Driftless Sports Convergence set for Saturday

ONALASKA, WI - Visitors to Saturday's first Driftless Sports Convergence can expect 50,000 square feet of kayaks, canoes, bikes, camping, fishing, archery, hiking equipment, and information brought to the area by top experts and retailers from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at the Onalaska Omni Center.
The event is free thanks to AARP Wisconsin.
Celebrity appearances featuring the Outdoor Channel’s Pat & Nicole who are sharing, “Tips On Hunting Mature Whitetails,” as well as holding a meet & greet following their presentation.
Gene “Flukemaster” Jensen is also sharing his passion for bass fishing during his presentation, “Catching Bass in the Grass,” Saturday on the main stage.
Visitors may also participate in a Catch-Photo-Release Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament. The open-registration Catch-Photo-Release kayak bass fishing tournament will be on the Mississippi and Black Rivers in the La Crosse area, paying out 10 percent of the field, with $1,000 minimum for first place.
Children may attend multiple showings of Birds of Prey, or demo an electric bike, try archery tag, take a mountain bike class, see Hans Mayer Music for Kids or try out Shenanigan’s Hamster Balls.
Visitors are invited to learn fly tying and casting, disc golf, map apps, trail building, canoe camping and more. Attendees may also upgrade equipment while enjoying food trucks, live music and log rolling.
A schedule of events is available at www.driftlesssports.com.
For more information, contact Brent Hanifl at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 608-782-2281, or www.explorelacrosse.com.

Pope and Young Club schedules archery rendezvous

POYNETTE, WI - The 2018 Pope and Young Club Bowhunters Rendezvous will be held June 8-10, at the MacKenzie Center in Poynette.
The Rendezvous begins at 9 a.m. June 8, and run through 5 p.m. June 10. This event is a family-oriented bowhunters' shooting event and social gathering that is great for all ages and skill levels.
Just 25 miles north of Madison, the MacKenzie Center is one of the most diverse outdoor skills and environmental education centers in Wisconsin with hiking trails, exhibits and museums. MacKenzie is a wonderful place to visit and learn about the natural world.
The Rendezvous is an opportunity to check out new archery gear and participate in hands-on demonstrations of the latest traditional and modern archery equipment.
Attendees will find themed 3-D courses, a long-range competition, an iron bear challenge, an aerial disk station, an adventure race, bowhunting seminars and clinics, great food, hunt and target auctions, gear giveaways, prize drawings and much more. All proceeds benefit the Pope and Young Club's Conservation, Education and Outreach Fund.
Admission to the property is free, but event activities may require pass or ticket purchases. Onsite registration and walk-ins are welcome.
For full details and a schedule of events, visit www.pope-young.org/rendezvous. Learn more about MacKenzie Center events and activities at dnr.wi.gov, keywords "MacKenzie Center."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Removing lake plants could require a permit

Lakeshore property owners are reminded that a permit may be required to remove aquatic plants, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“We need plants to have healthy lakes and strong fish populations, it’s as simple as that,” said Jon Hansen, DNR aquatic plant management consultant. “So each year we remind folks to let them grow, but if they are set on removing plants, please check regulations to see if they need a permit.”
Aquatic plants provide food and shelter for fish, ducks and other wildlife. They stabilize the lake bottom, which helps maintain water clarity. These plants also protect shorelines from erosion by absorbing energy from waves and ice.
Additionally, the DNR is getting questions about devices that generate water current to blast muck and plants away.
“We refer to these devices as hydraulic jets and even though you can buy one, they cannot be used in any way that disturbs the bottom of the lake or uproots plants,” Hansen said.
Specific regulations govern what situations require permits for aquatic plant removal. Aquatic plant regulations and a guide to aquatic plants can be found at mndnr.gov/shorelandplants. To apply for a permit, visit the DNR’s permitting and reporting system at mndnr.gov/mpars.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

It's time to review dock, dock platform regulations

Before installing or investing in a new dock or dock platform, lake home and cabin owners should check to ensure it will meet state requirements, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Lake service provider businesses should review the regulations, to ensure the equipment they sell or install is in compliance.
“The current dock and dock platform regulations have been in existence for many years, but not everyone is familiar with them,” said Jack Gleason, DNR public waters hydrologist.
“Residents might assume that if another lakeshore owner has a dock with a large platform, it meets the rules for the state,” Gleason said. “Sometimes, that isn’t the case. We want residents to understand the requirements before they purchase and install dock sections, rather than telling them later that they need to remove an already-installed structure.”
Dock and dock platform size are regulated to provide a balance between the protection and use of public waters. Extensive dock systems may shade out important aquatic plants and eliminate critical habitat where fish spawn, feed, grow and find shelter from predators.
A dock may not be more than 8 feet wide and may not be combined with other similar structures to create a wider dock. A modest platform at the lake end of a dock is allowed under certain conditions. A single, temporary platform up to 120 square feet measured separately from the access dock, or 170 square feet including the area of the adjacent access dock, is allowed if the following conditions exist:
* The access dock must be 5 feet wide or less.
* The dock must be on a lake with a shoreland classification of general development or recreational development.
* Docks must not be a hazard to navigation, health or safety and must allow the free flow of water.
* A dock should not close off part of the lake to other users.
* Docks must also comply with any local ordinances.
A document about state dock requirements is available on the DNR website. Also find DNR hydrologists who can assist lake home owners with questions.
The DNR website also contains links to other helpful information for lakeshore owners about shoreline erosion control and restoration projects to help improve water quality and fish and wildlife habitat.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR



Sibley State Park icon remains jewel in Kandiyohi County

Rising above the treetops at Sibley State Park is an icon of Kandiyohi County – Mt. Tom and its viewing shelter.
The shelter, constructed in 1938, became a destination for people who visited one of Minnesota’s best-known state parks.
The shelter and the rest of Sibley State Park will be on full display as one of the highlights for guests during the 71st annual Minnesota Governor’s Fishing Opener in the Willmar lakes area.
Designated as a state park in 1919, the park is named for Minnesota’s first governor, Henry Hastings Sibley. The 3,400-acre park hosts nearly 40,000 overnight visitors and more than 300,000 visitors annually.
The original viewing shelter was designed by National Park Service architect Edward Barber, and built by the Veterans Conservation Corps. The vista over the surrounding woods and grasslands captivated visitors.
“The landscape doesn’t look how it did when I was a boy,” said Sibley State Park manager Jack Nelson. “Trees have replaced the grasslands on much of the park, which has significantly changed the view from the Mt. Tom shelter.”
The altered view-shed is a result of past land management principles, which dictated the planting of trees and allowing nature to take its course without human interference. However, research has since determined that fire and bison grazing had significant impacts on the area’s grasslands – meaning forested areas in that region largely didn’t exist before European settlement. Fire suppression and the disappearance of wild bison in the state meant trees were allowed to grow largely unchecked, eventually populating much of Sibley State Park.
In fact, by the early 1990s, the trees overtook Mt. Tom and obstructed the view from the shelter. That prompted local community groups, volunteers, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to raise money for a second level to the viewing shelter, bringing visitors once again above the treetops.
Additional work to stabilize the staircase took place in 2016 after a routine inspection found a critical safety issue. With the repairs complete, the viewing shelter resumed its place as a West Central Minnesota sightseeing destination, remaining one of the most popular attractions in one of Minnesota’s most visited parks.
“It’s certainly a jewel,” said Nelson. “I have fond memories as a child when my family visited the park, and it continues to create memories for new generations of visitors. It’s still a breathtaking view.”
In the last decade, work to restore at least part of that view has gotten underway with the removal of trees from Mt. Tom’s higher elevations. Native grasses and flowers are planted in their place, with grassland restoration work to continue for many years into the future. New land management practices will keep woody vegetation at bay, assuring a view from the top of Kandiyohi County for generations to come.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Grants available for groups that help more people hunt, fish

Grants are available for groups that help more people hunt and fish through a program that, so far, has funded 34 projects ranging from an outdoor adventure club at Roseville Area High School to classes for the Fairmont community that get friends and family fishing together.   
“We’re excited about being able to continue this grant program that aims to help groups get more people hunting and fishing, and ultimately supporting conservation,” said Jeff Ledermann, education and skills team supervisor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  
The grants are a response to an ongoing issue: While anglers still cast lines and hunters head to deer camp each year, the percentage of Minnesotans who hunt or fish is shrinking.
The DNR gives priority to programs for new and diverse audiences and those with an ongoing impact rather than one-time events. Types of activities could include fishing and hunting educational programs, clinics, workshops and camps, and funding for fishing and hunting equipment and transportation.
“The grant program has been very competitive over the first three rounds, with a total of almost 100 applicants,” Ledermann said. “The groups we chose shared a commitment to ongoing support for helping people enjoy the outdoors through hunting or fishing.”
Groups must apply for this round of grants by June 28. The grant program began in 2015 and this is the fourth round of grants. In this round, awards will range from $5,000 to $49,999 with a total amount of $150,000 available. Fourth-round projects must be completed in Minnesota and be finished by Dec. 31, 2019.
As in the last round, there is no requirement of a funding match. Organizations are nonetheless encouraged to include a match in their project that can be funding, or donated labor, materials or services. Match amounts will be considered in the selection process.
To learn more about the DNR’s work in recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3), and to find grant application requirements, visit mndnr.gov/r3. Details about the grant and a list of award winners can be found at the link under “Help others discover.”

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Enjoy flood of migratory birds in Wisconsin

MADISON, WI - Millions of migratory birds have flooded into Wisconsin in the last week and more are on their way, so bird lovers will want to grab their binoculars and get ready for the big show.
"The next two weeks are going to be awesome," says Ryan Brady, a conservation biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and bird monitoring coordinator for the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative. "Migration is catching up thanks to warm south winds. We're getting birds around the time they'd normally be here."
Brady uses web-based birding forums, the powerful eBird database, and other citizen-based observations to track bird movement patterns in Wisconsin and compile a weekly birding report emailed to subscribers every Thursday. Read his latest report and subscribe now to get the next one.
Warm south winds in late April brought the first wave of Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings, ruby-throated hummingbirds, and a remarkable 29 species of warblers to the state.
"So far, the action has been heavily centered in southern Wisconsin but this is just the first wave for most migrants," Brady says. "There are plenty more to come in the next few weeks."
Wisconsin birders are fortunate to be located along major migration pathways, Wisconsin's Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River flyways. Records dating to the 1900s show that more than 350 different species of birds have been reported in Wisconsin in May.
State residents celebrate that bounty, with Wisconsin ranking second nationally in birdwatching participation. One-third, or 1.68 million Wisconsin residents 16 and older, watch birds, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Festivals across Wisconsin in coming weeks provide great opportunities for bird watching, as do birding hot spots identified in the five online Great Wisconsin Birding and Nature Trail guides developed through the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative, says Craig Thompson, a DNR conservation biologist and Neotropical migratory bird expert.
Bird lovers also can get prime viewing in their backyard as well, Thompson says. Migratory birds are attracted to native plants and to bird feeders. Find resources on adding native plants to benefit birds on the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative website.
"Keep your bird feeders out and have the hummingbird and grape jelly feeders ready as well," he says.
Provide orange halves and jelly for Baltimore orioles, sunflower seeds for rose-breasted grosbeaks and indigo buntings, and sugar water for hummingbirds. Be sure to keep feeders clean and be mindful of bear activity in your area.
Such feeding is especially beneficial to these species given the late spring.
Hummingbirds, for instance, are arriving and in western Wisconsin, as of May 4, the Virginia bluebells and columbine they get nectar from were not even close to budding, Thompson says.
Find birding events at state parks and other properties on the DNR Get Outdoors calendar, and check the Bird City Wisconsin website, community, nature center and local birding club websites for other events.
* May 7-11: Brew City Birding Festival, Milwaukee.
* May 10-14: Horicon Marsh Bird Festival, Horicon.
* May 12: Trempealeau World Migratory Bird Day, Trempealeau.
* May 17-19: Chequamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival, Ashland.
* May 19: Wisconsin Migratory Bird Day Celebration - Taylor County, Medford.
* May 19: Crex Meadows Bird Festival, Grantsburg.
* May 18-20: Washington Islands Birding Festival, Door County.
* May 20: Ozaukee County World Migratory Bird Day, Port Washington.
* May 24-27: Door County Festival of Nature, Baileys Harbor.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR