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Weekly News Published - June 18, 2019 by the Central Office

 

Create habitat, volunteer to help bees and other pollinators during Pollinator Week June 17-23

Contact(s): Jay Watson, DNR insect ecologist, 920-662-5161 OR Eva Lewandowski, DNR citizen-based monitoring coordinator, 608-264-6057

MADISON - Wisconsin has 20 species of native bumble bees, and with many of these important pollinators in decline, creating habitat for them or helping monitor their populations are two of the most important steps concerned citizens can take for Pollinator Week this June 17-23.

Pollinators, including bees, are vital to creating and maintaining habitats and ecosystems. - Photo credit: Jay Watson, DNR
Pollinators, including bees, are vital to creating and maintaining habitats and ecosystems.Photo credit: Jay Watson, DNR

"Our native pollinators are incredibly important to maintaining Wisconsin's native ecosystems, many fruit crops, and backyard gardens, but they need our help," says Jay Watson, the Department of Natural Resources' insect ecologist.

"Creating healthy habitat for pollinators and getting trained to help identify and locate bumble bees, Karner blue butterflies, and monarch eggs and caterpillars are great ways to help."

Gov. Tony Evers has joined governors from 48 other states to declare June 17-23 as "Pollinator Week." A pollinator is any animal that visits flowering plants and transfers pollen from flower to flower, aiding plant reproduction. In Wisconsin, native pollinators include bees (Wisconsin has 400 species of them, including bumble bee species), butterflies, moths, flower flies, beetles, wasps, and hummingbirds. Populations of some pollinators in Wisconsin, including several bumble bees and butterflies, are in decline, with potential widespread implications.

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 9 photos

Northern wildflower garden brings nature home - Photo Credit: Ryan Brady

Globally, somewhere between 75 percent and 95 percent of all flowering plants - some 180,000 species in all and 1,200 crops -- need pollinators to help reproduce, according to the Pollinator Partnership, the organizer of the awareness week.

In Wisconsin, many of these flowering plants and the insects that pollinate them feed other wildlife and support healthy ecosystems that clean the air and stabilize soils, Watson says.

Pollinators are crucial for many Wisconsin agricultural crops too. Without pollinators, Wisconsin cranberry growers would lose three-quarters of their crop, apple growers would lose 80 percent, and cherry growers would lose 60 percent. In 2015, that would have added up to a whopping $134 million loss, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Concern over declines in pollinators led that department to initiate development of the Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Plan in 2015.

Feed pollinators and help find them

Good habitat for pollinators will include a diversity of native plants, leaf litter or "unmanicured" green spaces, and minimal to no pesticide use, Watson says.

"Even if you only have a small yard or an apartment balcony, you can grow native flowers that provide food for pollinators," he says.

Lists of plants good for pollinators and other resources are found on DNR's Saving Pollinators web page, found on dnr.wi.gov, search "pollinators."

Volunteering with a citizen-based monitoring program to help pollinators is something that anyone can do, wherever they are in the state, says Eva Lewandowski, citizen-based monitoring coordinator at DNR.

"There are several pollinator projects in Wisconsin that people can join to help provide high quality data that can be used for conservation and management," Lewandowski says. Those programs include:

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"Rapid response" efforts to control invasive species ramp up

Contact(s): Kelly Kearns, DNR invasive plant coordinator, 608-267-5066; Jason Granberg, DNR invasive species specialist, 608-267-7758

Prohibited plants and animals targeted for fast action upon their discovery

MADISON - Wisconsin invasive species biologists are ramping up rapid response efforts to quickly control invasive plants when they are discovered and asking for the public's help in reporting new infestations of key prohibited species.

"We're ramping up rapid response because for the first time we have federal dollars to do so for terrestrial plants," says Kelly Kearns, invasive plant coordinator for DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation program.

"We have money for early detection and response for plants on our prohibited list, so we want to know about new locations and get control efforts underway."

People can report invasive plants and animals to invasive.species@wisconsin.gov.

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 10 photos

Take a look at some of the invasive species that inhabit our lakes, rivers, wetlands and forests.

Invasive species affecting lakes, rivers and wetlands and forests have had funding available for rapid response for years; with DNR newly obtaining federal money to tackle terrestrial invasive species, the money has been spent this spring to hire a contractor to remove porcelain berry from several Madison and Middleton neighborhoods. A second round of control work will be underway in the fall.

Under the state's invasive species rule, NR 40, prohibited species are those that are not known to be in the state or only in small selected locations so containment is feasible. With some exceptions, it is illegal to sell, transfer and possess prohibited species.

There are dozens of species on the prohibited list; Kearns says that the DNR is especially interested in finding infestations of wild chervil, amur cork tree, and lesser celandine, also known as fig buttercup.

Wild chervil, an herb with fernlike leaves that invades roadsides, open woods, fields and pastures, is now blooming and spreads easily along roadsides and can move into adjacent lands and completely dominate the area. Chippewa and Dunn Counties have large populations, but elsewhere in Wisconsin it is relatively new or not yet present.

"Wild chervil is just starting to bloom and it's only abundant in a few places and we really want to learn where it's popping up," Kearns says. "Report your sightings to invasive.species@Wisconsin.gov, providing a photo, location and contact information."

Amur cork trees have been present in Wisconsin for a while, first as a landscape planting, it has been spreading as birds eat and spread their seeds. This trees species outcompete other plants in forests.

"We're finding a lot more amur cork trees in areas where they had been planted. Partners are surveying areas to see how abundant it is and working with landowners to remove the trees," Kearns says.

Lesser celandine is a groundcover with kidney to heart-shaped leaves and showy, buttercup yellow flowers that invades forests, wetlands and shoreland areas, as well as upland areas and disturbed areas such as lawns. The invasive is poisonous to livestock and humans, and infestations of this plant eliminate spring wildflowers in woodlands.

Lesser celandine is poisonous to livestock and humans and inhibits wildflower growth in woodlands. - Photo credit: DNR
Lesser celandine is poisonous to livestock and humans and inhibits wildflower growth in woodlands.Photo credit: DNR

Rapid response to control invasive porcelain berry underway in Madison

Meanwhile, additional rapid response efforts are being planned to control invasive porcelain berry in Madison and Middleton neighborhoods.

Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) is an ornamental plant from east Asia that spreads aggressively, climbing trees and shrubs, eventually blanketing the forest. The vine has been found on hundreds of properties on the west side of Madison so far.

DNR staff have contacted homeowners in these neighborhoods asking them to look for, report the vine, and try to control it if possible or allow DNR-paid contractors on site to control it. The first round of porcelain berry control was completed in March, with about 8 acres treated over 150 properties in the Madison area. A second wave of treatment gets underway this early fall.

This is the largest known population of this aggressive plant in Wisconsin, and DNR invasive species officials are asking area homeowners to help report and contain the species before it spreads further and blankets yards, parks, and forests.

"We are working with hundreds of landowners in the affected area, including homeowners, businesses, local governments, and the University of Wisconsin, to document and control this plant," says Jason Granberg, an invasive species specialist for DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation program.

"There may be additional areas where it is present but not yet reported, so we're asking landowners to keep an eye out for any invasive vines. Any new reports will guide our control work and bring us closer to eradicating this invasive species."

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Additional public meeting on statewide inland trout management plan

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

MADISON - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff have scheduled an additional public meeting in Crivitz to review the draft statewide Inland Trout Management Plan.

This brown trout is just one of the many trout species included in the inland trout management plan. - Photo credit: DNR
This brown trout is just one of the many trout species included in the inland trout management plan. Photo credit: DNR

We heard from our stakeholders that a meeting in the northeast part of the state is important. We invite all interested members of the public to attend this additional meeting to learn about trout management in Wisconsin and this 10-year statewide management plan. We will also be accepting public feedback at this meeting and through a public comment period.

The meeting will be held at the following location:

Location: Crivitz Community Center, 901 Henriette Ave, Crivitz, WI 54114
Date: June 24, 2019
Time: 6-8 pm
Contact: David Boyarski, 920-559-2341

The Trout Management Plan provides direction for inland trout management in Wisconsin. It covers Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout and Lake Trout in inland lakes, ponds and streams of Wisconsin. This includes tributaries of the Great Lakes upstream from the first impassable barrier such as a dam and naturally occurring falls.

The plan communicates the direction and focus of the DNR Fisheries Program on inland trout management for the next 10 years. Specifically, it guides the allocation of resources, identifies constraints, and prioritizes management activities. This plan addresses many important fisheries management activities such as monitoring and research, habitat improvement, stocking, fishing regulations, land management, and land/easement acquisition.

The Trout Management Plan is available for review online at https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/trout/inlandtroutmanagementplan.html, or learn more by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "trout plan."

Written comments will be accepted through July 5, 2019. Send comments to Joanna.griffin@wisconsin.gov or fill out the online survey by visiting dnr.wi.gov, search "program guidance."

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DNR completes strategic analysis of aquatic plant management in the state

Contact(s): Carroll Schaal, lakes and rivers section chief, 608-261-6423 or Madi Johansen, aquatic plant management team leader, 608-267-3531

MADISON-The Department of Natural Resources has completed a Strategic Analysis of Aquatic Plant Management (APM) in Wisconsin, summarizing current information on APM and potential management alternatives. The Strategic Analysis report [PDF] will help inform decision-makers and the public about this topic and aid in the development of future APM policy.

While aquatic plants are a critical part of the state's freshwater environment and serve many valuable functions, they can become overabundant and interfere with water recreation and other uses of lakes, rivers, and ponds. The ability to effectively manage aquatic plants is complicated by the fact that some of the DNR rules governing APM have not been updated in over 30 years.

A draft report was released for public review and comment last December. The DNR has revised the report to reflect comments and suggestions received. The final Strategic Analysis report can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for APM strategic analysis, or "aquatic plant management."

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Public comment sought on the DNR's surface water grant program

Contact(s): Alison Mikulyuk, DNR lakes and rivers team leader, 608-264-8947

MADISON-The public comment period to provide feedback on a proposed consolidated administrative rule governing the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' surface water grant program opened on June 17 and will continue through July 24.

The proposed language can be found under Board Order WY-18-15 on the department's proposed permanent rules site. The department's web page on NR193 has more information.

The surface water grant program helps local groups protect and restore lakes, rivers and wetlands, and control aquatic invasive species by providing around $6.5 million each year in the form of cost-sharing funds. Local organizations and units of government use the funds to improve the lakes they manage and live on, protect their property values, and ensure resources are protected and restored for the benefit of nature and society.

The consolidated code will clarify policies, improve customer service and satisfaction, improve administrative consistency and efficiency and is designed to support better and more cost-effective environmental outcomes that serve local needs and advance department management objectives for state surface waters. Goals of the rule creation include uniting current subprograms under one consistent set of procedures and policies, updating management standards with reference to new statutory programs, supporting management at the watershed scale, enhancing accountability and allowing for performance standards.

Written comments may be submitted at the public hearings, by mail or email to Alison Mikulyuk, Department of Natural Resources, 101 S Webster St. Madison WI, 53703, call 608-264-8947, or email to Alison.Mikulyuk@Wisconsin.gov. Written comments may also be submitted to the Department at DNRAdministrativeRulesComments@wisconsin.gov.

Interested parties should sign up for the Surface Water Grant Program electronic newsletter to stay informed of developments. 

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Read more: Previous Weekly News

Last Revised: Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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