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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published March 1, 2016

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Lower Wisconsin State Riverway draft master plan available for review

Contact(s): Ann Freiwald, DNR property planner, 608-266-2132; Sawyer Briel, DNR communications, 608-282-5334

Open House meetings will be held in March to gather public comments

MADISON -- The draft master plan for the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, including Tower Hill State Park, is now available for public review and comment through April 8, 2016.

The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway was established by the Wisconsin State Legislature in 1989, and consists of a 92-mile river corridor stretching from Prairie du Sac to the Mississippi River. It is one of the longest remaining stretches of free-flowing river in the Midwest.

The Riverway is rich in high quality habitats and rare plant and wildlife species and includes miles of meandering shoreline and sandbars, tall bluffs, backwater ponds, and acres of wetlands, prairie and forests. Recreational opportunities are diverse, and include canoeing, camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, wildlife watching and mushroom picking. The current master plan for the property was approved in 1988.

Tower Hill State Park is a 75 acre park located on the south shore of the lower Wisconsin River. The park has unique historical features as well as a carry-in launch, picnic area with an enclosed shelter, and small campground. This master plan includes management guidance for both Tower Hill State Park and the Riverway.

The revised plan maintains the range of recreational uses on the Riverway that people have enjoyed for decades while adding many enhancements and new facilities. The plan maintains and improves game habitat and hunting opportunities, particularly opportunities for deer, turkey and pheasant hunting. There will be improvements in hunter access, including opportunities for hunters with mobility issues. Fishing access for both shore and boat fishing will be improved at a number of locations up and down the Riverway. DNR managed river boat landings will receive improvements, often including day-use facilities.

The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Draft Master Plan & Environmental analysis [PDF] is available on the DNR website and physical copies are available for viewing during public hours at the Fitchburg DNR Service Center, Dodgeville DNR Service Center and the State Natural Resources Building and the following public libraries:

Each session will include a short presentation by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff at 5:45 p.m.

Public comments can be submitted at an open house, posted online, or sent via email to

For more information and to submit comments, search the DNR website,, for keywords "master planning," and select "Lower Wisconsin State Riverway."



Donations to Endangered Resources Fund double the difference for rare prairies

Contact(s): Owen Boyle, species management section chief, (608) 266-5244; Jim Woodford, (715) 365-8856

Income tax check-off an easy way to care for wildlife and wild places

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- For nearly a quarter century, Bob Swartz and other directors of the Paul E. Stry Foundation have helped save bluff prairies in Wisconsin and other nature areas by donating money directly to the Endangered Resources Fund.

"To buy a prairie and just own it doesn't preserve it. DNR has the staff, the equipment and the mission to do it," says Swartz.

So foundation directors have donated to the fund every year since the 1990s to benefit state natural areas in western Wisconsin.

Their investment has allowed the Department of Natural Resources to establish a crew of conservation biologists who conduct prescribed burns, control invasive species, and take other measures to maintain DNR-owned natural areas that represent the best remaining examples of more than 100 different kinds of prairies, oak savannas, wetlands and forests in Wisconsin and are a haven for rare plants and animals.

Such direct donations are just one way that people and organizations can help care for Wisconsin's wild places and native plants and animals. Perhaps the easiest way to donate is through the checkoff on Wisconsin state income tax form.

Every year, about 10,000 people fill in a donation amount on the form next to the Endangered Resources Fund line, and their donation is matched dollar for dollar.

Private donations that helped fund restoration at Hogback Prairie State Natural Area in Crawford County have resulted in the state endangered regal fritillary butterfly using this habitat for the first time in likely 20 years.
Private donations that helped fund restoration at Hogback Prairie State Natural Area in Crawford County have resulted in the state endangered regal fritillary butterfly using this habitat for the first time in likely 20 years.
Photo Credit: Armund Bartz

"Your donation, big or small, makes a huge difference for Wisconsin wildlife and natural areas and we are grateful to everyone who has contributed over the years," says Erin Crain-Sullivan, deputy director of the DNR Fish, Wildlife and Parks Division. "Together, we can do more."

Private donations and the state match they secure are critical for funding work to manage nongame species and state natural areas; they can provide more than a quarter of the annual funding available annually for work by DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation staff.

To learn more about NHC funding, the work those donations paid for in 2015, and the impact of those efforts, please read "Conserving Wisconsin's Natural Heritage Together," the Natural Heritage Conservation Program's 2015 annual report.

Other ways to donate to the Endangered Resources Fund

There are other ways to donate to work to manage nongame species and maintain state natural areas. Online donations and checks payable to the Endangered Resources Fund allow people to direct where they want their funding to go: state natural areas; bats, birds, reptiles and amphibians; insects and aquatic species; plants and natural communities, or the general fund.

Both of these options also allow for the matching money, allowing the donor to double their impact on behalf of native species and natural areas.

Donate online by going to, searching "NHC" and clicking on the donate button.

If you prefer to write a check, make your check payable to the "Endangered Resources Fund" and send to: Wisconsin DNR Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, PO Box 7921, Madison WI 53707-7921

Finally, buying an Endangered Resources license plate provides an annual $25 donation to the Endangered Resources Fund. A new eagle design joins the wolf design and both plates can be purchased at any time -- no need to wait for registration renewal.

To learn more and print off the application form to get the plate, go to and search "eagle plate."



Head to the MacKenzie Center April 2 for this year's Maple Syrup Festival

Contact(s): Ruth Ann Lee, DNR educator, 608-635-8112; Chrystal Seeley-Schreck, DNR educator, 608-635-8112

POYNETTE, Wis. - Free guided tours of the sugar bush, demonstrations of how to tap a maple tree for sap and how to make syrup are among the fun-filled activities planned at the annual Maple Syrup Festival at the MacKenzie Center near Poynette. The educational event for families will be held Saturday, April 2 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

The festival also features interpretative talks about how some Native Americans and pioneers made maple sugar and syrup as well as current methods used in the MacKenzie sugar bush. This year, visitors will get to explore the newly built Ciporoke (pronounced Chee-poe-doe-kay) a typical spring home used by members of the Ho-Chunk Nation in historic sugar bushes. The dwelling was built this year by representatives from the Ho-Chunk Nation and volunteers and staff at the MacKenzie Center.

Tapping maple trees is one of the demonstrations available at the annual Maple Syrup Festival at the MacKenzie Center.
Tapping maple trees is one of the demonstrations available at the annual Maple Syrup Festival at the MacKenzie Center.
Photo Credit: WDNR

"This is a great way to celebrate the beginning of spring," said RuthAnn Lee, educator at the MacKenzie Center. "It is a wonderful event to learn about the Sugar Maple tree and the unique process of making maple syrup in our Wisconsin climate."

Participants will have the opportunity to watch home-made ice cream being churned with an antique engine; listen to live, old-time, country music; and take a horse-drawn wagon ride. In addition, the wildlife area, which includes animals native to Wisconsin, and the historic exhibits on property will be open.

A pancake breakfast, sponsored by Friends of MacKenzie will be served from 8 a.m. until noon at the Main Lodge. The cost is $7 for those 12 years old and older, and $5 for ages 3 through 11. Refreshments, maple products, and souvenirs will be sold by the Friends of MacKenzie. The Friends will also draw the winners for their raffle at noon.

Important Times:

The MacKenzie Center is located 2 miles east of Poynette on County Road CS/Q. For more information search the DNR website,, for keyword "MacKenzie." Maple Syrup Festival is hosted by the Friends of MacKenzie and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.



City tree champions from throughout Wisconsin lauded for outstanding community service

Contact(s): Sara Minkoff, Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council liaison, 608-264-6039,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 608-770-8084,

MADISON, Wis. - Six individuals and organizations earned recognition from the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council for their efforts to protect, preserve and increase the number of trees that line city streets, fill community parks and beautify neighborhoods throughout the state.

The Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council advises the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry on the best ways to manage urban and community forest resources. The awards are a way to recognize and thank individuals and organizations for their work and commitment to the trees, plantings, habitat and economic benefits they provide, said Kristin Gies, co-chair of the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council's award committee.

Following are recipients of the awards, which were announced recently at the 2016 Wisconsin Arborist Association/DNR conference in Green Bay.

Interested in previous winners? Have ideas for nominees? The deadline for 2017 nominees is Oct. 31, 2016. However, you can nominate your community tree champions any time. Learn more by visiting and searching for the Wisconsin Urban Forestry Council.



2017 state park sticker design contest open

Contact(s): Paul Holtan, Wisconsin State Parks, Forest and Trails public affairs manager, 608-267-7517

2016 Winning Sticker
2016 Winning Sticker designed by Rachael Wirth, a senior at Appleton North High School.

MADISON - Wisconsin high school students have until April 13, 2016 to submit entries for the 2017 Wisconsin state park sticker design contest. The contest is open to all high school age students (ninth through twelfth grades) attending public, private or parochial schools in Wisconsin. The winning design will be displayed on more than 265,000 vehicles.

The design must be the artist's original creation and cannot be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, clip art or electronic graphic images. Photographs or photo manipulations are not accepted. Contest rules, a design template and entry form are available by searching the Department of Natural Resources website,, for keyword "contest."

The winning design for the 2016 Wisconsin State Parks admission sticker was designed by Rachael Wirth, a senior at Appleton North High School.

Electronic submissions now accepted

Beginning this year, electronic submissions will be accepted as well as hard copy submissions. Students can submit their artwork in one of the two following ways:

  1. Entriesmay be sent electronically via email. Students should scan the completedentry form as a pdf, and email the entry form file along with the designfile (accepted formats are .pdf and .eps) to
  2. Entriesmay be mounted on an 8-by-10-inch white matte or poster board and coveredby clear acetate (or plastic wrap which is secured by tape on thebackside) for protection. Students should not laminate the design. Theentry form must be securely attached to the back. Each entry submitted inthis way must be securely wrapped and mailed to: Sticker Design Contest, DNR/Bureauof Parks & Recreation, PO Box 7921, Madison WI 53707-7921. Entries can also be hand delivered tothe State Natural Resources Building, 101 S Webster St., Madison.



DNR invites entries for trout and salmon stamp contests

Contact(s): Joanna Griffin, DNR trout coordinator,, 608-264-8953; or Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications,, 608-770-8084

MADISON, Wis. - Trout and salmon have been capturing the imagination of artists since at least the time of early cave paintings in France some 14,000 years ago, scholars say.

Will your fish art make modern history?

In celebration of Wisconsin's world class inland trout waters and productive Great Lakes fisheries, the Department of Natural Resources is inviting entries for an inland trout stamp design contest and a Great Lakes salmon and trout stamp design contest for the 2017 year stamps.

"We're excited to offer these contests as a way of recognizing the importance of trout and salmon in Wisconsin's outdoor heritage and our economy," said Justine Hasz, DNR's fisheries bureau chief. "The contests will create greater awareness of the impact of these fisheries while also creating beautiful and lasting images of the fish."

Artwork for the 2017 inland trout stamp contest and Great Lakes salmon and trout stamp contest must be submitted by July 1, 2016. The concurrent contests are open to those ages 18 and older - youth contests are planned for the 2018 editions.

Subject matter for stamps must feature species of trout and salmon found in Wisconsin's waters or appropriate subject matter relating to trout and salmon fishing. Artists are not limited in their choice of colors or medium, but the medium selected must be of permanent quality such as pen and ink, oil, watercolor etching or pencil.

Once the artwork has been submitted, DNR will create an online gallery and open the voting through the Web and Facebook in July. The top 10 entries from the online voting will then move to a final round of judging by a panel of three to five judges with expertise and interest in trout, salmon and wildlife art.

The top three entries will be ranked and put on display at the 2016 Wisconsin State Fair from Thursday, August 4 through Sunday, Aug. 14.

DNR's fisheries program first conducted the inland trout stamp contest in 1978 and the Great Lakes trout and salmon stamp contest in 1982. More than 70 artists participated in the early years of the contests and Hasz said the fisheries program decided to launch the contests again to capture a new generation of creative talent.

Artists are urged to read all contest rules and submission requirements carefully. To learn more, visit and search "Trout Stamp Contest." Entries will be accepted starting immediately and must be delivered or postmarked by July 1, 2016 and sent to the Wisconsin Great Lakes Salmon and Trout Stamp Contest or the Wisconsin Inland Trout Stamp Contest, Attn: Trout Coordinator, Wisconsin DNR (FH/4), Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.

Questions may be directed to Joanna Griffin, DNR trout coordinator at or 608-264-8953.

In addition to purchasing a state fishing license, anglers who wish to pursue trout and salmon must purchase an inland trout stamp or a Great Lakes salmon and trout stamp depending on the waters they intend to fish. Revenue from the stamp sales is used for restoring and maintaining habitat and in the case of the Great Lakes stamp, for stocking and rearing trout and salmon.


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 01, 2016

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