Proposal would open 35 miles of state forest roads to motorized access for hunting

BOULDER JUNCTION, WI - The public has an opportunity to submit comments on a proposal to open 35 miles of existing roads in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest to motorized access from Sept 1, to the last day of the December four-day antlerless gun-deer season to provide additional access for fall hunting opportunities.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking comment on an "Implementation Plan for Motorized Access for Fall Hunting." Public comment period is open from July 9-23.
The state Natural Resources Board amended the NHAL master plan in October 2017, to included elements related to road access and fall hunting use.
The implementation plan proposes 35 miles of existing roads to be opened to provide additional access for fall hunting opportunities from Sept. 1 to the last day of the December 4-day antlerless gun-deer season, which this year is Dec. 9. None of the proposed roads connect to all-terrain vehicle or utility vehicle trails, routes, or Town roads designated as ATV/UTV routes, therefore ATV/UTV use is not proposed at this time.
Roads would be opened in two phases: Phase one, 21 miles opened Sept 1, 2018, and Phase two, 14 miles opened in 2019. Roads proposed to be opened are existing forest management roads used frequently for management activities. The road base and footprint exists and located on dry ground. The vast majority of proposed roads are located in forest product management areas and currently used for management purposes throughout the year.
The public can review the proposed implementation plan and comment online by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords "Northern Highland" and clicking on the tab for "management and business."
Established in 1925 to protect the headwaters of the Wisconsin, Flambeau and Manitowish rivers, the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest is the largest state forest, occupying more than 232,000 acres in northern Wisconsin. The forest provides employment and economic support to rural and urban communities through the production of forest products, recreation and tourism.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


First case of CWD reported in Marinette County

MADISON - Due to the detection of chronic wasting disease in a captive white-tailed deer, Marinette County is now listed as a CWD-affected county and a baiting and feeding prohibition is in effect.
This represents Marinette County's first known occurrence of the disease.
Florence County is within a 10-mile radius of the breeding farm on which this positive deer was found. State law requires that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources enact a ban on feeding and baiting of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a captive or free-roaming domestic or wild animal that tests positive for CWD or tuberculosis. As of July, baiting and feeding of deer will be prohibited in 43 Wisconsin counties including the additions of Marinette and Florence.
The location of this positive is also within a 10-mile radius of Forest County, thereby renewing the baiting and feeding ban in that county.
Individuals may still feed birds and small mammals, provided the feeding devices are within 50 yards of a human dwelling and at a sufficient height or design to prevent access by deer.
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, dnr.wi.gov, 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

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 dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "wildfire causes."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Wisconsin's Great Waters photo contest winners crowned

MADISON - Nine photographers earned top honors for their entries in the Department of Natural Resources' tenth annual "Wisconsin's Great Waters" photography contest.
Their photos will be featured in the 16-month calendar that the DNR Office of Great Waters produces each year. A new video highlights all the winning photos. Details about the contest, along with all of this year's contest entries, can be found on the Office of Great Waters page of the DNR website.
Mark Straub of New Berlin, Michael Knapstein of Middleton, John Sullivan of La Crosse and Cheryl Bougie of Green Bay earned first-place honors in the contest's four categories.
Philip Schwarz of Menomonie, Kelly Johnson of Eau Claire, John Cardamone of Bloomington IL, Scott Pearson of Eagle River and Toben Lafrancois of Cornucopia grabbed second place for their photographs.
Photographers from across Wisconsin and beyond submitted more than 200 beautiful photos of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and the Mississippi River. This is the first year that the Office of Great Waters included the Mississippi River in the contest.
Along with the annual photo contest, the DNR coordinates a "Wisconsin's Great Waters" writing project and received 16 submissions this year which can be found on the Office of Great Waters website. They include descriptions of stewardship efforts, poems, short stories and other creative pieces. This year's writing project entries will be featured in the calendar as well according to Susan Tesarik, the Office of Great Waters water specialist who coordinates the contest.
The 2018-2019 Wisconsin's Great Waters calendar will be available this later this summer at DNR regional offices and state parks.
"The annual photo contest and writing project is a fun way to share the many ways we interact with and value the Great Lakes and Mississippi River," said Office of Great Waters Director, Steve Galarneau. "As these photos and writings clearly show, the Great Lakes and Mississippi River are among Wisconsin's most cherished natural resources."
DNR's Office of Great Waters is currently accepting writings and photos of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and the Mississippi River for next year's contest. "Wisconsin's Great Waters" photo contest and writing project information and submission instructions can be found on the Office of Great Waters website. Visit dnr.wi.gov and search "Great Waters Photo Contest."

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 dnr.wi.gov and search "pollinators."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Limited quantities of tree seedlings available

EAGLE RIVER, WI - Trees For Tomorrow (TFT) has a limited number of tree seedlings remaining for public purchase.
Seedlings cost $1.50 per seedling and are available until inventory runs out, typically at the end of summer or early fall.Since 1945, TFT has offered quality tree seedlings to the public at an affordable rate to encourage people to give back to nature by planting trees.“To reverse deforestation in northern Wisconsin, Trees For Tomorrow offered two seedlings for every tree cut,“ said Juli Welnetz, office manager. “The purpose was to encourage land owners to plant trees and practice sound forest management principles. We’re proud to be able to continue this tradition today.”
Tree species are carefully selected to match the local climate in which they are being planted. Heartier varieties do well in the sandy soils found in much of Wisconsin. Trees For Tomorrow’s 2-year-old seedlings include red (Norway) pine, white pine, a white spruce hybrid and northern white cedar. Each containerized seedling has been grown in its own “cell” in nutrient-rich soils and have better survival rates than bare-root seedlings.  “The seedlings can even be kept in their containers for weeks prior to planting if watered regularly,” Welnetz said. Trees can be planted almost anywhere. They naturally enhance the air quality, reduce noise and help improve water quality. Trees are an important commodity in tourist areas that rely on natural resources to draw outdoor enthusiasts.For more information or to place an order, call (715) 479-6456, ext. 226, between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Please place your order in advance so it will be ready for you when you arrive. Orders can be shipped for an additional fee. Proceeds support educational programs at Trees For Tomorrow.Trees For Tomorrow is an accredited nonprofit natural resources specialty school that serves school groups throughout Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. TFT’s mission is to promote sustainable management of our natural resources through transformative educational experiences.

SOURCE: Trees for Tomorrow

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, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword NASP.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR