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NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 463 days

Weekly News Published July 17, 2019


DNR asks boaters to be good neighbors & limit damaging wakes

Contact(s): Joanne Haas, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement public information officer,, 608-209-8147

MADISON -- Boaters, paddlers, anglers and swimmers, as well as shoreline property owners, are put at risk when boat operators throttle up and leave wakes in their paths - forcing others on the water to react quickly to the sudden rough water that slams other vessels and crashes into the shorelines.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is joining the Minnesota DNR in a public campaign urging all boaters to be aware of the risks and problems caused by boat wakes and to take steps to reduce big wakes.

Sample Caption and Alt Text - Photo credit: DNR
Others are sharing the waters-- watch your speed to keep wakes in check. Safety is part of the fun - and it is everyone's role!Photo credit: Contributed

Driven by a growing number of calls and complaints about excessive wakes, both states launched an educational effort urging people to "Own Your Wake - for everyone's sake." The to spread the word about the importance of minimizing wakes that might pose a nuisance or hazard to others.

Anyone with information regarding natural resource violations, may confidentially report by calling or texting: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay information to conservation wardens.

"Wisconsin is known for its abundant waters that are destinations for all types of outdoor enthusiasts. Sharing our resources keeps it fun and safe for all - and that means operating with the other vessels in mind," said Todd Schaller, Wisconsin DNR Chief Conservation Warden.

The summer boating season with a mixture of speedboats, fishing boats and "wake boats" has given rise to increasing concerns around large wakes and the problems they can cause. (Wake boats sit low in the water and produce big waves that someone being towed can surf.)

Common wake complaints in the summer include damage to shoreline properties, docked boats as well as paddlers and swimmers who get caught in the wakes' rollers.

"One person's boating fun should not cause safety concerns and damage for others," Schaller said. "We hope boaters understand the impacts of boat wakes and voluntarily comply with existing rules and basic principles of on-the-water courtesy, to own your wake for everyone's sake."



Public comment sought on proposed rules to assess the health of Wisconsin water bodies

Contact(s): Kristi Minahan, DNR water quality standards specialist, 608-266-7055

MADISON - The public has until September 20, 2019 to provide feedback on two proposed rule revisions related to assessing the overall health of lakes and streams in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on two proposals that would update Wisconsin Administrative Code related to protecting water quality.

Biologists examine stream insects collected for a stream health survey. - Photo credit: DNR
Biologists examine stream insects collected for a stream health survey.Photo credit: DNR

"The goals of these revisions are to clarify policies, provide consistent processes and provide protection of aquatic life and recreation for the public," said Kristi Minahan, a DNR water quality standards specialist. "These rules describe how the biology of a lake or stream, such as its fish, insect, plant and algae communities, are used to assess its overall health. They also establish how algae and plants will be used to determine whether a water body is responding to elevated phosphorus levels and whether it may need a different phosphorus criterion."

The first rule (Natural Resources Board order WY-23-13) addresses processes the department uses to assess bodies of water for impairments, including biological criteria for water quality standards and phosphorus impairments.

The second rule (NRB order WT-17-12) would establish a process for determining when an individual waterbody needs a higher or lower phosphorus criterion than the statewide target in order to meet water its quality goals.

The proposed language can be found by searching the DNR website,, for "public input" and clicking on the buttons for "proposed rules" and then "Permanent" rules and looking for Board Order numbers WY-23-13 and WT-17-12.

A public hearing will be held for both rules at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, with simultaneous telepresence in Madison and Green Bay.

Written comments may be submitted at the public hearings or by mail to Kristi Minahan, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison WI, 53707-7921, or by email to or Comments and questions may be directed to Kristi Minahan by phone at 608-266-7055.

People can sign up for email notifications of updates by clicking on the email icon in the footer of the DNR website, following the prompts, and then selecting Water Quality Standards and Assessments under the "Water" topic listing.



Aug. 1 deadline looms for Upriver Lakes Sturgeon Spearing Drawing

Contact(s): Ryan Koenigs, DNR Winnebago System sturgeon biologist, 920-303-5450

OSHKOSH, Wis. -- Sturgeon spearers have until Aug. 1 to apply for a 2020 Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing license or purchase a preference point to be used in future drawings.

Jonathan Eiden of Appleton harvested the largest fish of the 2019 sturgeon spearing season on the Winnebago System.  The fish was registered at Wendt's on the Lake on February 9 and measured 85.5 inches and weighed 171 pounds. - Photo credit: DNR
Jonathan Eiden of Appleton harvested the largest fish of the 2019 sturgeon spearing season on the Winnebago System. The fish was registered at Wendt's on the Lake on February 9 and measured 85.5 inches and weighed 171 pounds.Photo credit: DNR

Participation in the February 2020 Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing season on lakes Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan is controlled through a preference point system where applicants possessing the most preference points are given priority in the drawing. All applicants are notified by Oct. 1 of whether they were drawn for a license and authorized to purchase a license for the 2020 Upriver Lakes season.

All applicants not drawn for an Upriver Lakes license, or those who purchase a preference point only, can still purchase a spearing license for Lake Winnebago before the Oct. 31, 2019 deadline. Spearers can only buy a license for either Lake Winnebago or the Upriver Lakes, not both.

Groups of up to four may apply together by designating a group leader and using his/her Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources customer ID on all applications. Each group will carry the preference points of the group member with the fewest points.

Spearers can apply for the license drawing or purchase a preference point through the DNR Go Wild online license sales or at license agents or DNR Service Centers.


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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