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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published May 24, 2011

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Wild Wisconsin elk are expanding their range - with a little help from their friends

HAYWARD - This is the calving season for Wisconsin's small but growing elk herd and biologists with the state Department of Natural Resources, joined by a small army of volunteers, are busy searching the woods for newborns.

The search is expanded this year because a dozen of Wisconsin's wild elk, all young animals, were trapped this past winter and were moved to an "acclimation pen" 10 miles distant from the main herd as the crow flies.

That pen - a black plastic wall that surrounded 2.3 acres of forest around Clam Lake - was breached this past Wednesday by DNR biologists who quickly retreated after leaving piles of alfalfa outside the opening. This allowed the wary elk to wander out into their new territory, undisturbed by humans.

Elk.

Among the 12 wild Wisconsin elk released from their "acclimation pen" this past week were cow number 277 and bull number 293, whose break-away color came off a couple weeks ago. Both are just turning two years old. The photographer, while not invisible to the elk, was sufficiently camouflaged to allow for this exposure. Wisconsin's wild elk are managed with minimal human contact, and they retain their natural wariness and fear of people. DNR Photo by Ed Culhane

They'll make quick work of the alfalfa and will then start in on the forest, concentrating on new growth along the edges of openings in the forest canopy. They may have a preference for large-leaf aspen, but for elk - an ungulate whose large rumen allows it to digest an even greater variety of plants than white-tailed deer - it's all food.

"Elk are eating machines," said DNR elk biologist Laine Stowell. "They eat almost everything."

There are four young bulls in the group, all 2 years old, and eight cows, ages 2 to 4. Three of the cows are pregnant. This operation is an "assisted dispersal," a way of encouraging the herd to expand its range, which may in turn help the herd grow and remain healthy.

The reintroduction of wild elk in Wisconsin, which began with the release of 25 transplanted animals in May 1995, is a wildlife success story that is still unfolding. Progress has been slow at times, and there have been difficulties, but the herd has grown to about 150 animals.

It now seems likely the autumn bugling of elk, like the call of the loon, will become emblematic of the wild beauty of Wisconsin's Northwoods.

"I'm a lifelong resident of this area," said Ed Metcalf, a large animal veterinarian who has provided invaluable assistance to the elk program. "I never thought I'd be able to drive 15 miles and see elk. I've gone out a few times when they were bugling and listened to them. It's kind of special for people who get that opportunity."

The return of wild elk to Wisconsin is a collaborative effort. Initiated by the University of Wisconsin, the effort is managed by the DNR with assistance from the U.S. Forest Service, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and a large number of interested individuals, landowners and volunteers.

Stowell said that although the herd has grown to six times its original size in 16 years, it had not expanded beyond about 10 percent of the 1,112 square miles of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest originally designated as elk range.

Among the factors slowing herd growth is the presence of State Hwy. 77 and the vehicle collisions that result. A motorist elk warning system installed in 2006, featuring flashing lights activated by the proximity of elk collars, has reduced annual fatalities from 2.9 per 100 elk to 1.4.

Additionally, the wolf packs in the immediate vicinity of the herd have become expert elk hunters and have removed increasing numbers of animals in recent years. It will take years for wolves in the new area to develop the same level of expertise.

The animals most vulnerable to various forms of mortality are calves, which have about a 50 percent survival rate, and yearling elk, which experience a 23 percent rate of mortality. Most elk losses occur from January through mid May. The 12 young elk in the acclimation pen were protected during this period. This will allow them to acclimate to new surroundings under less dangerous conditions.

The elk were captured in corral traps. This is an enclosed pen 45 feet in diameter. It has a swinging door with a counter weight that is held open by a cable and triggering mechanism that is activated by a radio signal from a blind 100 yards away.

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Of the 12 re-located elk, four were yearling bulls that are now turning two years old. This is one of them, photographed from a partially camouflaged position days before the release. It is wearing a radio collar. The pedicels, from which antlers will quickly grow this spring and summer, at rates of up to an inch per day, can be seen on the bull's forehead.
DNR Photo by Ed Culhane

"We've caught as few as two elk and as many as 31 elk at one time," Stowell said.

This past January, the DNR captured 95 elk, but with some being caught more than once, it worked out to 58 individual animals. Of these, 25 cows, eight bulls and one calf received new collars, which last about five years. Another six calves got their first collar. Some of the older elk have been collared two or three times.

Trapping is done with minimal human contact. Once corralled, elk are darted with immobilizing chemicals. Blood samples and other biological information are collected. Collars are replaced when necessary. The animals are hooded when handled and those being relocated were transported in livestock trailers with individual compartments.

The hope is that these young elk will adapt to their new surroundings. Learning how elk relate to various types of habitat is part of the ongoing project. A large lake and two rivers separate these youngsters from the main herd. It remains to be seen whether that will be enough.

"From what I've heard, people have seen them swimming across some of the smaller lakes," Metcalf said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Laine Stowell - (715) 634-9658 ext 3527 or Ed Culhane - (715) 839-3715

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Great Lakes beach monitoring kicks off for summer

MADISON -- Water quality monitoring starts later this week for 118 public beaches along Wisconsin's Great Lakes amid encouraging signs that pollution-reduction steps are working and as new testing methods come on line on several beaches.

"Since the beach monitoring program started in 2003, there has been a trend of improving water quality at our Great Lakes beaches due to the steps communities and partners have taken to tackle pollution sources," says Chris Pracheil, the Department of Natural Resources water quality standards specialist coordinating the Wisconsin beach program. "Some communities in particular, like Racine, are starting to see a big payoff to their work."

Wisconsin has monitored water quality on at least 110 Great Lakes beaches every summer since 2003 to reduce the public's risk of exposure to water-borne illnesses. Local governments assess water quality and the DNR provides funding through federal BEACH Act funds it receives for monitoring on Great Lakes beaches. DNR also contracts with the U.S. Geological Survey to provide online results at the Wisconsin Beach Health web site [www.wibeaches.us] (exit DNR).

In 2010, 4,361 beach samples were collected across the 14-week summer monitoring period and 3 percent had bacterial levels that resulted in a beach closure. No beach was closed for more than one day and the proportion of samples with elevated bacterial levels was lower than the 7-year average, Pracheil says.

The improvement in water quality has been particularly dramatic at Racine beaches. Between 2000 and 2005, the city did comprehensive surveys to determine potential sources of pollution degrading water quality at the beaches and then implemented different mitigation strategies to improve surface water quality, according to Julie Kinzelman, laboratory director of the Racine Public Health Department.

"We re-engineered a major outfall; put in dune ridges to manage surface runoff from parking lots, and changed the way we groomed the beach," Kinzelman says.

The city also added more garbage cans at the beach, a solar trash compactor, passed an ordinance prohibiting people from feeding gulls, and provided a comprehensive education program.

The results? North Beach has had no closures since July 2007 and no more than five water quality advisories since 2005, and Zoo Beach has had fewer than 10 advisories or closures during that same period, Julie Kinzelman says.

She credits several factors. "The mayor and city council have always been willing to act on information which will improve our beaches," she says. "There has also been great cooperation between municipal departments -- parks, public works, and the health departments have worked together well to define what the problems are and seek solutions. And we've got great volunteers."

Kinzelman also credited DNR and the federal funds available to help the city pay for routine monitoring. The state program also brings local governments together to exchange information, get hands-on training, and learn from one another, as more than 80 participants gathered earlier this spring in preparation for the start of the monitoring season.

Racine's work has benefited other communities in Wisconsin's Great Lakes program: the city helped the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency develop the beach sanitary survey that is now being used across Wisconsin and nationwide to identify potential sources of pollution.

So far, such pollution investigations, also known as "sanitary surveys," have been done on about 30 Great Lakes beaches since 2004; these investigations have led to mitigation and/or restoration efforts on at least six of these beaches, Pracheil says.

Potential sources of E. coli contamination at Wisconsin beaches include urban storm water, sewage overflows and agricultural runoff. In addition, wildlife and waterfowl feces contribute to high levels of E. coli in both beach sand and water.

An advisory sign is posted warning swimmers that there is "an increased risk of illness" whenever the water quality criterion of 235 colony forming units (CFU) for E. coli is exceeded. A red STOP sign is posted, and the beach closed, when E. coli levels exceed 1,000 CFU, or whenever local health officials think it's warranted.

This summer, DNR is reducing the required sampling frequency at high priority beaches from four times a week to three times, due to budgetary constraints. However, all monitoring partners with high priority beaches got some additional funding to collect four samples weekly at their high priority beaches during high use periods like holidays and festivals, Pracheil says.

And some sites also may get to keep four-day-a week monitoring through work that Kinzelman and Greg Kleinheinz, a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh professor, are doing under a federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant.

New testing methods being used at some Wisconsin beaches

Wisconsin is a national leader in using new water quality tests to deliver quicker and more accurate results. UW-Oshkosh and the City of Racine are setting-up five facilities around the state that use a molecular-based test to provide lab results in as little as two hours instead of 18- to 24-hours. The time-lag associated with traditional testing can lead to unnecessary closures and advisories, as well as delayed-detection of potentially unhealthy conditions, according to Adam Mednick, a DNR researcher who has been working on alternative methods to improve beach monitoring.

Mednick is involved in developing and implementing water-quality "nowcasts" which provide managers with daily estimates of beach water quality, based on real-time indicators such as water clarity, rainfall, wave height, and lake currents.

Mednick recently received one of the top awards given to a DNR staffer for his efforts to lead an interagency team that is developing the nowcasts. DNR has worked with the Ozaukee County Public Health Department to operate a nowcast at Port Washington since 2009, and is working with other partners to expand this type of system to at least 20 beaches by 2013. This summer, nowcasts will be tested at additional beaches in Ozaukee County, Racine, and potentially other locations around the state, Mednick says.

Go online for beach conditions or sign up to get email notification

People can go online to Wisconsin Beach Health [www.wibeaches.us] (exit DNR) to learn the latest beach conditions at 118 Lake Superior and Lake Michigan sites. People also can sign up to get beach advisories e-mailed to them about specific beaches and can get RSS feeds to see the most recently entered status for any monitored beaches along the Great Lakes.

Visitors also can find water quality information for more than 100 inland beaches including those monitored by the City of Madison, La Crosse County, Waukesha County Parks, and Winnebago County.

In 2010, there were a total of 1.3 million hits to the beaches home page, which is an average of 3,600 page views a day. The busiest time of the year occurred in July with a total of 485,000 views to the home page.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Chris Pracheil, DNR, (608) 267-9603, christopher.pracheil@wisconsin.gov; Officials at participating health departments:

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Northern zone musky season opens May 28

HAYWARD -- Musky anglers in search of larger fish stand a better chance than their parents did of catching their hearts' desire when the northern musky zone season opens May 28.

Preliminary results from fisheries studies are showing that a decade after an overhaul of Wisconsin's musky stocking strategy, the changes are boosting fish size.

"We'll need more surveys and time to fully look at the data but I think it is safe to say that on the subset of lakes where we actually stopped stocking muskies, we have seen a reduction in their abundance but a big improvement in their size," says Steve Avelallemant, the Department of Natural Resources northern fisheries supervisor for the last 25 years.

Signs of Things To Come

Northern Zone Musky Season Opens May 28!

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    Fish supervisor Steve Avelallemant holds a 47-incher netted earlier this spring in a Vilas County lake.

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    Escanaba Lake has musky bragging rights with this 44-incher and ...

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    ...this 43.5-inch musky!

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    Fish biologist Scott Toshner holds up a musky from Upper Eau Claire Lake in Bayfield County.

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    More musky in tanks after being netted from Upper Eau Claire Lake, Bayfield County.

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    Citizen volunteers Jeremy VanErt and Karl Barkow show off a monster 49.5-inch, 34.7-pound musky netted from Shawano Lake.

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    VanErt releases the musky back into the waters of Shawano Lake.

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    Shawn Chapin, a volunteer from Fox Valley Technical College, holds this husky, 48.5-inch, 40-pound musky, also netted from Shawano Lake.

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    Fish biologist Greg Matzke shows off a 48.1-inch, 26.06-pound musky from a Florence County lake.

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    Weighing in at 28.25 pounds, this 46.8-inch fish can be found in a Forest County lake!

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    Tom Merritt with a Sawyer County musky!

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    Greg Johnson with a Sawyer County musky.

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    Johnson releases the musky back into the lake.

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    Mark Neubaur has a good reason to smile with this fish!

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    Nice catch!

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    More Sawyer County musky love!

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    What are you waiting for? Get ready to fish!

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The average proportion of 42-inch and larger fish in these populations more than doubled, increasing from about 7 percent to about 17 percent five or more years after stocking ended.

Thirty years ago, the rule of thumb was to stock lakes at twice the annual harvest rate. Because there wasn't good information on the harvest, fisheries staff assumed the harvest rate to be one fish per acre, according to Tim Simonson, the DNR's longtime warm-water species specialist, and co-chair with Avelallemant of DNR's musky committee.

So most lakes were getting stocked at two fish per acre, regardless of whether the lake had naturally reproducing muskies.

By the late 1990s, the musky world was changing. Higher minimum length limits were in place and catch and release had taken hold, Simonson says.

It was clear that the stocking formula overestimated the harvest. In the early 1980s, the projected harvest from 356 Class A, or "trophy waters," was 38,318 fish statewide. By 1990, that total had dropped to an estimated 8,541 fish, and by 2001, only 1,987 muskies were kept by anglers.

So starting in 2001, DNR changed its stocking strategy, a move described in the Natural Resources Magazine article, Long Live the Kings.

Each of the 220 stocked musky waters in the state at that time was assigned to a specific stocking practice for 10 years based on its reproductive status. Stocking rates ranged from zero, where stocking was stopped because natural reproduction existed, to a rate of .5, 1 and 2 fish per acre in waters where the fishery depended on stocking.

Since the change, preliminary data on 75 percent of the lakes where stocking was stopped shows that 95 percent show some evidence of natural reproduction and that the proportion of larger fish is increasing, Simonson says.

In order to confirm these initial results, DNR will be conducting more detailed surveys on several of these populations over the next two to three years, Simonson says.

The better size structure is likely due to several factors including maturation of more abundant year classes of muskies when stocking was greater as well as increased voluntary catch-and-release and the effects of higher minimum length limits where those are in force.

"The future of our musky fisheries as far as larger fish goes looks pretty good," Avelallemant says.

For those anglers who still favor strikes over size, there are plenty of waters to keep them happy as well: 250 of the total 794 lakes or river segments across Wisconsin with musky are so-called "action" waters.

Northern zone musky season details

The musky season opens May 28 in Wisconsin north of U.S. Highway 10, excluding Wisconsin/Michigan boundary waters, and runs through Nov. 30, 2011. The daily bag limit is one and the minimum length limit is 34 inches in most cases, but some lakes have special regulations. Please see the "Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations 2011-12."

Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters opened for musky fishing on May 15. The southern zone musky season opened with the regular game fish opener on May 7 and runs through Dec. 31, 2011.

Lake Michigan waters north of Waldo Boulevard in Manitowoc open for musky fishing May 28. Included in this season are the Bay of Green Bay, the Fox River upstream to the DePere dam, Sturgeon Bay and other bays to Lake Michigan and Green Bay. The daily limit is one, the minimum length limit is 50 inches, and the season closes Nov. 30.

The Lake Michigan season for musky south of Waldo Boulevard in Manitowoc is already open. It runs May 7 through Dec. 31, 2011, and the daily limit is one. There is a minimum length limit of 34 inches.

More information is available on the Wisconsin musky page of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Avelallemant (715) 365-8987; Tim Simonson (608) 266-5222

Musky Fast Facts

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Planning to travel this weekend? Leave the firewood at home.

MADISON - State forest health specialists remind campers and travelers to leave firewood at home. State managed properties only allow firewood onto the property if the firewood:

This reduces the risk of bringing in destructive forest diseases and insects.

All travelers should also follow state firewood quarantine rules to help protect Wisconsin's trees and to avoid fines.

DNR has maps illustrating a 25 mile radius from Wisconsin state campgrounds available online. Many federal, county and private campgrounds also restrict firewood on their properties. Call ahead for details before you travel. Second homeowners are strongly encouraged not to move firewood long distances between their properties, to reduce the risk to their trees.

"Invasive species threaten the health of our forests," said Andrea Diss-Torrance, DNR forest health specialist. "Insect pests such as emerald ash borer and gypsy moth and diseases like oak wilt and Dutch elm disease spread to new areas easily in firewood. Collectively, these invasive species have already killed millions of trees in Wisconsin."

Wood from vendors certified by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection may enter any state property regardless of where the wood was harvested. This is because to be certified, vendors must treat their wood to kill pests or diseases that might be within it. For a list of certified vendors go to [www.emeraldashborer.wi.gov] (exit DNR) and select the link to Wisconsin Certified Firewood Dealers under "Featured Items." For more information on the certification program and how to become a certified vendor, visit the "Firewood Regulations" page of the website [datcp.wi.gov/Plants/Firewood/Firewood_Dealer_Certification] (exit DNR).

People planning to camp in a Wisconsin state park or forest this year, or planning to visit their own vacation property, should get firewood locally, advise DNR property managers. Most Wisconsin state parks and forests have local firewood available for sale on site or from vendors nearby the property. Using local firewood helps to ensure the health of the parks and forests that are so much a part of living in Wisconsin. To learn more about firewood availability at your destination, contact them directly. A list of phone numbers for parks is available on the Wisconsin State Parks web page www.wiparks.net.

For more information on forest health including links to the state's emerald ash borer and gypsy moth control efforts visit the Department of Natural Resources website.

"A campsite surrounded by healthy, mature trees is basic to a quality camping experience, and so is having a campfire." says Diss-Torrance. "If we are going to enjoy both, we need to take some precautions to prevent introducing invasive pests and diseases to the parks and forests we love the most. By using wood from trees grown nearby, you help to prevent such introductions."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Colleen Robinson Klug, DNR forest health educator, (608) 266-2172 or Andrea Diss-Torrance, DNR Forest Health Specialist, (608) 264-9247

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DNR offices closed on May 27

Memorial Day Holiday weekend vacationers urged to plan ahead

MADISON - Many state offices, including all Department of Natural Resources offices, will be closed Friday, May. 27, the day before the Memorial Day weekend, 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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It's called a life jacket for good reason

National Safe Boating Week: Life jackets are hip survival wear

MADISON, Wis. - If you're headed for boating fun this summer, be smart and stylish and wear a lightweight, proven lifesaver - a life jacket.

If you don't have a life jacket or have an older model, celebrate National Safe Boating Week, May 21 - 27, by buying an updated lightweight, easy-to-wear style and making a pledge to wear it every time you are on the water to fish, to boat and to sail.

"Thinking you'll have time to grab the life jacket off the seat or from the side compartment as you are going overboard is more than a mental stretch - it's unrealistic," says Conservation Warden Todd Schaller, chief of the Recreation Enforcement and Education division. "Accidents happen too fast to allow for that kind of reaction, and the stats back up the recommendation to wear the jacket at all times on the water."

Already this year, Wisconsin has recorded its first boating accident fatality - a 65-year-old male who fell overboard and drowned. He was not wearing a life jacket.

In 2010, Wisconsin had 18 boating-related deaths and 14 were not wearing life jackets. In 2009, none of the 16 boating fatalities were wearing life jackets. The U.S. Coast Guard reported in 2009 there were 4,730 accidents nationally that resulted in 736 deaths. Of those who drowned, 84 percent were not wearing life jackets.

"All too often, while we are investigating boat accidents we find life jackets on board, but stored in compartments or hanging on a seat back," Schaller said. "The message and lesson to take away from these fatalities are the same: get a life jacket and wear it."

National Safe Boating Week is a good time to review other important safety tips:

More information about Safe Boating in Wisconsin is available on the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Todd Schaller, Section Chief - Recreation Enforcement and Education, 608-266-2774 or Joanne Haas, Public Affairs Manager, Division Law Enforcement and Science, 608-267-0798

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In 2011, keep preparing for the arrival of emerald ash borer

GREEN BAY -- Now is not the time to ease up on fighting the emerald ash borer, according to a state plant pest and disease specialist.

The half-inch long tree-killing beetle was first found near Newburg in 2008, and has since been detected in Brown, Crawford, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Vernon and Washington counties. It spreads slowly on its own, but it is moved long distances inside firewood, unprocessed logs and other ash products.

"Emerald ash borer hitchhiked to North America inside wood packing materials," said Bill McNee, gypsy moth coordinator, with the Department of Natural Resources in Green Bay. "It is 100 percent fatal to ash trees that are not treated with insecticide."

May 22-28 is Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week across the United States to draw attention to the important role homeowners, municipal employees, foresters, arborists and woodlot owners play as partners in early detection of the pests infestations.

"Look in your community and your woods for signs of emerald ash borer. Property owners or a municipal staff person are usually the first to spot infestations," says McNee. "Signs to look for on ash trees include dieback in the tree top, sprouting near the base of the tree, D-shaped holes about 1/8" wide, S-shaped winding tunnels beneath the bark, and bark cracks with signs of tunneling beneath."

For information on the signs and symptoms of emerald ash borer infestation, visit [www.emeraldashborer.wi.gov] (exit DNR). Contact your city forester or state officials at 1-800-462-2803 if EAB is suspected.

Finding an infestation in its early stages gives communities and property owners more time to manage the impacts of this deadly tree pest, and may allow for insecticide treatments to keep the area's high-value ash trees alive. Emerald ash borer is currently known to occur only in a few spots in Wisconsin, and the infestations are believed to be relatively young (five to seven years). Elsewhere, preparing for impacts before the pest is present in the area will reduce the future impacts to landowners and local governments.

Now that emerald ash borer is in Wisconsin, McNee says there are actions both communities and property owners can take to lessen the impacts.

"By replacing most ash trees with other species (emerald ash borer only infests ash) and treating high-value trees with insecticide, the future impacts of dead and dying ash trees will be reduced," says the forester.

Well established infestations result in major removal and disposal expenses when trees begin dying in large numbers, straining the financial resources of individuals and communities.

Communities and landowners are encouraged to develop a plan for managing the impacts of emerald ash borer, if they don't already have a plan prepared. The advice of a forester or arborist is recommended. A well-prepared plan will include:

Visit [www.emeraldashborer.wi.gov] (exit DNR) for more information about emerald ash borer and other forest pests.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill McNee, Gypsy Moth Suppression Coordinator, 920-303-5421 (office) or 920-360-0942 (cell)

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Grants available for forest and wildland fire suppression

MADISON -- Local fire fighting agencies have until July 1 to apply for a Department of Natural Resources grant program for suppressing forest and wildland fires. This program provides funds on a 50/50 cash match basis.

Local fire departments and county or area fire organizations can apply for Forest Fire Protection Grants, which were established in 1997 to strengthen local fire departments' and county or area fire organizations' capabilities to assist the DNR forestry staff in suppression of forest fires.

The grant program provides funds for the purchase of forest fire suppression equipment and training, including: personal protective equipment (clothing must meet NFPA 1977 standards); forest fire training; forest fire prevention; forest fire tools and equipment; radio reprogramming; communication equipment; dry hydrants; rural fire mapping and numbering; and off-road all-wheel drive initial-attack vehicles.

Wisconsin fire organizations statewide received notice of this application cycle and informed of the availability of application materials on the DNR Web site. FFP applications must be postmarked on or before July 1, 2011.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Eileen Trainor - (608) 267-0848; Chris Klahn - (608) 297-2214

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Sponsor sign-up period open for Disabled Deer Hunts

Hunt set for Oct. 1 - 9, 2011

MADISON - Landowners interested in sponsoring a deer hunt for disabled hunters are reminded of the June 1 deadline for applications. In 2011, the disabled hunt will take place October 1-9.

Sponsor applications are available on Disabled Deer Hunting page of the Department of Natural Resources website and must be submitted to your local wildlife manager by June 1. A list of approved sponsors will be posted on the DNR website by July 1. Disabled hunters interested in participating in one of these hunts should contact sponsors directly to make arrangements. Sponsors are required to submit a list of participating hunters to DNR by September 1.

Hunters must possess a valid Class A Permit, a Class B Permit for People with Disabilities issued for more than one year and that authorizes shooting from a vehicle, or a Class C Disabled Hunting Permit to be eligible to participate in the Disabled Deer Hunt.

The DNR's gun deer hunt for hunters with disabilities was started in 1990 to give disabled hunters an opportunity to hunt deer at a time of year when temperatures are generally milder and mobility is less of a problem. The hunts are sponsored by private individuals or organizations and almost entirely take place on privately owned lands.

Interest in the program continues to grow. In 2010, there were over 100 participating sponsors enrolled and over 62,000 acres available for the hunt.

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

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Turtle tagging clinic offered at Sandhill

BABCOCK, Wis. - People can join wildlife biologists as they conduct research surveys for nesting female turtles on an evening outing, Saturday, June 11, by signing up for a turtle tagging clinic at the Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center.

Participants will help biologists collect biological information on snapping turtles, painted turtles and Blanding's turtles. Such information is used to assess population trends and the status of these species.

This evening clinic will run from 5 to 10 p.m. Participants should bring a sandwich and refreshment for supper while biologists brief participants on the evening's activities. Space is limited to 10 people, ages 12 and up. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Register by mailing in a registration fee of $15 per person by June 3. Checks should be made out to DNR-Skills Center. Include the name of each participant, and the address and daytime phone number of one person in each party. Participants may stay in the center's dorm on the night after the course for a donation of $15 per person per night. Send your registration fee to: Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, PO Box 156, Babcock, WI 54413.

The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center is located 20 miles west of Wisconsin Rapids on County Highway X, 1 mile north of Highway 80 near Babcock, Wisconsin on the 9,000 acre Department of Natural Resources Sandhill Wildlife Area.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Sandhill Skills Center at: (715) 884-6333 or (715) 884-2437

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 24, 2011




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