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Weekly News Published - August 7, 2018 by the Central Office


More than 99 percent of Wisconsin's public water systems met safe drinking water standards in 2017

Contact(s): Steve Elmore, program director, DNR Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater, 608-264-9246; Adam DeWeese, section chief, DNR Public Water Supply Section, 608-264-9229

MADISON -- More than 99 percent of the state's public water systems provided water that met safe drinking water standards, according to the 2017 Annual Drinking Water Report published by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources this month.

More than 99 percent of Wisconsin's public water systems provided water that met safe drinking water standards.- Photo credit: DNR
More than 99 percent of Wisconsin's public water systems provided water that met safe drinking water standards.Photo credit: DNR

"The annual report reflects the hard work that is being done by public system operators, DNR staff and our federal, state and local partners," said Steve Elmore, program director for DNR Bureau of Drinking Water and Groundwater. "DNR's commitment to managing the state's drinking water through initiatives, regulations and partnerships is showcased in this year's report."

Wisconsin leads the nation with more than 11,400 public water systems in the state, the majority relying on groundwater sources. Surface water from Wisconsin lakes provides drinking water to some of the state's largest communities, including Milwaukee and Green Bay.

Monitoring is a critical part of the strategy to ensure safe drinking water. All public water systems test their water to protect public health (some municipal systems monitor for as many as 90 contaminants). During 2017, more than 99 percent of Wisconsin's public water systems provided water that met all the health-based standards for regulated contaminants.

"In addition to monitoring, measuring system compliance is part of the overall strategy for managing a sustainable supply of safe drinking water," said Adam DeWeese, DNR section chief of the Public Water Supply Section.

DNR and its partners conducted more than 2,600 inspections of public water systems to ensure compliance with construction, operation and maintenance requirements. More than 7,100 additional annual site visit inspections were performed to help water systems qualify for reduced monitoring schedules.

The major challenge facing Wisconsin's drinking water supplies continues to be aging infrastructure. The Private Lead Service Line Replacement Funding Program and the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program together awarded more than $73 million to fund 65 projects in 61 communities statewide. The funding programs combine low interest loans and principal forgiveness to help communities make needed infrastructure improvements and replace lead service lines.

The 2017 Annual Drinking Water Report [PDF] is available by searching the DNR website,, for "drinking water" or call 608-266-1054 to request a copy.



Pick your favorite park for recreation activities in the 2018 Gold Seal Contest

Contact(s): Patty Loosen, executive director, Friends of Wisconsin State Parks, 608-294-0810 or or Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, 708-267-7517

MADISON - The 2018 Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Gold Seal Award contest is going to be a tough vote for people on many of the questions this year: with so many beautiful waterfalls how can you pick just one? Best rock formation with Wisconsin's geological wealth? Best rail trail out of statewide system that has so many gems? Come on! Best beach in a state with 10 parks or forests on the Great Lakes and numerous beaches on some of Wisconsin's 15,000 inland lakes?

"Yes, this year I think voters really have their work cut out for them," said Patty Loosen, Friends of Wisconsin State Parks executive director.

Favorite state park or forest beach is one of the categories in the 2018 Gold Seal Awards. - Photo credit: DNR
Favorite state park or forest beach is one of the categories in the 2018 Gold Seal Awards.Photo credit: DNR

The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks is the umbrella organization for the more than 80 local friends groups organizations organized to provide support for state park system properties. The organization's mission is preserving, promoting, protecting, and enhancing Wisconsin state parks, forests, trails and recreation areas. The organization runs the Gold Seal Award program each year to highlight Wisconsin's state parks, trails, forests and recreation areas.

"If you are a biker, hiker, swimmer, bird watcher, snowmobiler or just a regular park visitor, cast your vote for your favorite state park, forest, or trail in one of our new categories," Loosen said.

The contest ends on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 and the winning parks, forests, trails, or recreational areas will be honored with a Gold Seal Award at the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks Awards Banquet on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.

The 2018 categories are:

More information and details on entering the contest and rules are available on the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks website (exit DNR) by clicking on the tab for "Gold Seal Contest."

For more information about Wisconsin State Park System properties, search the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website,, for keyword "parks."



Snapshot Wisconsin opens statewide August 9 - learn how to get involved today

Contact(s): Susan Frett, DNR Snapshot Wisconsin Program, 608-221-6323

MADISON --- Snapshot Wisconsin, a 26-county network of wildlife-monitoring trail cameras, is seeking volunteers in all 72 counties as the popular program goes statewide on August 9.

Snapshot coordinator Susan Frett credits the volunteers for the success of program that has been bringing Wisconsin's wildlife into homes and classrooms for the last four years. "We're thrilled to see what we can learn once we start seeing trail camera photos from every corner of the state," Frett said.

This family of otters were captured on a Snapshot Wisconsin camera. - Photo credit: Snapshot Wisconsin
This family of otters were captured on a Snapshot Wisconsin camera.Photo credit: Snapshot Wisconsin

Bobcats, herons, elk and even flying squirrels have made appearances on the network. It's all happened without disturbing any dens or ruffling a single feather. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources uses Snapshot Wisconsin to capture animals digitally using a statewide network of volunteer-hosted trail cameras.

Individuals and educators have signed up to host cameras and send in batch after batch of wildlife photos for classification on the project's crowd-sourcing website, Zooniverse. The project has 1,012 volunteers monitoring 1,243 cameras, and together, they've taken more than 22 million photos of Wisconsin wildlife.

Frett says this is the largest volunteer-supported wildlife study that the state has ever seen, and it's become a national leader in the emerging field of camera-based wildlife monitoring.

"The DNR is looking for new volunteers to help expand the program, enrich the data we collect and help us explore our diverse wildlife together. Whether you're an individual or a teacher with a classroom of students, there's a way for you to participate," Frett said.

Anyone with access to 10 or more contiguous acres of public or private land can apply to host a trail camera. For educators interested in hosting a camera with their class or school, Snapshot Wisconsin has developed curriculum plans for all ages. They're available free on the program's website for anyone to use.

The DNR provides all necessary training and supplies to accepted applicants. Volunteers do not need to have prior trail camera experience, but they do need basic computer skills and access to the internet to participate. Snapshot Wisconsin has local, in-person training sessions for accepted volunteers scheduled this fall throughout the state. Online training is also available.

Even people who are unable to host a camera, can get involved: Snapshot Wisconsin uses Zooniverse to turn trail camera photos into useful wildlife data.

"We're classifying thousands of photos each month thanks to our Zooniverse volunteers. With Snapshot Wisconsin launching statewide, the number of photos will skyrocket," Frett said. "And Zooniverse is the perfect way for individuals and classrooms to contribute to the project and learn about Wisconsin's wildlife."

Jennifer Stenglein, a research scientist in the DNR Office of Applied Science, says using photos to study animals is part of a larger trend in wildlife research called camera trapping.

"One benefit of trail camera trapping is that we can monitor multiple species at once," Stenglein said. "Wildlife monitoring is the collection of observational data on a species of interest. In the case of Snapshot Wisconsin, those data are the individual photos taken by volunteer-hosted trail cameras."

Stenglein and her colleagues apply Snapshot Wisconsin data to a variety of monitoring efforts, from elk population estimates to deer fawn-to-doe ratios. "We then share our findings to support the DNR's decisions about wildlife management," Stenglein said.

Prospective volunteers can find out more by visiting and searching keyword "Snapshot Wisconsin." Those interested in hosting a camera can apply online at



DNR to host public hearing on draft Wisconsin River Basin water quality improvement study

Contact(s): Kevin Kirsch, DNR water resources engineer, 608-266-7019,; Raechelle Belli, DNR public affairs manager, 608-264-8942,

MADISON -- Work to improve the water quality of the Wisconsin River Basin will soon take another step forward when the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources begins accepting public comments on a draft study.

The draft Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study will provide a strategic framework and prioritize resources for water quality improvement in the Wisconsin River Basin.

Castle Rock Flowage is one of the waters in the Wisconsin River basin that could benefit from the TMDL. - Photo credit: DNR
Castle Rock Flowage is one of the waters in the Wisconsin River basin. The beach at Buckhorn State Park.Photo credit: DNR

A public hearing on the study is scheduled for Aug. 22, 2018 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Portage County Courthouse Annex Building located at 1462 Strongs Ave., Stevens Point.

"We incorporated comments received during the March listening sessions and comment period and we will outline those changes at the hearing," said Kevin Kirsch, DNR water resources engineer and manager of the project. "In addition to those changes, we also added additional material to aid in implementation efforts."

One important addition is a summary of phosphorus goals for agricultural sources expressed in pounds per acre at the edge of the field based on Wisconsin's nutrient management planning software, SnapPlus. This effort required integrating the TMDL analysis with over 36,000 separate SnapPlus model runs.

"To my knowledge, no other TMDL in the country has gone to this level of detail. It will really aid in implementation by allowing agricultural producers to evaluate the management options needed to protect water quality at the field scale," said Marcia Willhite, chief of the DNR Water Evaluation Section.

In addition to the TMDL Study, efforts are moving forward on the adoption of site-specific water quality criteria for Lake Wisconsin, Castle Rock, and Petenwell.

"We have received DNR Board approval and are moving forward with the rule making process. If the process continues as planned we will be looking at Fall of 2019 for final adoption of the revised site-specific criteria," said Sharon Gayan, DNR Water Quality bureau director.

Analysis conducted during the TMDL Study revealed that numeric phosphorus criteria, different than those currently in rule, would better suit the water quality standards necessary for the three reservoirs.

"One misconception has been that the recommended site-specific criteria will allow increased phosphorus loads over current loadings and that is not true; reductions are required," said Pat Oldenburg, implementation coordinator for the TMDL Study. "I look forward to continuing to work with the diverse stakeholders across the basin in improving water quality and realizing the benefits associated with clean lakes, reservoirs, and rivers."

A copy of the public hearing version of the TMDL Study will be posted on the website on August 20. The TMDL Study and supporting documentation can be found by searching the DNR website,, for Wisconsin River TMDL.

The public hearing version of the TMDL Study incorporates input and comments received during the March listening sessions and comment period. The August 22 hearing will include a presentation outlining the modifications made. For those who are unable to attend the public hearing, comments on the TMDL Study can be submitted to Kevin Kirsch at or by mail to: Kevin Kirsch, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921

Oral comments, received during the public hearing, and written comments received prior to the close of the comment period will be considered prior to making a final approval and submittal of the TMDL Study to EPA. Written and oral comments carry the same weight. A summary with response to comments will also be included in the final TMDL Study report.

The study area covers the Wisconsin River Basin north of Lake Wisconsin encompassing or touching portions of 22 counties. The Wisconsin River Basin has 109 stream and river segments and 38 lakes or reservoirs that are currently listed as impaired due to elevated levels of phosphorus. The EPA, under the Clean Water Act, requires that waters not meeting water quality standards be listed as impaired and have TMDL or equivalent restoration plans developed. TMDL plans quantify the different sources of pollution, provide allocations, and prescribe reductions, if needed.



Regional West Nile virus monitoring effort for ruffed grouse to begin this fall

Contact(s): Mark Witecha, DNR upland wildlife ecologist, 608-267-7861

MADISON -- In collaboration with the Minnesota and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources, Ruffed Grouse Society, and Wisconsin Conservation Congress, the Wisconsin Department of Natural resources will begin a multi-year monitoring program this fall looking at West Nile virus (WNV) in ruffed grouse.

Ruffed grouse- Photo credit: DNR
Ruffed grouse.Photo credit: DNR

The DNR is asking ruffed grouse hunters for their participation in this monitoring effort. Similar to past disease monitoring efforts, the department is asking that hunters submit samples from their harvested ruffed grouse using self-sampling kits. This effort will focus on the core ruffed grouse range in the central and northern forests.

The DNR has assembled 400 self-sampling kits for ruffed grouse hunters to use in 2018. The WNV sampling kits contain detailed instructions and all the supplies needed to collect and ship one sample. Hunters will be asked to collect a small amount of blood along with the heart from their harvested grouse.

If you hunt the central and northern forests and would like to participate in the West Nile virus monitoring effort, sampling kits can be requested through your county wildlife biologist and will be available in early September. The number of kits provided per individual may be limited to ensure samples come from a large geographic area.

Hunters will be provided test results via email. Be aware that testing of samples will not begin until after the grouse season has closed and final results will not be available for several months after the close of the season. WNV is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito and there is no evidence that WNV can be spread by handling dead birds or by consuming properly cooked game. It is one of several bird diseases afflicting native bird species.

Sick and Dead Birds

In addition to collecting samples from harvested ruffed grouse, the DNR is asking the public to report any sick or dead grouse observed while out in the field.

If you see any ruffed grouse that appear sick or emaciated, or if you find a freshly dead grouse, take note of the location and promptly call your county wildlife biologist for possible submission of the dead grouse for further investigation and to help us keep track of such reports statewide.

If you are willing to collect the carcass testing, please keep the entire bird intact. Place it into a plastic bag and keep the bird cool, but not frozen. Bring the whole ruffed grouse carcass to your county wildlife biologist the same or next day. Prompt collection of ruffed grouse is necessary to prevent decomposition or scavenging. It is recommended you wear gloves whenever handling dead animals, even those that appear healthy.

If refrigeration and prompt delivery are not possible, carcasses should be frozen and submitted to county wildlife biologists as soon as possible.

Carcasses in poor condition (scavenged with openings into the body cavity, having an odor, more advanced decomposition) will not be usable for testing, but please take note of the location and report these sightings to your county wildlife biologist.



Wild turkey, pheasant and waterfowl stamp design contest winners announced

Contact(s): Jaqi Christopher, DNR assistant upland wildlife ecologist, 608-261-8458

MADISON - Eighteen talented wildlife artists submitted a total of 24 pieces of artwork for the 2019 Wisconsin wild turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl stamp design contest. Judging was held on July 20 at the Natural Resources Building in Madison. The judges for the 2019 Wisconsin Wildlife Stamp Art Contest were John Motoviloff from National Wild Turkey Federation, Burt Bushke from Wings Over Wisconsin, Bruce Urben from Wisconsin Waterfowl Association and Alex Weber from Pheasants Forever.

Wild Turkey Stamp

2019 turkey stamp
2019 Wild Turkey Stamp by Stephen Senechal of Oxford, WI

Stephen Senechal from Oxford, was awarded first place for his depiction of a turkey in a wooded setting. Since childhood, Stephen has known he would be an artist and he has been painting for over 30 years now. He has a formal art education with a degree in portraiture from the American Academy of Art. He learned to paint wildlife after moving to Wisconsin, and his winning entry is only the second turkey he has ever painted. Stephen's advice to beginning artists is to learn to draw; the better you can draw, the better you can paint.

Robert Wilkens of Kiel and Marilyn Lindemann of Allenton tied for second place.

All turkey hunters are required to purchase the $5.25 Wild Turkey Stamp to legally hunt turkeys in Wisconsin. Proceeds from stamp sales provide vital support for turkey management and hunting in Wisconsin, and bring in over $775,000 annually for habitat management and restoration projects, education, research, equipment purchases and management of the wild turkey program.

Pheasant Stamp

2019 pheasant stamp
2019 Pheasant Stamp by Todd Haefner of Janesville, WI

Todd Haefner from Janesville, was awarded first place for his painting of a hen and rooster pheasant overlooking an old farmstead. Todd started painting at 10 years old with his family and it was his childhood dream to be a wildlife artist. As an outdoorsman, Todd gains a lot of inspiration from nature, including the setting for his winning piece. Todd's advice to beginning artists is to not be discouraged, painting takes a long time and a lot of practice including a long time spent fixing mistakes.

Second place was awarded to Brian Kuether of Greenfield for his painting of a hen and rooster pheasant in a grassy filed and third place was given to Robert Andrea of Spooner for his painting of rooster pheasants on a winter landscape.

A $10 Pheasant Stamp is required to hunt pheasants in the state of Wisconsin. Proceeds bring in approximately $500,000 annually for the development, management, conservation and maintenance of wild pheasants and their habitat in Wisconsin and also supports the state game farm that raises pheasants for stocking efforts on Wisconsin's public hunting grounds.

Waterfowl Stamp

2019 waterfowl stamp
2019 Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp by Jon Rickaby or Greenbay, WI

Jon Rickaby of Green Bay won first place for his painting of a pair of redhead ducks. Jon is a self-taught artist that has been painting since he was 12 years old. For him, art is a family activity and he is proud for his son who won the 2019 Great Lakes Salmon Contest. Jon's advice to beginning artists is to slow down and produce a high-quality product; use competitions as an opportunity to hone your skills.

Second place was awarded to Keith Raddatz of Watertown for his painting of a gadwall. Third place went to Brian Kuether of Greenfield for his painting of a common goldeneye.

Duck and goose hunters are required to purchase the $7 Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp in order to hunt waterfowl in the state. Revenue from these sales generates an estimated $350,000 for managing, restoring, and protecting habitat in Wisconsin and Canada for waterfowl and other wetland-associated species.

Please note that an electronic "stamp approval" is printed on the licenses of wild turkey, pheasant and waterfowl hunters at the time of purchase. Hunters will not receive an actual stamp unless they request it. To obtain a physical copy of a stamp, visit the Wildlife and Fish Collector Stamp webpage, or go to any DNR Service Center.

For more information regarding Wisconsin's wildlife stamps, visit and search keyword "wildlife stamps."



Son follows in father's footsteps and wins for his trout stamp designs

Contact(s): Joanna Griffin, DNR trout coordinator,, 608-264-8953

MADISON - Ryan Rickaby dreamed of one day following in his father's footsteps and having his artwork grace one of the state's trout stamps. Now the avid angler has achieved that honor twice over in one year and given his father a run for his money.

Artwork by Rickaby, 22, of Suamico, will be featured on the Great Lakes Salmon and Trout Stamp and the Inland Trout Stamp. His father, Jon Rickaby, is a five-time winner of state stamp design contests, having won inland trout once, pheasant twice, and the duck stamp contest twice.

Inland trout stamp finalists

"I was pretty speechless when I received the email, as I was watching the sunset and doing some fishing on one of my favorite Oconto County lakes and just happened to see it in my inbox," the younger Rickaby says. "I couldn't be happier! It is a truly amazing experience and I'm so honored to have been chosen."

Robert Leum from Holmen took second place with his designs in the two contests, and Chanel Babin from Springbrook captured third place in the two contests, according to Joanna Griffin, trout team coordinator for the Department of Natural Resources.

"Thank you to all of the artists for sharing their submissions. We are grateful for the beautiful designs our judges had to choose from and are excited that Ryan is carrying on a family tradition. Fishing is all about the memories, and it's great to have stamps reflecting a family's love of fish, fishing and art."

Great Lakes Salmon and Trout Stamp Finalists 2018

Fishing is Ryan Rickaby's favorite hobby because "there is always something to learn in the sport and it keeps me going constantly. I love trout, and recently have gotten into it more. It's so peaceful and the scenery is next to none in our Northern Wisconsin streams. Plus, trout are unbelievably gorgeous and putting them into art is the perfect match."

He got his inspiration for his designs after a good friend and fishing mentor took him on a trout fishing adventure to his favorite spot. Rickaby caught countless beautiful brook trout that day. The friend left his rods at home and decided to film the day of fishing including underwater scenes of the fish Rickaby was catching, which really gave him a good look into the trout habitat.

Ryan Rickaby and father - Photo credit: Contributed
Ryan Rickaby and father Jon.Photo credit: Contributed

Throughout that day, the friends discussed what they thought would be cool to see on the Great Lakes Salmon and Trout stamp. "I have always loved lake trout and so I crafted that design and painted it hooked up with a spoon pattern that I created, trying to match that deep-water spoon lake trout bite that people love in Wisconsin," Rickaby said.

With his designs in mind, it was time to start painting, and Rickaby was able to draw on the lessons he's learned from his dad over the past 10 years.

"I mainly paint fish, which comes from my love of fishing. I love recreating the experience I felt happened after I caught a trophy fish, or creating an experience I wish to happen someday," he says.

"There are endless opportunities in fishing and art, and I like to try to combine the two."

Rickaby also paints birds, ducks, wildlife, and some human portraits. "I will be expanding my horizons in the future as this is what I plan to do!

To view his winning entries, visit and search "Trout and Salmon Stamp Contest." In the weeks ahead, physical stamps will again be printed for collectors.

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.

An annual fishing license costs $20 while an inland trout stamp or Great Lakes trout and salmon stamp both run $10. To learn about other licensing options and discounts or to purchase your license, visit



Wisconsin DNR seeking comments on Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan

Contact(s): Tim Campbell, AIS Outreach Specialist, 608-265-3727, or Bob Wakeman, Water Resources Management Specialist, 262-574-2149

MADISON --The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking comments on a draft version of an updated statewide aquatic invasive species management plan, which is used to set management priorities within the state. The plan, originally written and approved in 2003, guides aspects of the surface water grants program and makes Wisconsin eligible for federal funding.

Starry Stonewort algae produces dense mats that disrupt aquatic communities and recreation. - Photo credit: Paul Skawinski
Starry Stonewort algae produces dense mats that disrupt aquatic communities and recreation.Photo credit: Paul Skawinski

"Since the original version of the plan was approved, we have new species that we are concerned with, new pathways of invasion in Wisconsin, and new tools to help us manage the undesirable impacts of aquatic invasive species," says Tim Campbell, an outreach specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Extension and Wisconsin Sea Grant and lead author of the plan. "We want to make sure we have incorporated the new approaches and concerns into our management plan so that we use the most effective methods possible."

Those wishing to read and provide comments on the draft Wisconsin Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan [PDF] can do that by visiting Proposed DNR program guidance page of the DNR website. The comment period is open now through August 31. Comments will be reviewed and addressed by DNR staff and those responses will be released with the final version of the management plan.

"The AIS Management Plan is a valuable planning and implementation tool in Wisconsin's efforts to prevent, contain, and control the spread and impacts of AIS," says Bob Wakeman, aquatic invasive species program coordinator for the Wisconsin DNR. "Having the comments and buy in from all stakeholders can increase the efficacy of this plan and can help us all take effective actions to manage the impacts of aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin.

The revised plan was drafted by a core team of Wisconsin stakeholders that are impacted by aquatic invasive species, including the University of Wisconsin-Extension, county aquatic invasive species staff, non-for-profit groups such as Wisconsin Lakes and the River Alliance of Wisconsin, and multiple sections of DNR staff including lakes and rivers, fisheries, and law enforcement. The next step in the process is to incorporate the changes and submit a final plan for federal approval.



Apply by Sept. 15 for Shooting Range Grant Program

Contact(s): Emily Iehl, R3 Coordinator,, 608-445-8168

MADISON - Applications for cost-sharing grants for the construction, renovation and maintenance of both private and publicly owned shooting ranges that provide opportunities to the public at least 100 days per year are now available through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Shooting Range Grant Program.

Shooting range - Photo credit: DNR
Backstops and berms are among the eligible cost share projects in the shooting range grant program.Photo credit: DNR

Emily Iehl, coordinator with the DNR R3Team, says the program was created to help meet the growing demand for safe, public and well-maintained target ranges - especially around more populated areas. The R3Team is a specialized team dedicated to recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters, anglers and trappers.

A total of $300,000 is available for this program during the coming two years.

"There is no upper limit on the dollar amount of individual awards," Iehl said.

The money comes from the state's Wildlife Restoration grant - commonly known as Pittman-Robertson or PR funds - and is generated by an 11 percent excise tax on firearms and ammunition.

The deadline for proposal submission is Sept. 15, 2018.

The program can provide cost-share between 50 and 75 percent of approved renovation and development costs, depending upon the amount of public access allowed. Counties, cities, villages, townships, other governmental agencies or units, clubs or organizations, tribes, businesses or corporations, and educational institutions are eligible for this program.

Eligible projects include but are not limited to: backstops, berms, target holders, baffles, gun racks, signs, field courses, benches, trap and skeet houses, platforms, sanitary facilities, classrooms, protective fencing, storage areas, shelters, parking, accessible pathways, and support facilities. Project costs must be commensurate with benefit. Indoor range projects will be considered for funding at the department's discretion.

Application materials and program guidance can be found on the DNR website,, by searching for "shooting range grant program." 



DNR Conservation Wardens' Message to ATV and UTV riders: "Wear it, Wisconsin!"

Contact(s): Gary Eddy, off-highway vehicle administrative warden, 608-219-2566

MADISON -- A crash involving a utility-terrain vehicle on August 4 in Oneida County resulted in the death of a person, bringing to 14 the total number of fatalities for all-terrain and utility-terrain vehicles in Wisconsin this year and prompting wardens to remind all riders of safety steps.

Gary Eddy - Photo credit: DNR
Gary EddyPhoto credit: DNR

Gary Eddy, the off-highway administrative warden for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, says wardens statewide are encouraging all operators and riders to "Wear it Wisconsin!"

"That means wearing helmets for ATVs and UTVs, and your seat belts on an UTV," Eddy said.

Anyone under the age of 18 must wear a helmet, and that helmet must meet U.S. Department of Transportation standards.

Eddy says in all 14 fatalities - seven on ATVS and seven on UTVs - no one was wearing a helmet and only one individual on a UTV was wearing a seatbelt.

Versatile vehicles best used with safety in mind

"These machines are popular for work and for play, and their use continues to grow in Wisconsin," Eddy said. "Since you can't predict when an incident will occur, it is best to protect yourself and your passengers for that possibility. Simply put on the helmet, fasten the safety straps and click the seatbelt."

Eddy says 13 of the 14 fatalities have happened either on public roads or on private property.

"It is always important to remember safety while operating these vehicles for work or recreational purposes," Eddy said. "These machines are often operated on paved surfaces and across rough terrain. These conditions bring their own set of hazards. That's why the use of safety equipment is so important. Many of these tragedies may have been prevented had seat belts and helmets been used."

Eddy urges all ATV and UTV owners to spread the "Wear it Wisconsin" message by setting a personal rule that helmets and seat belts are always used on their machines. Also, educate others you know on the importance of using helmets and seat belts. "A little positive peer pressure on your family and friends can help," Eddy said. "We want everyone to stay safe and have fun while using these versatile vehicles. Here are more of Warden Eddy's safety tips for all ATV-UTV riders:

For more information see the ATV/UTV Riding in Wisconsin page of the DNR website.

Helmets and seat belts save lives. Wear it Wisconsin!


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
Sarah Hoye
Director Of Communications
Office Of The Secretary
(608) 267-2773