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Weekly News Published - May 14, 2019 by the Central Office

 

Environmental Protection Agency approves plan to improve water quality in the Wisconsin River Basin

Contact(s): Pat Oldenburg, DNR water resource engineer, 715-831-3262

MADISON - Efforts to improve water quality throughout the Wisconsin River basin continue to move forward with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval of the Wisconsin River Basin Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan. The approved TMDL plan aims to reduce phosphorus in a vast area of Wisconsin spanning the central corridor and covering more than 9,100 square miles.

"The TMDL represents a framework for implementation but improved water quality will not happen overnight and will require a long-term commitment from citizens living and working in the basin along with support from local, state and federal governments." said Pat Oldenburg, a DNR water resource engineer and implementation manager of the project.

The Wisconsin River is a popular recreational resources.   The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study will provide a strategic framework and prioritize resources for water quality improvement in the Wisconsin River Basin. - Photo credit: DNR
The Wisconsin River is a popular recreational resources. The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study will provide a strategic framework and prioritize resources for water quality improvement in the Wisconsin River Basin.Photo credit: DNR

The plan approved April 26 was developed over the course of many years through partnership with stakeholder groups and the EPA. Everything from collecting water quality samples to evaluating water quality models involved a wide variety of partners working with the department including county land and water conservation departments, Petenwell and Castle Rock Stewards, UW-Stevens Point and modeling experts from HDR, Inc. The plan involves a series of calculations that represent the amount of phosphorus that the waters can handle and still meet state water quality goals. Development of these calculations is required for impaired waterways under the federal Clean Water Act as part of efforts to meet applicable water quality standards.

"DNR fully recognizes the challenges in achieving these reductions and has already started partnering with representatives from local government, agriculture, and citizens groups to develop focused, locally-led implementation efforts in specific watersheds," said Oldenburg, DNR water resource specialist.

Detailed analysis determined that some waterbodies in the basin require site-specific phosphorus standards, including two of the largest reservoirs on the Wisconsin River, Petenwell and Castle Rock Flowages, where the water quality problems were the primary motivation for the development of the TMDL. Separate rules for those waterbodies are expected to be adopted later this year.

The Wisconsin River basin study area encompasses or touches portions of 22 counties. The basin has 109 stream and river segments and 38 lakes or reservoirs that are currently listed as impaired due to elevated levels of phosphorus.

A copy of the EPA approved TMDL plan can be found by visiting dnr.wi.gov and searching for "Wisconsin River Basin TMDL."

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Public meeting on Lake Michigan fisheries management to be held May 20

Contact(s): Brad Eggold, Great Lakes District Fisheries Supervisor, Bureau of Fisheries Management, 414-303-0138

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is continuing to work with stakeholders to determine the future course of fisheries management on Lake Michigan. The Wisconsin Great Lakes sport fishery generates $185.4 million dollars in economic activity per year and everyone can agree to the goal of optimizing this fishery.

Wisconsin Great Lakes sport fishery  - Photo credit: DNR
The meeting will begin the process to shape the course of future management on the Lake Michigan sport fishery.Photo credit: DNR

On May 20 at Lakeshore Technical College, department staff along with interested stakeholders will begin the process to shape the course of future management on the lake. At this meeting, department staff will present the latest Lake Michigan survey information and stakeholders will contribute ideas and input on future fisheries management initiatives.

"We have been working with stakeholders in earnest over the last 5 years and have responded to both the science and stakeholder preferences to continue this excellent fishery," said Brad Eggold, Great Lakes District Fisheries Supervisor. "At this meeting, we will begin discussions on the most recent information, answer questions and gather input and comments that will ultimately culminate in a plan for 2020 and beyond."

The meeting is slated for Monday, May 20 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Lakeshore Technical College, Cleveland, Wis. in the East Centennial Hall.

For more information and to read the handouts created for the meeting, go to dnr.wi.gov and search for Lake Michigan Meetings.

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Natural Resources Board to meet May 22 in Madison

Contact(s): Laurie Ross, board liaison, 608-267-7420 or Sarah Hoye, communications director, 608-267-2773

MADISON - Requests to approve antlerless deer harvest quotas, antlerless permit levels, and a deer hunting season framework for 2019 and to approve the 2019-2029 Wisconsin Bear Management Plan are among the items the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will address when it meets May 22 in Madison.

The board will consider the deer hunting season framework for 2019 at its meeting May 22 in Madison, with remote testimony available at Spooner - Photo credit: Herbert Lange
The board will consider the deer hunting season framework for 2019 at its meeting May 22 in Madison, with remote testimony available at SpoonerPhoto credit: Herbert Lange

The board meeting will convene at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday, May 22, in Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 South Webster St., Madison with a closed session request for a safety and security briefing. The monthly meeting is expected to begin at approximately 8:30 a.m. On Tuesday, May 21, the board will have dinner with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress District Leadership Council at approximately 5:30 p.m. at Madison's, 119 King Street, Madison, to discuss on-line spring hearing voting, increasing and improving participation at spring hearings, and chronic wasting disease management. Agenda items are information only; no action will be taken.

New beginning this month Open Forum remote testimony will be available to the public

Beginning with the May meeting, the Natural Resources Board will be offering one remote location around the state for the public to participate in an open forum with the board. Agenda Item 3 - Open Forum is an opportunity for citizens to provide testimony remotely or at the meeting location on matters that are not otherwise on the meeting agenda. Comments generally should address broad general policy rather than the day-to-day operations of the Department of Natural Resources. Opportunities for remote testimony will be specifically noticed on each meeting agenda.

The first open forum remote location for the May 22 meeting will be in Spooner at the DNR Service Center, 810 W. Maple Drive. Future remote locations include: Eau Claire for the June 26 meeting when the board will be meeting in Barneveld; Milwaukee for the August 14 meeting when the board will be meeting in Wausau; Fitchburg for the September 25 meeting when the board will be meeting at a location to be determined in northeastern Wisconsin; Rhinelander for the October 23 meeting in in Madison; and Green Bay for the December 11 meeting in Madison.

"Our doors at the NRB have been wide open for over 50 years to gain public input to concerns citizens have regarding our natural resources. The NRB is one of the few boards that takes regular testimony at each and every regular meeting," said NRB Chair Dr. Frederick Prehn. "We welcome the input and look forward to our residents of this great state connecting with us."

Other topics on the May 22 meeting agenda include a request to approve proposed rules related to aquaculture and fish farms; a request for rules related to marten protection closed areas; and request for approval of proposed rule relating to well construction and pump installation, and other topics.

The complete May board agenda is available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for keyword "NRB" and clicking on the button for "view agendas."

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting as well as during open forum (remotely or at meeting). The deadline for Board liaison receipt of your request to testify or your written comment is 11 a.m. on Friday, May 17, 2019. Registration information is available on the NRB pages of the DNR website. No late requests or comments will be accepted.

Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month's meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.

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Apply now for unique deer hunts offered at Sandhill Wildlife Demonstration Area this fall

Contact(s): Darren Ladwig, DNR wildlife biologist, 715-884-6331

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to correct the photo caption.  We regret the error.]

BABCOCK - Two unique deer hunting opportunities to be held this fall at Sandhill Wildlife Demonstration Area will provide opportunities for youth to learn to hunt and one for beginning adults. A one-day learn-to-hunt workshop is open to both youth ages 12-15 and adult beginners.

The youth program is open to young people with varying levels of hunting experience while the program for adult beginners (16 years or older) is intended for individuals who have no previous experience hunting deer with a firearm before. All participants must complete a Hunter Education course prior to the hunt portion of the program.

This unique program includes a workshop that will educate participants in the following topics:

The workshop will culminate in a one-day hunt to be held Nov. 2, 2019. It is important to note that all participants and chaperones are required to attend the workshop.

The learn to hunt deer workshop culminates with a two day antlerless hunt at Sandhill. - Photo credit: DNR
The learn-to-hunt workshop culminates with a one-day hunt for deer of either sex on Nov. 2. The second opportunity, a two-day, antlerless-only hunt, will be held on Nov. 9-10.Photo credit: DNR

The second opportunity, a two-day antlerless-only hunt, is open to youth ages 12-15 and experienced adult hunters. This hunt will be held Nov. 9-10 and does not require a pre-hunt workshop, but participants will be required to review the hunting rules and regulations for Sandhill prior to the hunt.

This two-day, antlerless-only hunt is being held to achieve deer population goals within the 9,150-acre Sandhill Wildlife Demonstration Area near Babcock.

"We have now experienced five consecutive years of mild winters at Sandhill as described by the Winter Severity Index, and deer numbers will need to be reduced to maintain over-winter densities of 25 deer/square mile," said Darren Ladwig, wildlife biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The deadline to apply for either the learn to hunt workshop or the two-day antlerless-only hunt is June 30, 2019. Applications are available on the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, by searching for Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center and at all Department of Natural Resources Service Centers. Sandhill Wildlife Area and online at the. information regarding the hunt and application instructions are attached to the permit application.

For more information, contact the Sandhill Wildlife Demonstration Area office, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 715-884-6331 or e-mail Darren Ladwig at Darren.Ladwig@wisconsin.gov.

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Statewide permit and authorization for regularly occurring activities may result in the incidental take of rare lizard and turtle

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

MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources proposes to create a Broad Incidental Take Permit/Authorization for vibratory plowing activities that may result in the "incidental taking" of a rare lizard and turtle. 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.

These activities occur frequently and have required the department to issue individual incidental take permits/authorizations with identical minimization and mitigation measures. The new broad incidental take permit/authorization for vibratory plowing is proposed to replace the individual incidental take permits/authorizations when vibratory plowing is occurring and the state endangered slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus) or ornate box turtle (Terrapene ornata) may be present.

The disturbance caused by these regularly occurring activities may result in some mortality; however, take will be minimized by following protocols designed for each species. Department staff concluded that the common activities covered under this permit and authorization would minimize impacts to the species 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 these species or the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part and the habitat that is critical to their 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 endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Permit/Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the slender glass lizard and ornate box turtle are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Rori Paloski (608-264-6040 or rori.paloski@wi.gov). The department is requesting comments from the public through June 13, 2019 regarding project-related impacts to the slender glass lizard and ornate box turtle. Public comments should be sent to Rori Paloski, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or rori.paloski@wi.gov.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
Sarah Hoye
Director Of Communications
Office Of The Secretary
(608) 267-2773