DNR names wolf plan advisory committee members

Twenty Minnesotans have been selected to help update the state’s wolf management plan. They will serve on an advisory committee formed by the Department of Natural Resources.
“We selected committee members to represent a range of perspectives on wolves,” said Dan Stark, DNR wolf management specialist. “We expect committee members to work constructively to identify issues, discuss differences, and explore options for enhancing wolf conservation in Minnesota.”
Committee members represent diverse perspectives, including hunting and trapping, wolf advocacy and animal rights, livestock and agriculture and other interests related to wolf conservation and management.
Adopted in 2001, the state’s wolf management plan provides the framework that guides the state’s decisions about wolf regulations, population monitoring, management, conflicts, enforcement, damage control, education, research and other issues. The DNR is committed to taking a comprehensive approach to sustaining healthy wolf populations in Minnesota. The plan update is independent of any federal action on the status of wolves under the Endangered Species Act.
The committee is one of several ways the DNR will work with the public in updating the plan. In addition to the advisory committee, the DNR will gather public input through:
* A public attitude survey.
* Open houses.
* Public meetings.
* A public comment period on a draft plan.
With the public’s input, the DNR will evaluate wolf management and identify needed plan revisions. The updated plan is expected to be available in early 2021. Information about the plan update can be found on the DNR’s wolf management plan webpage.

Tribal engagement and outside expertsThe DNR will also coordinate and communicate directly with Minnesota’s tribal governments regarding the plan update. In addition, the DNR will form a technical committee that includes representatives of agencies, academic institutions, and organizations involved in wolf management and research in Minnesota to provide expert input to the planning process.

Committee members
Advisory committee members, and their affiliation as applicable, are listed below:  
* Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity.
* Ellen Candler, Minnesota Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.
* Christine Coughlin, Humane Society of the United States.
* Jason Dinsmore, National Wildlife Federation/ MN Conservation Federation.
* Jess Edberg, at-large member.
* Scott Engle, at-large member.
* Craig Engwall, Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.
* Nancy Gibson, International Wolf Center.
* Miles Kuschel, Minnesota Farm Bureau.
* Gary Leistico, Minnesota Trappers Association.
* Travis Luedke, at-large member.
* Allen Lysdahl, Hubbard County Natural Resource Management Department.
* Angela McLaughlin, at-large member.
* Shirley Nordrum, at-large member.
* Susan Peet, at-large member.
* Gary Peterson, Carlton County commissioner, representing Association of Minnesota Counties.
* Peter Ripka, Minnesota Farmers Union.
* William Severud, Minnesota Chapter of The Wildlife Society.
* Jacob Thompson, Minnesota State Cattleman’s Association.
* Joseph Wolf, Howling for Wolves.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Get trained to be a rare plant detective

Last year Rare Plant Monitoring Program volunteers rediscovered the state threatened white lady’s slipper orchid at a site where it had not been seen in over 45 years.
Help us make more amazing discoveries this year by participating in the Rare Plant Monitoring Program.
Required trainings are scheduled for March and April. Sign up for one of our sessions in Waunakee, Stevens Point, Menomonie or Sheboygan. Plant identification will not be taught, so some skill is required.
Volunteers' observations and reports on the plants they see are critical to native plant conservation in Wisconsin. They alert land managers to pressing threats and inform on-the-ground management necessary to maintain these known populations.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

February is prime time to prune oak trees

February is a great time to manage and tend to oak trees. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the lowest risk of spreading deadly oak wilt is in winter.
The invasive fungal infection, which spreads naturally through either sap beetles or roots that have grown together, threatens all Minnesota oak species.
Waiting until spring to prune oak trees when the beetles are active, is a recipe to spread oak wilt, said Val Cervenka, DNR forest health program consultant.
“Wounding oak trees in spring and summer, when sap beetles are active, can attract spore-carrying beetles from infected trees and logs to fresh cuts,” Cervenka said.
Early detection and management are critical to preventing oak wilt’s progression into uninfected forests. As its name suggests, oak wilt causes oak trees to suddenly lose all their leaves, notably in midsummer. While the high-risk zone for oak wilt is currently east-central and southeastern Minnesota, Cervenka noted all oaks in the state are under threat from oak wilt.
To help stop the spread of oak wilt:
* Prune oak trees now. Do not prune oak trees between April and July.
* Cut down infected oaks now. Chip, debark, kiln-dry, or burn felled logs and large branches this winter (before April 1).
* Leave firewood from infected trees in place. Tarp infected firewood from April through August and bury tarp edges to block beetles from reaching the oak wilt fungus. Make sure the tarp does not have any holes.
To learn more about detecting and managing oak wilt, visit the DNR’s oak wilt webpage.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


A Valentine's Day trifecta

They did it!
Just in time for Valentine's Day, our famous love birds at the EagleCam nest have now produced three eggs.  
These two have been around the nesting territory since January of last year, kicking the original eagle pair off of the nest. The new pair remained on the territory, always close to each other, nuzzling, feeding each other all spring and summer, but without producing any eggs.
Until now! What perfect timing - a Valentine's Day gift from the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program to you!
Their first egg arrived on Thursday, Feb. 6; the second came on Sunday, Feb. 9; and on Wednesday, Feb. 12, the third and likely final egg appeared.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR Service Center counters, Call Center unavailable Feb. 18-19

MADISON, Wis. - All DNR service center counters and the agency's statewide call center will close on Feb. 18-19, for staff training. During this time, other staff will continue to answer the DNR Tipline, the Emergency Spills line and the Wisconsin Emergency Management hotline.
Many services available at a DNR service center counter can also be accessed on the DNR website and GoWild.wi.gov. In addition, about 1,000 license agents throughout Wisconsin can provide boat and recreational vehicle-renewal services, trail passes and fishing and hunting licenses.
Counter services and the call center will resume normal business hours on Thurs., Feb. 20. The new 2020-21 fishing and hunting licenses go on sale starting March 1.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Tax checkoff donations support EagleCam, Nongame Wildlife Program

Record numbers of viewers are watching a Minnesota bald eagle pair on the Department of Natural Resources EagleCam, especially now that the young pair are caring for two eggs in the nest.
This time of year is also when people can help our state’s wildlife with matched donations using the simple checkoff on Minnesota tax forms.
The EagleCam is just one of many ways the Nongame Wildlife Program helps hundreds of wildlife species. The program focuses on helping animals that aren’t hunted, from eagles and loons to turtles and butterflies. Many of these species are rare and vulnerable to decline, especially in light of a changing climate. Line 22 of the Minnesota income tax form – marked by a loon – provides individuals with an opportunity to invest in the future of nongame wildlife.
When taxpayers designate an amount they would like to donate to the Nongame Wildlife Program, their tax-deductible donations are matched one-to-one by state critical habitat license plate funds. These donated and matched dollars are the foundation of funding for the work of the Nongame Wildlife Program.
That work includes researching how creatures fit within functioning ecosystems, managing habitat and assisting with recovery efforts for rare species. Over the program’s 43-year history, it has played an important role in the recovery of bald eagles, trumpeter swans, eastern bluebirds, peregrine falcons and many more species.
The Nongame Wildlife Program also provides nature education, including the popular EagleCam, now in its eighth year. The video camera streams live video from a Twin Cities bald eagle nest.
“People are excited about seeing and hearing this young eagle pair on the EagleCam as they try to nurture their eggs to eaglets in March,” said DNR Nongame Wildlife information officer Lori Naumann. “The Nongame Wildlife Program is all about making sure we and future generations can see butterflies, listen to frogs and loons on summer nights, and watch falcons and eagles. We appreciate all the people who are enjoying the webcam and making donations on their state income tax forms or online.”
For more information on the DNR Nongame Wildlife program, its success stories and ways to volunteer and donate, visit mndnr.gov/nongame.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Catastrophic aid request approved for 15 communities, Tribes

MADISON, Wis. - Fifteen Wisconsin communities will receive additional grant funding to help address damage from widespread storms last July.
The Joint Committee on Finance approved the request in full, including $489,100 in funds to supplement the Urban Forestry's Catastrophic Storm Grant offering. As a result, all 15 communities will receive the total amount requested on their grant applications.
Last October, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Urban Forestry program awarded 15 communities and tribes with grant funding in response to the State of Emergency declared on July 18, 2019. The storms brought torrential rains, strong winds, downed trees, damaged buildings, at least 16 tornadoes and left thousands of people without power across a wide area of Wisconsin.
This declaration triggered the availability of up to 20% of the program's funds, an amount of $104,920, to affected Wisconsin communities to help lessen the burden of storm-related damages to their urban forest canopy.
Although each applicant was able to request a maximum of $50,000, grants were limited to awards ranging from $4,000 to $8,428.19 because of the unprecedented number of applications.
The DNR submitted a request in December to the Joint Committee on Finance to transfer funds from the forestry emergency reserve. This reserve was created in 2017 as a result of Wisconsin Act 59 for emergency responses to significant fire, disease, infestation, or other natural disasters that could not otherwise be reimbursed by federal funds.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR