DNR seeks comments on Tioga Recreation Area Mountain Bike Trail project

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) prepared for the Tioga Recreation Area Mountain Bike Trail project in the city of Cohasset in Itasca County.
The city proposed construction of 30 miles of single-track mountain bike trail within the 500-acre Tioga Recreation Area. Facilities include trailhead, parking, signage, restrooms, picnic shelters, changing shelters and a bike repair station. Additional outdoor recreational opportunities include hiking and snowshoeing.
The agency will take comments during a 30-day public review period from June 18 to July 18.A copy of the EAW is available online on the project page. A hard copy may be requested by calling 651-259-5126.
The EAW is available for public review at:
* DNR library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
* DNR northeast regional office, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids.
* Minneapolis Central Library, Government Documents, 2nd Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall.
* Duluth Public Library, 520 West Superior St., Duluth.
* Grand Rapids Area Library, 140 NE 2nd St., Grand Rapids.
The EAW notice is published in the June 18 EQB Monitor. The EQB Monitor is a biweekly publication of the Environmental Quality Board that lists descriptions and deadlines for environmental review documents and other notices.
Written comments must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 18, to the attention of Bill Johnson, EAW project manager, Environmental Policy and Review Unit, Ecological and Water Resources Division, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.
Electronic or email comments may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with “Tioga Recreation Area” in the subject line. If submitting comments electronically, include name and mailing address. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811. Names and addresses will be published as part of the EAW record.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

WisCorps summer crew kicks off June 15

On Friday, June 15, WisCorps will send eight crews into the field throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest to embark on their conservation and community revitalization projects.  
More than 50 teens and young adults from across Wisconsin will be at the WisCorps Headquarters at Myrick Park Center, 789 Myrick Park Drive in La Crosse for an orientation and send-off ceremony.
Since its founding in 2009, WisCorps has sent more than 90 crews across the state of Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest serving over 1,000 teens and young adults. These individuals learned new skills while working to conserve our natural resources and help build accessibility for everyone to the outdoors.  
Summer 2018 projects include:
* Mayor’s Crew: Neighborhood revitalization projects in the Powell-Poage-Hamilton, Washburn, Holy Trinity-Longfellow and Lower Northside Depot Neighborhoods.
* WisCorps WORKS: Individual work experience placements in local businesses and organizations.
* Inclusive Crews: Erosion control and planting in neighborhood parks, garden accessibility construction and home repair projects.
* Conservation Crews: Construction of new recreational trails at the La Crosse County Landfill, Trail reconstruction at Perrot State Park, restoration of sensitive wetland areas at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Hammond, Indiana, backcountry trail maintenance, Isle Royale National Park, ADA boardwalk construction at Chad Erickson Memorial Park, and restoration of the Ice Age Trail in Manitowoc, WI.
Start-up Schedule (Friday June, 15, 2018)
2:30 Guests arrive (local dignitaries, WisCorps supporters and family members) for building and grounds tours

SOURCE: WisCorps

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 dnr.wi.gov 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

East Moore Lake named one of top 50 ‘Mom Approved’ lakes

Fishing fun for all ages and abilities is close to anyone in the Twin Cities area, where 66 lakes have easy-to-reach piers, family-friendly settings and fishing for bluegill and catfish through the Fishing in the Neighborhood program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“These lakes are for all ages and are great places for people of all ages to learn how to fish, or really for anyone who wants to relax and wet a line,” said Tim Ohmann, east metro area fisheries specialist. “From a pier, it’s often easy to see fish take your bait – that’s a highlight for a lot of kids.”
A national organization this week gave a nod to one of these waters – East Moore Lake in the north metro suburb of Fridley – which was singled out in a list of the top 50 “Mom Approved Places to Fish and Boat” by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.
“We’re happy to hear a lake like East Moore is getting some national attention,” Ohmann said. “This helps us show how easy it is to go fishing here, since Moore is one of dozens we have that offer similar experiences for nearly 3 million people.”
For the award, outdoorsy moms in Minnesota were asked to vote on their favorite place to fish and boat based on a list of accessible fishing locations. Now the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation is taking votes to narrow the list down to the top 10. Anyone can vote at takemefishing.org/momapproved.   
The FiN program puts about 25,000 bluegills into the 66 small lakes in the metro area each year. Anglers need not buy expensive tackle or boats to catch bluegills. A cane pole or inexpensive rod and reel set up with a bobber and a worm for bait will do the trick. Panfish also can be caught using crickets, bugs, small leeches, crankbaits, little jigs and by flyfishing.
A list of metro fishing lakes and more about the FiN program can be found at mndnr.gov/fin.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

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

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, dnr.wi.gov, 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 dnr.wi.gov 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 www.ipaw.org.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


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, dnr.wi.gov, 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