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Weekly News Published - March 27, 2018 by the Central Office

 

County Deer Advisory Councils to gather feedback on season recommendations

Antlerless quota, permit levels, and season structure; final meetings in April

MADISON -- County Deer Advisory Councils will release their preliminary antlerless deer quota, permit level, and season structure recommendations for the 2018 deer hunting season next week. An online public comment period will begin April 2 and run through April 12 to collect feedback on these preliminary recommendations.

To view your county's recommendations and provide feedback, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CDAC."

Antlerless quota recommendations and hunter success rates from previous hunts help determine the number of antlerless tags available for the 2018 deer hunting season, and help the Department of Natural Resources and councils work to reach deer population objectives within their county.

"The impact that CDACs are having on deer hunting in Wisconsin is impressive and growing," said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR big game ecologist. "The public has a real voice in local deer management, and the council members weigh their decisions heavily on public feedback. So, if you have an interest in helping to shape the deer season in your county, this is an important opportunity."

Wallenfang says that CDACs are considering a variety of factors like harvest data, population trends, and winter severity when they discuss harvest objectives and tag levels for 2018.

After the public comment period has ended, each council will reconvene during the week of April 16-19 to evaluate public feedback and determine final recommendations for the 2018 deer seasons which will be adopted by the Natural Resources Board in May. All meetings are open to the public and provide the opportunity for attendees to address the council. Meeting details for each county can be found at dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CDAC."

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Over $34 million in federal funding allocated to Wisconsin for important management activities

HORICON, Wis. -- Wisconsin will receive over $34 million in funding for 2018 generated through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts.

These funds will be used to enhance habitat for fish and wildlife, among other important duties, and help bolster the state's status as a world class outdoor destination. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke visited Horicon Marsh March 20 to announce more than $1.1 billion in annual national funding for state wildlife agencies throughout the nation.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (left) presents a check to Sanjay Olson, DNR Fish, WIldlife and Parks administrator. - Photo credit: DNR
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (left) presents a check for more than $34 million to Sanjay Olson, DNR Fish, Wildlife and Parks Division administrator.Photo credit: DNR

"American sportsmen and women are some of our best conservationists and they contribute billions of dollars toward wildlife conservation and sportsmen access every year through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts," said Secretary Zinke. "The best way to increase funding for conservation and sportsmen access is to increase the number of hunters and anglers in our woods and waters."

PRDJ dollars support a wide range of management activities. These funds, which are distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are derived from excise taxes paid by the hunting, shooting, boating and angling industries on firearms, bows and ammunition and sport fishing tackle, some boat engines, and small engine fuel.

"Whether through ensuring access to fishing spots, managing Wisconsin's many habitat types for wildlife, or supporting any number of other important work done by DNR staff, this federal funding is extremely important to ensuring Wisconsin remains a world class outdoor destination," said Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Daniel L. Meyer. "We greatly value the partnerships we have with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of the Interior."

Wisconsin boaters generate $1.18 billion of economic impact annually, while hunting contributes $2.5 billion annually in economic impact. Angling creates over 21,000 jobs while contributing roughly $2.3 billion to the economy annually.

Allocations of the funds are authorized by Congress. To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has distributed more than $20.2 billion in apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects.

For more information regarding the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, visit wsfrprograms.fws.gov [exit DNR].

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Public meetings set for Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands, and Northwest Lowlands Ecological Landscape regional master plans

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: These meetings have been rescheduled due to a forecast for inclement weather. The Ashland meeting will be April 24 and the Spooner meeting will be held April 25. The public comment period has been extended to May 3. ]

Public comment period open through May 3

ASHLAND, Wis. -- The public will has an opportunity through two upcoming open houses and online information to learn more about the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource's regional master planning process for properties located in three Northwest Wisconsin Ecological Landscapes: Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands, and Northwest Lowlands. The three landscapes fall in portions of Polk, Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer, Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, and Iron Counties.

Copper Falls State Park is one of the properties included in the master planning process for the ecological landscape. - Photo credit: DNR
Copper Falls State Park is one of the properties included in the master planning process for the Northwest Wisconsin ecological landscape.Photo credit: DNR

A master plan, guided by Chapter NR 44, Wisconsin Administrative Code, establishes the level and type of resource management and public use permitted on department-managed properties. Under the regional master planning process, department staff will develop a plan for all properties located within a defined region. The regions are based on 16 previously defined ecological landscapes in Wisconsin, areas with similar ecological attributes and management opportunities. The Natural Resources Board approved the regional planning process at the June 2017 board meeting.

Properties within these three ecological landscapes regions with Chapter NR 44, Wisconsin Administrative Code compliant existing master plans will have their existing plans referenced during the planning process. Approximately 30,000 acres of DNR-managed lands will have new master plans developed. These lands contain a wide-variety of habitats and characteristics. These attributes and include the Apostle Islands and Lake Superior coastal estuaries, cold water streams and spring ponds, and barrens.

The properties in these ecological landscapes are also important in providing recreation opportunity. The popular Copper Falls, Big Bay, Pattison, and Amnicon Falls State Parks will all have master plans developed. A number of properties that provide fishing and hunting opportunities such as the South Shore Lake Superior Fishery Area and Beaver Brook Wildlife Area will also have new plans developed.

People can learn more about and engage in the planning processes for Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands, and Northwest Lowlands regional master plans process online by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "master planning" and selecting the ecological landscape they would like to learn about. In addition to opportunities to learn more about the ecological landscapes and department properties within them; people will also find opportunities to offer their input on the planning and management of the properties.

Two public meetings will be held in early April for the public to learn more about the planning process and to submit comments on the properties' future management and use. Both meetings run from 5 to 7 p.m. and will be held (NOTE: these meetings have been rescheduled):

"People are welcome and encouraged to visit our websites and attend the public meetings to learn about the department's property master planning process and to share their suggestions for future management and use of these properties," said Diane Brusoe, property planning section chief.

In addition to the opportunities to offer input online or at public meetings, people may contact Phil Rynish, DNR planner, by email at phillip.rynish@wisconsin.gov, phone at 608-266-5854, or US mail at Phillip.Rynish@Wisconsin.gov, Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53707-7921.

The public comment period for the first phase of planning is open through May 3, 2018.

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Draft Recreation Opportunity Analysis chapters available for public review and comments

MADISON - The public has an opportunity through May 4 to comment on Recreation Opportunity Analysis that examines existing outdoor-based recreation opportunities and future recreation opportunities in eight regions throughout Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking comments on draft chapters developed from information collected from the public in the fall of 2017 on the following regions:

The public is invited to provide feedback and suggestions on the draft chapters. The draft chapters can be reviewed by visiting dnr.wi.gov, and searching the keyword "ROA." A link to provide feedback is provided on the website. Public feedback for these five draft chapters is open through May 4, 2018.

Wildcat Mountain State Park is one of the properties in the Mississippi Corridor Region of the Recreational Opportunities Analysis. - Photo credit: DNR
Wildcat Mountain State Park is one of the properties in the Mississippi River Corridor Region of the Recreational Opportunities Analysis.Photo credit: DNR

The ROA process has been underway in other regions of the state. Earlier in 2017, the department analyzed and wrote draft chapters for the Upper Lake Michigan Coastal and Great Northwest regions. The department asked for the public to provide feedback for those two chapters. After considering the comments received, the department finalized these chapters. All the finalized chapters to the ROA can be found at this link ROA and scroll down to "Recreation Opportunity Analysis Document" tab.

For more information regarding the recreational opportunities analysis, search the DNR website for keyword "ROA." To receive email updates regarding the ROA process, click on the email icon near the bottom of the page titled "subscribe for updates for DNR topics," then follow the prompts and select "Recreation opportunities analysis," found within the list titled "outdoor recreation."

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Frog calling volunteers document the American bullfrog's comeback

Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey gets underway soon

MADISON - Wisconsin's largest frog appears to be staging a comeback, a welcome trend documented over the last generation by hundreds of volunteers who've travelled roads near rivers, lakes and wetlands listening for the breeding calls of male frogs and toads.

The Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey gets underway in coming weeks, and volunteers are likely to hear more of the booming call of the American bullfrog this summer when its mating season begins.

Volunteers for the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey have documented what appears to be a comeback by the state's largest frog, the American bullfrog.  - Photo credit: Andrew Badje
Volunteers for the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey have documented what appears to be a comeback by the state's largest frog, the American bullfrog. Photo credit: Andrew Badje

Ranging from 3.5 inches to 8.5 inches from snout to vent, the American bullfrog is the largest frog in Wisconsin and North America and has a foghorn call to match, says Andrew Badje, a Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist who coordinates survey volunteers.

"Our volunteers are increasingly reporting more bullfrog calls since the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey began in 1984," he says. See an animated map showing the increase by typing in the words "American bullfrog." (exit DNR)

"That's great news for several reasons," Badje says. "While American bullfrogs are considered a pest in western states where they've been introduced, they are native to Wisconsin and a valuable part of the food chain. Their comeback also shows we can take protective actions and make a difference."

Bullfrogs were widely used in the 1900s for biological supply companies, the bait industry, and for use in the food industry as "frog legs." Regulations enacted by DNR have helped prevent the over-harvesting of adult bullfrogs in Wisconsin and have helped the population build again, as have increased conservation education efforts by DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation program and many partners.


The Wisconsin Frog and Toad survey was initiated in 1981 as a response to known and suspected declines in the 1960s and 1970s in numerous Wisconsin frog species, including the northern leopard frog, American bullfrog, pickerel frog, and Blanchard's cricket frog. Due whole-heartedly to Wisconsin's dedicated volunteer-base, the survey is the longest running citizen science amphibian calling survey in North America, Badje says.

"Over the years, these citizen scientists have helped DNR conservation biologists define the distribution, status, and population trends of all 12 frog and toad species in the state," Badje says. Volunteers have logged more than 8,700 survey nights and 87,000 site visits since the survey began.

Their data have documented the American bullfrogs' good news in Wisconsin, but also a downward trend for the northern leopard frog over the course of the survey. Spring peepers, boreal chorus frogs and green frogs have been on more stable paths since the survey began. Read more about the survey and its results in the April 2016 Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine.

Some frog calling routes still need volunteers as do phenology surveys

Volunteers survey three nights a year along a pre-set route in each early spring, late spring, and early summer. Each volunteer makes 10 stops per night (five minutes at each site) and documents the species calling and the relative abundance of each species.

A few 2018 Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey routes are not yet spoken for; see available routes (green icon) on the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey's website [EXIT DNR]. Interested volunteers also can ask Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey coordinators about open routes or ask to be placed on a waiting list for future years as desired routes or counties become available.

Volunteers also are invited to participate in phenology surveys to help monitor when frogs and toads first start calling. Phenology volunteers choose one wetland to monitor throughout the frog calling season and record data as often as possible for five minutes per night.

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The Wisconsin Fishing Report now available online and in hard copy

Fish survey results and forecasts help plan those 2018 fishing trips


MADISON - Anglers planning their fishing trips for the general hook and line fishing season that opens statewide May 5 can get a line on where to go in 2018 in The Wisconsin Fishing Report.

The publication is available online and in hard copy at Department of Natural Resources service centers and in the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine. It's full of great information and "where to fish" recommendations from fisheries biologists from around the state, says Karl Scheidegger, the Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist who coordinates the report and fisheries outreach efforts.

"Sometime an angler's most difficult question to answer is "Where's my next fishing adventure?" The Wisconsin Fishing Report can help them answer that question," Scheidegger says.


The Wisconsin Fishing Report is loaded with photos of the fish awaiting Wisconsin anglers in 2018. Madeline Roberts, water resources management specialist in Spooner, holds a 25+inch walleye from the St. Louis River in Douglas County. - Photo credit: Paul Piszczek
The Wisconsin Fishing Report is loaded with photos of the fish awaiting Wisconsin anglers in 2018. Madeline Roberts, water resources management specialist in Spooner, holds a 25+inch walleye from the St. Louis River in Douglas County.Photo credit: Paul Piszczek

The report features forecasts by species turned in by DNR fisheries biologists for many popular waters in their area. The forecasts contain a mixture of recent fish survey results revealing species abundance and fish size, descriptions of habitat projects benefitting fish populations and anglers, reminders on new rules, and lots of photos of the impressive fish caught during DNR fisheries assessments and released for anglers' to enjoy pursuing.

Download the entire 20-page tabloid style newspaper or check out the individual species forecasts online. Go to dnr.wi.gov and search "fishing report."

People subscribing now to the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine will also receive a copy of The Wisconsin Fishing Report bound within the spring issue. The magazine is available for $8.97 per year. Subscribe at 1-800-678-9472 or online at wnrmag.com.

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773