Natural Resources

Steven Thomas / US Fish and Wildlife Service

A decision over whether to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered is no more than a week away. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed the listing because bat populations face devastation from the deadly white-nose syndrome. 

But some farmers and loggers have argued the bat is still too numerous to warrant an endangered listing. 

Great Lakes Timber Professionals Director Henry Schienebeck says it would bring too many restrictions.

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The Minocqua and Tomahawk Chain of Lakes are likely to have a catch-and-release only season for five years under a proposal going to the Natural Resources Board next month. But as part of the same proposal, all waters in the Ceded Territories in Wisconsin would have a standard three-walleye daily bag limit.

DNR spokesperson Joe Hennessy says bad walleye reproduction in the last couple of years has also led to the change on the Oneida county chains. He says the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa have also agreed not to harvest on those waters during the five years.

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A proposed rule allowing motor trolling on all state inland waters is not likely to be ready for the opening day of fishing on May 2.

DNR Fisheries Management Specialist Tim Simonson says all the legislature still needs to act...

"....it's probably not going to be in effect given the timelines for the legislative review. It's probably going to be at the very earliest mid to late May...."

Buck Vaughn / The Conservation Fund

A majority of Wisconsin voters support the Knowles Nelson Stewardship fund. That’s according to a new poll from the Nature Conservancy. 

Governor Scott Walker’s budget plan calls for freezing land acquisitions funded by the stewardship program until 2028. 

National Park Service / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Porcupine_NPS11952.jpg

Warmer temperatures are bringing out more wildlife.  Today John Heusingveld, Assistant Director of UW Stevens Point’s Treehaven, discusses the many views on the humble porcupine.  

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

A new cooperative effort to fund more management on the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest is bearing fruit.

Harvest has begun on a timber sale in Forest County as part of a stewardship agreement.  That means money earned from the sale will go towards conservation and management on the forest, instead of to the general budget. 

As Director of the nonprofit Sustainable Resources Initiative Don Peterson explains, it’s thanks to the efforts of a group called the Stewardship Steering Committee. 

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County deer advisory councils will be meeting again this month to help determine antlerless deer quotas. 

DNR wildlife biologist Melinda Nelson says each council will recommend a specific number anterless tags.

“Looking at a variety of metrics including winter severity, 2014 deer harvest numbers and taking public input, and deciding how many antlerless tags they want out on the landscape.”

Nelson says the local management units will make initial recommendations, and then take feedback from the public. 

Wildfire season is getting an early start in Wisconsin, thanks to the recent snow melt.

DNR Forester Ranger John Gillen in Rhinelander says April and May are typically the most active months for forest fires in Wisconsin. 

“This year seems to be coming a little bit before that time, in March.  And certainly my counterparts in the southern part of the state are already active in suppressing forest fires.”

Gillen says fire season in northern Wisconsin shouldn’t be far behind, if the warm weather continues. 

"Snowmobiling at Haliburton Forest". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Snowmobiling_at_Haliburton_Forest.jpg#/media/File:Snowmobiling_at_Haliburton_Forest.jpg

Snowmobile trails in Oneida and Vilas counties are closed as of Thursday afternoon.

John Bilogan, Director of the Oneida County Forestry Department says warm weather has melted most of the snow. 

"If you get into the woods, the trails probably would still be ridable.  But it gets to the point where intersections and areas that are exposed to direct sunlight, a lot of them are bare."

Bilogan says riding on bare ground can cause safety issues or damage to trails.

Commentary: Protect The Northwoods

Mar 12, 2015
JM-commons.wikimedia.org

Joe Hovel from Conover has a commentary about the proposed state budget and how it affects the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund and the forests...

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