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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published February 16, 2016

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DNR and key partners lay the groundwork to bolster Jackson County elk herd

Contact(s): Kevin Wallenfang, 608-261-7589; Tom Hauge, DNR Wildlife Management Bureau director, 608-266-2193; Bob Nack, DNR big game section chief, 608-264-6137

40 elk captured in second year of elk translocation project

MADISON - The second year of Wisconsin's elk reintroduction effort is now complete for the 2016 season, and 40 elk currently await transport to their new home in Jackson County.

The elk are currently being held in a pen in Kentucky, where they receive daily care and monitoring. They will undergo a stringent quarantine and health testing period of at least 120 days, including an acclimation period in Wisconsin, before their release into the area in and around the Black River State Forest of Jackson County.

The goal of the project is to establish a second herd in central Wisconsin, similar to the existing herd in northern Wisconsin, pictured here earlier this winter.
The goal of the reintroduction project is to establish a second elk herd in central Wisconsin, similar to the existing herd in northern Wisconsin--pictured here earlier this winter--which wildlife biologists hope to bolster with future reintroduction efforts. 
Photo Credit: WDNR Laine Stowell

"With two elk herds now on the landscape, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and our partners will continue efforts to bring more elk to Wisconsin, and in the process, give the people of Wisconsin yet another reason to head into the outdoors and explore everything Wisconsin has to offer," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp.

In year two, DNR and partner staff spent roughly five weeks capturing elk in eastern Kentucky, working cooperatively with Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources staff. An earlier start, access to lands with good elk numbers, and good weather conditions resulted in a higher capture success than the 26 elk transported to Wisconsin in 2015.

"We are very happy with how things went in the second year of this project," said Tom Hauge, DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management director. "The majority of this year's class are females, including many adult cows that are likely carrying calves -- this should bode well for herd growth during the early years of the project. Both Wisconsin and Kentucky's wildlife professionals worked extremely hard with safety of the elk and staff as the top priority during the trapping effort."

Jackson County elk herd

In year one of the translocation project, 23 elk were released in eastern Jackson County. Fifteen of the original Jackson County herd remains, with eight elk lost to vehicle accidents and predation since their release in August 2015.

Wisconsin's elk reintroduction is a multi-year effort with an overall goal of bringing up to 150 elk from Kentucky. The 2016 trapped elk will again be released in Jackson County, while the remaining years of the project will focus on adding up to 75 elk to the Clam Lake elk herd that was established in 1995. The Clam Lake herd began with 25 animals and has grown to approximately 155 elk.

To receive email updates regarding current translocation efforts, visit and click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select the "elk in Wisconsin" and "wildlife projects" distribution lists.

For more information regarding elk in Wisconsin, visit and search keyword "elk."



DNR Lake Michigan experts to speak at Great Lakes Fishery Commission meeting in Milwaukee

Contact(s): Brad Eggold, DNR southern Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor, 414-382-7921,; Terry Margenau, DNR Lake Superior fisheries supervisor, 715-779-4035,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,

MILWAUKEE - Fisheries biologists from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will be among those presenting information at the upcoming Upper Lake Committees Meeting sponsored annually by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

The Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron Committees meet to assess the status of fish communities, discuss Great Lakes issues and plan future management activities.

The Upper Lake Committees meeting will be held March 21-23 at the Intercontinental Milwaukee. Brad Eggold, DNR southern Lake Michigan fisheries supervisor, said the meeting will feature a presentation on the "State of Lake Michigan."

The Lake Michigan committee session runs from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 5 p.m. on March 22 and wraps up from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on March 23. In addition to the Lake Michigan report, state residents with an interest in Lake Superior will be able to learn more during a meeting of the Lake Superior committee from 11 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. on March 23.

"This is a unique opportunity for Wisconsin residents -- especially anglers -- to come and hear talks on a variety of Lake Michigan topics," said Eggold. "Through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Wisconsin DNR works in partnership with agencies from other states, the province of Ontario and tribal governments to collaboratively manage the Great Lakes fishery, which is worth more than $7 billion annually. This year, we're pleased to see that Lake Michigan will be a major focus of the discussion."

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission was established in 1955. It coordinates fisheries research and conducts efforts to control the invasive sea lamprey. A guiding principle of the commission is that Great Lakes resources must be managed as a whole - a principle borne out by the movement of fish and unwanted aquatic invaders throughout lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie. More information about the commission is available on their website at (exit DNR).

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission Upper Lake Committees Meeting is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending are asked to contact Haley Tober of the commission at or 734-669-3014.

To learn more about Wisconsin's management of the Lake Michigan fishery, search the DNR website, for "Fishing Lake Michigan." From the Fishing Lake Michigan page, anglers can access additional information on annual trout and salmon spawning activity by visiting pages for the Root River Report, Strawberry Creek Weir Report and Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility Report. These pages include a subscribe feature that allows anglers to receive notifications and timely reports.

To learn more about Wisconsin's management of the Lake Superior fishery, search "Fishing Lake Superior," where anglers can access additional information on annual trout and salmon spawning activity by visiting pages for the Brule River fishery, or Fishing the Brule River.



Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas seeks more volunteers for largest bird survey in state history

Contact(s): Nick Anich, DNR breeding bird atlas coordinator, 715-685-2930; Ryan Brady, WBCI bird monitoring coordinator, 715- 685-2933

Sets date for season 2 kickoff meeting in Wausau

ASHLAND, Wis. - With Wisconsin's earliest nesting birds already tending to nests, organizers of a statewide breeding bird survey are looking to recruit new birders to their volunteer corps, gathering information that will guide bird conservation efforts for the next generation.

They're inviting birders to report the activities of great horned owls, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, common ravens and other early nesting species, and to register now for the April 1-3 conference near Wausau that will kick off the second year of Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II (exit DNR).

 Get involved in Wisconsin's breeding bird survey by reporting the behaviors of great horned owls, like this one, and other early nesting species.
Get involved in Wisconsin's breeding bird survey by reporting the behaviors of great horned owls, like this one, and other early nesting species.
Photo Credit: Nick Anich

"We've had tremendous volunteer response to the project in the first year, but with four years of field work remaining there is still much to be done. We need the help of all Wisconsin birders, whether far afield or in their own backyards" says Ryan Brady, science coordinator for the atlas survey and research scientist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

More than 700 volunteers documented over 1.8 million birds of 229 species in the first year of the five-year survey to document breeding bird distribution and abundance. Brady and other organizers hope to grow their volunteer base to more than 1,000 participants in 2016.

"Our April kickoff meeting is a great way to learn more if you are new to the Atlas and a great way to get questions answered if you have already participated," says William Mueller, director of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, one of the groups leading the Atlas effort.

"People will be able to fine-tune their knowledge in preparation for our second year of the survey."

All birders welcome to participate

"Birders of all skill levels can participate in the Atlas," says Nick Anich, lead coordinator of the atlas survey and conservation biologist with DNR. "To make sure everyone is up to speed, we offer online and live training sessions for birders new to the project, as well as field trip opportunities and symposium-style events like our upcoming season two kickoff conference."

Even veteran birders see tremendous growth in their birding through participation in the survey, with many reporting the Atlas helped them "slow down" while birding and led to an increased awareness of bird behavior, song and habitat, Anich says.

Survey participants collect data by observing birds, noting the date and location, and entering their sightings online into an eBird database specially developed for the project by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The records are then checked by a team of professional and volunteer ornithologists. When the project is completed the data will be published in a hard-copy book and online, and the dataset will be available for use by researchers, land managers, and others working to conserve birds and their habitats.

Attend the Season 2 Kickoff April 1-3

All new and returning atlas contributors are encouraged to attend the Season 2 Kickoff taking place April 1-3 at the Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center in Rothschild, Wis. The weekend event will feature field trips, specialized training geared to both first-time and returning atlas contributors, tips from the experts, eBird workshops and more.

Advance registration is $25 and includes snacks and Saturday lunch, plus a complimentary Atlas travel mug or bottle. Advance registration must be completed by March 12, though walk-ins are welcome to attend the event for $35.

For a complete list of events and speakers, and full registration details, visit (exit DNR).

To learn more about how you can support or participate in the survey, visit (exit DNR).

Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II is led by the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology, the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, and DNR.



Natural Resources Board to meet February 24 in Madison

Contact(s): Laurie Ross, board liaison, 608-267-7420

MADISON - Approval of recommendations for the second phase of Department of Natural Resources land sales to occur under the direction of the 2013-15 state biennial budget bill and adoption of an emergency board order for proposed rules related to modernizing the automated system for issuing recreational license products are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets Feb. 24 in Madison.

Other items include: a request to initiate a 15-year master plan review process for the Brule River State Forest and initiate a master plan amendment process for the remaining six Northern State Forests specific to motorized road access and land management classifications; and a request approval of the statement of scope for proposed rules related to establishing the 2016 migratory bird hunting seasons.

The complete February board agenda is available by searching the DNR website, for keyword "NRB" and clicking on the button for "view agendas."

The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 South Webster St., Madison.

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting. The deadline to register to testify or submit written comments for this business meeting is 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2016. More information about NRB public participation is available on the DNR website.

Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the Internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month's meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.



Invader Crusader Award nomination period opens

Contact(s): Dougal Walker, 608-267-7057 or visit the DNR site and search keyword "invasives."

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Invasive Species Council has announced the 12th annual Invader Crusader Awards for the upcoming Invasive Species Awareness Month in June. Invader Crusader Awards honor Wisconsin citizens and organizations for their significant contributions to prevent, control or eradicate invasive species that harm Wisconsin land, water and wetlands.

Nominations are now being accepted for individuals, groups or organizations for their efforts to address issues surrounding terrestrial and aquatic invasive species. The Invader Crusader Awards are open to both volunteers and professionals of any age.

To nominate, fill out the nomination form available at the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council's Invader Crusader web page [exit DNR] and email it to Applications are due by Friday, March 18, 2016.

The Wisconsin Invasive Species Council will review the nomination materials and select the award winners. All nominators and the winners will be notified by late April. Recipients of the awards will be recognized at a ceremony on June 9, 2016 at the Horicon Marsh Education Center in Horicon, WI. Award recipients will be announced on the Invasive Species Awareness Month website [exit DNR].


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 16, 2016

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