Natural Resources

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The DNR relies on citizen monitors to help gather data for research. Wisconsin's wolf monitoring program relies upon volunteers from around the state to track the animals each winter, and those interested in volunteering are encouraged to sign up for one of a number of clinics offered statewide.

DNR wildlife biologist Nate Libal in Rhinelander says the volunteer carnivore tracking program has been around since 1995. He says they've been monitoring wolves since 1979....

Record Number Of Hunting Dog Deaths

Oct 12, 2016

State wildlife officials say a record number of hunting dogs were killed by gray wolves in the recent bear hunting season.

The D-N-R says at least 40 hunting dogs were confirmed dead during the bear hunt that ended Tuesday -- way up from the previous record of 23.

The Wisconsin State Journal says some people blame a federal court decision which ended  the state's wolf hunt almost two years ago, while some say bear hunters should have the good sense to stay away from areas where their dogs could be put in jeopardy.

UW-Madison's Kemp Natural Resources Station in Woodruff will dedicate a new building Saturday that a leader says will mean activities can be scheduled all year long.

Superintendent Scott Bowe says the current meeting space above the boat house is limited to warmer months events, but the new building will enable year round gatherings...

"....the new classroom is a 4,500 square foot building that will have a large room capable of handling 85 people or more and a small classroom with a capacity of 35 people. The good thing is it will be available all year long...."

Vilas County Forest Certification On Hold

Oct 10, 2016

Forest certification is being sought by more and more domestic and foreign markets but the Vilas County Forestry committee thinks forest certification is a back door attempt by environmental groups to take over management of the county forest.

Vilas County forest administrator John Gagnon told the committee he needs answers to concerns prior to making a recommendation on enrolling the county forest into a certification program. More documentation would be needed on monitoring roads and trail systems and along with contracts with recreation user groups.

The state Natural Resources Board later this month will consider recommendations from the DNR on more than 100 properties that have been put up for sale. But the sale of parcels in Langlade county considered the headwaters of some prime trout fishing waters are not included in the sale.

In June, the DNR released a list of 128 parcels in 37 counties, approximately 5,300 acres that were under reviewby field staff for possible sale. In August they released an additional 26 parcels.

The color of squirrels is a black and grey question

Oct 6, 2016

In my experience, children can ask some pretty profound questions. A while back, at an undisclosed school event, a child asked me why there are so many black squirrels now. I did not have an answer ready, so like any good biologist, I gave a stock answer: black squirrels are simply a melanistic form of gray squirrels, and while nature may select against such a mutation, in residential, suburban, or rural areas (where food is abundant and natural predators are scarce) these animals are more likely to survive. It seemed like a fair answer in the absence of any other facts.

The DNR says the time for education is ending, and wardens will be issuing fines for baiting and feeding deer in the Northwoods CWD zone.

After discovering Chronic Wasting Disease in two deer in Oneida county, the DNR issued its familiar quarantine in an effort to keep the disease from spreading within the healthy deer population.

The law, which took effect on January 11, only bans baiting and feeding of deer. Feeding birds and small mammals still is allowed provided the feeders are not accessible by deer.

Sara's Bog

Oct 5, 2016

In this month's edition of Field Notes,  Trout Lake Station Biologist Susan Knight learns it's valuable to pay attention to the small things...

Get in touch with your wild side

Oct 5, 2016

I learned to love and appreciate hunting, fishing, and nature from my father. He was an avid outdoorsman, and took great pride in the fact that he never missed a deer season, not even the year he had open heart surgery. He loved to fish, and would keep every single possible fish he caught. I still remember watching him on the riverbank, nailing a catfish to a tree so he could skin and fillet it while it was fresh. He never really got crazy about lots of lures, or fancy poles or tackle. A worm, a minnow, or maybe a black and silver Rapala was all he needed to be content.

  Heavy rains and flash floods this summer has sparked talk about how to “slow the flow,” and improve wetland landscapes in and around Iron County.

That slogan has been used to encourage conservation efforts such as wetland protection and shoreline buffer zones to reduce surface water runoff, but a presentation of a new proposed conservation ordinance at an upcoming citizen’s forum will address new wetland data and management approaches to improve lake and river health.

Wisconsin fall colors late, but expected to be show-stopping

Sep 29, 2016

An arborist says Wisconsin’s fall colors are delayed compared to previous years, but says when they reach peak they’re expected to be show-stopping. That’s according to biologist Richard Bruce Allison.

Allison says the slow onset of fall color this season is due to the unseasonably warm September across much of the mid-west. If it stays warm for too long the colors won’t be brilliant, but he says the shortened daylight hours have triggered the fall colors. He says it’s the cool temperatures that are needed to maximize the colors.

The Milwaukee man who began his journey at the  headwaters of the Wisconsin River in Vilas county two weeks ago is making his way to the mouth of the state's largest river on a paddle board. It's just not going as quickly as anticipated.

30 year old Jesse Hieb is a filmmaker and avid paddleboarder. He once tried to paddleboard across Lake Michigan before weather stopped the trip.

A study by the DNR shows the spread of aquatic invasive species remains stable, which a leader says means prevention efforts are working.

DNR Aquatic Invasives Coordinator Bob Wakeman said they sampled 200 lakes over five years, the largest effort of its type in the nation...

"....we're happy to say the rate is not increasing. I wish I could say the rate was decreasing, meaning were beginning to stop the spread. The good news is it's not going up any faster...."

He says the longest term invaders continue to be the most difficult to deal with...

Saturday is National Public Lands Day.

The National Environmental Education Foundation sponsors the event to promote both popular enjoyment and volunteer conservation of public lands.

In Wisconsin, DNR spokesperson Tim Lizotte says the day is a coordinated display of appreciation for lands that belong to all citizens...

"....bring awareness that public lands are important for all citizens and talk about all the positive values they bring to society and also to bring together people around doing some volunteer activities...."

The heavy rains the past few days have prompted Wisconsin Public Service to issue a warning about recreating near Wisconsin River dams.

WPS spokesperson Leah Van Zile says The Wisconsin River will collect the runoff from much of northern and central Wisconsin, which will increase river flows as it moves southward. She says this will increase water flow around the dams...