Invasive Species Month gets new name and focus

MADISON - After 15 years, Invasive Species Awareness Month is getting a new name and focus: Wisconsin Invasive Species Action Month.
"Now that many Wisconsin residents and visitors are aware of the problems with invasive species, the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council has changed the name and focus of the month to move people from awareness to action," says Tom Buechel, the council's chair.
Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that can cause ecological, environmental, or economic harm. Some can affect human health. Emerald ash borer, quagga mussel, buckthorn, reed canary grass, oak wilt disease, gypsy moth, garlic mustard and purple loosestrife are all examples.
"Once an invasive species gets established, it can be extremely difficult to control, so the most important action Wisconsinites can take is to avoid moving invasive species to un-infested sites in Wisconsin and to other states," says Drew Feldkirchner, who leads DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation Program, which coordinates DNR invasive species efforts.
To prevent accidentally spreading emerald ash borer, oak wilt and gypsy moth, campers and recreationists should obtain firewood locally, and buy only firewood certified as safe by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection or by USDA. Learn more on DNR's website,, and search keyword "firewood."
Anglers and boaters can help protect lakes and rivers by cleaning recreational equipment after every use and draining all water from gear before leaving a site. If possible, wash gear with hot water and dry it for five or more days between uses. For more information, visit and search "aquatic invasive species."
Gardeners and landscapers can prevent spreading invasive species by planting and promoting only native plants or non-native plants that don't expand beyond the garden or seed into other areas.
For more information visit the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin website at

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Ruffed grouse survey results indicate decrease in breeding grouse

MADISON, WI - Roadside ruffed grouse surveys completed this spring showed statewide drumming activity decreased 34 percent between 2017 and 2018.
While this decline does not follow the generally predictable grouse population cycle, the 2018 drumming observations do fall within the normal range of variability of the grouse cycle.
The survey results showed a 34 percent decrease statewide over 2017 levels. The downturn was seen in both the central (-29 percent) and northern (-38 percent) forest regions of the state. These two areas comprise the primary grouse range in Wisconsin. While the decreases in the southwest (-14 percent) part of the state were smaller by percentage, and an increase in the southeast was observed, these areas are not within the primary range for grouse. The drumming activity in southwestern and southeastern Wisconsin are at or near historic lows, and likely would not significantly add to grouse abundance in the state.
For complete roadside ruffed grouse survey results, visit and search keywords "reports."
"Ruffed grouse populations are known to rise and fall over a nine to 11-year cycle, and the last peak in Wisconsin's cycle occurred in 2011," said Mark Witecha, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources upland wildlife ecologist. "Based on the historical grouse cycle in Wisconsin, it was expected there would have been a significant drop in the population in the northern forest back around 2015. However, the population decline was only about half as low as anticipated.
"With this somewhat abbreviated low point in the population cycle in 2015, an increasing phase lasting several years is expected, so a decline in 2018 is not consistent with a typical population cycle, but does confirm the reports we received from hunters last fall," added Witecha. "As these survey results indicate, there is some variation from the historical pattern in the grouse population over the last several years, specifically in the primary northern range. In the more southern survey areas, a long-term decline in the population is consistent with a loss of quality young forest habitat."
Roadside surveys to monitor the number of breeding grouse have been conducted by staff from the department, U.S. Forest Service, tribal employees, and numerous grouse enthusiasts and volunteers since 1964.
Roadside surveys to monitor the number of breeding grouse have been conducted by staff from the department, U.S. Forest Service, tribal employees, and numerous grouse enthusiasts and volunteers since 1964.
From seeds to sky
"Ruffed grouse rely on dense, young forest cover resulting from disturbances such as fire and logging. Beyond actively managing state-owned lands, the Wisconsin DNR is working to provide suitable grouse habitat through an extensive collaborative effort known as the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership," said Witecha. "This partnership provides technical and financial assistance for young forest management on private lands, benefiting ruffed grouse and other wildlife species by helping maintain healthy and diverse forest communities."
For more information about grouse hunting in Wisconsin, search keywords "ruffed grouse hunting." To learn more about managing habitat for ruffed grouse and other wildlife species, search keywords "young forest."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Paddle event scheduled with Refuge Ranger Ed

You are invited to join Refuge Ranger Ed on a family-friendly paddle through the backwaters of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge near Kellogg, MN.  
Join fellow paddlers as they travel around the Weaver Bottoms on Saturday, June 30.  
The trip leaves the Halfmoon Landing at 5:30 p.m., and return by 8 p.m.
The Halfmoon Landing is located near Kellogg, MN at 12067 622nd Street which is off from County Road 84.
Pre-registration is required by 4 p.m. Thursday, June 28, by calling or emailing Ranger Ed Lagace at 507-494-6236 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  
The refuge will provide canoes, paddles and PFDs, or paddlers can bring their own equipment.

SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Leave No Trace Camping Workshop scheduled

Campers, boaters and river users are invited to attend a free one-hour workshop that will provide tips and insight to camping on beaches and islands in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge following the Leave No Trace principles.
A team of Leave No Trace trainers will lead the workshop which is schedule Friday, July 13, from 5 p.m.-6 p.m., at the Winona History Center, 160 Johnson Street, Winona, MN.  
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics selected the refuge for its 2018 Hot Spot Program from over 200 applicants due to increased trash on islands, damaged vegetation and trees, and dispersal of invasive species over recent years. The Hot Spot Program is in its seventh year of raising community awareness and bringing solutions and preventive measures to popular natural areas around the country facing the impacts associated with heavy recreational use.
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is a national nonprofit organization that protects the outdoors by teaching people how to enjoy it responsibly. Their Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainers are mobile teams of educators visiting 48 states every year delivering Leave No Trace programs such as Hot Spots to over 15 million people.
For additional information on the free camping workshop, contact the refuge at 507-454-7351.

SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Purple Martin Festival on tap June 30 in Waupun

The Wisconsin Purple Martin Association is playing host to its free seventh annual Purple Martin Festival near Waupun at the north end of the Horicon Marsh at Marsh Haven Nature Center on June 30.
Purple martins have flown across two continents to spend their spring and summer in Wisconsin, and will celebrate their return in the backyard of Marsh Haven Nature Center. This family of aerial insectivores will delight the public with firsthand sightings and chatter coming from over 30 pairs of harmonious birds.  
Food and drink will be available and all proceeds will benefit the purple martin colony at the location. Activities for both youths and adults will be offered at Marsh Haven Nature Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The public may also enjoy numerous trails available for walking through woods, prairie and wetland habitats that include a 30-foot observation tower.  
Talks presented about martins will be on ecology, their housing, how to attract them and preventing nest competition. Whether the day is rainy or sunny, a live camera showing of purple martin activity will be ongoing at the nature center.
A martin-housing vendor will be available outside along with free brochures and related martin information. A silent auction inside will benefit the Wisconsin Purple Martin Association in their activities throughout the year. If the weather is truly cooperative, a close-up view of adult martins will be shown with their nests while banding.  
Purple martins make a 4,000-5,000-mile flight from South America to Wisconsin from early April to the end of June. They are one of the earliest spring migrants. Most notably, they are semi-dependent upon people to provide housing and security for their reproduction to be successful.  
Because of this close association with people, purple martins need managers to be educated to prevent Wisconsin’s sinking purple martin population.  
Information is available online at Wisconsin Purple Martin Association or Marsh Haven Nature Center http://www.marshhaven.orgin Waupun.  

Proposed master plan changes to improve access at 3 Northwoods properties

MADISON, WI - The public has an opportunity to comment on draft changes to management plans for three properties in the Northwoods Region of Wisconsin at upcoming public meetings and through a comment period.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is proposing modifications to the property master plans in response to public requests.
The changes at two properties, the Upper Wolf River Fishery Area and the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area, would enable the DNR to provide all-terrain vehicle and utility terrain vehicle access on designated trails across short stretches of these properties. These short connections on DNR property, both less than a half mile in length, would create linkages in larger regional trail networks. The DNR is also proposing to update the land management classifications and maps for these properties and to expand the protection along the Wolf River corridor.
The proposed changes for these two properties will be addressed through master plan amendments. The DNR anticipates presenting the proposed amendments to the Natural Resources Board at their meeting in Hayward on Sept. 26.
The DNR also received requests to construct two parking areas at the Willow Flowage Scenic Waters Area - a small handicap parking area near the dam and a multi-use parking area at the far south end of the property to serve snowmobilers, ATV/UTVs riders, and boaters. These small additions to the property will be addressed through a variance to the existing master plan. DNR staff expect to decide on the proposed parking areas after the public input period.
The DNR is not undertaking a review of the entire range of management actions at these properties, but rather is focusing on potentially authorizing these specific changes to the existing master plans.
The public can learn more about and comment on the proposals at two open house meetings. Both meetings will run from 4 to 6 p.m. and will be held:
* June 19, Springstead - Sherman Town Hall, 4094 State Highway 182.
* June 20, Antigo - Langlade County Fairgrounds, 1633 Neva Road.
The public can review the draft amendments and variance along with a series of maps by searching the DNR website,, for "property planning" and clicking on the link for "Northwoods Region." On that page people can fill out an online questionnaire to submit comments, or can download the form and mail it in. Comments, either online or hardcopy, are due by July 10. Questions can be directed to John Pohlman at 608-264-6263 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Minnesota state parks offer free admission on June 9

Gov. Mark Dayton is encouraging Minnesotans to get out and enjoy the state’s outstanding outdoor opportunities by proclaiming June 2018 as Great Outdoors Month.
The proclamation cites the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors as one incentive to visit Minnesota state parks and trails.
As an added incentive, the Department of Natural Resources will continue its longstanding tradition of waiving the requirement for a vehicle permit (a $7 value) and providing free admission at all 75 Minnesota state parks and recreation areas on Saturday, June 9, which is National Get Outdoors Day, an event held annually on the second Saturday in June.
“Exploring Minnesota state parks is a great way to spend time with friends and family, get active and enjoy our state’s many natural wonders,” Dayton said. “This Saturday, I encourage all Minnesotans to ‘Get Outdoors’ and experience a state park or recreation area near you.”
Many special programs are scheduled throughout Great Outdoors Month and on National Get Outdoors Day to help make each visit memorable and fun for visitors, said Erika Rivers, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division. “Our goal is to connect new people, especially families with young children, to the outdoors.”
Special programs taking place June 9 at Minnesota state parks include:
* Pop Can Casting, 11 a.m.-noon, Fort Snelling State Park in St. Paul. Make a fishing pole with a pop can. Bring a clean can with the tab still attached and meet at the fishing pier.
* Peregrine Falcons, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Gooseberry Falls State Park, Two Harbors. Drop by the Visitor Center Auditorium to see live falcons and learn about these remarkable birds from Jackie Fallon of the Midwest Peregrine Society.
* Outdoor Recreation Day, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Father Hennepin State Park on Lake Mille Lacs near Isle. Displays, demonstrations and activities, including stand-up paddle boarding, fish identification, and a kids fish casting range. There will also be a special appearance by Smoky Bear (11-11:20 a.m.), followed by Archery in the Park (1-3 p.m.) for ages 8 and older.
* Family Outdoor Fair, noon- 3 p.m., Whitewater State Park near Winona in southeastern Minnesota. Make a walking stick and visit activity stations, including archery, trout fishing, geocaching, canoeing, bird watching and more.
* Minnesota Zoomobile, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., Minneopa State Park in Mankato. Live animals, storytelling, and an ice cream social.
* Nature Photography, 2-3 p.m., Big Bog State Recreation Area in Waskish. Join a naturalist to learn some basic techniques. A limited number of digital cameras will be provided, or visitors can use other digital equipment (cell phone welcome, too).
For a complete list of statewide programs, with times and locations, visit parks allow visitors to check out GPS units, binoculars, fishing gear and Kids Discovery Kits (featuring activities, stories and tips to help ensure a child’s park visit will be fun). For more information on where to find the free stuff - not just on National Get Outdoors Day but every day - visit
For more information, contact the DNR Information Center by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR