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December 30, 2014

MADISON - From new County Deer Advisory Committees and new frameworks for the deer season to successful facebook contests focusing on Wisconsin's state park system properties, here is a look back at the natural resources issues and highlights of 2014.


DNR receives exploratory drilling application from Gogebic Taconite
MADISON - The Department of Natural Resources has received an exploration license application from Gogebic Taconite, LLC, for activities related to the Penokee/Gogebic deposit located in Ashland and Iron counties. The company is proposing to drill fifteen exploratory drillholes at the site.

Natural Resources Board approves rules to implement Deer Trustee Report for 2014 season
MADISON - The Natural Resources Board approved today emergency rules to begin implementing Deer Trustee Report recommendations on the ground, authorizing a new deer program and regulations that will be in place prior to the 2014 deer hunting season.

Fisheries director reels in retirement after 32 years serving state's anglers; Staggs led fisheries management program since 1997
The man who has led Wisconsin's fisheries management program for the past 17 years has announced his retirement this spring, capping 32 years of public service devoted to expanding and improving fishing opportunities in Wisconsin.

Hunters register 4,633 birds in 2013 fall wild turkey hunt; spring permit levels set
MADISON -- Wisconsin wild turkey hunters registered a total of 4,633 birds during the fall 2013 wild turkey season, a decrease of 34 percent from the 7,054 turkeys registered during the 2012 season. Success rates also decreased, from 12.9 percent in 2012 to 7.1 percent during the 2013 season.

Wisconsin State Park System provides key economic, natural resource benefits
MADISON -- Wisconsin's state parks, outdoor recreation areas, forests and trails serve as important drivers of local economic vitality, according to a recent report that estimates that total spending by Wisconsin state park properties visitors is more than $1 billion a year. The report also found that the State Park System conserves important environmental resource areas that are public legacies.

Spring turkey permit levels reduced to address hunter concerns over winter losses
MADISON - Remaining over-the-counter permits in Turkey Management Zones 6 and 7 will not be issued and over-the-counter permits in zones 4 and 5 will be reduced by 25 percent in response to hunter feedback requesting a conservative approach to the number of permits issued for this spring's hunt, due to concerns that increased winter mortality has depressed turkey numbers.

DNR seeks feedback on expanding trout seasons
MADISON - Moving the start of the early trout season to January 1 and expanding the early season to all inland waters to provide more fishing opportunities are among the options Wisconsin anglers can weigh in on during the 2014 Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings held April 14 at sites in all Wisconsin counties.

DNR is measuring winter's impact on deer and turkey
MADISON - As one of the harshest winters on record continues its icy grip on Wisconsin state wildlife officials are monitoring its effects on wildlife, particularly deer and turkey.

Board approves DNR request to explore walleye management options
MADISON - The Department of Natural Resources has been granted authority today from the state Natural Resources Board to explore alternative methods for managing walleye in the Ceded Territory, covering roughly the northern third of the state. The scope statement went before the board today in a special meeting due to changes in the board's meeting schedule that went into effect this January.

New Facebook contest generates excitement for Wisconsin State Parks
MADISON - Sixteen of Wisconsin's lesser known and used state parks properties are ready to go head-to-head in the first ever "Wisconsin State Park Treasures" contest. Up for grabs are bragging rights for the winning state park and a prize package for one lucky winner.

National Archery in Schools Program state tournament April 4-5 in Wausau
WAUSAU, Wis. - More than 1,250 students from 55 different schools will converge on Wausau April 4-5 for the eighth annual National Archery in the Schools Program Wisconsin state tournament. The tournament will be held at the Wausau West High School, with the number of registrants up 400 students and 10 schools from the 2013 tournament.

Public meeting set to begin process of updating Lower Wisconsin Riverway master plan
SPRING GREEN, Wis. - The public has an opportunity at two upcoming open house meetings to get involved with the initial phases of the process to review and update of the master plan for the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway property.

DNR plans to stock more than 316,000 catchable-size trout in inland waters
MADISON - More than 316,000 catchable size trout are being stocked in dozens of inland trout waters across Wisconsin before the May 3 inland fishing season opener. A list of waters receiving fish and how many were planned for stocking is now available online.

State wildlife biologists share why to 'Keep Wildlife Wild'
MADISON -- Mother Nature's wildlife nursery will be swinging into high gear over the next two months, and state wildlife officials are reminding people that this nursery operates much differently than a human nursery.

Deadly bat disease detected in single Wisconsin site; State joins 23 others in confirming white-nose syndrome
MADISON - White-nose syndrome, a bat disease that has spread to 23 states and killed up to 5 million bats since 2006, has been confirmed in Wisconsin, state natural resources officials announced today.

EPA ruling shows Wisconsin air pollution lowest in 30 years
Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties now meet all federal standards MADISON, Wis. -- Sustained efforts by manufacturers, utilities and the transportation industry to reduce fine particle pollution achieved a long-sought victory Tuesday as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties in compliance with all federal air quality standards.

Partnership conserves globally significant habitat at Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area
MINONG, Wis. - About 1,400 acres of globally significant habitat, which will benefit public recreation and wildlife, including the flamboyant sharp-tailed grouse, has been preserved thanks to a partnership among the Department of Natural Resources, The Conservation Fund and several regional contributors. The $1-plus million purchase from the Lyme Timber Company was made possible with grants from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, through Walmart's Acres for America program, as well as private donations. This is the first Acres for America funded project in Wisconsin.

Wolf count indicates population declined within range predicted
MADISON - The preliminary 2014 Wisconsin late-winter wolf count indicates there are a minimum of 658 to 687 wolves distributed across the state, according to Department of Natural Resources officials. The preliminary numbers equate to a 19 percent decline in the late winter population compared to last year, as predicted by scientific models considered by the Wolf Advisory Committee and Natural Resources Board prior to establishing 2013 quotas.


Wisconsin moves into first place in number of public water suppliers
MADISON - Forty years after the Safe Drinking Water Act, Wisconsin has more public water suppliers than any other state and is a leader in providing safe water to sustain citizens and leading industries, state environmental officials say.

Report: vast majority of lakes supporting fishing and swimming
MADISON - A dedicated corps of citizen volunteers and improvements in databases and technology have enabled Wisconsin to check the health of more lakes than ever before, with more than two-thirds of the assessed lakes and rivers found to support the fishing and swimming they should be able to support, a newly released report shows.

New trolling rule approved by Natural Resources Board
MADISON - A proposed rule allowing anglers to troll for fish on inland waters statewide was modified Wednesday by the Natural Resources Board.

2014 wolf season quota set at 156 by Wisconsin Natural Resources Board
MADISON - The Natural Resources Board today approved the 2014 Wisconsin wolf season quota of 156 as proposed by the Department of Natural Resources Wolf Advisory Committee.

Natural Resources Board approves early teal season and extended dove season in Wisconsin
MADISON - The Natural Resources Board today approved an early teal season and extended dove season in Wisconsin.

Trails closed at Governor Dodge State Park as crews clear storm damage
DODGEVILLE, Wis. - Five hiking, biking and horse trails in the southern areas of Governor Dodge State Park have been closed as crews continue clean-up work stemming from storms and tornados that passed through areas of Iowa County the night of June 29.

Geocaching series now offered in nearly 50 Wisconsin State Parks
MADISON - The growing popularity of geocaching - an outdoor recreational activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System receiver or mobile device to look for hidden containers called geocaches -- has led to the placement of new "official" caches at nearly 50 Wisconsin state park properties.

Spring turkey harvest sees increase despite harsh winter
MADISON - Despite a long and severe winter, Wisconsin turkey hunters registered a total of 41,815 birds during the 2014 spring turkey hunting season. This is a 10.7 percent increase from the 2013 spring season.

World student archery tournament comes to Alliant Energy Center in Madison July 11-13
MADISON - The 6th annual National Archery in the Schools World Tournament will take place in Madison at the Alliant Energy Center July 11-13, 2014. The event will showcase archers from all around the world and is open to the public.


Report highlights need for prudent management, multistate cooperation to preserve yellow perch fishery
MADISON -- Continued prudent management of Lake Michigan's yellow perch population is needed to ensure enough spawning stock remains to take advantage of years in which lake conditions permit young fish to survive.

Big Changes for DNR Park visitors at the Wisconsin State Fair
WEST ALLIS, Wis. - The Wisconsin State Fair kicks off on Thursday, July 31 and while the DNR Park continues to be a green and shady oasis in the fair, visitors will notice some big changes and new additions to the site.

Sheboygan alligator transported to new home in Illinois
SHEBOYGAN -- The alligator recently caught near the Sheboygan River has found a new home at the Chicago Herpetological Society.


Smokey Bear turns 70 August 9
Green Bay--August 9 marks Smokey Bear's 70th birthday as he continues to communicate his well-known message: "Only You Can Prevent Wildfires."

Koi herpes virus likely cause of carp die-off in Rock River
MADISON - A virus that is new to Wisconsin waters and affects common carp and koi is likely to blame for two carp die-offs in Dodge County in recent days.

County Deer Advisory Councils will provide great opportunity for local input and deer herd management throughout Wisconsin
MADISON -- Planning for the 2015 deer hunting season is underway, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Conservation Congress encourage anyone interested in discussing their local deer herd to attend a County Deer Advisory Council meeting this fall.

Short course golf learning center opens at Peninsula State Park
FISH CREEK, Wis. - A new six-hole golf course intended to help introduce people to the sport of golf will open this week at Peninsula State Park in Door County. The new course will complement the existing 18-hole course and driving range already in operation at the park. The Peninsula Golf Course has been in existence since 1921 and is the only golf course in the state park system.


Wisconsin DNR brings resources together to help to small businesses
MADISON -- Building on its commitment to protect the state's natural resources while supporting the economy and well-being of its citizenry, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is offering a new level of support through the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program.

Sept. 13 marks opening of archery deer hunting season and Wisconsin's first statewide crossbow hunting season
MADISON -- With fall right around the corner, Sept. 13 marks the opening of the 2014 archery and crossbow deer hunting seasons. These seasons will run concurrently statewide, from Sept. 13 to Jan. 4, 2015. The new crossbow season, open to all hunters with an appropriate license, will create a new hunting opportunity for many hunters throughout Wisconsin.

EPA confirms state's recommendation on clean air designation
MADISON - Wisconsin's air quality is cleaner than it has been in decades and no county in the state violated the most recent federal air standards for fine particles, confirmed officials with the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"Fall in love with Wisconsin State Parks" photo contest to begin Sept. 15 on DNR Facebook page
MADISON -- People who love fall colors and love Wisconsin's state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas can share that love by entering their photos of people enjoying state properties this fall in an upcoming "Fall in Love with Wisconsin State Parks" Facebook photo contest.

Report highlights Menomonee Valley success during 20th anniversary of brownfields law
MADISON -- The highly successful renewal of Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley is not only a showcase on how to revitalize blighted urban areas, it's also a shining example of the key role the Department of Natural Resources plays in these efforts, a recent report revealed.

MacKenzie Center kicks off school year with new programs, partnerships
POYNETTE, Wis. -- With 11 new course offerings that build on topics taught in K-12 classrooms, the MacKenzie Center is welcoming 29 new schools and groups eager to participate in its unique environmental and conservation education and outdoor skills programs this year.


DNR awards La Crosse $250,000 for cleanup at former manufacturing site
MADISON - Land adjacent to a pre-World War II manufacturing site in La Crosse is primed for redevelopment, thanks in large part to a quarter-million dollar award from the Department of Natural Resources.

Wisconsin's public water systems continue to invest in upgrades
MADISON -- More than 95 percent of Wisconsin's water suppliers meet or exceed health standards and the state's public water systems continue to make upgrades through a loan program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, according to a new report.

DNR, Conservation Congress to convene meeting on next steps for perch in Lake Michigan
MILWAUKEE -- To help identify potential options for yellow perch management in Lake Michigan, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Conservation Congress will convene a public meeting on October 23 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences.

DNR receives grant for multistate New Zealand mudsnail monitoring effort
MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has been awarded a $32,000 grant by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Mississippi River Basin Panel to lead a project that will help determine the distribution of the invasive New Zealand mudsnail in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Michigan muskies getting fit to fight in Wisconsin
WILD ROSE, Wis. -- Standing sentinel around artificial weeds in the rearing pond at the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery, newly arrived spotted musky fingerlings from Michigan leave little doubt about their predatory instincts.

After vandalism strikes, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources donates 110 young pheasants to Richland Center High School
MADISON - After vandalism led to the death of a number of pheasant chicks at Richland Center High School, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources donated 110 young pheasants from the State Game Farm in Poynette, Wis.


No Asian carp environmental DNA found after additional testing in Lower Fox River
MADISON, Wis. -- Additional tests for Asian carp environmental DNA in the Lower Fox River have come back negative, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials said.

State Natural Resources Board approves request to begin process to establish a shooting range in Columbia County
MADISON - A proposal to amend the state property management plan to address the need for a public shooting range in Columbia County received a green light from the state Natural Resources Board at its meeting today in Madison.

Recommendations regarding three-year deer population objectives will be finalized at December County Deer Advisory Council meetings
MADISON -- The final County Deer Advisory Council meeting of 2014 will be held in each county in December, and will provide the public with an important opportunity to provide input regarding each county's deer population objectives before recommendations are advanced to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.


Wisconsin's 163rd nine-day deer hunting season showcases new changes and opportunities while highlighting a continued dedication to safe hunting
MADISON - With new rule changes this year, deer hunters throughout Wisconsin embraced the excitement of another nine-day gun deer season. A continued commitment to safe hunting led to an all-time low for recorded hunting incidents during the nine-day season.

Natural Resources Board approves emergency rule to protect Lake Superior lake trout
ASHLAND, Wis. -- A declining lake trout population in the Apostle Islands region of Lake Superior has prompted the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board to adopt an emergency rule reducing the 2014-15 harvests at its December meeting.

Natural Resources Board approves revisions to state's invasive species rule
MADISON -- The Natural Resources Board voted to approve revisions to the state's invasive species rule at their December 10 meeting in Madison. Known as NR40, revisions include the listing of additional species and delisting of currently regulated species under the state's Invasive Species Identification, Classification and Control rule of the Wisconsin Admin Code.

With the closure of Wolf Harvest Zone 3 to hunting and trapping, effective Friday, Dec. 5 at noon - Wisconsin's 2014 wolf harvest season has ended
MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has closed Wolf Harvest Zone 3 to hunting and trapping of gray wolves effective Friday, Dec. 5 at noon. At that time, the zone is closed to any further hunting and trapping of wolves for the 2014-2015 wolf harvest season.

Federal court decision relists gray wolves in western Great Lakes region as endangered species
MADISON - In response to a lawsuit brought against the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia has vacated a 2012 decision, which delisted wolves as an endangered species.

Mission to protect, enhance forests stands strong in DNR nurseries consolidation plan
MADISON - The Department of Natural Resources' seedling production will merge into a single operation at its Boscobel nursery under a reorganization plan to balance expected customer demand with production costs.

Natural Resources Board authorizes public hearings to receive feedback regarding Deer Trustee's Report rule package
MADISON -- The Natural Resources Board has authorized public hearings to provide the public an opportunity to provide input regarding the proposed Deer Trustee Report permanent rule package.

DNR surveillance efforts detect VHS virus in wild coho used for egg collection
MADISON -- Ongoing surveillance efforts detected viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus in wild coho salmon processed this fall for egg collection at the Root River Steelhead Facility operated by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Wisconsin's oldest trumpeter swan a symbol of success recovery efforts
MADISON - A regal old swan spending the winter on a wild river in Burnett County stands as a remarkable symbol of the success of Wisconsin's trumpeter swan recovery program.

Residents in 50 states invested in the protection of Wisconsin's public lands in 2014
MADISON -- Hunters, anglers, campers and other outdoors enthusiasts from all over the country showed their love this year for Wisconsin's state parks, natural areas, wildlife areas and fisheries by making a donation to the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund. Donations came in from residents of every state, two Canadian provinces and even the armed services, helping to make the fund's first year a resounding success.

DNR Issues more than $79 million in grants in calendar year 2014

In calendar year 2014 the Department of Natural Resources issued more than $79 million in grants to local units of government, cooperative agencies and organizations.

Grant Programs # of Grants Issued $ Awarded
All-Terrain Vehicle 122 $4,089,935.89
Aquatic Invasive Species 128 $2,187,970.00
Capacity and Heritage Grants 5 $426,668.45
County Conservation Aids 47 $127,812.00
Dams -- Municipal 3 $211,515.62
Dams -- Removal 2 $77,000.00
Dry Cleaning Environmental Response Payments ** 30 $951,138.00
Forest Fire Protection 219 $551,979.20
Gypsy Moth 1 $1,624.92
Hunter Recruitment and Development 17 $144,943.00
Lake Planning 32 $374,593.39
Lake Protection 1 $200,000.00
Land and Water Conservation Fund Aids 5 $1,841,840.25
Landowner Incentive Program 23 $94,220.00
Motorized Stewardship 4 $191,396.00
Municipal Flood Control 11 $2,324,958.00
Nonpoint -- Targeted Runoff Management 21 $3,410,080.00
Nonpoint -- Total Maximum Daily Load 5 $623,230.00
Nonpoint -- Urban Stormwater Construction 15 $2,211,600.00
Nonpoint -- Urban Stormwater Planning 18 $1,089,005.00
Nonpoint -- Notice of Discharge 11 $1,303,970.00
Recreational Boating Facilities 35 $2,182,232.00
Recreational Trails Act 54 $1,914,179.52
Recycling Grants to Responsible Units 1,024 $19,999,990.47
River Planning 0 $0.00
River Protection 0 $0.00
Shooting Range - Private 11 $265,114.00
Shooting Range - Public 11 $341,687.00
Snowmobile Trail Aids 94 $5,525,914.00
Snowmobile--Supplemental 107 $2,873,625.00
Sport Fish Restoration 5 $696,307.00
Stewardship -- Local Assistance 41 $6,577,590.23
Stewardship -- Nonprofit Conservation Organizations 49 $7,390,490.50
Stewardship -- County Forests 7 $3,634,265.50
Stewardship -- Friends Grant 19 $237,372.50
Summer Tribal Youth Program 10 $230,655.95
Urban Forestry 73 $1,015,118.00
Urban Forestry - Catastrophic Storm 6 $104,920.00
Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement & Control 7 $24,699.50
Utility Terrain Vehicles 29 $174,422.00
Weed Management Area -- Private Forest Grant Program 6 $58,539.99
Well Abandonment Grants 67 $67,319.56
Well Compensation Program 9 $120,735.00
WI Forest Landowner Grant Program 872 $1,213,357.00
WI Walleye Initiative 9 $2,000,000.00
TOTAL = 3,265 $79,084,014.44

* No River planning or protection grants were issued this calendar year due to a change in application deadlines.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Cosh, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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