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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published November 23, 2010

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Dec. 2 meeting to review draft spotted musky plan for Green Bay

GREEN BAY -- Anglers have an opportunity to help shape the future of spotted musky in Green Bay and Lake Michigan: a Dec. 2 meeting in Green Bay offers them a chance to review and comment on the draft management plan developed through public input over the last year.

spotted musky
Stocking is key to restoring spotted musky to Green Bay; that process starts with collecting eggs and milt. Click on the photo for an audio slideshow.
WDNR Photo

The meeting runs from 6 to 8 p.m. in the auditorium at the Brown County Central Library, 515 Pine St., Green Bay.

"The re-establishment of musky has been very successful. We've created a world-class musky fishery and brought a previously decimated species back to Green Bay," says David Rowe, the Department of Natural Resources fish biologist who led the planning process.

"We've worked with anglers over the past year on management of the fishery, and we think this draft plan reflects that desire. Now we want to hear again from anglers to confirm what they think."

Last February, interested anglers attended a public meeting to hear about the status of the restoration program and to share their thoughts about the effort. Five goals for the musky population were established by consensus with DNR fisheries staff and participating stakeholders, Rowe says.

Those five goals are:

Rowe says the draft management plan identifies fisheries objectives, strategies and management recommendations to achieve the previously established goals for the fishery.

Spotted musky, also known as Great Lakes strain musky, disappeared from Green Bay and Lake Michigan by the 1930s, the result of water pollution, habitat destruction, overfishing and other factors that took their toll, Rowe says.

DNR, in cooperation with several local musky clubs and the Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin, launched efforts in 1989 to reintroduce the Great Lakes strain muskellunge to the Green Bay waters of Lake Michigan. The need to re-establish a native inshore predator fish species had been identified in several planning efforts including the Lake Michigan Integrated Fisheries Management Plan and the Lower Green Bay Remedial Action Plan.

At the time, DNR fish biologists drafted a three-phase plan to re-establish a self-sustaining population of muskellunge in Green Bay. That plan called for DNR to identify an appropriate egg source, collect eggs, and successfully hatch, rear and stock fish; establish an inland lake broodstock population; and develop a self-sustaining population in Green Bay.

The first phase has been very successful; fish were first stocked into Green Bay in 1989 and later into the Winnebago system, which is in the same basin. The fish have grown very fast in the favorable conditions of those large waters and are now accounting for a large proportion of the trophy muskies caught in Wisconsin. The contribution of big fish from Lakes Michigan and Superior to the Muskies Inc. registry has increased from 2 percent in 2004 to 24 percent in 2009.

The second phase, establishing broodstock, has had mixed success because of troubles bringing in fish from areas that still have Great Lakes strain fish. Money and disease concerns with the fish have hampered the process.

The third phase of that original management plan, developing a self-sustaining population, is still unfolding. To date, there has been no significant natural reproduction of muskellunge documented in Green Bay or the Lower Fox River, Rowe says. However, in 2008, two young of the year muskellunge were collected from the Lower Menominee River and in 2009 young of the year muskellunge were captured in both the Lower Menominee River and in Sawyer Harbor, Sturgeon Bay. Tissue samples have confirmed these individuals are genetically consistent with Great Lakes spotted muskellunge, confirming this as the first evidences of natural reproduction, he says.

"We're encouraged by these first signs of natural reproduction and hope that the updated management plan can help us achieve the goal of building a self-sustaining population as well as reaching the other goals," he says.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: David Rowe (920) 662-5480; Mike Donofrio (715) 582-5050

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Open house to begin Governor Knowles State Forest master plan

GRANTSBURG, Wis. - The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the plans for the future management of the Governor Knowles State Forest at an upcoming open house. This is the first step in the process to get public input on a revision to the forest master plan.

Governor Knowles State Forest, in Burnett and Polk counties, is known for its relationship with the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, which provides protection for the river corridor. The forest is 55 miles long, up to 2 miles wide, and encompasses 32,500 acres.

The forest includes six state natural areas and is a destination for horseback riding, hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing and kayaking, wildlife viewing, hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. More than 100,000 acres of county forests and two large wildlife areas, the Fish Lake Wildlife Area and Crex Meadow Wildlife Area, border the state forest.

Master plans guide management on Department of Natural Resources-owned lands and are updated every 15 years.

"The department is eager to work with citizens to protect and sustainably manage the forest for present and future generations," says Bob Dall, state forest associate. "We will consider ecological, economic and social aspects of forest management."

The open house will be held Saturday, Dec. 4, from 2 to 6 p.m., at the Crex Meadows Wildlife Education and Visitor Center, 102 E Crex Ave., Grantsburg.

People can provide comments at the public meeting, online, or by U.S. mail. The public comment period is from Nov. 19 to Dec. 19, 2010. The Regional and Property Analysis, Draft Vision and Goals Statements, and an on-line questionnaire/comment form area available on the Governor Knowles State Forest master planning page of the DNR website. For information or to obtain paper copies of documents people can contact Forest Superintendent, Dan Thill, DNR, 325 St. Rd. 70W, Grantsburg, WI 58840-0367 (715) 463-2898 daniel.thill@wisconsin.gov

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Dan Thill, (715) 463-2898

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Registration deadline for people with larger piers in April 1, 2011

MADISON - Waterfront property owners with larger piers can follow a few simple steps to be sure they register their pier before time runs out on April 1, 2011.

An online video, interactive decision tool, and other materials on Waterway & Wetland Permits: Piers, Docks and Wharves web pages help waterfront property owners learn whether they need to register their larger pier to have it grandfathered.

"The vast majority of pier owners across Wisconsin have traditional piers and aren't affected by the 2008 law, " says Martye Griffin, who coordinates pier issues for the Department of Natural Resources. "You can learn for certain if you need to register and, if you do, complete the process quickly by using the tools on our Waterway and Wetlands permit page."

A 2004 law created exemptions to DNR's permitting process for certain projects, including traditional piers that were a maximum of 6 feet wide, didn't interfere with neighbors or public boating and fishing, and have no more than two boat slips for the first 50 feet of shoreline frontage owned and an additional boat slip for every full 50 feet owned thereafter.

To meet concerns of property owners with larger piers that did not fit under the exemption, legislators in 2008 passed a law that grandfathered most larger piers first put in the water before 2004. However, owners of qualified piers need to complete a free, one-time registration by April 1, 2011.

Large piers can impact fish and aquatic life by shading out the aquatic plants they need to provide habitat. Large piers also can interfere with boating, swimming and fishing in addition to interfering with neighbors.

Owners of piers larger than the standards codified in 2004 have until April 1, 2011, to determine if they qualify to be grandfathered, and to complete the registration process. Owners of very large piers that don't meet the grandfathering standards will have the choice of downsizing to meet the standard or completing an individual permit application and review process.

For piers that are too large to be exempt but qualified to be grandfathered, the registration process involves filling out and mailing in a brief form. Drawing a diagram indicating the dimensions of the pier is the most important thing, Griffin says.

"The more information we get for the file the better the protection for a landowner if a complaint or disagreement arises in the future with a neighbor or member of the public," he says.

DNR is evaluating the registration forms on a first-come, first served basis. Griffin anticipates that everyone who sends in their forms will have them signed by the DNR and returned to them by the time the grandfathering period ends in 2011.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Martye Griffin (608) 266-2997

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Comments sought on state tree nursery products and services

MADISON - The public will have an opportunity to share their ideas on desirable products and services supplied by the state's tree nursery program at two informational meetings scheduled for next month.

"We want to hear from the public what products and services are most important and what we can do to improve our delivery of those services and products," said Avery Dorland, statewide nursery coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources.

The sessions will include an overview of the state tree nursery program, its current financial status, and anticipated program changes needed in 2011 to meet the Wisconsin law requiring that nurseries be financially self supporting. Nursery managers will be present at each session to answer questions and record comments. The meetings will be held from 4 to 6 p.m.:

Comments may also be submitted via an on-line survey that will go live on Dec. 7 through Jan. 7, 2011.

The state nurseries historically grow and distribute 10-15 million conifer and hardwood seedlings annually for conservation purposes to private landowners and local governments. Wisconsin's nursery program will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2011.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Storandt, DNR nursery superintendent, (715) 424-3702

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Great Lakes photography contest now accepting entries

Winners featured in calendar

MADISON -- Photographs featuring Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan or Lake Superior are now being accepted for the Great Lakes photo contest. Winning images are featured in a full-color calendar handed out at the Wisconsin State Fair at the Department of Natural Resources exhibit.

Photos of the two Great Lakes can be submitted in any of four categories: Natural Features and Wildlife, Cultural and Historic Features, People Enjoying Wisconsin's Great Lakes, and Lake Protection Activities. Photos must be taken in Wisconsin, but anyone may enter the contest. Photo submission deadline is Feb. 1, 2011.

"The contest and the calendar we create from the winning entries are becoming very popular and we're hoping for an even bigger response this year," says Steve Galareau, who direct's the DNR's Office of the Great Lakes. "It's obvious that people feel a connection to Wisconsin's Great Lakes and their photos and writings really show it."

Last year, the DNR received more than 200 entries from photographers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, and Arizona for the 2009-2010 Great Lakes Calendar (pdf; 3.06MB). The youngest 'top ten' photographer was just 13 years old, noted contest coordinator Jo Temte.

In addition to the photo contest, the Office of the Great Lakes is also seeking Great Lakes writing submissions. Writings may be used in the calendar as well as other publications, website and displays. Last year's Great Lakes Writing Project brought in nine poems and one essay, all of which can be found on the Office of the Great Lakes website.

More information about photo and writing submissions is availbel on the Office of the Great Lakes page of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Jo Temte, Water Resources Management Specialist, Office of the Great Lakes (608) 267-0555

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DNR offices closed on November 26

Thanksgiving Holiday weekend vacationers urged to plan ahead

MADISON - Many state offices, including all Department of Natural Resources offices, will be closed Friday, Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving, for an unpaid furlough day for state employees as part of state government cost cutting measures.

Key DNR services will be maintained. State conservation wardens will be on duty. State parks, forests and trails will be open and staffed as necessary.

DNR partners with more than 1,400 retail stores offering convenient service and hours for purchasing hunting and fishing licenses. A list of license agents is available on the DNR Web site.

Customers can visit the online licensing center through the DNR website or call 1-877-945-4236 24/7 to buy a license. Phone callers can, for example, order a fishing license, get a confirmation number, and head out fishing right away.

Questions on rules, regulations, or other DNR program, can be directed to the toll free DNR call center available seven days a week. The center will be open Nov. 26 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 1-888-WDNRInfo [1-888-936-7463,] with Hmong and Spanish service also offered.

Live on-line chats are available on the DNR Web site 7 a.m. until 9:45 p.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Diane Brookbank (608) 267-7799

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, November 23, 2010




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