NEWS ARCHIVE:     Age: 2,773 days

ARCHIVED Weekly News Published March 3, 2015

All Previous Archived Issues


March County Deer Advisory Council meetings will focus on antlerless harvest quota recommendations

MADISON -- Deer population objectives in each county have been approved for a three-year period, and County Deer Advisory Councils will meet for the first time in 2015 beginning March 16.

CDAC meetings are open to the public, and input is encouraged as councils form preliminary deer harvest quota recommendations for the 2015 deer season.

In 2014, each council proposed a population objective (increase, decrease or maintain) for their county's deer herd. These population objectives, approved by the Natural Resources Board Feb. 25, will guide deer management decisions over the next three years.

March CDAC meetings will serve as the first step toward achieving three-year population objectives. Each council will help determine antlerless tag availability for the 2015 deer hunting season through preliminary antlerless quota recommendations. Antlerless quotas will be reviewed and adjusted annually.

CDACs use a number of resources, including deer population data, harvest data, public input and other information to help direct deer management in their county.

The public is encouraged to attend each meeting and provide input. Those unable to attend meetings can send feedback directly to CDAC members in their county. For contact and meeting information in your county [PDF], search the DNR website, for keyword CDAC page or email An online public comment period will begin in April.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist, 608-261-7589



Disease sampling results provide current snapshot of CWD in Wisconsin

MADISON - State wildlife officials sampled more than 5,400 deer for chronic wasting disease statewide in 2014, finding 324 positive detections, primarily within the endemic area in southern Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has monitored trends in chronic wasting disease distribution and prevalence within Wisconsin since its discovery in 2002. In 2014, focus was placed upon deer population segments within locations deemed most likely to harbor the disease.

"Long-term monitoring of disease patterns is crucial in understanding the dynamics of this CWD, and it's also important to make sure we keep the public informed," said Tami Ryan, DNR wildlife health section chief.

Within the Southwest Wisconsin monitoring area, encompassing Northwestern Dane and Northeastern Iowa counties, prevalence was found to be 25 percent for adult (2.5+ years-old) male white-tailed deer, over 10 percent for adult female deer, roughly 8 percent in yearling males, and nearly 7 percent in yearling females.

According to Ryan, prevalence continues to increase within the department's long-term monitoring area in Southwest Wisconsin, and remains higher in males than females and higher in adults than yearlings.

Monitoring efforts also included ongoing surveillance within a 10-mile radius of the each new positive found in 2012 in Juneau, Adams and Portage counties in central Wisconsin. Four additional positives were found in 2013 in Adams and Portage counties, while two additional positives were discovered in Adams County in 2014.

Surveillance was also conducted surrounding a CWD-positive captive deer farm in Marathon County, with no wild CWD deer detected.

Following the 2012 discovery of a CWD-positive adult doe near Shell Lake, 2014 marked the third year of surveillance efforts in Washburn County in Northwest Wisconsin. Following recommendations from a local community action team, local landowners and hunters helped the department sample more than 1,900 deer in the area over the last three years. No new positives have been detected. Based on three years of sampling, all information has indicated CWD is not widespread in the Washburn area, and occurs at a very low prevalence rate.

"The department is very grateful for the cooperation that hunters and landowners have provided over 13 years of sampling," said Ryan. "They are helping monitor the health of Wisconsin's deer herds and providing information that is of interest to many."

For 2014 sampling and prevalence and more information regarding chronic wasting disease and, search the DNR website, for keyword "CWD."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tami Ryan, DNR Wildlife Health section chief, 608-266-3143



No genetic evidence of invasive snail found outside one Wisconsin stream

New Zealand mudsnails.New Zealand mudsnails.

MADISON -- Results from a multistate environmental DNA sampling effort did not detect any genetic evidence of New Zealand mudsnails in Illinois, Iowa or Wisconsin outside of Black Earth Creek in Dane County, Wis.

The New Zealand mudsnail was found in Dane County's Black Earth Creek in 2013 -- the first appearance of snail in the Midwest outside of the Great Lakes basin. Although they measure just one-eighth of an inch in length, New Zealand mudsnails multiply quickly and alter resources used by trout and other stream animals.

Upon discovery of the New Zealand mudsnail in a Midwest trout stream, aquatic invasive species program coordinators from all three states developed a joint plan to identify the range of the invader. With the help of a $30,000 grant from Mississippi River Basin Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species, the Wisconsin DNR was able to coordinate the collection of water samples across 45 sites in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.

The samples were then screened for traces of New Zealand mudsnail DNA by the U.S. Geological Survey Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in La Crosse and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. These genetic sampling techniques have been shown to be more sensitive in detecting rare organisms than conventional sampling methods.

Maureen Ferry, the Wisconsin DNR aquatic invasive species monitoring coordinator, said the project has provided a baseline understanding of the distribution of these snails.

"We can be reasonably confident that New Zealand mudsnail populations do not exist at the sites we sampled," said Ferry. "This tells us that continued prevention efforts are worthwhile in trying to stop the spread of this harmful invader."

Ferry said the research also provided insight on the effective use of eDNA monitoring for invasive species in streams.

"We learned a great deal through this multistate effort and continued to refine our eDNA techniques to augment traditional monitoring efforts," Ferry said. "Both methods combined greatly increase our ability to detect invasive species."

Aquatic invasive species program managers are encouraged by the results of the sampling effort. The limited distribution of New Zealand mudsnails in one stream in Wisconsin gives managers time to implement awareness campaigns to help water users prevent the spread of the snails outside of their known location.

"The Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers guidance of cleaning debris and draining water from gear are good first steps," said Bob Wakeman, aquatic invasive species program coordinator for the Wisconsin DNR. However, given the hardiness of these snails, additional steps are encouraged, including scrubbing gear with a brush to remove the hard-to-see snails, freezing gear or soaking it in hot, 120-degree Fahrenheit water.

"By taking these steps," said Wakeman, "all water users can protect Wisconsin waters from the impacts of invasive species."

To learn more, search the DNR website,, for "New Zealand mudsnail." For the complete U.S. Geological Survey report on the eDNA monitoring project, visit (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Maureen Ferry, DNR aquatic invasive species monitoring coordinator, 608-261-6450;



DNR awards grants for lake and river projects

Lake grants help fund activities like staffing boat landings to inspect boats for invasive species and conduct educational campaigns.Lake grants help fund activities like staffing boat landings to inspect boats for invasive species and conduct educational campaigns.

MADISON -- Statewide lake and river groups as well as community organizations will receive $2.3 million in grants from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to develop management plans and improve water quality.

The current round of surface water grants allows organizations to better understand issues surrounding local water resources and create strategies to address problems in the future. Activities funded during this round of grants include the development of lake management plans, shoreline assessments and aquatic invasive species prevention.

"The funding program gives organizations the resources they need to create effective plans for managing their lakes and rivers," said Shelly Thomsen, the DNR lakes and rivers team leader who is coordinating the grant effort. "The successes of past grant recipients has made this a popular and competitive program."

The grants are funded through a tax on fuel used by watercraft and have been a stable source of funding for lake and river management projects.

The current grant cycle represents the first since the lakes and rivers grants program launched a new online submission system and evaluation process. The online submission forms made completing and submitting grants easier than ever, while the new evaluation effort included more experts in various lake and river management disciplines across the state.

Grants were awarded in the following categories:

Specific project activities funded this round include developing comprehensive lake management plans, surveying aquatic plants, supporting regional aquatic invasive species programs and supporting the Clean Boats and Clean Waters Program throughout the state.

Projects funded with these grants will be implemented over the next three years with the help of DNR staff and local partners. Thomsen said the projects continue DNR's history of working with citizens to manage our natural resources for the benefit of all.

For more information on the Lakes and Rivers Grant program and to see what grants were funded [PDF], search the DNR website,, for "surface water grants" and click on the "related links."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Shelly Thomsen, DNR lakes and rivers team leader, 608-266-0502,; Carroll Schaal, DNR lakes and rivers section chief, 608-261-6423,



Conservation Patron license provides great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and contribute to conservation

2015-16 licenses go on sale March 4

MADISON -- While the cold and snow has outdoors lovers more likely donning snow pants than swim trunks and hanging out in ice shacks instead of on fishing boats, a new license year and opportunity to contribute to conservation through the Conservation Patron license means spring is right around the corner.

"Conservation patrons are a great example of Wisconsin's commitment to protecting our resources and enjoying a full range of outdoor activities, from hunting to hiking," said Wisconsin Department Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "I would like to thank not only patrons, but everyone who has taken the opportunity to become involved in resource management in our beautiful state."

March 4 marks the beginning of the 2015-16 license year, and those who participate in a number of hunting, fishing, and outdoor-related activities will enjoy this affordable all-in-one package. Each purchase will help support Wisconsin's fish and wildlife programs, including habitat management and research.

A Conservation Patron license provides all the basic fishing and hunting privileges at a great price - $165 for Wisconsin residents, a price reduction of nearly one-half when compared to the value for each item included. For Wisconsin residents under the age of 18, a Conservation Patron license costs only $75.

Hunting and fishing licenses can be purchased through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at all authorized license agents, and 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).

Conservation Patron and other licenses will be available for purchase at this year's Milwaukee Sports Show. Visitors to the DNR exhibit will have the opportunity to view a short video about the Conservation Patron license, and department staff will be available to answer questions. The show runs from March 4-8 at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Exhibition Center, located at 8200 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Allis.

DNR Bureau of Customer and Outreach Services staff is available to assist the public online and via phone from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Spanish and Hmong bilingual customer service representatives are also available. Customers may reach customer service at 1-888-WDNR INFo (1-888-936-7463) or by e-mail at An online chat link is also available.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bureau of Customer and Outreach Services , 608-266-2621



Visit DNR booths at Canoecopia March 13-15

Visit DNR at Canoecopia to learn about boating safety and paddling opportiunities in state parks and forests.Visit DNR at Canoecopia to learn about boating safety and paddling opportiunities in state parks and forests.

MADISON - Visitors to Canoecopia in Madison can find information about paddling and camping on some of the state's premier whitewater and quiet water rivers, learn how to stay safe on the water and purchase Wisconsin State Park admission stickers by visiting Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in the exhibit hall.

Canoecopia is the largest paddle sports consumer event in the world. It is sponsored by Rutabaga Paddlesports in Madison and will be held March 13 to 15 at the Alliant Energy Center off John Nolen Drive in Madison. The event includes more than 250,000 square feet of kayaks, canoes, outdoor equipment and clothing and more than 100 seminars, speakers and clinics. Show hours are Friday 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The DNR will have staff at the event representing the Wisconsin State Parks and Recreation Program, the Brule, Flambeau and Northern Highland-American Legion state forests, boater education, an aquatic education "fishing for dinner" program and Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

The Bois Brule and the Flambeau rivers are two of Wisconsin premier paddling destinations, both offering stretches of quiet water paddling as well as whitewater. Both rivers have extensive stretches within state forest property that offer campgrounds near the river at the Brule River State Forest and riverside campsites at the Flambeau River State Forest. The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest is located in and an area with one of the highest concentrations of lakes in the world, with 2,300 lakes in Vilas and Oneida counties. The forest itself has more than 900 lakes and 300 miles of rivers. The DNR has designated canoe routes [PDF] through the forest.

Wisconsin state parks, southern forests and recreation areas offer a wide variety of paddling opportunities, including designated water trails.

DNR recreational safety wardens will be on site talking about how to safely enjoy time on the water to reduce injuries, deaths, and accidents. The DNR sponsors recreational safety education programs to educate the public on how to be safe, knowledgeable and responsible when boating, snowmobiling, riding their ATV, hunting and bow hunting. Although the primary purpose of these safety education classes is to teach and train beginners to be safe and knowledgeable in these various forms of recreation, everyone is encouraged to attend. They will also have information on how to become a volunteer instructor.

The DNR aquatic education program will have a "fishing for dinner" table top exhibit on display in the lobby of the Alliant Energy Center to promote sustainable lifestyles and how Wisconsin fisheries can be a part of paddlers' lives.

More information about Canoecopia is available at (exit DNR).

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Holtan, State Park, Forests, Trails and Recreation public affairs manager, 608-267-7517


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 03, 2015

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.