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ARCHIVED Weekly News Published April 16, 2019

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Spring Turkey Season Begins on April 17

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

MADISON - The 2019 spring turkey hunt opens April 17, and hunters are reminded to check the regulations and other helpful information on the Department of Natural Resources website to make sure they are ready for another year in the woods.

Spring turkey hunting regulations can be found within the 2018 Small Game Hunting Regulations, 2018 Fall Turkey Regulations, and 2019 Spring Turkey Regulations [PDF]. For more general information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit the DNR website,, and search keyword "turkey."

Spring turkey periods run for seven days each

The 2019 spring turkey season will run from April 17 through May 28, with six, seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday.

Harvest registration

Harvest registration remains a critical component of wildlife population management and turkey registration is mandatory. Hunters must register their turkey by 5 p.m. the day after recovery at, or by phone at 1-844-426-3734. Hunters will need their harvest authorization number to register their turkey, located on a paper or digital copy of their harvest authorization.

The spring turkey season has a bag limit of one bearded or male turkey per harvest authorization. - Photo credit: DNR
The spring turkey season has a bag limit of one bearded or male turkey per harvest authorization.Photo credit: DNR

Wisconsin's public lands are the perfect place to pursue birds this spring

Each year, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts use Wisconsin's public lands for a variety of activities, ranging from birdwatching to hunting. For those interested in exploring all Wisconsin has to offer, the department has a number of tools available to help users find a new favorite spot in the wild.

Hunters who would like to pursue turkeys in a state park must hold a harvest authorization for the turkey management zone in which the park is located. Spring turkey hunting is allowed in select state parks during the two-day youth hunt and the first two time periods of the regular season. For more information regarding hunting in state parks, visit and search keywords "hunting state parks ."

Starting March 2019, Fort McCoy hunting and fishing permits will no longer be available through Go Wild and must be obtained through Fort McCoy's license system, iSportsman. For the 2019 turkey season, hunters must purchase their Wisconsin Spring Turkey License and 2019 Turkey Stamp though Go Wild and their Fort McCoy turkey permit through iSportsman. For more information, visit the Fort McCoy website (exit DNR).



Wisconsin celebrates trees and forests next week

Contact(s): Jeff Roe, Urban Forestry Team Leader, 608-535-7582

MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers has issued a proclamation recognizing Friday, April 26, 2019 as Arbor Day in Wisconsin. Arbor Day is an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees and forests in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. Wisconsin has celebrated Arbor Day on the last Friday of April since 1883.

"Wisconsin's urban and rural forests all serve a vital role in the economy, environment and culture of our local communities and the state as a whole," said Fred Souba, Jr., Wisconsin's Chief State Forester. "The investments by individual homeowners and forest landowners are key to ensuring Wisconsin continues to have healthy and sustainable urban and rural forests for future generations to enjoy."

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has donated tree seedlings to fourth-grade classrooms across Wisconsin to commemorate Arbor Day. These seedlings, grown by the Division of Forestry's reforestation program, help young people learn about the important role of trees in their everyday lives.

"Urban forests can reduce energy costs, provide health benefits, improve air quality and control erosion," according to Jeff Roe, DNR urban forestry team leader. "It is clear our residents recognize the social and environmental benefits trees offer since so many communities across Wisconsin have earned Tree City USA designation."

Wisconsin is second in the nation for Tree City USA communities. Holding an Arbor Day celebration is one of the four standards of urban forest management a community must meet to achieve Tree City USA status. The other requirements are: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, and spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry.

For ideas on how to celebrate Arbor Day and a link to the Governor's proclamation, search the DNR website,, for keywords "Arbor Day."



New online tool helps track management activities on state lands

Contact(s): Teague Prichard, DNR state lands specialist, 608-669-8290, Jim Woodford, DNR natural heritage conservation, 715-365-8856 or Ed Culhane, DNR office of communications, 715-781-1683

MADISON - People who enjoy Wisconsin state parks, forests, natural and wildlife areas and other lands owned by the Department of Natural Resources now have a robust, online tool to examine management actions on these properties.

The DNR manages 1.5 million acres of land, parcels big and small, throughout the state. Caring for these lands requires on-the-ground forestry and habitat work, as well as infrastructure improvement and the development of recreational opportunities, all of it essential to providing ecological, economic and social benefits for Wisconsin residents.

For anyone interested in which management projects are in the pipeline for a specific property, the DNR introduces APIP - or Annual Property Implementation Plans. This is a dynamic and searchable web page available to the public. It can be found by searching the DNR website, for keyword "APIP."

These lands are held and managed in trust, as they belong to everyone, but for many people, there are just a few they care about the most. DNR properties are governed by master plans, which are developed with significant input from the public, but these plans cover long periods of time, up to 15 years, and do not describe annual activities.

"This new APIP tool is for folks interested in what's happening on a particular property during a particular year," said Teague Prichard, DNR state lands specialist for the bureau of forest management.

These annual plans have been developed by the forester, wildlife biologist, park administrator or ecologist assigned to manage each property. Each plan identifies the major planned and scheduled work for that property, for the next two or three years, including restoration projects, timber sales, tree plantings, prescribed burns and invasive species control.

Larger, more complex properties - like state forests and select wildlife areas - have expanded implementation plans that include recreation development, more detailed forest and habitat work, and such infrastructure improvement as trails, buildings, roads or expanded parking.

"The APIP will also make it easy for neighbors of DNR properties, regular users, DNR partners and others to identify and connect directly with the property manager to discuss these plans," Prichard said. "Some will find this necessary as this is an internal, working database and contains terms that may not be familiar to everyone."

APIPs do not include routine maintenance or minor actions including mowing, building maintenance, inventory or field surveys.

This year is a transition year for the DNR habitat system and this process, Prichard said. Not all planned treatments for all DNR properties will be available this year. Anyone interested in a particular property can contact the property manager for a complete list of treatments planned in 2019. Contact information for DNR managers can be found by entering the property name in the subject window using the "contact" link on the DNR home page.



Helpful tips can help Wisconsin homeowners avoid potential conflicts with black bears


Contact Brad Koele, DNR wildlifedamage specialist, 715-356-5211 Ext. 234

WOODRUFF - Spring is here and as the remaining snow melts and temperatures warm, homeowners have the opportunity to take precautions against conflicts with black bear.

Black bears are emerging from dens and looking for food. - Photo credit: DNR
Black bears are emerging from dens and looking for food.Photo credit: DNR

"Springtime is when we typically receive the highest number of complaints about bears," said Brad Koele, wildlife damage specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. "Bears are emerging from dens and looking for food, but natural food sources are limited at this time of year."

Black bears normally avoid contact with people, but bears can become emboldened once they learn to associate humans with food.

"Bird feeders, garbage cans, grills and uncontained compost or pet food left outside can be targets for hungry bears," Koele said. "That's why it is important to make these attractants inaccessible to bears."

Intentionally feeding bears is illegal in Wisconsin. It is also important for homeowners to ensure that they do not unintentionally feed bears via an accessible food source near their home.

If a bear finds food such as bird feed or garbage near your home, it will likely return. Visits are more likely to stop when food is no longer available. Bears will periodically check sites where food was once available, so it may take several days to weeks before a bear will stop visiting a site once the food source has been removed.

The "Living with Bears in Wisconsin" document can be found on the DNR website,, by searching keywords "wildlife damage," and can help landowners learn more about co-existing with bears in Wisconsin.

Homeowners can follow these steps to avoid attracting black bears:

"If a bear is near your home, wave your arms and make noise to scare it away. Back away slowly and seek a safe location where you can wait for the bear to leave," said Koele. "Make sure it has a clear escape route. Never corner a bear. If you encounter a bear while in the woods, stay calm and do not approach the bear. Never approach a sow with cubs, and do not attempt to break up a fight between your pet and a bear."

The department partners with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services to respond to approximately 800 bear-related complaints reported in Wisconsin each year. Homeowners who are unable to resolve a conflict with a bear should contact USDA Wildlife Services' toll-free line at 1-800-433-0663 for properties in Southern Wisconsin and at 1-800-228-1368 for properties Northern Wisconsin.

For more information regarding bears in Wisconsin, search the DNR website,, for keyword "bear."



DNR awards grants for surface water management

Contact(s): Carroll Schaal, DNR Lakes and Rivers section chief,, 608‑266-0502; Raechelle Belli, DNR communications,, 608-264-8942

MADISON, Wis. - Thirty-two counties in Wisconsin will receive more than $2.9 million in grant funding to improve water quality and aquatic habitat, reduce runoff, and reduce the spread of invasive species. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced the list of 58 grants that will receive funding as part of this year's surface water management grant cycle. Funding for surface water grants originates from part of the state tax on gasoline used in motor boats.

The DNR received 69 applications requesting over $3.4 million in funding. All applicants contribute at least 25% of the total project costs. Below is a summary of grant awards by grant type.

Grant Type

Grants Awarded

Award Amounts

Total Project Costs

AIS Established Control & Research




Research and Demonstration




Lake Management Plan Implementation




River Management




Healthy Lakes




Wetland & Shoreland Restoration




Total FY19 Management Grants




"Management grants are a great way to help groups move from the planning to implementation phase of projects," says Ashley Dooley, grants program manager. "Some great projects were proposed this year, many of which focus on improving water quality and habitat or the control and prevention of the spread of aquatic invasive species."

Lake management plan implementation grants fund practices recommended in lake plans. Green Lake Sanitary District will use funds to continue their effort to stabilize stream banks, install grassed waterways for several landowners and undertake other shoreline protection activities.

St. Croix County will implement recommendations from a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan to clean up the Lake St. Croix watershed. Minnesota and Wisconsin support the plan, which provides incentives to encourage the use of cover crops to reduce runoff, improve soil health, and prevent erosion as well as staffing an Implementation Lead Organizer.

Marinette County will investigate the construction and use of easily deployable curtain walls to create herbicide enclosures to control Eurasian water milfoil on Thunder Lake. If successful, these enclosures will improve the herbicide concentration exposure time on targeted plants, reduce impacts on nearby native plant communities, and greatly reduce the amount of herbicide needed to reach desired effects.

Healthy Lakes grants focus on improving natural habitat and water quality using several simple and inexpensive practices. The Chetek Lakes Protection Association will work on 13 properties to install 39 Healthy Lakes best management practices. Some of the properties suffered tornado damage in 2017 and funds will be used to help repair damaged shorelines. With 24 overall applications requesting over $226,000, the Healthy Lakes Program continues to grow with both new and returning applicants.

To see the full list of awards, visit and search "surface water grants." Links to awarded grants can be found on the right-hand side of the web page under "Related links" on a desktop computer or under the "Show more" dropdown on mobile devices.



Statewide recreation plan finalized

Contact(s): John Pohlman, planner, 608-264-6263

MADISON - A plan to guide outdoor recreation in Wisconsin over the next five years is now available. The Department of Natural Resources finalized the Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan and submitted it to the National Park Service for approval. The SCORP covers the period from 2019 to 2023 and provides updated information on Wisconsinites' participation in outdoor recreation, existing opportunities, and future needs. The plan was developed with the assistance of an advisory team comprised of a diversity of representatives.

The plan lays out the current supply and demand for recreation and identifies a series of issues that influence future recreation participation as well as a set of gaps and needs. A brief discussion of the economic, health and social benefits of outdoor recreation in the state is provided. The plan concludes with five broad goals and associated actions for the future. The plan provides guidance to public outdoor recreation policy and planning decisions and is used in allocating recreation-related grants administered by the department, including money from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The plan and appendices are available by searching the DNR website,, for keyword "SCORP."



Eagle River Wastewater Treatment Plant earns 2019 Registered Lab of the Year

Contact(s): Steve Geis, DNR certification services section chief, 608-266-0245

MADISON -- The Eagle River Wastewater Treatment Plant was awarded the 2019 Registered Laboratory of the Year by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The annual award recognizes laboratories that show an outstanding commitment to making sure treated water protects public health and natural resources. The award was presented at the April 10 Wisconsin Natural Resources Board meeting in Madison.

"The staff of the Eagle River Wastewater Treatment Plant consistently provide reliable laboratory data that helps to protect the Wisconsin River even from its headwaters," said Steve Geis, DNR certification services section chief.

Daryl Rutkowski, right, and John Amorose, left, of the Eagle River Wastewater Treatment Plant receive the 2019 Lab of the Year award from DNR Secretary-Designee Preston Cole, right, and Natural Resources Board Chair Dr. Frederick Prehn, left.  - Photo credit: DNR
Daryl Rutkowski, right, and John Amorose, left, of the Eagle River Wastewater Treatment Plant receive the 2019 Lab of the Year award from DNR Secretary-Designee Preston Cole, right, and Natural Resources Board Chair Dr. Frederick Prehn, left. Photo credit: DNR

Three years ago, Lab Manager Daryl Rutkowski and Operator John Amorose took charge of the lab, bringing with them a proactive approach to problem-solving. This included reaching out to DNR staff, neighbors and other stakeholders for advice on improving the lab's work.

"It's that sort of 'we're all in this together' attitude that the DNR Laboratory Certification Program nurtures in Wisconsin's registered labs," Geis said.

There are currently 333 laboratories in the state that provide chemistry data. The mission of DNR's Laboratory Certification Program is to support these small registered labs that benefit their facilities and ensure protection of the environment.



Incidental take notice for Buffalo County

Contact(s): Stacy Rowe, conservation biologist, 608-266-7012

MADISON - A bridge replacement project on State Highway 35 in Buffalo County may result in the "incidental taking" of a rare frog 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 Wisconsin Department of Transportation proposes to replace two bridges along State Highway 35 in Buffalo County.

The presence of the state endangered Blanchard's cricket frog (Acris blanchardi) 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 frogs.

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 it is 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 Take Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the Blanchard's cricket frog are available by searching the DNR website for incidental take public notice or upon request from Stacy Rowe (608-266-7012 or The department is requesting comments from the public through April 30, 2019 regarding project-related impacts to the Blanchard's cricket frog. Public comments should be sent to Stacy Rowe, WDNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921 or


Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 16, 2019

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