February 17, 2015
[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: Landowners and others can learn more about entering the lottery to win a free customized landowner conservation report for their property during a live online chat Feb. 24. The live chat begins at noon Tuesday, Feb. 24. To participate, visit dnr.wi.gov and look for the box on the right to enter the chat, or search the phrase "ask the experts." You can also join the conversation on the DNR Facebook page, www.facebook.com/WIDNR, by clicking the "Cover it Live Chat" box on the top of the page.]
MADISON - Ever wonder what plants or animals call your land home?
People who want to learn more about their land can enter a free lottery to win a free customized report to discover if unique plants, animals, soils and geology are potentially on their property based on what's been found on nearby public lands.
The lottery runs from now until March 15 and 100 landowners who voluntarily enter their name will be randomly selected to receive the customized report, known as Landowner Conservation Reports. Last year's lottery was an overwhelming success, with more than three times as many landowners applying as were spots available, says Erin Crain, who leads the Department of Natural Resources' staff that will provide the service.
"We had such a tremendous response from landowners last year that we're going to do it again," says Crain, director of the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Bureau. "People love their land and are really interested in learning what plants and animals call it home."
More than 85 percent of land in Wisconsin is privately owned, so having good habitat on private land is critical to conserving rare plants and animals, Crain says.
"We want to reach out to landowners and share what we know from past plant and animal surveys," she says. "What landowners do with the information is up to them; our hope is that they will consider ways to maintain and improve habitat for Wisconsin's rare species."
To create the reports, DNR ecologist Alex Wenthe will review various DNR and federal databases containing information about the rare plants and animals found through field surveys of public lands or nongovernmental organization lands. Landowners can also choose to have a site visit from a DNR ecologist.
Landowners will get a report that provides information about rare species found in the area, invasive species to be on the lookout for and general information about the soils, geology and hydrogeology in the area.
Information collected during the review process will not affect what landowners can subsequently do with their property.
The report will also contain general recommendations on improving habitat and controlling invasive species, a little information on where landowners can get technical and financial help for habitat work and a list of private contractors who can help landowners develop detailed conservation plans and assessments.
"The goal is to provide Wisconsin landowners with the best information available," he says. "Whether you hope to restore land or want just to learn what's outside your window, these customized reports can point you in the right direction."
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Erin Crain, NHC director, 608-267-7479 or Alex Wenthe, DNR ecologist, 608-267-7758