Mother Nature forces media/practice day postponement

WEST SALEM, WI - With winter Storm Xanto hitting the Midwest this weekend, officials at the La Crosse Speedway postponed the Saturday, April 14, open practice and media day to Saturday, April 21.
"Mother Nature must have her knickers in a bind," sai Director of Competition Ray Loughan. "The snow was finally gone off the track, the track's been vacuumed, and we even had some teams do some early-season testing. But doggone it, we will just have to try it again next week.
Winter storm Xanto is expected to bring an inch of rain through Saturday morning, before transitioning to ice and freezing rain, before becoming all snow Saturday afternoon.
Upcoming practice dates include Thursday night, April 19, from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., and then the rescheduled media/practice day on Saturday, April 21, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
The 2018 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series takes the green flag Sunday, April 22, at 2 p.m., with the sixth annual "Budweiser Frostbuster." Gates open at 12:30 p.m., and at 12:45 p.m., for the first time, the Late Models and Sportsmen will participate in a new format of "Group Qualifying."  
Racing includes the Tobacco Outlet Plus Grocery NASCAR Late Models, Dean's Satellite Sportsmen, Auto Value Thunderstox, ANTS Complete Pest Control Hornets and the Auto Value Street Stocks.

SOURCE: La Crosse Speedway


Big changes come to Mosquito Island

Many long-time Winona, MN, residents grew up enjoying the beach on Mosquito Island, a small, non-descript piece of land in the Mississippi River located a short boat ride downstream of town. Over time, wind and waves took their toll and eroded the island away to a fraction of its former glory. But, during the fall of 2017, the island got a much needed facelift!
Following a few years of planning, public comment and permits, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources were able to complete a restoration to the original Mosquito Island.
The USACE Maintenance and Repair crew based in Fountain City, WI, dredged over 50,000 cubic yards of sand and 2,700 cubic yards of organic material from Pool 6 to add a two-acre extension on the upstream side of the island. Over 3,000 ton of rock was used to create vanes and armor at the head of the island to help protect against future erosion.
On April 11, 2018, volunteers joined agency personnel in planting over 1,500 willow sticks along the shoreline to fight the effects of rising water. The island is now ready for its crowning glory - 300 trees.
You are invited to add your chapter to Mosquito Island’s restoration story by planting a tree with us on Saturday, May 5. We will meet at the East End Boat Landing at 9 a.m. RSVP’s are requested and more information is available by calling or emailing Gayle Maule at the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, 507-494-6220 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Kirtland’s warbler removed from federal endangered species list


MADISON, WI - The removal of Kirtland's warbler from the federal endangered species list on April 12 is another great conservation comeback story, and Wisconsin will continue its efforts to grow the tiny songbird's population.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced earlier this week its plans to remove Kirtland's Warbler from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The USFWS has determined that the species has clearly met recovery goals following years of intensive habitat management, mostly in lower Michigan where the core population is found.
The species' numbers in Wisconsin don't yet meet the criteria to be removed from the state's endangered species list. However, Wisconsin continues to be active in conservation efforts for the species which began when it was first documented breeding here 10 years ago.
"This is a huge milestone for the overall recovery of this bird, and we will continue our work to increase the Wisconsin population," said Drew Feldkirchner, who directs the Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation Program. "Decades of commitment and hard work through public and private partnerships in Michigan have paid off, and we are also proud of the work our Wisconsin partners have done to increase our small, but growing population."
National recovery team leaders believe the Wisconsin population provides an important backstop to the core Michigan population and that newly established breeding areas on public land in northern Wisconsin will be important as hotter, drier conditions affect the warblers' food supply at breeding sites in Wisconsin and Michigan at lower latitudes.
Wisconsin's population has grown from only 11 Kirtland's warblers and three nests documented in 2007 to 53 birds and 20 total nests in 2017. Importantly, the population has grown and its range has expanded from Adams County to also include Marinette and Bayfield counties. The birds fledged a minimum of 49 and up to 63 young in 2017.
"Kirtland's are responding to a decade of conservation work from dedicated partners and the numbers of individuals and nests in Wisconsin continue to increase," said Kim Grveles, the Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist who led Kirtland's warbler efforts in Wisconsin for the past decade.
"We're very encouraged by results of recent years and look forward to contributing more birds to the overall population in coming years," she said.
The Kirtland's warbler was placed on the federal endangered species list about 40 years ago, when its Michigan population dropped to about 300 birds due to habitat loss and nest predation from brown-headed cowbirds.
Starting in the late 1990s, the protections and efforts made under the federal Endangered Species Act enabled the Kirtland's warbler to start expanding its breeding territory to Wisconsin, Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Ontario. The first nest was confirmed in Wisconsin in 2007.
To help increase Kirtland's warblers in Wisconsin, the DNR, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and other partners now conduct annual surveys in seven counties to listen and look for the birds, monitor nests in Adams County and Marinette County where breeding sites have been found, and set traps to keep cowbirds away from the warblers' nests.
The partners are also working to maintain and expand the mix of 5- to 20-year-old jack pine trees and barrens to provide quality habitat for Kirtland's warblers and other species, according to Grveles.
In 2017, DNR planted a 125-acre jack pine stand near the Brule River in Douglas County. Also, Bayfield County Forest and Marinette County Forest continued their habitat management efforts that benefit Kirtland's warblers.
In addition to those county forests, DNR and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, other partners and collaborators include the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Natural Resources Foundation, USDA Wildlife Services, Sand Valley Restoration LLC, Meteor Timber, the Wisconsin Trapshooting Association, Bayfield, Marinette, Vilas, and Jackson County Forest Departments, and many birders and other private citizens.
An article is planned for the June edition of Wisconsin's Natural Resources magazine that will highlight Wisconsin's efforts to conserve Kirtland's Warbler over the last 10 years.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


McCann named 2017 Wisconsin Conservation Warden of Year

La Crosse are conservation warden Ed McCann is the 2017 Wisconsin Conservation Warden of the Year.
McCann will receive the award at the Haskell Noyes Award Banquet on April 14, from 5 p.m.-midnight at the Pettibone Resort in La Crosse.
Tyler Strelow, Mississippi River Team warden supervisor, says the 2017 Haskell Noyes Conservation Warden Efficiency Award recipient is a brand of his own after 17 years of being on duty.
“McCann has become a bit of a household name for the warden service with all of his statewide involvement,” Strelow said of McCann, who serves on Strelow’s Mississippi River Team.
With his "think outside the box" attitude and ability to readily adapt to change, McCann's well-balanced program reflects a dedication to his continuous improvement based upon his seeking out feedback and help from others.
“Ed continuously holds himself to the highest of standards and admits his errors and deficiencies,” wardens Meghan Jensen and Trevor Tracey wrote in their nomination paper. “One of Ed’s most impressive qualities is his dedication to helping develop skills of wardens all across the state, and beyond.”
Named after a prominent businessman and World War I officer, Noyes was a pioneer Wisconsin conservationist who created the warden award to give credit for faithful and able service. The award includes a gold pocket watch with an inscription stating the watch is a Conservation Warden Efficiency Award for "Faithful and Able Service" to the state.
McCann has done more in his 17 years of service as a conservation warden than many wardens will do in their entire career, Jensen and Tracey said, adding the only word for his investigations is "brilliant."
“From his first station in Fond du Lac, to serving in the Investigative Unit, to his current station in La Crosse, everywhere Ed has served he has made a significant impact, aiding to his team’s performance and contribution to state-wide success,” they said.
Well known among other area law enforcement agencies and the justice community, McCann is known as a valued teammate who also places high priority to community wardening, public relations with all sorts of organizations and staying on top of law changes.
“Ed is a visionary, who is very intentional in his actions to ensure his role as a conservation warden will have the greatest impact on fulfilling the mission of the DNR and protecting our state’s natural resources while gaining voluntary compliance and using the most appropriate enforcement action,” the two wardens said. “Ed’s career is highlighted by his continued success, and as young wardens we look up to Ed as a mentor, as a leader, and as somebody we can trust to help us build our own successful careers.”

Glendalough State Park hosts annual walk April 21

The 22nd annual Walk for Glendalough will be Saturday, April 21, at Glendalough State Park.  
Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the historic Glendalough lodge, which will be open for tours. There is no fee to enter the park on this day, but because the walk is intended as a fundraiser, donations will be encouraged.
Visitors can grab a doughnut and some coffee or cider at the trail center before taking off for a morning stroll or bike ride. Walkers can plan a route of their own or head to the eagle nest, where the area naturalist will have spotting scopes set up to view the nesting eagles. Those unable to walk or bike long distances can take a shuttle for a tour with a stop near the eagle nest.
On return, a bratwurst lunch will be waiting. After lunch, there will be a short program. The total funds raised will be announced and park projects will be discussed. There will be door prizes.
To date, this annual fundraising event - sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources, the Parks & Trails Council of Minnesota, and the Glendalough Park Partners - has raised over $300,000 for projects at Glendalough State Park. Projects have included year-round restrooms at the trail center, historic lodge restoration, the Molly Stark Lake picnic shelter, the Annie Battle Lake hiking trail bridge, the outdoor seating area, prairie restoration, wildlife viewing blinds, rental and interpretive equipment, and much more.
A portion of the proceeds from this year’s event will go towards a platform for the outdoor seating area, cabinets for interpretive storage in the trail center, and installation of new interpretive panels by Sunset Lake about the former Glendalough Game Farm. In addition, the park partners will update walkers on the fundraising efforts for a new trailhead building that would provide bike trail orientation, historical exhibits, a new equipment rental facility, and restrooms.
The event wraps up by 1 p.m., but visitors can always extend their day with an overnight stay in the cart-in campground, a camper cabin, or a yurt. For more information, call the park at 218-864-0110 or visit www.mndnr.gov/glendalough.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Spring fish and wildlife hearing results available

MADISON, WI - More than 6,800 people came out to participate in the 2018 Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings that were held in every county statewide on Monday, April 9.
The public hearings provide citizens with an opportunity to comment and indicate preference on a wide range of proposed fish and wildlife management issues, Conservation Congress advisory questions, and to submit resolutions for rule changes they would like to see in the future.
Statewide hearing results and the questions are available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "Spring Hearings."
People voting on the department's wildlife management advisory questions supported restricting the transportation of deer harvested in CWD-affected counties as well as moving the close of the pheasant season daily shooting hours from 2 p.m. to 12 p.m. on stocked public properties.
The majority of voters also favored the idea of reviewing panfish and gamefish regulations on the Mississippi River and reducing the walleye bag limit on the Lake Winnebago system.
Participants supported the Wisconsin Conservation Congress' advisory proposals relating to increasing guide license fees and requirements, however, attendees were not in favor of requiring the registration of all non-motorized watercraft.
Meeting results, along with written comments on the evening's questions and DNR recommendations are used to advise the state Natural Resources Board. This year's results will be reviewed at the board's May 23 meeting in Madison. Votes are non-binding and are presented to the Natural Resources Board as a gauge of the public's support or non-support for proposed changes.
The hearings are held annually on the second Monday in April in conjunction with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings. DNR related proposals are presented to attendees by DNR staff. Following DNR business, the meeting is reconvened as a Conservation Congress meeting and Congress advisory questions are presented.
The Spring Hearings also provide an opportunity for citizens of each county to elect Wisconsin Conservation Congress delegates to represent them on natural resource issues. The Conservation Congress is the only statutorily recognized citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board. During the Congress' portion of the hearing, citizens may introduce resolutions for consideration and vote by those attending the hearings.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Public meetings rescheduled for regional master plans

ASHLAND, WI - Two upcoming open houses will focus on regional master planning process for properties located in three Ecological Landscapes: Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands and Northwest Lowlands.
These three landscapes include portions of Polk, Burnett, Washburn, Sawyer, Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, and Iron Counties. These open houses were previously scheduled, but had to be rescheduled due to snow storms earlier this month.
The properties in this planning effort are important recreation destinations. The popular Copper Falls, Big Bay, Pattison and Amnicon Falls state parks will all have their master plans updated.
People can learn more about and engage in the planning process online by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "master planning" and selecting the ecological landscape that interests them (Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands, Northwest Lowlands).
In addition to opportunities to learn more about the landscapes and department properties within them, there is a questionnaire on the web pages for the public to offer their input on the planning and management of the properties.
The public meetings will run from 5 to 7 p.m. and will be held:
* Tuesday, April 24, Ashland at Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, 29270 County Highway G.
* Wednesday, April 25, Spooner at DNR Service Center, 810 W Maple St.
In addition to the opportunities to offer input online or at public meetings, people may contact DNR Planner Phil Rynish, by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., phone at 608-266-5854, or U.S. mail at Phil Rynish, Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53707-7921. The public comment period for this first phase of planning is open through May 3, 2018.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR