NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 1,905 days

ARCHIVED Weekly News Published May 30, 2017

All Previous Archived Issues


Great Lakes Photo Contest winners announced

Contact(s): Jo Temte, DNR Office of Great Waters water specialist,, 608-267-0555

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

Their photos will be featured in a calendar available this summer at Great Lakes events and at lakeshore state parks and regional DNR offices.  

Great Lake photo contest winners
Video Credit: DNR Video
2017 winning entries

Joe Polecheck of Superior, James Brey of DePere , Christopher Suchocki of Milwaukee, and Mason Morris of Port Washington won first place honors in the contest's four categories.

Morris was awarded second place in a separate contest category. Renee Blaubach of Grafton took second place in two contest categories, and Scott Pearson of Eagle River also won second place for his photograph.

Photographers from across Wisconsin - and beyond - submitted more than 250 beautiful photos of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. This year's winning photos will be featured in the 2017-2018 16-month calendar that the DNR Office of Great Waters (formerly Office of Great Lakes) produces each year according to Jo Temte, the Office of Great Waters water specialist who coordinates the contest.

This is the second year that the Office of Great Waters has offered a category of Great Lakes 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 this year," said Office of Great Waters Director, Steve 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 eleven submissions that can also be found on the Office of Great Waters website.

Poems by Patricia Williams of Iola, Stephen Lars Kalmon of Withee, Marilyn Zelke-Windau of Sheboygan Falls, Karen Gersonde of Milwaukee, William Tecku of Gordon, and Lynn Polyak of Wilmington, IL, will be featured in this year's calendar.

DNR's Office of Great Waters is currently accepting photos of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and the Mississippi River for next year's contest. "Wisconsin's Great Waters" photo contest and writing project information and submission instructions can be found by searching the DNR website,, for "Great Waters Photo Contest."



Groups receive funds for volunteer monitoring efforts

Contact(s): Eva Lewandowski, 608-264-6057

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to correct that the funding groups receive are not grants and to correct how the groups use the funds.  We regret the errors.]

MADISON - Twenty-one Wisconsin organizations, local governments and projects will share a combined $85,000 contribution from the Department of Natural Resources to expand volunteer efforts to help monitor Wisconsin's natural resources.

This funding is part of the Citizen-based Monitoring Partnership Program, through which DNR has supported 261 high-priority monitoring projects since 2004. Sponsoring organizations typically contribute nearly $4 in donated time and money for every $1 the state provides toward these projects.

Citizen-based monitoring helps the department meet priority data needs through the collection of valuable information regarding Wisconsin's plants, animals, and habitats. In 2017-2018, efforts will focus on monitoring resources ranging from native mussels in the Milwaukee River Basin to water quality monitoring in northern Wisconsin and sandhill and whooping crane populations.

Volunteers conduct fish monitoring.
Volunteers conduct fish monitoring.
Photo Credit: Ozaukee County

"These volunteer efforts help us better understand, manage, and protect our natural resources, while also allowing us to make the most of state funds," said Eva Lewandowski, DNR conservation biologist. "The projects we are funding this year represent the best of citizen-based monitoring and what volunteers can achieve."

Citizen-based monitoring is widespread and successful in Wisconsin; more than 180 organizations rely on volunteers each year to collect information about the health and distribution of plant and animal species and water quality. Some projects, like the Wisconsin Bat Program, provide crucial statewide datasets, while others address more local issues, like fish monitoring in Ozaukee County. The funding goes towards training, monitoring equipment, and project coordination, all of which support the groups in collecting priority data.

A volunteer photographs a bumble bee so that its identification can be verified.
A volunteer photographs a bumble bee so that its identification can be verified.
Photo Credit: Susan Carpenter, UW-Arboretum

"There are citizen-based monitoring projects throughout Wisconsin, and volunteers range from schoolchildren all the way up to retirees getting outdoors and monitoring plants, animals, and waters," Lewandowski says. "We are very fortunate in Wisconsin to have so many volunteers willing to dedicate their time to caring for our natural resources."

Below is a list of the projects and their sponsoring organizations by geographic area:






West Central




Preliminary 2016 river otter and fisher harvest information now available

Contact(s): Nathan Roberts, DNR furbearer research scientist, 715-490-9345; Shawn Rossler, DNR furbearer ecologist, 608-267-9428

MADISON - Trappers harvested 1,474 river otters and 546 fishers, according to preliminary harvest data for Wisconsin's 2016-17 river otter and fisher season.

Preliminary data combines both state and tribal harvest information. Final harvest information should be available by mid-June. River otter and fisher harvest is distributed across the entire state through the allocation of harvest permits by management zones. River otters were taken in 72 counties and fishers were taken in 42 counties during the 2016-2017 season. Tribal harvest accounted for 22 fisher and 13 otter.

"The distribution of harvest has changed as fisher range has expanded to include southern portions of the state while otters have been well established statewide for a long time." said Shawn Rossler, furbearer ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "This past season Marathon, Dunn, Chippewa, and Clark saw the highest level of fisher harvest. Otter harvest was highest in Price, Taylor, Oneida, Polk, and Marathon counties.

The department's furbearer population monitoring and research efforts are led by Nathan Roberts, DNR furbearer research scientist.

"River otter and fisher are both members of the weasel family. We rely on detailed harvest records, track surveys, and valuable information gained by examining the ages of animals that are trapped," Roberts said. "Due to their generally secretive nature, we really rely on information gained through highly-regulated and monitored trapping seasons."

Harvest goals are developed annually in consultation with tribal and partner agency representatives, and individuals from key user groups. Management zones can be closed early, if needed, to ensure that harvest is within approved goals. In addition, Wisconsin leads the nation in the development and utilization of best management practices for traps to promote humane trapping and to minimize the capture of non-target species.

Trappers must report river otter and fisher harvest within 24 hours and receive an in-person registration tag from a local conservation warden within five days of the month of harvest. These species can only be taken by trapping and only with a species-specific trapping tag allocated through a quota system. Trappers successful in harvesting a fisher must provide the fisher's lower jaw to the department for scientific examination to estimate the age. Otter carcasses are collected very three years. Department staff uses this information to monitor population status and trends.

For more information regarding furbearers in Wisconsin, search the DNR website,, for keyword "furbearers."



Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine celebrates Wyalusing State Park

Contact(s): Kathy Kahler, editor, 608-266-2625

MADISON -- The June issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine features two stories that mark special anniversaries and another pair that delve into invasive species. There also are updates on elk and bats, plus all the standing features of the magazine now in distribution.

On the cover this month is Wyalusing State Park, celebrating its 100th year in the Wisconsin State Park System. "A century of scenic grandeur" takes readers back to 1909, when renowned landscape architect John Nolen wrote of the "exquisitely beautiful" area that would eventually become Wisconsin's fourth state park in 1917. The history of the park along with its present-day amenities are explored.

Another anniversary is celebrated in "Fifty years of hunter safety," which traces Wisconsin's successful hunter education efforts to their origins in 1967. Historic photos accompany the piece.

June is Invasive Species Awareness Month, designated by the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council, and the magazine includes two stories on the topic. "Still feeling the burn" revisits the perils of wild parsnip, while "Stemming the tide" looks at results of a five-year study of aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin lakes.

The woes of white-nose syndrome and the toll the disease has taken on the state's bat populations are outlined in an update from the Department of Natural Resource's Wisconsin Bat Program. But it's not entirely bad news in the bat caves, as "Survivors and silver linings" notes, and readers are introduced to ways they can help.

An update on elk in the Black River State Forest -- "It's elk country once more" -- also is included in June, with news of the growing Clam Lake herd as well. And "Waters run deep in Lake Wazee" digs into the creation of Wisconsin's deepest man-made lake, a former Jackson County iron mine that now boasts clear waters more than 350 feet deep.

DNR's report to the Legislature regarding the Fish and Wildlife Account is highlighted for magazine readers. The account funds efforts to manage resources for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation through license fees, and the report discusses challenges related to a current funding gap in that process.

The magazine's regular features include a "Back in the day" look at logging, with first-person historic accounts from two 1920s lumberjacks; a "Wisconsin Traveler" story from a Fitchburg couple who visited every Wisconsin state park in 2016; a "Wisconsin naturally" trip to Jefferson County's Red Cedar Lake State Natural Area; and a take on trout from "Keeping it wild: Outdoor food and forays." As always, "Readers Write" with their own tales and photos from the outdoors.

For more on the magazine, including online story links, go to


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 30, 2017

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.