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Weekly News Published - April 10, 2018 by the Central Office

 

Stocking of 740,000 catchable size trout underway to provide more fishing opportunities

Contact(s): Jeff Mosher, DNR Fish Production Manager, 608-267-7613

MADISON - Stocking trucks are rolling from state fish hatcheries now and will deliver about 740,000 catchable-size trout to inland waters in time for opening day of the 2018 regular inland trout season.

catchable trout - brook trout

Catchable-size trout provide a variety of angling opportunities.

A total of 275,000 rainbow, 200,000 brown, 215,000 brook, and 50,000 lake trout will be stocked in more than 400 waters by May 5, says Jeff Mosher, Department of Natural Resources fish production manager.

"Gear up Wisconsin! Fish hauling trucks will be coming to publicly accessible waterbodies near you in time for the May fifth opener," Mosher says. "We're glad to be able to provide exciting fishing opportunities for anglers of all ages, and we thank you for your continued support in making Wisconsin one of America's best fishing destinations!"

The fish to be stocked out were raised at Nevin Fish Hatchery, Osceola Fish Hatchery and St. Croix Falls Hatchery. A complete list of 2018 inland waters expected to receive catchable trout can be found by visiting the DNR website, and searching "Catchable Trout."

Urban and community waters stocked to provide fishing opportunities to kids this spring

Additional fish were raised and are being stocked through cooperative rearing agreements with fishing clubs. About 70,000 fish will be stocked in urban fishing waters, small lakes and ponds cooperatively managed with the local municipality and used as a place for fishing clinics and kids fishing.

Many urban waters have no length limits and a special season for juveniles 15 years of age and younger as well as certain disabled anglers. For 2018, the special season started March 10 and runs through April 27. These waters also have a daily bag limit of three trout, one gamefish and 10 panfish. For details, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "Fishing Regulations" and look under Urban and Community Fishing [PDF].

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Ecologists ask for public's help in reporting occupied bald eagle nests in southeastern Wisconsin

Contact(s): Sharon Fandel, DNR southern district ecologist, 608-275-3207

MADISON - State ecologists conducting aerial surveys for occupied bald eagle nests this spring are asking for the public's help in locating nests in southeastern Wisconsin.

Bald eagles are on their nests in southern Wisconsin, including this one along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway in the Spring Green Area, and DNR aerial surveys for occupied nests are underway.  - Photo credit: Michael Balfanz
Bald eagles are on their nests in southern Wisconsin, including this one along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway in the Spring Green Area, and DNR aerial surveys for occupied nests are underway. Photo credit: Michael Balfanz

The discovery last year of a bald eagle nest in Kenosha County leaves Milwaukee and Walworth counties as the only remaining counties with no confirmed active bald eagle nests, though conservation biologists believe it is only a matter of time before the nation's symbol sets up housekeeping there too.

"We've been able to add a number of 'new' bald eagle territories in southeastern Wisconsin over the past couple years, thanks in part to crowd-sourcing information from people calling in their observations as well as the ongoing efforts of the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas," says Sharon Fandel, southeastern district ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Fandel already has completed aerial surveys this spring with DNR pilots to look for occupied bald eagle nests in southeastern Wisconsin and has confirmed seven new nesting locations. About half of them came from citizen reports and the other half resulted from honing in on areas with clusters of reported eagle observations from WBBA and other birding reports.

"Now we're hoping more people will let us know about possible occupied bald eagle nests to check in southeastern Wisconsin, particularly in Milwaukee and Walworth counties," says Fandel.

Aerial surveys are underway across the state now to check known eagle nests to see if they are actively being used by breeding adult eagles. Survey data are used both internally and externally to protect these nest sites when various activities are being planned across the state.

If you observe an active bald eagle nest, with adults incubating eggs or exhibiting other breeding behaviors, you are encouraged to report your sightings in one of these ways:

In other good news, the bald eagle pair confirmed in Kenosha County last year is back. They've built an alternative nest on an adjacent landowner's property closer to a couple larger ponds, Fandel says.

Bald eagle populations have gradually recovered in Wisconsin and nationally as a result of the banning of the pesticide DDT nationally in 1972 (and in Wisconsin in 1969), a prohibition on killing of eagles, improved water quality in lakes and rivers, nest protection, and reintroduction of eagles in some areas. Bald eagles were removed from Wisconsin's endangered species list in 1997 and from the federal list in 2007. In 2017, Wisconsin aerial surveys confirmed a record 1,590 occupied nests.

Celebrate eagles' comeback by buying a license plate to fund the next conservation success

Eagle plate - Photo credit: DNR
Wisconsin residents can celebrate the continuing comeback of bald eagles and help fund the next conservation success by buying a bald eagle license plate.

Wisconsin residents can celebrate the continuing comeback of bald eagles and help fund the next conservation success by buying a bald eagle license plate. License plate sales and donations to the Endangered Resources Fund account for 25 percent of funding for work by DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation staff with endangered species and natural areas.

Learn more about Endangered Resources Fund and the on-the-ground conservation work it supports at dnr.wi.gov, keywords "Endangered Resources Fund."

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Volunteers help keep Wisconsin's State Natural Areas pristine

Contact(s): Jared Urban, DNR State Natural Areas volunteer coordinator, 608-228-4349

50,000 bundles of invasive Phragmites removed at one site

MADISON - Volunteers helped control invasive plants and assisted with priority land acquisitions to enlarge Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area in Kenosha County, while Madison area volunteers wrapped up six years of cutting and treating more than 50,000 bundles of invasive Phragmites at Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area.

These are just two examples of how volunteers help care for State Natural Areas, which represent some of Wisconsin's best remaining prairies, oak savannas, wetlands and lakes and are home to 75 percent of the animal species and 90 percent of the plants listed as threatened or endangered in the state.

Efforts by 35 volunteer groups in 2017 directly impacted 3,464 acres at 43 sites and represented $121,147 in value, according to the recently released State Natural Areas Volunteers 2017 Annual Report [PDF].

35 volunteer groups directly impacted 3,464 acres at 43 State Natural Areas in 2017, including helping cut and burn invasive brush like this volunteer does here.  - Photo credit: DNR
35 volunteer groups directly impacted 3,464 acres at 43 State Natural Areas in 2017, including helping cut and burn invasive brush like this volunteer does here. Photo credit: DNR

"Once again volunteers helped us make a lot of positive changes on our valuable State Natural Areas," says Jared Urban, the DNR conservation biologist who coordinates the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program. "In 2017, we saw several groups expand with new leaders emerging and new volunteers getting connected, and we saw groups accomplish some important long-term goals. We are grateful for all of our volunteers and their hard work to care for these special places."

Urban started the State Natural Area Volunteer program in 2011, and new groups have formed since then to help supplement work done by department SNA work crews. Volunteers' accomplishments include addressing threats to natural areas by controlling invasive species, which ranges from pulling or spraying garlic mustard, to cutting down and burning buckthorn and honeysuckle, to spraying Phragmites. As well, volunteers help establish new plants in prairies and oak openings by collecting and planting local native seeds.

The 2017 annual report highlights examples of work being done at the different sites, features photographs and testimonials from volunteers on what they do and why. It salutes members of the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund, the volunteer group that received the 2017 SNA Steward of the Year award. That volunteer group has played an integral role in preserving the largest remaining prairie and wetland complex in southeastern Wisconsin, from helping buy the first 15 acres of Chiwaukee Prairie in the 1960s to controlling garlic mustard and 24 other invasive plants there today.

These Whitewater High School students were among the many volunteers helping care for State Natural Areas in 2017. Learn more about their efforts in the 2017 State Natural Areas Volunteer Annual Report.   - Photo credit: Ginny Coburn
These Whitewater High School students were among the many volunteers helping care for State Natural Areas in 2017. Learn more about their efforts in the 2017 State Natural Areas Volunteer Annual Report. Photo credit: Ginny Coburn

The report also highlights volunteers at Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area in Dane County for removing Phragmites from more than 4 acres of original native wetlands. To do this, volunteers gathered stalks of the invasive plant into bundles tied waist high with biodegradable twine. Then using garden shears, they cut the bundles above the twine and applied herbicide to the exposed tops of the stalks.

Sign up to get notices of volunteer workdays at State Natural Areas

Volunteer work days occur year-round at many sites. Volunteers need no training beforehand but are provided equipment and training on site to do the work. Typical workdays run three hours long and allow for breaks and snacks are often provided, Urban says.

Find a list of workdays and flyers on each event by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "SNA Volunteers." From that web page, people can also sign up to receive email notices for workdays at state natural areas.

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Madison group, volunteers from Richland Center, La Farge, Blanchardville win awards for outstanding efforts to enhance Wisconsin's natural resources

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

MADISON - A Richland Center birder who has counted cranes for 35 years, a longtime Lafayette County volunteer aiding bats, birds and plants, a Madison area organization dedicated to clean lakes and a La Farge High School student promoting bat conservation have received Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Awards for their outstanding efforts in volunteer monitoring of Wisconsin's natural resources.

"This year's award winners represent the very best of citizen-based monitoring in the state," said Eva Lewandowski, a conservation biologist who coordinates citizen-based monitoring efforts for the Department of Natural Resources' Natural Heritage Conservation Program. "We're recognizing people who not only are volunteering their time to monitor the state's natural resources, but are going even further to coordinate projects, share results, and encourage others to volunteer."

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 5 photos

The three individuals and one organization received their awards during the Wisconsin Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers, held in Eau Claire March 22-24 and co-hosted by DNR and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

More than 12,000 Wisconsin volunteers searched for rare plants, identified frogs, bats, birds and other species, and cut, dragged and burned invasive plants in 2017 to help care for the natural resources they love. To find out more about volunteer monitoring opportunities in 2018, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "citizen-based monitoring."

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Public meetings rescheduled for Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands, and Northwest Lowlands Ecological Landscape regional master plans

Contact(s): Phil Rynish, DNR property planner, 608-266-5854 or Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, 608-267-7517

Public comment period open through May 3

ASHLAND, Wis. - Two upcoming open houses will focus on regional master planning process for properties located in three Ecological Landscapes: Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands, and Northwest Lowlands. These three landscapes include portions of Polk, Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer, Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, and Iron Counties. These open houses were previously noticed but had to be rescheduled due to snow storms earlier this month.

The properties in this planning effort are important recreation destinations. The popular Copper Falls, Big Bay, Pattison, and Amnicon Falls state parks will all have their master plans updated.

People can learn more about and engage in the planning process online by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "master planning" and selecting the ecological landscape that interests them (Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands, Northwest Lowlands). In addition to opportunities to learn more about the landscapes and department properties within them, there is a questionnaire on the web pages for the public to offer their input on the planning and management of the properties.

The public meetings will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and will be held:

In addition to the opportunities to offer input online or at public meetings, people may contact DNR Planner Phil Rynish, by email at phillip.rynish@wisconsin.gov, phone at 608-266-5854, or US mail at Phil Rynish, Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53707-7921. The public comment period for this first phase of planning is open through May 3, 2018.

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Attention anglers and artists! Enter to win Wisconsin's trout stamp contests

Contact(s): Joanna Griffin, DNR trout coordinator, 608-264-8953

MADISON - Artists and anglers - and those sharing both passions - are invited to submit their original artwork for the Great Lakes Salmon and Trout Stamp and the Inland Trout Stamp contests now through July 2.

The winning art will appear on the 2019 Great Lakes Salmon and Trout Stamp and the 2019 Inland Trout Stamp. More information on contest rules and the application are found online at dnr.wi.gov by searching "trout stamp contest."

"We're excited to continue to offer these contests and create awareness of Wisconsin's great trout and salmon fishing and the habitat improvement and stocking these stamps support," says Joanna Griffin, Department of Natural Resources trout coordinator.

Anglers fishing Lake Michigan or Lake Superior for trout and salmon are required to buy a $10 stamp to help support the rearing and stocking of chinook, brown trout and steelhead in these waters. The stamp was instituted in the early 1980s to make up for the loss of federal funding that previously paid for propagation of non-native trout and salmon.

Anglers fishing inland waters for trout are required to buy a $10 inland trout stamp and the revenues are used to support trout habitat improvement and habitat maintenance projects and trout population surveys. Wisconsin boasts over 13,000 miles of trout streams with over 5,000 classified as high quality, class I trout streams. Improvements funded by the trout stamp since the late 1970s have played an important role in increasing angler opportunities and the mileage of Class 1 trout streams from 3,536 miles in 1980 to more than 5,000 today.

The trout stamp contests had been discontinued in 2010 over declining interest by artists but were resurrected starting with the 2017 stamp year, when the contest was limited to adults. For the 2018 stamp year, DNR offered its first ever trout stamp contest for high school students and Taylor Konczal, a Stevens Point Area Senior High student, won both stamp contests. Her designs are featured on the Inland and the Great Lakes stamps for 2018. Anglers wanting to get the printed art stamps can pick them up an any DNR Service Center or can complete an online order form.

Get your 2018 inland trout stamp today at DNR service centers or by ordering online.
Get your 2018 inland trout stamp today at DNR service centers or by ordering online.

Get your 2018 inland trout stamp today at DNR service centers or by ordering online.

[feature image of attached Great Lakes trout stamp with caption: The Great Lakes Salmon and Trout Stamp was also designed by Taylor Konczal, a Stevens Point Area Senior High student. ]

2019 contest rules

The 2019 contests are limited to adults 18 and older. Subject matter for stamps must feature species of trout and salmon found in Wisconsin's waters or appropriate subject matter relating to trout and salmon fishing. Artists are not limited in their choice of colors or medium, but the medium selected must be of permanent quality such as pen and ink, oil, watercolor etching or pencil.

Once the artwork has been submitted, DNR will create an online gallery and open the voting through the web and Facebook in July. The top 10 entries from the online voting will then move to a final round of judging by a panel of three to five judges with expertise and interest in trout, salmon and wildlife art.

Entries must be delivered or postmarked by July 2, 2018, and sent to the Wisconsin Great Lakes Salmon and Trout Stamp Contest or the Wisconsin Inland Trout Stamp Contest, Attn: Trout Coordinator, Wisconsin DNR (FH/4), Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.

Questions may be directed to Joanna Griffin, DNR trout coordinator at Joanna.Griffin@Wisconsin.gov or 608-264-8953.

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Turkey Donation Program provides opportunity to help families in need this spring

Contact(s): Noah Balgooyen, DNR wildlife biologist, 608-266-2151

MADISON - Now in its second year, the Turkey Donation Program returns this spring to provide hunters with an opportunity to donate a harvested turkey to families in need.

"This is a great opportunity for turkey hunters to participate in a sport they enjoy and at the same time provide food assistance to Wisconsin families across the state," said Noah Balgooyen, Department of Natural Resources Turkey Donation Program coordinator.

Donated turkeys are processed free of charge and the meat is provided to local food pantries. Hunters must donate the entire turkey carcass in order for the processing cost to be covered by the program (beard, tailfin, and spurs/feet may be kept). A log sheet is maintained at each processor to verify the donation.

Hunters can participate in the program by following three simple steps:

Support a great cause - make a financial donation to the Deer and Turkey Donation programs

Those interested in supporting the Deer and Turkey Donation Programs can voluntarily donate $1 or more to the Deer and Turkey Donation Programs to help cover meat-processing fees. To donate, visit any license sales location or donate online through a Go Wild account at GoWild.Wi.Gov.

For more information regarding the turkey donation program, including a list of participating processors, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "turkey donation."

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Celebrate first-time turkey hunting success by getting a free "First Turkey Certificate"

Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR assistant upland wildlife ecologist, (608)-267-7861

First Turkey Certificatet

MADISON - To help commemorate a turkey hunter's first harvest or hunting experience, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources provides a free, personalized certificate available online - sign-up is easy, and can be done in a matter of minutes online.

First-time hunters can submit a certificate by visiting dnr.wi.gov and searching keyword "first certificates."

"Thousands of hunters take to the woods each year in Wisconsin to pursue the wild turkey, many for the first time," said Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist. The first hunt or first experience certificate is our way of saying congratulations to all of the first-time turkey hunters - we wish them all many more years of successful hunting."

After submitting an online form, first-time turkey hunters will receive a customized certificate with details of the hunt including a picture, the location, the bird's weight, beard length and more. Certificates will be sent electronically within a few weeks after submission.

First-time hunters can submit a certificate by visiting dnr.wi.gov and searching keyword "first certificates."

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DNR wildlife biologists team up with volunteers to complete spring and summer wildlife surveys

Contact(s): Brian Dhuey, DNR wildlife population and harvest assessment specialist, 608-221-6342

MADISON - As spring weather sweeps across state wildlife biologists and cooperating volunteers are hard at work in the field to monitor Wisconsin's wildlife.

Each spring, Department of Natural Resources staff and volunteers complete surveys to learn more about Wisconsin's pheasants, ruffed grouse, frogs, and a variety of other wildlife species. Spring and summer surveys take place during all hours on designated roadside routes, and these procedures may require biologists to make frequent stops for short, pre-determined periods of time. Motorists are reminded to be aware these ongoing efforts.

Each spring, DNR staff and volunteers complete surveys to learn more about Wisconsin's pheasants, ruffed grouse, frogs and a variety of other wildlife species. - Photo credit: DNR
Each spring, DNR staff and volunteers complete surveys to learn more about Wisconsin's pheasants, ruffed grouse, frogs and a variety of other wildlife species.Photo credit: DNR

Each spring, DNR staff and volunteers complete surveys to learn more about Wisconsin's pheasants, ruffed grouse, frogs, and a variety of other wildlife species.

Survey results can be found online, and those interested in learning more about Wisconsin's wildlife species are encouraged to view these valuable data. Department staff would like to thank survey volunteers for their continued dedication to working closely in partnership with DNR and other key stakeholders.

For more information regarding Wisconsin wildlife surveys, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "reports."

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Anglers reminded to keep paper copy of license on boundary and outlying waters

Contact(s): Todd Schaller , 608-381-8927

MADISON -- Anglers who fish Wisconsin's boundary and outlying waters are reminded to carry a paper copy of their fishing license under law enforcement agreements with the neighboring states and federal agencies that share enforcement duties on these waters, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Chief Warden Todd Schaller says.

Schaller says the reason the paper copy is required of all anglers is because other states' and federal officers with jurisdiction on these waters do not have access to Wisconsin's Go Wild or the driver's license information to confirm fishing licenses. Use this handy step-by-step guide to help you reprint your license on your own.

"The best advice is to print several copies of your fishing license and keep them with your fishing and boating equipment - and then forget about it because you'll be covered regardless of the home agency of the patrol officer on the water," Schaller said. "After that, your main focus is to enjoy your fishing trips."

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773