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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published July 21, 2015

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Great Lakes spotted muskies set for release after year of careful rearing

WILD ROSE, Wis. - After a year of careful rearing at the Department of Natural Resources Wild Rose Fish Hatchery, some 6,000 Great Lakes spotted muskies are set to begin the next phase of their journey, getting ready to test Wisconsin anglers and serve as brood stock in select state lakes.

Great Lakes spotted musky
Now averaging about 16 inches and weighing 11 ounces each, the Great Lakes spotted muskies have put on considerable size and weight since their arrival in 2014.
WDNR Photo

The muskies arrived in 2014 from Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Michigan as part of a cooperative effort to improve musky genetics in both states, said Steve Fajfer, supervisor of the Wild Rose Hatchery. While Michigan recently has focused on the Great Lakes spotted strain, Wisconsin's successful inland musky breeding program is contributing fish to help expand Michigan's stocking program in the Upper Peninsula.

"These young fish are looking great and they've been growing very well on a steady diet of fresh minnows," Fajfer said. "The fish now average about 16 inches and weigh 11 ounces each. From all indications these fish have great growth potential and we're predicting an average adult size of nearly 53 inches for the females and 47 inches for the males."

Wisconsin DNR fisheries biologists are working to increase the genetic diversity of the musky population in the waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan to restore a strong and naturally reproducing population of fish there. The waters of Green Bay, Sturgeon Bay and area tributaries including the Lower Fox and Menominee rivers have become known as great destinations for musky fishing.

This year's fish, originating from spotted musky spawned from Lake St. Clair, are expected to create even more exciting opportunities in the years ahead, said Tim Simonson, a DNR fisheries biologist and musky specialist.

"The excellent forage base in Green Bay and the surrounding waters provides ideal habitat for the fish, which will be well suited to these waters," Simonson said.

DNR's plan for the fish is twofold. To provide a reliable source of future genetics, some 2,600 of the fingerlings will be placed in three brood stock lakes where they will contribute to future generations of purebred spotted muskies. Lakes chosen for this special role are Elkhart Lake in Sheboygan County and Anderson and Archibald lakes in Oconto County.

"Establishing three brood stock lakes allows us to put them on a rotation schedule for future egg collection that will help ensure the fitness and diversity of subsequent generations of fish that are eventually stocked back into the Great Lakes," Simonson said.

The remaining fish will be planted directly into Green Bay, the Menominee River and the Fox River, Simonson said. There, they will contribute directly to the trophy fishery and perhaps also increase the likelihood for sustained natural reproduction. While some natural reproduction has been documented in the region, DNR fisheries managers are pursuing both the introduction of the new fish and continued habitat improvement efforts to move closer to this goal.

Fajfer and Simonson said much of the work has been made possible thanks to the support of private sporting and conservation groups. Key to the effort has been the generous support of the Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin and several of their member clubs, including C & R Musky Club, Dave's Musky Club, Titletown Chapter of Muskies Inc. and Winnebagoland Musky Club, among many others.

To learn more about the management plan for spotted musky, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "Great Lakes spotted musky [PDF]." Details about the workings of Wisconsin's brood stock lakes can be found by searching for "Wisconsin muskellunge brood stock management plan [PDF]."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:Steve Fajfer, Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery supervisor, 920-622-3527 Ext. 201, steven.fajfer@wisconsin.gov; Jennifer Sereno, communications, 608-770-8084, sereno,Jennifer@gmail.com

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

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been updated to correct the deadline time for submitting applications. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Aug. 1

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

Those planning to participate in the fall turkey, sharp-tailed grouse, bobcat, fisher, otter or Upriver Lakes sturgeon seasons must have their permit applications submitted by 11:59 p.m. 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

Approximately 100,700 wild turkey permits will be available for the fall 2015 turkey hunting season -- an increase from 2014. Permits in Zone 2 have been increased from 18,000 to 22,000 in order to meet demand from hunters.

Any fall turkey permits remaining after the initial drawing will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22. These leftover fall turkey permits will be sold by zone until sold out or the season ends. The regular fall turkey season runs from Sept. 12 to Nov. 19 in each of Wisconsin's seven turkey management zones, with an additional extended season in Zones 1-5 running from Nov. 30 through Dec. 31. Hunters who purchase a fall turkey permit in Zones 1-5 will be able to fill their unused permits during this extended season within the zone for which their permit was issued.

For more information, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword "turkey."

Sharp-tailed grouse

Preliminary spring survey results show that Wisconsin's sharp-tailed grouse made it through the winter in favorable condition, and the DNR Sharp-tailed Grouse Advisory Committee has decided to make 100 harvest permits available in Unit 8 for the fall 2015 season. Sharp-tailed grouse management units use the same boundaries and designations as game management units (previously referred to as Deer Management Units). While 100 permits will be available in Unit 8, other units open to sharp-tail hunting in the past will remain closed. Hunters are reminded to carefully review the zone map and apply only for open units. Closed unit submissions will result in an invalid application.

For more information, search keyword "sharp-tailed grouse."

Canada geese

PLEASE NOTE: An application is no longer required for Canada goose hunting in the Horicon Zone.

The Natural Resources Board will set waterfowl season dates at its Aug. 12 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. Season dates for waterfowl vary annually and will not be available until the Natural Resources Board acts in August.

Bobcat, fisher and otter

The approved quotas for bobcat, fisher and otter will be available on the DNR web page in early August. Quotas for most zones will be similar or slightly higher than last year. Permit numbers, based on success rates, will be determined and drawings for all three species will take place in August. Permits will be issued in early September. Applicants can check their online account in early September to monitor their permit status through the Online Licensing Center. Season dates are as follows:

For more information, search keyword "furbearers."

Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing season

Sturgeon spearers have until Aug. 1 to apply for a 2016 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 2016 Upriver season (this tag must be purchased before Oct. 31). Interested applicants for Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing licenses should be aware of two options available:

  1. Apply for an application in the Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing lottery - applicants who select this option are placed in the lottery for the Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing season and will receive approval to purchase a permit if they possess an adequate number of preference points.
  2. Purchase a preference point for the Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing seasons - applicants who select this option are not eligible to receive an Upriver Lakes permit for the 2016 season, but will receive a preference point to be applied towards future application periods.

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 submit an application but are not authorized to purchase an Upriver Lakes license will receive a preference point toward future lotteries, and may purchase a license to participate in the Lake Winnebago spearing season, which opens at the same time (tags must be purchased before Oct. 31).

Conservation Patron license

As a reminder, the 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, 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).

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 csweb@wisconsin.gov. An online chat link is also available.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Rappe, DNR permit sales coordinator, 608-261-6441; Krista McGinley, DNR acting upland wildlife ecologist, 608-261-8458; Kent Van Horn, DNR migratory game bird ecologist, 608-266-8841; John Olson, DNR furbearer ecologist, 715-685-2934; Ryan Koenigs, DNR fisheries biologist, 920-303-5450

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Adopt your favorite Wisconsin Wildlife Area and give back to the outdoors

MADISON - State Wildlife Areas are a great place to enjoy the outdoors, and those interested in giving back to their favorite spot can now adopt a wildlife area.

"The Adopt a Wildlife Area program gives people an opportunity to play a key role in managing their favorite wildlife area," said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "This program is another great example of the passion and pride Wisconsin's citizens have for all of the special places to spend their time in the outdoors."

Wisconsin State Fisheries Areas, Wildlife Areas, Flowages, Wild Rivers and Riverways provide critical fish and wildlife habitat along with outstanding nature based recreation, and the DNR is seeking the public's help in managing these lands.

Participants will receive a first-hand look at how the department uses management goals to maintain thousands of acres of property throughout Wisconsin and play a key role in enhancing wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities for others to enjoy. Key activities include invasive species control, nest box construction, trail and facility maintenance, and more. All safety and maintenance equipment, training, and certification will be provided by the department.

Whether through habitat and maintenance work on the property or a financial donation, it has never been easier to play a direct role in conservation. Partner efforts will be recognized through signage on the adopted property and department outreach efforts.

Those interested in adopting a State Wildlife Area can participate individually, or as part of a group. If you or your organization is interested, please submit an application [PDF] at the nearest DNR office location.

To learn more about adopting a Wisconsin Wildlife Area, visit the department website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword "volunteer."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Tim Lizotte, DNR area wildlife supervisor, 262-574-2120

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Comment period extended for guidance regarding motorized access on department-owned roads

MADISON - The public comment period regarding draft guidance for evaluating motorized use on department roads has been extended through July 31, and those with an interest in how the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources determines which roads are closed or open for motorized use are encouraged to provide feedback.

It is important to remember that the department is not currently seeking comments regarding property-specific roads or those in favor or opposition to motorized use on certain properties. Rather, comments should directly address current draft guidance [PDF], and will help determine the criteria and decision making processes used to evaluate roads on department property.

Current draft guidance is the result of statute finalized within the 2013-15 state budget, and will not require Natural Resources Board approval. When guidance has been approved, road designations will be considered a master plan change and will be open for public comment and will require board approval.

To provide feedback, visit the department website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keywords "proposed DNR program guidance."

After program guidance is finalized through this public input opportunity, additional public input at a future date will gather feedback for each property where motorized access is evaluated. After a property has been evaluated, maps will designate which roads are open to the public for motorized use and will determine when each road is open or closed for such use.

Those interested in receiving email updates regarding the motorized access planning project can sign up to receive email messages regarding property info and other information. Visit the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page for "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select "motorized road access planning," found within the property master planning list.

For more information regarding motorized road access on department-owned lands, search keywords "motorized road access."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Aaron Buchholz, DNR land program manager, 920-662-5115

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Industrial sand company enters into Green Tier program

MENOMONIE, Wis. -- Fairmount Santrol-Wisconsin Industrial Sand Company, a Wisconsin industrial sand company, was formally entered into the state's innovative environmental Green Tier program today at a celebration at the company's Menomonie facility.

Fairmount's facilities in Hager City, Maiden Rock and Menomonie joined Green Tier, a program that encourages businesses to voluntarily move beyond regulatory compliance in order to promote superior environmental performance. Fairmount Santrol is participating in Tier 1 of the program, which is designed to encourage new goal setting and innovation.

"We are pleased to have Fairmount Santrol participate in Green Tier," said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp. "This sustainability-minded company demonstrates how solutions that are good for the environment can also be good for the economy."

In her congratulatory message to Fairmount, Stepp noted the company's diligent efforts to embrace environmental opportunities make it a leader in the nonmetallic mining industry.

Fairmount Santrol helped organize the state's sand mining industry by co-founding the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association. With a commitment to superior environmental performance, the association set a membership requirement of enrollment in Green Tier.

As part of its acceptance into Green Tier, Fairmount Santrol has implemented an Environmental Management System, a "plan-do-check-act" tool that helps the company understand its environmental impacts. An EMS sets benchmarks to measure environmental improvements and allows Fairmount Santrol to monitor its performance with indicators such as energy conservation and water use.

"Fairmount Santrol is committed to exceeding expectations and going beyond compliance," said Aaron Scott, Fairmont's regional mine manager. "Our culture is unique. This approach to every aspect of our operation has allowed us to work together to achieve positive things for our business, the communities we operate and our other stakeholders. We are excited to be honored by the DNR in this way."

Scott noted that Fairmount Santrol makes environmental stewardship a fundamental element of the way it operates, including:

Additional information about Fairmount Santrol and Green Tier can be found on the DNR website by searching "Green Tier" and looking under the "see Green Tier participants, applicants and charters" button and at fairmountsantrol.com [Exit DNR].

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Roberta Walls, DNR, 608-785-9272; John Stoffel, DNR, (715) 684-2914 x121

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La Crosse staffer chosen as new agency sand mining lead

MADISON - Roberta Walls, a veteran Department of Natural Resources staff person working in the La Crosse and West Central Wisconsin areas, has been tapped to be the agency's new contact on industrial sand mining issues.

Walls will serve as the initial point of contact on sand mining for public, private, legislative and media inquiries on the DNR's regulatory authorities and interaction with the industrial sand sector. She will be based in the DNR's La Crosse office. Walls replaces Deb Dix, who was serving in an interim capacity and has returned to her position in the Environmental Enforcement Program.

"Roberta brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience working with the public and the industry on sand mining," said Mark Aquino, director of the DNR Office of Business Support. "We are very excited to have her on board as our agency lead for sand mining."

Walls began working on sand mining issues for the agency when she joined the DNR in 2008 as part of the wastewater and stormwater programs. Prior to the DNR, Walls worked as a certified wastewater operator in Lynxville, and in the private sector worked with international companies as an analytical chemist and chemical coordinator for industrial wastewater treatment.

"I'm excited to begin this new phase of my career at the DNR," said Walls. "Whether it's my experience in sand mining, local governments or the private sector, I'm looking forward to putting those skills to work on this challenging issue for the state of Wisconsin."

For more information about industrial sand mining in Wisconsin, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for key words "sand mining."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Roberta Walls, 608-785-9272; Andrew Savagian, communications, 608-261-6422

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, July 21, 2015




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