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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published August 3, 2010

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Summer's wet, warm weather fueling invasive plant growth

Purple Loosestrife
Purple Loosestrife
Elizabeth J. Czarapata

MADISON - This summer's early warm and wet weather is accelerating the germination, growth, and flowering of purple loosestrife, increasing the need for property owners and others to take steps now to prevent these young invaders from spreading to new wetlands.

"We need people to control loosestrife plants on their property and report it everywhere else," says Brock Woods, who coordinates purple loosestrife control for the Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

"With the wet, warm summer we're getting more purple loosestrife germination than in past years and in places where we haven't seen it before. Additional flooding will continue to move this stuff around, causing real problems into the future if we can't get rid of these first-year plants."

These new plants can grow to 5 feet, flower, and drop thousands of new seeds in their first year. The seeds, which are very small, disperse easily to new sites, carried by floodwaters, runoff, wind and birds, as well as on hikers' boots and clothes. They also remain viable in the soil for years.

Kelly Kearns, DNR invasive plant program manager, says that private property owners, who control 75 percent of wetlands statewide, natural resource biologists and other partners will want to act quickly to find and control new infestations.

"The clock is ticking...purple loosestrife started blooming up to three weeks early across the state. It's easiest to identify them when they're flowering, and you want to remove plants before they go to seed."

People can pull young plants to control them or cut larger plants and treat the stumps with herbicide; both methods should be done before seeds drop, she says. When pulling younger plants, be sure to get the entire root and avoid excessively disturbing the soil.

Carefully dispose of purple loosestrife plants that have been pulled or cut in the garbage, first placing them in a bag to prevent the seeds from spreading. A new state law allows landfilling purple loosestrife and other restricted and prohibited plants, Kearns says.

Purple loosestrife has been a serious exotic invader of state wetlands for decades and can grow taller than almost all other herbaceous plants, spread prolifically, and quickly dominate large areas. It can displace native wetland plants, degrade wildlife habitat, displace rare plants and animals and choke waterways.

Biological control methods using special beetles that target purple loosestrife have been successful in more recent years in reducing many existing purple loosestrife plants, but new plants this year could have sidestepped biocontrol in May and June by germinating later, Woods says. Flooding in June and July may also have decimated some control beetle populations, reducing their effectiveness on all loosestrife, both now and in the future.

"Taking a few minutes now to control purple loosestrife on your property will help landowners protect wetlands now and in the future. So will alerting DNR to new purple loosestrife locations elsewhere," he says.

Be on the lookout, report other invasive wetland plants as well

The warm, wet weather also can provide better germination of other invasive wetland plants as well, Kearns says. Flooding can increase the spread of nonnative phragmites, Japanese knotweed and many other invasives. Water can quickly carry phragmites seeds to new sites and give them more moist places to germinate, especially away from roadside ditches where the first local plants often appear.

Of particular concern are patches of Japanese knotweed growing along rivers and streams where flooding can quickly spread plants or fragments downstream to form new, nearly impenetrable patches that can line stream banks for hundreds of yards.

"Now's the time to be looking out for other invasive plants that are just starting to spread or are not yet known in the state," she says. "Many are starting to flower, making them easier to identify. And it's very important that these species be reported and contained right away to prevent new weedy species from moving across the state."

Information and photographs of invasive plants Sightings of infestations of invasive plants can be e-mailed to or called in to (608) 267-5066.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brock Woods (608) 221-6349; Kelly Kearns (608) 267-5066

[Editor's note: Many of DNR's biologists are in the field or setting up for State Fair. If you do not reach them right away, please leave a message with your name, number, and deadline. They will be checking their voice mail frequently and return your calls.]



Sept. 1 is deadline to secure sponsor for disabled gun deer hunt

Hunters with disabilities are reminded that it is up to them to contact a hunt sponsor

MADISON - Qualified hunters with disabilities have until Sept. 1 to line up a sponsor so they can participate in a special gun deer hunt this October.

A sponsor list for the 2010 gun Deer Hunt for Hunters with Disabilities is now available. Hunters with disabilities must contact sponsors directly and get signed up by Sept. 1, 2010.

Hunters with a valid Class A permit, a long-term Class B permit that authorizes shooting from a vehicle, or a Class C Disabled Hunting permit are eligible to participate in this special hunt, which will take place Oct. 2-10.

The disabled hunt is the first gun deer hunt of the season and is scheduled to provide hunters with disabilities easier access and fewer weather-related difficulties. The only other deer hunters in the woods during the Oct. 2-8 time period are archery deer hunters. There will be a statewide youth gun deer hunt on Oct. 9-10.

Find more information on the 2010 gun Deer Hunt for Hunters with Disabilities web page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Linda Olver - (608) 261-7588



Aug 24 deadline for transfer of bear harvest permit to youth

MADISON - Bear hunters are reminded that the deadline for transferring a class A bear license to a legal hunter under 18 years of age is Aug. 24, 2010. Applications are available online [PDF 38KB].

There is no fee to make a transfer. For questions regarding transfer of a permit, call the DNR information line at 1-888-WDNR-INFo (1-888-936-7463). The line is staffed 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

"Last year, 431 Class A bear permits were transferred to young hunters," said David Argall of DNR's licensing sales group. "They were the lucky recipients of adult bear hunters' generosity. These adult hunters had waited for years to finally win a permit in the drawing but felt strongly enough about nurturing a new bear hunter to transfer the permit and start all over."

A Class A permit allows the killing of one legal bear. Wisconsin issued 8,910 permits for the 2010 black bear season.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Linda Olver, DNR bear biologist (608) 261-7588 or David Argall DNR license sales (608) 267-7699



August Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine available

MADISON - Pick up the August issue of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine and meet 15 characters who do their detective work outdoors. Read "Wild Whodunits" to review the works of mystery writers whose sleuths are conservation wardens, scientists, park rangers, hikers and anglers.

The article "Less P" takes a key look at the health and environmental issues behind phosphorus rules that are under Legislative review. The rules aim to stem the flow of phosphorus from agricultural runoff, urban stormwater, municipal treatment works and industrial effluents. Meet a property owner whose lakeside home is less livable due to summer phosphorus buildup in her lake and learn about changing municipal and agricultural practices to cut the flow of this nutrient to public waters.

"Big dividends from our Stewardship investments" shows some of the campgrounds, trails and public lands that will be acquired as the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund enters its third decade. We visit a host of projects that will be underway in the next year to make outdoor walks, hunts, hikes and bike trips more fun.

"Going to bat for bats" describes strategies to slow the spread of white-nose syndrome in state bat populations and monitor bats for this fatal disease. A brochure in the center spread encourages hunters to get involved in the mentored hunt program and provides some how-to tips to start programs in communities.

"New kingdoms for little birds in golden robes" showcases a pilot program wildlife staff developed to provide artificial nest boxes for a rare cavity-nesting bird, the prothonotary warbler, which prefers lowland bottomland forests. In its second year, this program has had substantial success encouraging more nesting warblers.

Subscribe now and you'll receive these stories and more in the August edition of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, and receive six colorful issues at your door all year for less than $1.50 a copy. Year-round we share the hot spots at the hot times to enjoy the Wisconsin outdoors for only $8.97. Subscribe toll-free at 1-800-678-9472, online at or by mail. Subscription blanks and single issues are also available from our circulation office at P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: David L. Sperling, editor, (608) 266-1510.


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 03, 2010

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