help conserve Wisconsin birds by reporting birds building nests, raising young and engaged in other breeding activities.

Organizers of the statewide Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas survey are recruiting volunteers to help update information about what birds breed in Wisconsin and where, and they are conducting free field trips June 11-12 (both links exit DNR) in many locations to introduce people to the survey and its methods.

"Now is a prime time for people to get involved in the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas," says Ryan Brady, a wildlife biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources who leads the survey's science team. "We've cleared migration and tons of birds are back and building nests or are on nests so just about everything you see can be reported."

Aside from shorebirds, most of the birds seen in Wisconsin in June and July are birds that nest here, so volunteers don't have to sort out which are migratory birds headed to or from Canadian nesting grounds.

Northern saw-whets are reasonably common species in Wisconsin but very hard to detect because they're nocturnal. This sighting captured in video by Ryan Brady is only the third confirmation of the species in the atlas survey's first two years.
Video Credit: Ryan Brady

Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas volunteers look for and document breeding behaviors of birds, everything ranging from a male singing a courtship song to a pair building a nest to a mother feeding her young. The survey seeks to confirm the presence and abundance of different species in every corner of the state.

Bill Mueller, director of the Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory, one of the other sponsoring organizations, says that people can volunteer for the survey according to their desire, expertise and time.

Birders who can identify many species are encouraged to sign up to survey a 3 mile by 3 mile block of land. Birders can intensively survey their block over one breeding season or spread it out over the five years.

Birders with interest but less bird identification experience or less time are encouraged to turn in individual sightings of nesting birds they see while they are outdoors hiking, biking, camping, or even while sitting in their backyard.

Volunteers can enter their data online using a customized atlas portal to eBird, a web-based reporting system many birders already use to keep track of their bird sightings and scientists use to harness the power of millions of birdwatchers worldwide. Such technology, along with advances in digital and smartphone cameras, also have made it easier and quicker to verify unusual observations.

"The second Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas is critically important to help us understand how Wisconsin bird populations are changing," Mueller says. "And, it is fun, and a great way to learn more about the natural world."

In addition to the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, DNR and the Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory, the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is co-organized by the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (exit DNR).

Read more about the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas and learn why one of the youngest volunteers, 17-year-old Joshua Cullum, is participating in "Teen dives into comprehensive bird survey," in the June 2016 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.



Trapper education courses serve as great introduction to trapping in Wisconsin

Contact(s): Jenna Kosnicki, DNR assistant furbearer biologist, 608-261-6452

MADISON - Anyone interested in trapping or in need of trapper education certification is encouraged to check out the online schedule and enrollment forms for trapper education courses.

Students learn more about Wisconsin's furbearers in one of the department's Trapper Education courses
Students learn more about Wisconsin's furbearers in one of the department's Trapper Education courses
Photo Credit: DNR

Students will learn more about furbearer identification and behavior, habitat requirements, trapping history, trapping techniques and placement, fur handling, trapping ethics, and trapping rules and regulations.

Those who did not purchase a trapping license in Wisconsin prior to 1992 are required to pass a trapper education course in order to trap in Wisconsin. Registration is $12 per student for both residents and non-residents. After completion of the course, residents will receive a 2016/2017 trapping license free of charge. Student with disabilities should specify any accommodations needed at the time of registration.

Few classes are offered during trapping season, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff encourage those who plan to trap this upcoming season to take a class sooner rather than later. Classes are limited to a number of students and tend to fill quickly.

To search for trapper education courses offered by the department, visit Go Wild's course enrollment page and select "trapper" from the list. It is important to remember that not all counties provide trapper education courses - to search statewide, do not select a county from the initial list.

For more information regarding trapping in Wisconsin, visit and search keywords "trap" or "trapper ed."


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Wednesday, June 08, 2016

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