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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published December 13, 2016

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Reminder: No ice is safe ice; ask locals for conditions

Contact(s): Joanne Haas, DNR Bureau of Law Enforcment, 608-209-8147

MADISON -- Wisconsin again is witnessing winter's annual sudden and severe arrival, dropping snow and temperatures to form early-season ice on ponds, lakes and rivers. The Department of Natural Resources reminds winter enthusiasts that ice should never be considered safe and early season ice conditions varies from waterbody to waterbody.

Outdoor enthusiasts - cross-country skiers, ice fishers, hikers and snowmobilers - are urged to ask local businesses and sporting organizations about the area's ice conditions before they go on the ice and be prepared if they do venture out.

The recent storms have brought sub-zero temperatures into the state, which are just starting the process of forming ice on lakes, flowages and ponds.

The DNR does not monitor ice conditions, making it individual's responsibility to learn those conditions. Good sources of local ice conditions include bait store operators, fishing clubs around lakes, ice fishers and snowmobile clubs. These are the places locally most likely to have the most current information about the lakes and areas.

The ice conditions on any lake can vary from location to location. Remember, even though it may look thick on the surface, moving water from streams, rivers and springs can cause ice to form unevenly.

People who do venture out on the ice should:

If you go through the ice:

The DNR also has information on its website about what to do should you fall through the ice and how to make ice claws. Learn more by searching the DNR website for "ice safety."



Prune trees in winter to help prevent oak wilt

Contact(s): Don Kissinger: 715.359-5793 or Paul Cigan 715.416-4920

MADISON - Now is a good time for tree pruning, when temperatures are cold, according to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources tree health experts.

Oak wilt prevention
An oak dying from and an oak killed by oak wilt.
An oak dying from and an oak killed by oak wilt.
Photo Credit: DNR

"Pruning is a good practice to help create or maintain good branch structure and minimize many tree pest and disease problems. However, if you are going to prune oak trees, it is important to do it in winter to prevent introduction of oak wilt," said Paul Cigan, DNR Forest Health Specialist for northwest Wisconsin. This is because:

To help reduce the spread of oak wilt another way, do not move firewood. "Many oak wilt infections in new areas are likely the result of infected firewood or other raw oak wood being moved from areas with oak wilt," according to Cigan.

Oak wilt is commonly found in the southern two-thirds of the state. It is creeping north, but is still uncommon in much of northern Wisconsin. Taking precautions to prevent the spread of oak wilt will help keep it that way. "This is a current problem for which we can still make a difference," according to Cigan.

More information is available on pruning, oak wilt and firewood

Trees should be pruned throughout their life to maintain strong structure and remove dead wood. "Pruning should not remove more than 25 percent of the live crown of a tree. The lower third of trunks of deciduous trees should be free of limbs," said DNR Urban Forester Don Kissinger.

Find the DNR pruning brochure at, search "tree pruning" [PDF]. Certified arborists who offer pruning and other tree care services can be found at (exit DNR). For more information search the DNR website, for keywords oak wilt and firewood.



Incidental take notice for statewide transmission line project

Contact(s): Rori Paloski, 608-264-6040, DNR Natural Heritage Conservation or Paul Holtan, 608-267-7517, DNR Office of Communications

MADISON -- The Badger Coulee Transmission Line Project (Segments 5-8) may result in the "incidental taking" of a rare lizard and snake under an authorization the Department of Natural Resources proposes to issue for the project. Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the overall population of the species at risk.

The Badger Coulee 345 kV Transmission Line Project is a new transmission line between northern La Crosse County and northern Dane County. The Project is jointly owned by American Transmission Company; Dairyland Power Cooperative; Northern States Power Company, a Wisconsin corporation; SMMPA Wisconsin, LLC (SMMPA Wisconsin), and WPPI Energy. ATC will be the Project's construction manager, acting on behalf of itself and its co-owners.

The project is a new, predominantly single-circuit 345 kilovolt (kV) transmission line between northern La Crosse County and northern Dane County. In the La Crosse area, the line will connect to the Briggs Road Substation in the town of Onalaska. In Dane County, the line will connect to the North Madison Substation in the Town of Vienna and continue to its termination at the Cardinal Substation in the Town of Middleton. The project consists of eight construction segments (Segments 1 through 8) and also extends through Columbia, Sauk, Juneau, Monroe, Jackson, and Trempealeau counties for a total length of approximately 187 miles. This proposed Incidental Take Authorization only covers Segments 5-8 of the Badger Coulee Transmission Line

The presence of the state endangered slender glass lizard (Ophisaurus attenuatus) and state endangered/federally threatened eastern massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus) has been confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some lizards and snakes.

Department staff concluded that the proposed project will minimize the impacts to the species by adhering to conservation measures; is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence and recovery of the state population of the species or the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part; and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.

The conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the slender glass lizard and eastern massasauga are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Rori Paloski (608-264-6040 or The department is requesting comments from the public through Jan. 13, 2017. Public comments should be sent to Rori Paloski, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921or


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, December 13, 2016

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