Fireworks prohibited on state lands

MADISON, WI - People out celebrating the Fourth of July Holiday are being reminded that fireworks are prohibited on all Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources lands including state parks, state forests and state owned public hunting and fishing properties, and anyone using fireworks should take precautions and prevent wildfires now and during the next few weeks.
"For the safety of our guests and our natural resources, fireworks are prohibited on state properties," said Chris Madison, chief ranger with the Wisconsin State Park System. "Fourth of July favorites, the sparkler and the snake, are not defined as 'fireworks' per state law, but most park and forest rangers and managers discourage their use because they are a fire hazard."
A citation for illegal fireworks in a state park or forest can cost up to $200 and parents could be liable for the full costs of putting out a fire started by their children playing with or setting off fireworks.
"Most wildfires caused by fireworks occur around the July 4th holiday or under extended drought conditions, but the reality is, wildfires can occur anytime the ground is not completely snow-covered," said Catherine Koele, DNR wildfire prevention specialist.
Exploding fireworks, such as firecrackers, m-70s, bottle rockets, and roman candles, cause the most fireworks-caused wildfires. Paired with hot and dry weather, even sparklers and fountains pose a significant threat in dry grassy areas. Anyone responsible for starting a wildfire in Wisconsin is liable not only for the cost of putting the fire out, but also for any damages.
Fireworks are restricted in Wisconsin and permits may be required. It's best to check with local officials before purchasing and lighting them. A city, village, town or county may also enact an ordinance more strictly limiting fireworks sales or possessing them.
Anyone planning on camping in a Wisconsin state park or forest for the Fourth of July should enjoy fireworks displays in nearby communities - not at picnic areas, campsites or other areas within state parks, forests and trails.
As of the last week of June, fire dangers levels throughout Wisconsin were low across the state, but even in low fire danger times, fireworks can start wildfires. So far in 2018, DNR records show nearly 700 wildfires have burned more over 1,800 acres in DNR fire protection areas of Wisconsin. Wildfires caused by fireworks only amount to 5 percent of the annual total. However, these fires typically occur in a condensed timeframe around the Fourth of July holiday.
For more information about how to prevent wildfires from fireworks, visit the DNR homepage at and search keyword "wildfire causes."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Wisconsin coalition forms to reverse decline of monarch butterflies

MADISON, WI - Monarch butterfly populations have dropped more than 80 percent over the last 20 years in the eastern U.S., and a new statewide consortium has been formed to work together to reverse the decline in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative includes more than 70 stakeholders representing agriculture, transportation, utilities, public and private land management, research, education and government.
With input from all sectors, the collaborative has drafted Wisconsin's portion of a regional strategy that covers 16 states and is in the beginning stages of creating a Wisconsin Monarch Conservation Strategy. The state strategy will serve as a roadmap for voluntary statewide monarch conservation efforts and focus on increasing monarch habitat, namely through increasing native milkweed and nectar plants.
"This is an all hands-on-deck effort," says Owen Boyle, the Department of Natural Resources species management section chief and DNR's lead representative for the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative.
"Many people and organizations are already doing great work for monarchs. This new coalition will build on those efforts and help leverage resources to accelerate efforts to restore monarchs in Wisconsin."
Craig Ficenec, co-chair of the coalition's agriculture working group, says the effort can help proactively recover monarch populations before they might need to be listed as an endangered species, something that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has been petitioned to do.
"Farmers and rural landowners are key to proactively and voluntarily recovering monarchs," says Ficenec, program director for the Sand County Foundation, a national non-profit based in Wisconsin that promotes voluntary conservation on private land. He works with farmers, rural electric cooperatives, and high school agriculture educators to plant monarch habitat.
Andrew Wallendal, co-owner and consultant of Wallendal Farms and a representative for the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association, says the coalition has great potential for producers to network about conservation actions on their farms.
"Farming and conservation can go hand in hand, such as maintaining high quality and high yields, while pollinator areas on non-tilled parts of the farm flourish," he says.
Karen Oberhauser, Director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, has been studying monarchs for over 30 years, and has witnessed a drastic decline in their numbers over this period.
"We know that preserving this amazing species will require the engagement of all states in their migratory flyway, and all sectors of human society, from farmers, to urban residents, government agencies, to businesses. The Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative is part of a hopeful and important effort," she says.
Monarchs breed in Wisconsin and 15 other Midwestern states throughout the spring and summer and native milkweeds are the only plants on which monarchs will lay their eggs. In Wisconsin, as elsewhere, habitat loss is considered the main threat to pollinators including monarchs. Monarchs face special challenges as the distance increases between the remaining suitable habitat patches along their 2,000-plus mile migration route between their breeding grounds in the Midwest and their wintering grounds in central Mexico.
Receive periodic updates about the Wisconsin Monarch Collaborative and other news about monarchs in Wisconsin by subscribing to DNR's monarch updates. Subscribe at and search "pollinators."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Heavy rains fuel floods, faster currents statewide

MADISON, WI - June storms packing heavy downpours have pushed lake and river levels into flood levels, tossed debris into waterways and accelerated currents statewide, signaling Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials to remind all water users to think safety by checking local water conditions and always wear a life jacket when on the water.
Capt. April Dombrowski, head of the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement's Recreation Safety and Outdoor Skills Section, says the heavy rain and rapid onset of flash floods in many areas of Wisconsin resulted in road wash-out, closures and sinkholes. In addition to the roadway issues, it can have a major impact on your water-based recreational activities.
Dombrowski says this severe weather is a reminder for all to check your local water conditions before boating or paddling, swimming or any water activity. Good places to check are local tourism offices, DNR offices, local bait shops, sporting goods stores or the U.S. Geological Survey, too.
"One quick safety tip is to always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket," Dombrowski said. "Today's models are comfortable versions. Wearing one just might save your life." Learn more about life jackets for every water sport.
Some of these storms and heavy rains have pushed trees and other debris in the water which creates another danger to keep watch. High water levels also increases the shoreline and erosion impacts of your boat wake. Some areas have implemented lake-wide slow-no-wake requirements. Remember to always be aware of your boat wake and impact on others and check the signage prior to launching, Dombrowski says.
Here are some other safety tips from Dombrowski:
* Make a float plan, follow that plan and let someone know where you are going.
* Always wear a life jacket. All people in either canoe or kayak are required by law to have a wearable U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board.
* Match your skill level to water and weather conditions.
* Take a boating safety class and hone your skills.
* Everyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1989, must have completed a boating safety course to operate a motorboat (unless ages 10-15 and accompanied by a parent or guardian). You can take an online boat safety course.
* Do not overload your vessel.
* Place belongings and dry clothing in a wet sack or other waterproof container.
* Another top tip is to remain sober while operating your boat or paddling. Hold off on consuming alcohol until after your recreational boating outing. Remember this weekend is the national Operation Dry Water event, when law enforcement agencies partner to keep the waters safe for all by removing impaired operators. DNR wardens will be out, joining local boat patrols from the June 29-July 1, weekend.
Wisconsin has many popular lakes and rivers that attract many users for all sorts of water activities. And with all the users comes boat congestion and unintended user conflicts. For all water recreational enthusiasts to have a safe and enjoyable outing, it's important to slow down, use common sense and respect other users on the waters.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

State high schooler wins archey scholarship

MADISON, WI - A Wisconsin youth archer from Cadott placed third at the June 7-9 National Archery in the Schools Program World Tournament at Louisville, Ky., where he also became the first state student to win $10,000 for post-high school education at the awards ceremony.
Kaden Christianson was among the 4,967 student archers from 358 schools who competed at the 10th annual world tournament in the nation's bluegrass state. Event organizers say more than 10,000 spectators also attended the student competition.
Christianson shot a 296 for the bronze position, and went on to compete in the scholarship shoot-off at the awards ceremony. Christianson faced 8 other high school archers from across the country. To date, NASP® has awarded $1.6 million dollars in cash scholarships to NASP® students to use for any post-high school education of their choosing
Since its start in 2002, the National Archery in the School's Program (NASP®) has been hosting its eastern national tournaments in Louisville, and for the first time hosted the world competition World Tournament. Competitors are in elementary, middle and high school divisions.
Wisconsin student archers have had a strong year. The state sent a delegation of 308 competitors from 26 schools to the recent NASP national tournament in Louisville in early May. The Wisconsin delegation joined 14,139 archers from 889 schools representing 34 states. The Wisconsin competitors who made the trip to nationals qualified at the state tournament held in Wisconsin Dells March 31-April 1.
NASP recently released the results for the Academic Archer winners, which included 582 Wisconsin archers. Of those 582 state archers, four qualified for the Academic All-star team. These archers maintain an above-average grade point average for the school year. The award is sponsored by NASP and Easton Archery products.
To learn more about the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) or other youth archery programs and opportunities please feel free to contact Dan Schroeder, Wisconsin DNR Archery Education Administrator or search the DNR website,, for keyword NASP.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Volunteers needed for 'The Great Mississippi River Cleanup'

As part of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics – Hot Spot week on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, a river cleanup will be held on Sunday, July 15, from 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Volunteers should meet at Beach Park which is located at the end of Main Street West in Wabasha, MN.
The cleanup will focus on the beaches along the Mississippi River from Wabasha, MN to Alma, WI. Participants with boats are also needed for the cleanup and should supply their boat capacity when registering. Participants will receive a water bottle and snacks at the close of the event.
Pre-registration is required by noon on Tuesday, July 3, to ensure availability of supplies at the cleanup. Participants can register by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 507-454-7351.
The Great Mississippi River Cleanup is sponsored by Living Lands and Waters, of East Moline, IL, each year. Last year, this event was held in six cities with 448 volunteers and removed 30,033 pounds of debris from the Mississippi River. Since the inception of The Great Mississippi River Cleanup in 2010, more than 8,000 volunteers have removed over 500,000 pounds of trash from the headwaters at Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico.
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. The refuge was selected for the 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.

SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Floods in Wisconsin result in long-term closures at state properties

SUPERIOR, WI - Heavy rains across northwestern Wisconsin in mid-June will result in some long-term closures of roads and other state facilities.
Water has begun receding, and state park and transportation officials have a better picture of repairs that will be needed at a number of properties. According to the National Weather Service the area received 7 to 12 inches of rain from June 15-18.
Portions of a dam washed out at Pattison State Park, about 13 miles south of Superior, closing Highway 35 that crossed the dam within the park. Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Natural Resources officials have been assessing the damage and beginning preparations for dam and road repair, which could take weeks.
As a result of the dam failure, Intefalls Lake within the park is being drawn down and the beach in the park is closed until further notice. Park trails and day-use areas also received significant damage and will remain closed until further notice. The campground remains open and access to view Little Manateau Falls is open, but will require access from the south as access from the park is closed via road and trail. Observation areas for Big Manateau Falls are accessible via a temporary access bridge from the park.
Amnicon Falls State Park, located about 7 miles east of Superior, is re-opened, but has some road and trail damage. The historic Horton covered bridge within the park is intact, but remains open to foot traffic only, as the road leading to the bridge was damaged and is closed to vehicle traffic until it can be repaired. A Civilian Conservation Corps bridge that leads to the park's island sustained significant damage and is closed until further notice.
The horse trail at Governor Knowles State Forest is closed, the beach and day-use area at Interstate State Park is closed, as is the south campground at Merrick State Park due to rising flood waters on the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers.
The Saunders Grade, Wild Rivers and Gandy Dancer state trails in Douglas County have significant washouts and are currently closed until further notice. The Tuscobia State Trail in southern Price County has a reroute in place due to washouts. Several canoe launches, picnic areas and day-use areas at Brule River State Forest remain under water and unusable. A bridge at the headwaters of the White River in the Town of Delta is currently closed, closing access to the parking area and an Artesian well on the property.
The public is asked to stay out of areas, roads and trails posted as closed. Keep a safe distance away from the edge of fast moving water, streams and rivers.
For additional and the most current information continue to follow Wisconsin DNR on social media as well as searching the DNR website,, for "Current Conditions."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

All hands on deck to stop aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin

MADISON, WI - Thousands of Wisconsinites and visitors will take to the water this Fourth-of-July for the state's busiest boating holiday. During the 10th annual Landing Blitz, June 29-July 4, many boaters will be greeted at landings and access points by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources staff, volunteers and regional Aquatic Invasive Species partners sharing a simple but powerful message: YOU can protect lakes and rivers from aquatic invasive species.
The Landing Blitz is a statewide effort to remind boaters and users of all other watercraft that they can take actions to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species, which pose great risks to the health of our lakes and fisheries.
"Wisconsin is blessed with an abundance of water resources for outdoor sports and recreation. It's one of the top reasons Wisconsin is the premier travel destination for fun in the Midwest," said Stephanie Klett, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. "We appreciate the commitment of our visitors and residents to help protect our lakes, rivers and streams from aquatic invasive species and preserve our water resources for generations to come."
Volunteers, AIS partners and DNR boat inspectors will be on hand at landings around the state to demonstrate the prevention steps and answer questions about invasive species. Their efforts will build on the success of last year's campaign, when volunteers inspected over 14,000 boats and spoke with over 32,000 people.
"One of the most exciting things about this campaign is the strong volunteer effort. Every year hundreds of concerned citizens participate as volunteers to help us raise awareness and empower boaters," says Bob Wakeman, Statewide AIS Coordinator.
For those who use social media, they can help spread the word about the importance of aquatic invasive species prevention by posting photos and messages using #CleanBoatsCleanWaters.
Invasive plants and animals, like Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny water fleas and zebra mussels, can spread easily by hitching a ride on boats and other equipment, including trailers, anchors, live wells, buckets and bilges. Because many invasive species can also be hidden in mud, it's vital to clean off anchors. But boaters can also easily prevent this by taking the following simple steps before they leave a boat landing:
* Inspect your boat, trailer and equipment for attached aquatic plants or animals.
* Remove all attached plants or animals.
* Drain all water from boats, motors, live wells and other equipment.
* Never move live fish away from a water body.
* Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash.
* Buy minnows from a Wisconsin bait dealer.
Only use leftover minnows when either: 1) fishing with them on the same body of water or 2) on other waters if no lake/river water or other fish have been added to the container.
Following these steps also helps boaters comply with Wisconsin state law, which prohibits the transport of aquatic invasive species.
To learn more about invasive species and their impacts to Wisconsin's waters and economy, visit and search "Invasive Species."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR