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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published July 8, 2014

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Hunters, trappers and sturgeon spearers reminded that Aug. 1 is deadline for many season applications

CORRECTION: This news release has been updated to correct that there is no longer an application deadline for the Horicon Zone Canada goose season.

MADISON - Aug. 1 marks a key deadline for many hunters, trappers and spearers in Wisconsin as fall approaches.

Those planning to participate in fall turkey, bobcat, fisher, otter, wolf or Upriver Lakes sturgeon seasons must have their permit applications submitted by noon Aug. 1.

Permit applications can be purchased through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at all authorized license agents, at DNR Service Centers (Hours for service centers vary; check the DNR website for service center days and hours of operation; DNR Service Centers are not open on Saturdays), or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236).

Fall turkey

There will be approximately 96,700 wild turkey permits available to hunters for the fall 2014 turkey hunting season - the same number of permits offered in 2013. Please note that this number is preliminary and may be revised following review. Any fall turkey permits remaining after the initial drawing will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Aug. 23.

Leftover fall turkey permits will be sold by zone until sold out or the season ends. Hunters who receive fall turkey permits in Zones 1-5 will be able to fill their unused permits during the extended season in the zone where the permits were issued. Season dates are as follows:

Canada geese

The Natural Resources Board will set waterfowl season dates at its Aug. 13 meeting. It is important to note that Horicon zone hunters no longer need to apply in advance for hunting tags. Hunters in this zone will simply need to indicate their zone preference when they purchase a license. Licenses are available for purchase at any time prior to hunting.

Bobcat, fisher and otter

The approved quotas for bobcat, fisher and otter will be available on the DNR web page in late July - no major changes are expected from last year. An additional Southern bobcat zone (all of Wis. south of Hwy 64) has been approved for 2014. Those interested in hunting and/or trapping bobcats will need to apply to a specific zone (north or south) and time period (period 1 or 2) for the upcoming season. Bobcat applicant preference points will continue as in the past.

Final permit numbers will be known in August and drawings for all three species will take place in late August or early September. Season dates are as follows:


The total wolf quota has been set at 156, but the quota available to state-licensed hunters and trappers may be adjusted depending on state response to tribal declarations. The Department will maintain a 10-to-1 license-to-quota ratio.

One-half of available permits will be issued randomly among all permit applicants and the second half will be issued through a cumulative preference point drawing. Successful applicants will be notified by letter and may also check their drawing status through the DNR website or any licensing agent. It is the applicants responsibility to know their drawing status. Applicants who are not successful in the drawing will be awarded a preference point toward future drawings.

Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing season

Sturgeon spearers have until Aug. 1 to apply for a 2015 Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing lottery tag or preference point. Participation in the Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing season on Lakes Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan is controlled through a lottery. Those selected in the lottery will be notified by Oct. 1 that they have been authorized to purchase a license and participate in the 2015 Upriver season (this tag must be purchased before Oct. 31).

Group lottery applications of up to four persons will be accepted. Each group will carry the preference points of the group member with the fewest points. Group applications must be made online through the online licensing center.

Spearers who apply for but are not authorized to purchase an Upriver Lakes license will receive a preference point toward the following lottery, and can purchase a license to participate in the Lake Winnebago spearing season that runs at the same time.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Rappe, DNR permit sales coordinator, 608-261-6441; Scott Walter, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, 608-267-7861; Kent Van Horn, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, 608-266-8841; John Olson, DNR furbearer ecologist, 715-685-2934; David MacFarland, DNR large carnivore specialist, 715-365-8917; or Ryan Koenigs, DNR fisheries biologist, 920-303-5450



Report highlights need for prudent management, multistate cooperation to preserve yellow perch fishery

MADISON -- Continued prudent management of Lake Michigan's yellow perch population is needed to ensure enough spawning stock remains to take advantage of years in which lake conditions permit young fish to survive.

That's among the conclusions of a new report drawing on the expertise and ongoing research of participants at the Lake Michigan Yellow Perch Summit held in Chicago in March, 2014. With yellow perch accounting for approximately 17 percent of the sport catch in Lake Michigan, the report highlights the significance of the fishery while documenting the unsettling environmental changes that have led to a continued population decline since the peak of the 1980s.

"The summit explored factors behind the low survival rates of young perch as well as steps that could be taken to strengthen the population," said Brad Eggold, southern Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "The short answer is that, unless we can get rid of the quagga mussel, the yellow perch population will continue to be negatively affected. In Wisconsin, we're fortunate to have very well-informed sport anglers who understand the need to protect spawning populations to maintain the wild fish that we do have."

Those who remember the abundant perch fishery of the 1970s and '80s recognize the ecological changes brought first by the invasive zebra mussel and followed by the even more destructive quagga mussel. Both invaders siphon nutrients from the water column and concentrate them at the bottom of the lake - out of reach of newly hatched larval perch that float and feed near the lake's surface. By protecting spawning fish, the hope is that variations in hatching times will allow enough perch to emerge coincident with a zooplankton hatch that might ensure greater survival.

The report also:

To view the Lake Michigan Yellow Perch Summit, search the DNR website for "Lake Michigan management reports" and click on the link for "Lake Michigan yellow perch summit summary report [PDF]."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Eggold, southern Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor,, 414-382-7921; Jennifer Sereno, communications,; 608-770-8084.



Public invited to share priorities for water quality standards

Public survey available until August 7

MADISON - Where should state environmental officials focus efforts to protect surface water quality in Wisconsin over the next three years?

State officials are seeking public input on 22 water quality standard topics for Wisconsin lakes and rivers related to the protection of public health, recreation, fish and other aquatic communities.

This process, which occurs every three years, is called the triennial standards review. The topics under consideration address things such as levels of pollutants, algae and nutrients as well as guidance for implementing water quality criteria.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is proposing to revise some existing standards because of new information on certain contaminants and to reflect changes in federal or state regulations. Also under consideration is the development of standards for certain emerging contaminants that may need to be monitored and controlled to protect people and the environment.

Any actual changes to standards must be approved by the Natural Resources Board, the Wisconsin Legislature and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

There are many potential standards-related topics that may benefit from a review under this process. However, due to limited resources, not all of the changes can be addressed at the same time. To help prioritize which standards and policies should receive attention first, DNR is asking for input from the public.

Stakeholders are invited to comment on the standards-related topic priorities through August 7, 2014 through an online survey tool. The goal of the survey is to determine which surface water quality standards and policies the public most strongly wants to see reviewed or developed in the next three years. The Public Ranking Survey and topic descriptions are available by searching the DNR website for "triennial standards review."

After the survey, DNR will use the public priorities and DNR's internal rankings to prepare a final list of topics for 2015-2017 as required under the Clean Water Act. The DNR will use that final priority list to plan its work over the ensuing three years and each topic will be addressed as resources allow.

A public hearing will be held on July 30, 2014 from 10 to 11 a.m. This hearing is for citizens to comment on or ask questions about the process and the topics presented. Anyone who would like to participate is invited to join online through a webinar using the link posted on the DNR website, or in person at the State Natural Resources Building, 101 S. Webster St., Madison, in Room 313 after signing in at the visitor's desk.

Questions or comments on the triennial standards review process should be directed to Ashley Beranek by calling 608-267-9603, e-mailing, or mailing to Wisconsin DNR WT/3, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ashley Beranek (608) 267-9603; Brian Weigel (608) 266-9277



New federal grant program aims to provide outdoor recreation in densely populated areas

MADISON -- Wisconsin communities with populations of 50,000 or more people are eligible to apply for a new federal grant program that specifically targets providing public outdoor recreation in densely populated urban areas.

The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund Program aims to help states expand the public outdoor recreation opportunities. In Wisconsin the program has been administered by the Department of Natural Resources since 1965.

For fiscal year 2014, Congress set aside an additional $3 million specifically designated for the new "National Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program" to specifically target public outdoor recreation in densely populated areas of the country. Each state is allowed to submit two applications to compete nationally for funds that will be used to promote connecting people to outdoor places in their communities.

Other important project goals are engaging and empowering youth and underserved communities; providing job training or employment opportunities for youth and veterans; expanding public-private partnerships; and improving recreational opportunities for all. Grant Levels are $500,000 for the maximum and $250,000 for the minimum amount per project proposal.

Eligible applicants include states; political subdivisions of the state such as cities and counties; and federally-recognized tribal governments representing or serving jurisdictions delineated by the Census Bureau from the 2010 Census as having populations of 50,000 or more people consisting of densely settled territory. In Wisconsin this includes Appleton, Beloit, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Janesville, Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, Racine, Sheboygan, Wausau, West Bend, and several state border areas.

Eligible projects include land acquisition and development of outdoor recreation facilities including active sports facilities. Ineligible projects include facilities that support semi-professional or professional athletics such as baseball stadiums or soccer arenas; indoor facilities such as recreation centers or facilities that support primarily non-outdoor purposes like dining facilities or certain overnight accommodations (lodge/hotel); and acquisition of lands, or interest of land, that completely restricts access to specific persons (e.g. non-residents of a community).

Priority will be given to projects that implement the following goals:

There are additional special requirements to obtain funding. Applications must be submitted to the DNR by 4:30 p.m. on July 28, 2014, which will review the applications according to criteria established by the National Park Service and the State of Wisconsin. DNR will submit two projects to NPS for consideration by August 12, 2014.

All projects that are awarded will be subject to federal rules requiring that any park or other outdoor recreation area that benefits from assistance from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, whether for acquisition or development activities, be maintained for public outdoor recreation purposes forever. This requirement is applied to the park or recreation area as a whole, regardless of the extent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund assistance in the project. A condition will be recorded against the deed of the assisted property acknowledge the outdoor recreation protections is in perpetuity

Detailed information on matching shares, the application, review and award process, deadlines and other information are available by searching the DNR website for keyword "grants" and then clicking on the button for "find grants" and the link for "Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) - Nationally Competitive Program."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Lavane Hessler, LWCF Statewide Grant Manager, 715-839-3709 or 608-267-0497 or



New Wisconsin state park, forest, trail events and nature programs calendar available

MADISON - People now have an easier and more convenient way to find activities, events and nature programs at Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas with a new mobile friendly events calendar on the Department of Natural Resources website.

The new calendar has several user-friendly features including being able to search for events by date, property, or type of activity. The calendar shows event location information including contacts and maps and has links directly from event locations to park campsite reservation system. It also has an "add to your calendar" function that allows people to add event reminders to their personal electronic calendars.

The new calendar also includes a RSS feed so that a new Wisconsin State Parks and Forests mobile app that will be available later this summer can pull in event information directly from the DNR website.

The new calendar can be found by searching the DNR website for keyword "Get Outdoors."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Holtan, public affairs manager, state parks, forest and trails, 608-267-7517



Aquatic plant control regulated to protect plants beneficial to fish and wildlife

MADISON -- Warmer weather and water temperature are spurring the growth of aquatic plants and increasing calls from waterfront property owners for help in controlling the plants.

State aquatic plant specialists encourage property owners to contact the Department of Natural Resources first before taking any steps to reduce or control the plants, which provide important fish and wildlife habitat, anchor sediments and provide other benefits.

"Native aquatic plants are an important and crucial component of healthy lakes, bogs, streams and rivers and it's important to handle them with care," says Scott Provost, the DNR's newly hired aquatic plant management statewide coordinator.

"The fond memories that many of us have of growing up on lakes swimming, boating and discovering frogs, fish, and dragonflies depend on the clean water and habitat aquatic plants provide."

All methods of controlling aquatic plants are regulated by the state to help protect the plants and the benefits they bring people and wildlife.

Provost says that many aquatic plants are so valuable that their presence or absence can alter the entire community of life within that area.

"Not only do aquatic plants provide food and habitat for wildlife but, also protect shorelines by slowing wave action and preventing erosion thus, you keep more of your shore," Provost says.

Native aquatic plants can slow or prevent invasions of non-native plants like Eurasian water-milfoil that form mats on the water's surface that can hamper swimming, fishing and boating and can affect the lake ecosystem.

Provost encourages waterfront property owners to contact their local aquatic plant management coordinator before engaging in any aquatic plant management or nuisance control activities and to follow all requirements:

For more information about aquatic plants and links to a listing of local DNR plant management coordinators, search the DNR website for "Aquatic Plants."

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Scott Provost, 715-421-7881 or a local aquatic plant management specialist



DNR publishes most recent wildlife surveys with help from citizens

MADISON -- As part of a regular annual monitoring of wildlife in Wisconsin, state wildlife officials have published the latest wildlife surveys focusing on different species around the state.

"These surveys are part of our yearly efforts to keep track of wildlife and to use that data to inform management decisions," said Brian Dhuey, database and survey manager for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "The different surveys look at a variety of wildlife such as deer, bear, grouse and other non-game species to monitor how the populations are doing."

Many of these surveys are a direct result from citizens who report wildlife sightings and record their observations online. The Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey is one of the more popular surveys for citizen input. The website lets hunters and nature observers alike to record the location, time, and quantity of deer and other Wisconsin wildlife they see while outdoors. At the end of each survey season, participants are emailed a personal report detailing all recorded wildlife sightings that year.

Other annual surveys focus on eagles, winter severity on deer, spring and fall turkey hunts and even rare carnivore observations.

The full list of 15 surveys can be found by searching the DNR website for "wildlife reports."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Dhuey, wildlife database and survey manager, 608-221-6342



Fire program launches mobile friendly fire restrictions webpage

RHINELANDER, Wis. -- The Wisconsin wildland fire control program has introduced a more user- and mobile-friendly Web page for customers wanting to obtain daily burn permit restrictions and current fire danger information.

The new fire restrictions and fire danger page of the Department of Natural Resources website contains similar information to the old page, but is now compatible with all mobile devices and tablets. In addition, the page allows for greater map detail which will inform the customer if the burn location falls within areas where the DNR requires burn permits.

"Every year, we are seeing more and more web users and most of them now have smartphones. Technology allows us to get information into the hands of our customers instantly and this was the next logical step," says Catherine Koele, DNR wildfire prevention specialist.

Customers who obtain annual DNR burn permits are required to check the daily burn restrictions prior to burning in the county where the burn will take place. This can be accomplished by calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) or online at enter keyword "wisburn."

The DNR reports nearly 600,000 annual web hits and 200,000 calls to obtain daily fire restrictions. "This goes to show, the public is taking the necessary steps to be responsible with their outdoor burning," says Koele. "We set these restrictions for a reason. Our number one priority is public safety. One simple phone call or check on the web can prevent a wildfire from happening."

Debris burning continues to be the number one cause of wildfires in Wisconsin. Burning permits, if used appropriately, are an important tool in wildfire prevention. They are intended to encourage the public to burn safely in the outdoors and are proven to be effective in protecting lives, property and natural resources from wildfires. DNR annual burn permits are no-cost and are valid for the calendar year.

"This time of year, we see many seasonal travelers visiting their cabins and conducting vegetative clean-up around their property. Most of them have smartphones in their pocket and this new page will give them the information they need to obtain proper permits and determine if burning is allowed, before striking the match," says Koele.

Routine customers may need to refresh the link saved within bookmarks or on desktop browsers. To visit the new page, search the DNR website for keyword "wisburn." For more information on obtaining the annual DNR burn permit and preventing wildfires, enter keyword "fire."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Catherine Koele, Wildfire Prevention Specialist, 715-356-5211 x208 (office) or 608-219-9075 (cell)



Photo contest underway for 2015 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar

MADISON -- People have until the end of August to enter their favorite photographs from a Wisconsin state park, forest trail or recreation areas in a contest to be included in the 2015 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar.

July 2014 winning entry
This photo of an eagle taken at the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest was selected for the July photo for the 2013 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Calendar.
Brook Burling Photo

Again this year, in addition to being available for purchase, the calendar will be distributed to the nearly 90,000 subscribers of Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine in the December issue.

This is the sixth year the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks has sponsored the photography competition.

"There are lots of activities happening at Wisconsin state parks during the four seasons," said Patty Loosen, state friends group liaison with the Department of Natural Resources. "So we're asking for entries that include in addition to the beautiful scenery, activities like geocaching, art in the park, stargazing, candlelight skis, kayaking, horseback riding, and mountain biking."

The deadline for all submissions is Sunday, August 31, 2014.

Submissions are only accepted from amateur photographers ages 14 and over. Professional photographers who earn more than half of their income taking pictures are not eligible.

Photographs must have been shot within the past three years (since Jan. 1, 2012) and only one photo entry for each season (spring , summer, fall, winter) will be accepted with a total of 4 entries per person.

Employees of the DNR and board members of the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks and their immediate family members are not eligible to win.

A panel of Friends of Wisconsin State Parks board members and staff will review accepted entries and select the winning photos. Photo awards will be presented at the organizations' Annual Awards banquet in October, 2013.

More information and details on entering and contest rules are available on the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks website (exit DNR) by clicking on the tab for "photo contest."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia Loosen, Friends of Wisconsin State Parks coordinator, 608-264-8994


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 08, 2014

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