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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published April 5, 2016

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2016 Spring Wildlife and Fisheries rules hearings April 11

Contact(s): George Althoff, DNR spokesperson, 608-267-2773 or Kari Lee-Zimmermann, DNR/Conservation Congress liaison, 608-266-0580

Hearings and Conservation Congress meetings held in each county of the state

MADISON - People interested in natural resources management in Wisconsin have an opportunity to provide their input by non-binding vote and testimony on proposed rule changes and advisory questions relating to fish and wildlife management at the 2016 spring wildlife and fisheries rules hearings. The hearings will be held in each county [PDF] beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 11.

Due to changes in process for establishing new administrative rules, this year the Department of Natural Resources is only recommending a limited number of rule change proposals. There are eight statewide wildlife questions and two statewide fisheries questions, as well as advisory questions from the state Natural Resources Board and Wisconsin Conservation Congress.

The complete 2016 spring rules hearings questionnaire [PDF] is available for review on the DNR website by searching keywords "spring hearings" and at local DNR service centers. Individuals without internet access may be able to view the online questionnaire by visiting their local library.

County residents also have the option to run for a seat on the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, or elect other delegates from their county to represent their county views regarding natural resources on the Conservation Congress. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is officially recognized as the only advisory body in the state where citizens elect delegates to represent their interests on natural resources issues on a local and statewide level to the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources.

Individuals will also have the opportunity to bring forth new conservation ideas or issues to the attention of the Conservation Congress through the citizen resolution process.

Two of the statewide wildlife questions relate to allowing the unattended, overnight placement of portable stands and blinds on department owned and managed lands located north of State Hwy. 64. Two questions relate to issuing antlerless deer hunting permits on a first-come, first-served basis as is currently done or through a random drawing, which would include an application deadline and preference categories for people who are unsuccessful in previous drawings. Two questions relate to the recently adopted Beaver Management Plan and whether the beaver and otter season should be shortened to meet management goals. Another question would establish that legal hours for taking game be referred to as "shooting hours" rather than "hunting hours" in regulations.

The two statewide fisheries questions both relate to establishing a process separate from spring hearings that would allow for more quickly making changes to the most common or "statewide" regulation for a specific fish species on inland waters to more quickly respond to changing conditions or fish consumption advisories.

Meeting results, along with written comments on the evening's questions and DNR recommendations are used to advise the state Natural Resources Board. Votes are non-binding and are presented to the Natural Resources Board as advisory.



Work*Play*Earth Day events to be held around the state in 2016

Contact(s): Patty Loosen, DNR Parks Program Friends Coordinator, 608-264-8994; Paul Holtan, Communications, 608-235-2126

Sample Caption and Alt Text
Tree planting is one of the main activities at Work*Play*Earth Day events. Here volunteers planted new trees in the new family campground at the Buckhorn State Park last year
Photo Credit: WDNR

MADISON - The public will have more opportunities than ever to celebrate Earth Day while helping out and enjoying a Wisconsin state park, forest, trail or wildlife property during the eighth annual Work*Play*Earth Day events that will be held around the state.

This year there are 29 properties holding events, up from 25 in 2015. Volunteer events are sponsored by the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks and Department of Natural Resources properties. This year events will be held April 16, 22, 23, 30 and May 7.

Volunteers of all ages can help out at their favorite state park.
Volunteers of all ages can help out at their favorite state park.
Photo Credit: WDNR

Volunteers can join DNR staff, local friends group members, and people from nearby communities to help repair and enhance park, forest and trail properties.

"We've seen continued growth in both number of events and the numbers of participants at our Work*Play*Earth*Day events," said Patty Loosen, friends coordinator for the state parks program. "Last year we had 780 volunteers participate donating more than 2,550 hours."

In addition to tree planting, other activities taking place around the state include installing benches, removing invasive plants, painting picnic tables and other structures, raking and cleaning up leaves and picking up litter. Refreshments are often provided and Friends of Wisconsin State Parks will also provide appreciation gifts for volunteers.

Hours vary by event, but most begin either at 9 or 10 a.m. and run through noon or early afternoon.

"When the work is done, volunteers join staff in hiking or biking park trails, visiting nature centers or interpretive displays, or enjoying any of the recreational opportunities available at the different properties," Loosen said.

Saturday - April 16

Friday - April 22

Saturday - April 23

Saturday - April 30

Saturday - May 7



Go Wild system offers new options, changes in tagging as hunters get set for turkey season

Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist; 608-267-7861,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, 60-770-8084,

MADISON -- Spring turkey season gets underway this weekend with the youth hunt set for Saturday and Sunday, April 9-10 and six individual hunting periods between April 13 and May 24.

In addition to the new purchasing options made possible by the Department of Natural Resources' Go Wild licensing system, hunters will see other changes relating to validation and tagging of certain species such as turkey.

Due to
Spring turkey hunters need to be aware of changes in license and tagging requirements under the new Go Wild licensing system. 
Photo Credit: WDNR

The system has eliminated the use of thermal paper licenses and allows customers in most circumstances to show proof of their licenses with an optional Conservation Card, a verified Wisconsin driver's license, a paper printout or a PDF displayed on a mobile device.

Print your own tags or stop by a DNR service center or vendor

In addition to one of the forms of licensing proof, turkey hunters need a paper printout of their turkey carcass tag. Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, said the Go Wild system requires turkey hunters to print carcass tags directly from their account. There is no more waiting for carcass tags to arrive by mail.

"Hunters can now print tags at home, or stop at a DNR service center or vendor to have a representative print the tags," Witecha said. "If you did not print the carcass tag upon the initial purchase, or if you need a duplicate copy, simply log back into the Go Wild system to print the tag."

Other important steps for turkey hunters this year:

"This information replaces the tagging instructions contained in the spring 2016 regulations pamphlets, which were printed before the Go Wild system was fully developed," Witecha said. "Turkey numbers look strong for the spring season and we wish everyone a safe and successful hunt."

Youth turkey hunt set for April 9-10

Youth ages 12-15 who have completed hunter education may hunt during the youth hunt on April 9 and 10 while accompanied by an adult over the age of 18. In addition, thanks to the Mentored Hunting Program, turkey hunters ages 10 and 11 may also participate in the 2016 youth turkey hunt without first having completed hunter education, as long as they do so with a qualified adult mentor and follow program rules.

Each youth hunter must have a valid spring 2016 turkey harvest permit, license and Wild Turkey Stamp, and may hunt in the Turkey Management Zone for which their permit is valid, regardless of the time period for which their permit is issued. Youth hunters may harvest only one male or bearded turkey during the two-day hunt.

Youth who do not successfully harvest a turkey during the youth hunt may use their unfilled permit during the time period and in the zone for which the permit was issued. All other spring turkey hunting regulations apply.

Spring turkey periods run for seven days

In 2016, the spring turkey season will run from April 13 through May 24, with six seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. A total of seven zones and Fort McCoy will be open for hunting.

Hunters are reminded that spring turkey permits are no longer available in any of the previous state park hunting zones following a 2014 rule change. While these permits have been eliminated, state parks will remain open for spring turkey hunting during the first three time periods only, and have been absorbed into surrounding turkey management zones. For example, a hunter wishing to hunt within Governor Dodge State Park, previously Zone 1A, may still do so with a Zone 1 permit. For more information regarding hunting within state parks, visit and search keywords "hunting state parks."

A limited number of Turkey Hunter Education Clinics are being offered this spring in southeastern Wisconsin. For more information, search keywords "turkey clinics."

The Go Wild system is part of a larger DNR campaign to encourage people to head outdoors and enjoy the numerous recreational opportunities made possible by the sound management of Wisconsin's natural resources. GoWild.WI.Gov acts as a portal to help plan adventures with links to information on hunting and fishing opportunities, Wisconsin's unparalleled network of state parks, trails and natural areas and a variety of maps.

For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, search keyword "turkey."



DNR hosts public presentation of the Little Plover River Groundwater Model Study

Contact(s): Dan Helsel, DNR natural resource manager,, 715-284-1431; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications,, 608-770-8084

STEVENS POINT, Wis. - Citizens and stakeholders are invited to learn more about the recently completed Little Plover River Groundwater Model and Optimization Study at an informational meeting hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on April 12, 2016.

Ken Bradbury, director and state geologist with UW-Extension's Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and Michael Fienen, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Wisconsin Water Science Center, will present the results of their two-year study of the Little Plover River groundwater system.

DNR contracted for the study, which builds on the work of other hydrogeologists and existing stream and high capacity well data. The study uses state-of-the-art groundwater and optimization modeling software to simulate the Little Plover River groundwater and surface water flow system, said Dan Helsel, the DNR natural resources manager who coordinated the project for the department.

"Stakeholders from all sides of the groundwater use issue recognize the expertise of Ken Bradbury and Michael Fienen," Helsel said. "The model they have created represents the best available science and will help inform future management decisions."

The principal investigators worked closely with a technical resource team composed of hydrogeologists representing the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, the Central Sands Water Action Coalition, the River Alliance of Wisconsin and the village of Plover, among others.

The study provides a science-based tool to evaluate different water management actions and their impact on the flow of the Little Plover River. The methodology can be applied to study the impacts of multiple high capacity wells in other areas of the state.

"With the creation of this tool, DNR is positioned to work with stakeholders to evaluate and implement different scenarios that make meaningful changes to optimize a healthy river flow," said Helsel.

The informational meeting is being hosted by the DNR, Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey at the request of state Sens. Julie Lassa, Luther Olsen and Robert Cowles and Reps. Katrina Shankland, Scott Krug and Nancy VanderMeer. It will be held Tuesday, April 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Noel Fine Arts Center, Michelsen Hall, NFAC 270, 1800 Portage Street, UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI 54481.

To learn more about the watershed, visit and search "Plover and Little Plover Rivers."



DNR announces new wetland restoration grants

Contact(s): Matthew Matrise, DNR wetland in-lieu fee coordinator, (262) 574-2124,; Jennifer Sereno, DNR communications, (608) 770-8084,

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has created a new grant program to fund wetland restoration, enhancement and preservation projects.

Wetlands serve as nurseries for fish and wildlife, help purify surface and groundwater and reduce flooding. It is possible to restore wetlands that have been drained or filled in the past, as well as improve the health of existing wetlands. The Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust provides funds to complete projects that preserve, enhance and restore wetland resources.
Wetlands serve as nurseries for fish and wildlife, help purify surface and groundwater and reduce flooding. It is possible to restore wetlands that have been drained or filled in the past, as well as improve the health of existing wetlands. The Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust provides funds to complete projects that preserve, enhance and restore wetland resources.
Photo Credit: WDNR

The program is open to Wisconsin landowners, nonprofit conservation organizations, Wisconsin tribes and any entity registered with the Department of Financial Institutions.

Program funding comes from DNR's new in-lieu fee mitigation program, which was approved in November 2014 to expand mitigation options statewide by providing permit applicants another compensatory mitigation option to offset permitted wetland impacts within the same watershed where they occurred. The first funding cycle of this new grant program includes approximately $5.2 million that has been paid into the program as a result of permitted developments and divided among five of the 12 service area watersheds that make up the statewide in-lieu fee program.

"We are excited to provide a new opportunity to engage the public and other conservation partners in our collective efforts to restore, enhance and preserve wetland functions across Wisconsin," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp.

Matt Matrise, DNR coordinator for the in-lieu fee program, said program guidance for the new Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust Grant Program was prepared following public input opportunities this past December. Applications will be accepted until the May 16, 2016 deadline.

There are no specific minimum grant sizes, but funding levels are limited to the announced dollar amounts in each watershed service area. Projects could range from restoration of agriculture crop lands to return them to their previous wetland condition, removal of wetland invasive species and improvements of hydrology to preservation of high quality wetland resources.

For more information on the grant program, visit and search for "grants." Navigate to the "Conservation and Wildlife" funding category to locate the new "Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust" program.



Field trips and frog call-filled nights are found in Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine's April issue

Contact(s): Natasha Kassulke at (608) 261-8446

MADISON - Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine staff are literally leaping for joy over the April issue's frog-filled cover, which teases the new Wisconsin Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin field trip offerings, and pays tribute to 35 years of monitoring frogs and toads in Wisconsin.

Another anniversary is celebrated in "Connecting people to the wonder of Wisconsin," relaying the important work of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin over 30 years of partnering with DNR.

If those stories don't get you jazzed for spring, read on to learn about "The Great Wisconsin Birdathon," connect to internationally important Wisconsin wetlands in "Ecological treasures," and follow the nearly fatal battle between sandhill crane chick siblings in "Chick fight."

Teaching youth about conservation -- and learning something from them in the process -- are the subjects of "Drawing the future of conservation," "Teach a girl to hunt" and "iPhone, iPad, I Surrender."

Discover the rare species you might find at the Red Bands Alvar State Natural in "Sparse and special," and then follow a bicyclist on his adventures in northern Wisconsin in "Wisconsin Traveler." The "Back in the day" column pokes some fun at a former pathologist for the U.S. Forest Service, who thought trailer camping posed a serious threat to national parks and forests and called for it to be stopped.

This issue contains the popular annual insert, the Wisconsin Fishing Forecast, to get readers ready to cast a line, put some fish in the pan and leave the winter behind.

The magazine also publishes an e-newsletter "Previews and Reviews" to keep its readers informed about upcoming stories and past articles. Sign up to receive the e-newsletter and other email using the subscribe to updates for DNR topics button in the footer of the DNR website. (Under the Publications box, select Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine).

Not a subscriber? Here's what you are missing:

Already a subscriber? Remember to consider Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine as a thoughtful and inexpensive gift that gives all year - Mother's Day, Father's Day, a thoughtful graduation gift. Share what you value about the outdoors with family, friends, customers and professional colleagues. Subscribe toll-free at 1-800-678-9472, online at or by mail. Subscription blanks and single issues are also available from our circulation office at P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.



Video contest for June invasive species awareness month

Contact(s): Dougal Walker, 608-267-7057 or

MADISON -- June 2016 marks Wisconsin's 12th Annual Invasive Species Awareness Month. In celebration, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council are hosting a video contest encouraging participants to show how they protect the places they play from invasive species.

The goal of the annual video contest is to increase awareness of invasive species and to teach people how to prevent their spread in these habitats.

Participants can submit their videos by visiting the "Invasive Species Video Contest" page. Videos should be less than two minutes. Additional contest rules and guidelines can be found on the entry form. Winning entries will be shown at the Invader Crusader Awards ceremony on June 9, 2016.

Video submissions will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on May 30, 2016.


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 05, 2016

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