Mosquito Island tree planting postponed

Due to the current and predicted high water conditions on the Mississippi River, the Mosquito Island tree planting scheduled with the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Saturday, May 5, is postponed to a later date.
Questions regarding the tree planting can be directed to Mary Stefanski at 507-494-6229.

SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Sophia’s Law goes into effect May 1

In advance of the 2018 boating season, Minnesota will be the first state in the nation to require carbon monoxide detectors and warning stickers on certain boats.
Sophia’s Law, named after 7-year-old Sophia Baechler, who died tragically from carbon monoxide poisoning while on her family’s boat, takes effect May 1.
“Carbon monoxide is a hidden danger,” said Adam Block, boating law administrator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “The deadly gas is odorless, invisible and closely mimics signs of intoxication or seasickness. Even at low levels, carbon monoxide can be lethal.”
Under the new law, functioning, marine-grade carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in recreational motorboats with a designated sleeping accommodation, a galley area with a sink, and a toilet compartment. For all gasoline-powered motorboats with an enclosed occupancy compartment, three carbon monoxide warning stickers are required. The stickers must be attached at the helm, the enclosed occupancy space and the stern.
Warning stickers and information about the dangers of carbon monoxide while boating were mailed to registered boat owners in the spring of 2017. Stickers also can be found at all Minnesota deputy registrars and many marinas and marine dealers.
“As the land of 10,000 lakes, it makes good sense for Minnesota to lead the charge in boating safety,” Block said. “Sophia’s Law was designed to protect boaters from the dangers of carbon monoxide and prevent future tragedies from happening.”
More details on Sophia’s Law are at

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Admire raccoon kits from afar - mom is near!

MADISON, WI - Despite snow on the ground, spring is here and mammals and birds are busy raising inexperienced young.
State wildlife officials remind everyone that the best way to enjoy Wisconsin's wildlife is from a distance.
Raccoon young, called kits, are born sightless, but are capable of walking, climbing and running when they are 6-8 weeks old. If you see raccoon kits, their mother is likely nearby even though you don't see her.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Carissa Freeh, member of the multi-agency Keep Wildlife Wild committee, says whether you live in the country, city, or suburbs, it is not uncommon to encounter these adaptable mammals. Well-meaning people may discover raccoon kits during the daytime, and will take unneeded action when they mistakenly believe the kits are in trouble. Even with our late winter storms, raccoon are adapted to handle Wisconsin weather, and a raccoon kit's best chance for survival is with its mother.
"Mother raccoon will leave their kits alone near their den while she is searching for food or a new den site," Freeh said. "It is normal for raccoon kits to be seen playing or heard vocalizing near their den unattended by mom. This is their way of building their strength and learning to survive. Watch and enjoy their antics from afar so their mother feels that it is safe to return."
Freeh says her best advice to spring callers concerned about raccoon kits is simple: "Watch from a distance. If they appear healthy, leave them alone."
What if a raccoon kit is truly in need of help?
"If you find a raccoon kit and it appears to be sick, cold, weak, injured or still has its eyes closed, then it may need help," said Dianne Robinson, DNR wildlife biologist. "If you are truly concerned for the raccoon's well-being, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Do not touch or feed the raccoon. Even young raccoon have sharp teeth and claws."
For more information, visit the Keep Wildlife Wild webpage on the DNR's website,, by searching keyword Keep Wildlife Wild, or check out this helpful document for baby mammals.
If a raccoon kit is injured or known to be orphaned, contact your local wildlife rehabilitator by visiting the DNR's website,, and searching keyword rehab.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR to hold confiscated hunting, fishing equipment auction

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has scheduled an auction of confiscated hunting and fishing equipment for Saturday, Aug. 4.
The auction, which is open to the public, will include items from people who forfeited their equipment after committing serious game and fish violations. More than 200 firearms, over 40 bows, and a variety of other hunting and fishing-related equipment will be available.
The auction will be at Hiller Auction Service in Zimmerman.
Public inspection of the items will be available in advance of the auction. All equipment will be sold as-is, including all defects or faults, known or unknown. Once they’ve been purchased, items cannot be returned. Background checks are required of anyone who purchases a firearm.
Revenue from confiscated equipment auctions goes into the Game and Fish Fund, which is the DNR’s primary fund for delivering fish, wildlife and law enforcement programs.
Details about the auction will be available as the date draws closer. For more information, see A list of equipment to be auctioned will be posted online approximately one month in advance of the auction at

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Wisconsin celebrates trees and forests this week

MADISON, WI - Gov. Scott Walker issued a proclamation recognizing Friday, April 27, 2018, as Arbor Day in Wisconsin and April 22-28, 2018 as Forest Appreciation Week. Arbor Day is an annual observance celebrating the role of trees and forests in our lives and promotes tree planting and care.
Wisconsin has celebrated Arbor Day on the last Friday of April since 1883.
"Wisconsin's urban and rural forests all serve a vital role in the economy, environment and culture of our local communities and the state as a whole," said Jeff Roe, urban forestry team leader at the Department of Natural Resources. "The investments by individual homeowners and forest landowners are key to ensuring Wisconsin continues to have healthy and sustainable urban and rural forests for future generations to enjoy."
This year, the DNR has donated 32,245 tree seedlings to Wisconsin fourth-grade classrooms to commemorate Arbor Day. These seedlings, grown by the Division of Forestry's Reforestation Program, help young people learn about the important role of trees in their everyday lives.
"Urban forests can reduce energy costs, provide health benefits, improve air quality and control erosion," said Roe. "It is clear our residents recognize the social and environmental benefits trees offer since so many communities across Wisconsin have earned Tree City USA designation."
Wisconsin is second in the nation for Tree City USA communities. Holding an Arbor Day celebration is one of the four standards of urban forest management a community must meet to achieve Tree City USA status. The other requirements are: maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, and spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry.
For ideas on how to celebrate Arbor Day, go to the DNR website,, and search keywords "Arbor Day. "

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Minneopa State Park visitors should keep bison calves’ safety in mind

With new bison calves expected at Minneopa State Park in the coming weeks and months, managers with the Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails division are reminding visitors to keep calves’ safety in mind by remaining in their vehicles along the park’s popular bison range road.
“The bison cows are incredibly protective of their calves, and it’s tempting for park visitors to get out of their vehicles to take photos,” said Parks and Trails area supervisor Craig Beckman. “However, it’s important for people to remember to stay in their vehicles for the safety of these calves, their mothers and other park visitors.”
The new additions are offspring of the bison bull that was introduced in December 2016.
That’s significant, Beckman said, because the bison bull comes from Theodore Roosevelt National Park and possesses a genetic line that’s not well represented in the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd. That genetic line will contribute to the herd’s overall genetic health and diversity.
While Minneopa State Park is seeing its first successful additions to the herd, the bison herds at Blue Mounds State Park and the Minnesota Zoo are also seeing new calves this year. For visitors viewing the bison at state parks, patience can be rewarded.
“Newborns need time for maternal bonding, and may be hard to see from the road for a while, but as they grow and mature, they become more visible,” Beckman said. “We tell visitors that they will be more likely to see the bison if they are patient and take it slow as they drive through the range.”

Bison viewing tips:
* The bison drive begins near the campground off state Highway 68. * A vehicle permit ($7/one-day or $35/year-round) is required to enter the park.
* Bison may be difficult to spot at times. Drive slowly and keep a watchful eye through the range.
* Remain inside vehicle while driving through the bison range.
* Bison should be given clearance of at least 75 feet from people and vehicles at all times.
* Dogs can make bison nervous, so pets must be kept on a leash while in the park and hiking around the bison range.
* Bison get nervous around loud noises or lots of activity, so keep voices down and movements to a minimum to help keep the bison within easy viewing.
* Hiking is not allowed inside the range, but there are hiking trails all the way around the outside of the range that can provide some fantastic views of the bison.

The bison are part of the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, managed through a formal agreement between the DNR and Minnesota Zoo. The partners are working together to preserve American plains bison and plan to grow the herd at several locations, including Blue Mounds and Minneopa state parks and the Minnesota Zoo.
The goal is a 500-animal herd at multiple locations. Genetic testing of the herd from 2011 to 2014 found them largely free of any genetic material that would have come from cross-breeding with cattle. Less than 1 percent of all American plains bison tested so far have been found free of cattle genes.
Visitors at Minneopa can check the park website for updates on the bison herd and its new calves at The site also provides more information about the park, including a virtual tour.
Minneopa State Park is located off U.S. Highway 169 and state Highway 68, 5 miles west of Mankato. The bison range road is open Thursday through Tuesday each week from 9am to 3:30pm.
For more information about the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd on the Minnesota Zoo website or

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Oneida County renews baiting, feeding ban

MADISON, WI - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has confirmed that a wild deer has tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Oneida County, in the Crescent Township.
As required by law, this finding will renew Oneida County's existing baiting and feeding ban for another three years. Additionally, this positive will renew the two-year baiting and feeding ban in Langlade County.
The CWD-positive one-year-old doe was harvested on a disease surveillance permit issued within a 10-mile radius of the recent Lincoln County positive detection. This is Oneida County's first CWD-positive wild deer.
"This Oneida County detection is a direct result of our surveillance efforts put in place in response to the Lincoln CWD positive," said Eric Lobner, DNR Bureau Director for the Wildlife Management program. "We will continue to work with local communities to promote CWD surveillance and awareness in the area."
In response to the detection of this new CWD positive deer, the DNR will take the following steps:
* Continue to work with the local County Deer Advisory Council members in disease surveillance around this positive location.
* Conduct surveillance activities to assess disease distribution and prevalence including:
- Encourage reporting of sick deer.
- Sample vehicle-killed adult deer.
- Sample adult deer harvested under agricultural damage permits.
- Sample adult deer harvested under urban deer hunts in the area.
- Establish additional CWD sampling locations prior to the 2018 deer seasons.
These actions are very important for assessing the potential geographic distribution of the disease and if other animals in proximity to the new positive test are infected.
As has been demonstrated in the past in other parts of the state, local citizen involvement in the decision-making process as well as management actions to address this CWD detection will have the greatest potential for success.
For more information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin, and how to have adult deer tested during the 2018/2019 hunting seasons, visit the department's website,, and search "baiting and feeding" and "CWD sampling" respectively. To report a sick deer on the landscape, search keywords "sick deer" or contact a local wildlife biologist.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR