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Weekly News Published - January 29, 2019 by the Central Office

 

Woodpeckers can point to emerald ash borer in winter

Contact(s): Andrea Diss-Torrance, invasive forest insects program coordinator, 608-264-9247, Andrea.DissTorrance@wisconsin.gov, and Bill McNee, forest health specialist, 920-360-0942, bill.mcnee@wisconsin.gov

MADISON-Winter is an ideal time to look for signs of emerald ash borer infestation because woodpeckers will do much of the hunting for those signs, according to state forest health specialists.

Light flecking on the top of an ash tree can be a sign of EAB infections. - Photo credit: Bill McNee
Light flecking on the top of an ash tree can be a sign of EAB infections.Photo credit: Bill McNee

Emerald ash borer is an invasive insect that kills all species of ash trees in Wisconsin. The larval, or worm-like, stage of EAB spends the winter months beneath the bark of infested ash trees. Woodpeckers pick away at the outer bark of infested trees in search of the nutritious larvae. This "flecking" of the bark is easily seen in winter, even from a distance, when trees are bare of leaves, according to Andrea Diss-Torrance, invasive forest insects program coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Flecking typically begins in the upper canopy and can be an early indicator of EAB activity before other signs are visible. Once a tree becomes heavily infested, flecking may be seen all the way down its trunk and branches. Diss-Torrance says by identifying early signs of EAB infestation people can address the problem before their trees become hazardous or too heavily infested for insecticide treatments to be successful.

Light flecking on the top of an ash tree can be a sign of EAB infections. - Photo credit: Bill McNee
Once a tree becomes heavily infested, flecking may be seen all the way down its trunk and branchesPhoto credit: Linda Williams

Most hardwood trees can safely stand for several years after they die, but EAB-infested ash trees can become hazardous even while they are still alive. In areas where EAB is common, there have been numerous reports of property damage and injury to people caused by falling ash trees and branches. Removing an infested tree before it becomes a hazard is typically safer and less costly for a property owner.

Light to moderately infested ash trees may be good candidates for insecticide treatment in the spring, but it can be difficult to detect these levels of EAB activity. By the time heavy damage is visible it is usually too late to save the tree. The advice of a tree care professional is recommended to evaluate ash trees for signs of infestation and to discuss treatment options.

More information about EAB, including other signs of infestation and a map of communities known to be infested, can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "emerald ash borer" or by visiting emeraldashborer.wi.gov. To discuss management options for infested yard trees, contact a certified arborist through the Wisconsin Arborist Association at www.waa-isa.org.

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Family honors former Chief Conservation Warden with gift to the Endangered Resources Fund

Contact(s): Drew Feldkirchner, director of DNR Natural Heritage Conservation program, 608-235-3905

MOUNT VERNON, Wis. - In life, and now in death, former Wisconsin Chief Conservation Warden Don Beghin has protected Wisconsin's rare wildlife.

Don passed away on Nov. 1, 2018, and after his death, Marian Beghin, his wife of 64 years, asked that memorial gifts be directed to the Endangered Resources Fund. This fund pays for the conservation of endangered wildlife, plants and State Natural Areas in Wisconsin.

"Don spent the bigger part of his life protecting wildlife and natural resources. There really is not enough publicity about supporting our endangered species," Marian said, explaining why she chose the Endangered Resources Fund.

Former Chief Conservation Warden Don Beghin, whose long DNR career included serving as one of Wisconsin's first warden pilots, died Nov. 1, 2018. His family directed memorial gifts to Wisconsin's Endangered Resources Fund.  - Photo credit: DNR
Former Chief Conservation Warden Don Beghin, whose long DNR career included serving as one of Wisconsin's first warden pilots, died Nov. 1, 2018. His family directed memorial gifts to Wisconsin's Endangered Resources Fund. Photo credit: DNR

"I think there should be more public awareness of the program and how important it is. A person wouldn't want to see the extinction of any of our treasured wildlife."

Don Beghin grew up on a farm northwest of the Dells where his love of hunting, fishing and wildlife watching inspired his career. After serving in the U.S. Army in Italy during World War II, he studied Animal Husbandry and Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was appointed a Conservation Warden in 1949. He went on to a long and distinguished career that included serving as a Field Warden, Boating Administrator, District Warden and finally, Chief Warden for nine years before his retirement in 1983.

Nature also was a big part of his family life with Marian and their four children. They spent summers at their cabin in northern Wisconsin, camped, fished, and recreated throughout the United States and Canada. In retirement Don and Marian moved from Madison to a 100-plus acre property in rural Dane County. They delighted in seeing a variety of wildlife around their property, both common and uncommon species.

Don and Marian Beghin  - Photo credit: Contributed
Don and Marian Beghin Photo credit: Contributed

"I remember when there were very few turkeys in Wisconsin and now they are quite common," Marian said in a recent telephone interview. "It's wonderful to see the recovery of wildlife, especially Bald Eagles and owls."

"There are many kinds of wildflowers such as lady slippers and wild orchids that are also being protected. In addition to flowers, we would like to see several species of birds flourish such as meadowlarks, killdeer, and scarlet tanagers. Hopefully the program will continue its good work conserving Wisconsin's natural heritage."

Private donations like the Beghins' to the Endangered Resources Fund and competitive grants typically provide up to 75 percent of the budget for Department of Natural Resources conservation work with Wisconsin's endangered resources.

"We are honored and grateful that Marian Beghin chose the Endangered Resources Fund to receive memorial gifts in honor of her husband Don," says Drew Feldkirchner, who directs the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation program, which has responsibility for endangered resources.

"It helps us continue our work to conserve the wildlife and natural resources Don Beghin worked so long and hard to protect."

Donations to the Endangered Resources Fund are matched by the state, doubling the difference donors make for wildlife, plants and State Natural Areas. The easiest way to donate is through your Wisconsin income tax form. Look for the "donations" heading on your tax form and fill in your donation amount in the line next to the Endangered Resources Fund. People also can donate directly online or by mail.

To learn more about the Endangered Resources Fund, the tax check off donation option, and the conservation progress being made, please go to the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keywords "ER Fund."

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, January 29, 2019

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