NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 4,379 days

ARCHIVED Weekly News Published February 1, 2011

All Previous Archived Issues


Wisconsin businesses gain access to top green and gold strategists

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Wisconsin businesses will gain access to some of the nation's leading strategists on how to improve their bottom line and their environmental performance through a new council of businesses, investment experts, academics, nongovernmental organizations and government agencies.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is a founding member of the newly formed Stewardship Action Council, an organization dedicated to promoting and improving sustainable and socially responsible business practices, and to recognizing those companies and organizations publicly committed to those goals.

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp noted that Wisconsin, through its Green Tier program, has led the nation in providing opportunities for companies committed to better environmental and economic performance.

"We're very pleased to be a founding member for this initiative, which can build additional value for Green Tier participants and create even more opportunities for them to gain recognition and market exposure for their commitment."

Mark McDermid, who leads DNR's Green Tier program and who will be Wisconsin's representative to the council, says that the real power of this organization "will be in the kind of collaborative problem-solving where NGOs, academics and other states and business come together to talk about how other environmental and economic gains can be recognized -- whether new products, new approaches to regulatory problem solving, or better credibility and recognition for actions any party has taken in the past."

Through Green Tier, Wisconsin businesses, communities and trade associations are rewarded for their commitment to superior environmental performance, helping them lower their costs and become more competitive. In 2010, the number of participants in the program more than doubled to 86.

Stewardship Action Council members include Audubon International, BMW, Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc., and Johnson & Johnson. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Washington State Department of Ecology are among the public agencies in the council.

Membership is open to industrial facilities, academic institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, the investment community and trade associations.

For more information on the Stewardship Action Council or its membership, or if you are interested in joining the Council, please visit the council website at [exit DNR].

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark McDermid - (608) 267-3125



More than 9,000 permits available for the 2011 black bear season

MADISON - More than 9,000 permits will be available for the 2011 black bear season, about the same as last year.

Natural Resources Board members approved at their Jan. 26 meeting a level of 9,005 permits, nearly identical to the 2010 permit offering of 8,910, according to Linda Olver, Department of Natural Resources bear ecologist.

A bear population study completed in 2008 estimates Wisconsin's bear population at at least 22,000. DNR biologists set the recommended 2011 harvest quota at 5,235 bears, which is the same as 2010's quota. That quota is based on the population estimate, the state's bear population goal of 13,000, hunter success rates, harvest, bait station visitation rates, nuisance complaints, agricultural damage, and public input.

"This level of harvest should continue last season's successful progress at nudging the state's bear population toward established goals," Olver said. "This is something we want to approach responsibly and not overshoot until we have had time to run a repeat of the 2008 population study to verify the first set of findings and evaluate bear population goals."

A repeat of the 2008 population study will begin in spring 2011. As part of this study, the DNR is requesting that successful bear hunters submit one pre-molar tooth and a two-inch piece of rib from the bear they harvest. The success of the population study relies on the bear tooth and rib samples submitted by hunters during the next two bear seasons.

"Bear hunters who submit samples are directly contributing to bear research required to properly manage Wisconsin's bear population," Olver said.

Wisconsin's preliminary 2010 black bear harvest total stands at 5,056. This number is expected to change only slightly in coming weeks as harvest data are fully entered and verified. Black bear harvests have averaged roughly 3,000 from 1998 through 2008 when quotas were based on a lower estimated bear population. In 2009, harvest increased to just over 4,000 bears when permit levels increased 57 percent. In 2010, permit levels increased an additional 22 percent.

The annual drawing for black bear harvest permits is expected to take place this week and successful permit applicants should receive notification by mail by February 15.

Just under 28,000 hunters have applied for the 9,005 permits available for the 2011 season. An additional 76,064 applied for a preference point only.

The permit breakdown by zone for 2011 is as follows: Zone A 3,465 permits; Zone B 1,510 permits: Zone C 2,550 permits; and Zone D 1,480 permits. The 2011 bear hunting season runs Sept. 7 through Oct. 11.

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



Ela re-elected State Natural Resources Board chair

MADISON - Jonathan Ela of Madison was re-elected chair of the seven-member State Natural Resources Board at its Jan. 26 meeting in Madison.

Natural Resources Board officers
Jonathan Ela (center) was re-elected Natural Resources Board chair. Dr. David Clausen (left) was ekected vice chair. Chris Thomas was elected secretary.
WDNR Photo

Ela was first appointed to the board Jan. 22, 2003, and was reappointed Jan. 8, 2007. He is retired from the Sierra Club.

Dr. David Clausen of Amery was elected vice chair. Clausen is a veterinarian. He was first appointed to the board on Feb. 19, 2006, and was reappointed May 1, 2007.

Christine L. Thomas, dean and professor of resource management at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources, was elected secretary. Thomas was appointed to the board in March 2004, and was reappointed July 10, 2009.

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board sets policy for the Department of Natural Resources; state law delineates the formal duties of the seven-member board. Board members are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the state senate. Three members each must be selected from the northern and southern portions of Wisconsin and one member serves at large. Terms expire on May 1.

The board meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month except for July and November. Board meetings are held at the DNR Building in Madison and at locations throughout the state during summer months as determined by the board. Board meeting dates and locations are listed in the Natural Resources Board calendar. Tentative out-state meetings for the Board in 2011 are: June, northeast region; August, south central region; and September, southeast region.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Laurie Ross, Board Liaison, (608) 267-7420



DNR warden's rescue of ice anglers is safety reminder

Carbon monoxide is deadly threat in sealed shanties

MADISON - The recent rescue by a state conservation warden and a fishing guide of two ice anglers overcome by carbon monoxide in their heated shanty is a safety reminder, especially those prepping temporary shelters for the upcoming sturgeon season in northeast Wisconsin.

Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden Todd Schaller, also chief of recreation enforcement and education, says ice fishers must remember to ventilate shanties and tents when heating the temporary shelters with a gas or liquid heater.

"Any flame will eat oxygen, which is why an opening at the top and another at the bottom of a shelter is the best route when using a portable heater," Schaller said. "The successful rescue and ultimate resuscitation of the two anglers found in their ice shanty on Green Bay could have easily been fatalities had it not been for the timely work of Warden Mike Neal."

Last Saturday evening, Neal responded to a 911 call on Green Bay in Door County where two Illinois fishermen were found unresponsive in their heated shanty. Neal immediately began chest compressions on one man while the other man was attended to by a local fishing guide, who also is a retired fire chief and trained emergency medical technician. As soon as each man responded with weak pulses, Neal quickly cleared the back of his truck, and drove the men to shore for transport by ambulance to the Sturgeon Bay Hospital.

"It was so cold, and they button those shanties up so tight," Neal told the Green Bay Press Gazette about the 6 p.m. rescue near the Town of Gardner. The anglers had used propane lanterns and possibly a single-burner stove to heat their ice shanty, and the two vents had been taped shut.

Schaller says this near-death incident serves as a safety wake-up call to all anglers heading to Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes for the 2011 sturgeon spearing season starting February 12.

"While conditions are favorable for an excellent season, several minutes spent reviewing safety tips and exercising common sense should be part of your prep," Schaller said. "First thing to check? Ice thickness. Know the conditions before you go.

"Local authorities and bait shops likely will know the thickness of the ice," he said. "And remember the ice is thicker at the shore and thins as you go out, so keep checking that thickness with an ice auger."

Other safety tips to practice, Schaller says, include:

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Schaller (608) 267-2774



Call for entries: Garbage to Gardens: Compost Grows poster contest

MADISON -- Wisconsin high school students are invited to submit a design for a new poster contest about the benefits and concept of composting.

Students in grades 9-12 are invited to design a positive environmental poster representing the benefits and concept of composting. Entries must be the artist's original artwork and should show the theme of the poster contest, Garbage to Gardens: Compost Grows

All contest entries are due to DNR by March 28, 2011. A winning entry will be chosen and featured on the front of an upcoming DNR poster about composting, which will be distributed statewide as an educational resource for schools, businesses, communities and individuals.

More information on the compost poster design contest and a downloadable entry form are available on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen Kiefaber (608) 267-2463



New video shows Lake Michigan fishing boat taking shape

Link to Video

Learn more about this new research vessel and its Lake Michigan mission "  [VIDEO Length 1:43]

MANITOWOC - The next video episode is available online showing construction of the state's new fisheries research vessel.

The Burger Boat Company is building the 60-foot R/V Coregonus, so named after the fish genus that includes lake whitefish, lake herring and bloater chubs, species that are mainstays of the Lake Michigan fishery. The boat will replace the R/V Barney Devine, which has served the Department of Natural Resources and its predecessor agency on Lake Michigan for more than 70 years. The vessels play an important role in helping maintain Wisconsin's Great Lakes sport and commercial fisheries. Sportfishing generates a $418.8 million dollar economic impact, supports more than 5,000 jobs, and generates $28 million in state and local tax revenues.

Although the R/V Barney Devine has been well maintained, the vessel has become technologically obsolete and the maintenance expense is expected to increase dramatically. The new vessel is expected to be done this month and then Burger and the DNR will conduct "sea trials" to make sure the Coregonus and its equipment are working well.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brandon Bastar (920) 746-2881; Paul Peeters (920) 746-2865



Two state parks and Peshtigo River State Forest to be treated for Gypsy Moth in 2011

Public meetings on spraying to be held Feb. 9 & 10

MADISON - The public will have an opportunity to learn more about plans to spray portions of Governor Thompson State Park, Peshtigo River State Forest, and Devil's Lake State Park in 2011 in an effort to reduce gypsy moth populations and prevent the caterpillars from defoliating and potentially killing trees at two upcoming public informational meetings.

Representatives from the Department of Natural Resources will be present to discuss gypsy biology, control methods, and proposed spray plans. The spraying will be coordinated through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Gypsy Moth Suppression Program.

The proposed treatment areas include: 206 acres at Boat Landing 13 in Gov. Thompson State Park; 34 acres at Boat Landing 3 and 34 acres at the Stephenson Town Park on Boat Landing 3 Road (on DNR-owned land) in the Peshtigo River State Forest; and 120 acres in and near the south beach and picnic area and a portion of South Lake Drive at Devil's Lake State Park.

The informational meetings will begin at 10 a.m. at the following locations:

The spraying will take place between mid-May and early June depending on weather conditions, caterpillar development, and geographic location within Wisconsin. A better estimate of actual treatment dates will be available in May and June by calling the gypsy moth information line, 1-800-642-6684, for daily updates.

A small low-flying airplane will apply a bacterial insecticide containing Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki or BtK. The timing of treatment is dependent on weather conditions and can occur early in the morning or anytime during the day when conditions are favorable. Spray block maps are available for viewing at the Wisconsin State Cooperative Gypsy Moth website [exit DNR].

Landowners and residents within the proposed state park treatment areas can request not to have their property sprayed by writing to Craig Anderson PR/6, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - State Parks, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921. Objection requests must be received by February 18, 2011.

The gypsy moth is a serious forest and urban pest that was introduced into the United States from Europe in the 1860s. In the past few years populations in eastern and central Wisconsin have increased to the point that the caterpillars may kill trees by eating all of their leaves during May and June. Aerial spraying will prevent this damage and will avoid other adverse effects such as nuisance caterpillars and skin rashes resulting from direct exposure to caterpillars.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Anderson, DNR Bureau of Parks and Recreation - (608) 264-8957


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Need an expert?

The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.