Natural Resources

Wildlife Matters with Jeremy Holtz
4:00 am
Fri November 7, 2014

A Closer Look at Rare Wildlife Sightings

Moose sightings are rare, but they do happen.
Credit Karen Laubenstein / US Fish and Wildlife Service

You never know what kind of wildlife you might run into when you’re out and about in the Northwoods.

In today’s Wildlife Matters, DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz says some sightings are easier to prove than others. 

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Reframing Questions About AIS
4:54 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

How Many Are Where? Rethinking the Spread of Invasive Species

A UW Madison researcher says close to forty percent of the state’s lakes could contain invasive species. 

According to the Wisconsin DNR, that figure is currently documented at less than ten percent. 

But Jake Vander Zanden of the UW Madison’s Center for Limnology says his team surveyed a random sample of Wisconsin lakes to estimate how many might be affected by invasive species statewide, and came up with a much higher number. 

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Change in DNR process
4:27 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

County Deer Advisory Reports Coming Monday

Trophy buck
Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Deer Advisory Councils have been meeting across Wisconsin as part of a reform effort within the DNR to manage the state's deer herd. The councils will release preliminary recommendations beginning next Monday.

DNR big game ecologist Kevin Wallenfang says each county councils will make recommendations on local deer populations. Wallenfang says beginning Monday, more input on the recommendations will be sought....

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Prohibited Species in Wisconsin
4:07 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Lake Gordon Clear of Yellow Floating Heart

It’s been over a year since monitors found Wisconsin’s first inland lake invasion of a plant called yellow floating heart in Forest County. The latest inspection did not reveal any new plants. 

It’s chilly grey day in late October, and it’s the last time this year that Forest County Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator John Preuss will check for yellow floating heart. 

“What I look for is the shape of the leaf.  And when it’s flowering…and the seed pods are kind of tear dropped shape.” 

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Natural Resources
5:10 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

NRB To Consider ATVs in Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area

ATVs may be allowed through a portion of the Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area, if the Natural Resources Board approves a proposal Wednesday.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

The state Natural Resources Board is set to weigh in on a proposal for an ATV route through the Woodboro Lakes Wildlife Area near Rhinelander.

The Nokomis ATV club has requested ATV access on 3/4 mile of state-owned trail that’s currently only open to foot traffic and snowmobiles in winter. 

The ATV trail would also extend south on county forest property for another 3/4 mile.

DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz explains that a feasibility study found the proposal to be workable, providing a few conditions are met.

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Focus on Loons
4:53 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Loon Symposium Highlights Role of Citizen Scientists

Citizens play an ever-important role in monitoring loons and gathering observational data.
Credit Mitch Mode

A conference on loons this weekend put the spotlight on citizen involvement in scientific research. 

Wildlife rehabilitator Marge Gibson of Antigo’s Raptor Education Group says the two-day Loon Symposium was unique in including citizens that collect observational data on loons.

“They are providing such a huge benefit to loon observation, and even giving this information back to the researchers.  And that to me was so exciting to see.” 

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Proposal to Monitor Those Effects
4:57 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Cutting Mercury Emissions Likely to Help Loons Reproduce

Loon populations in the Northwoods are increasing, but scientists think about 10 percent of loons are being impacted by mercury exposure.
Credit Mike Baird via

New state mercury emissions rules for power plants could have significant benefits for loons.

A Northwoods researcher is hoping to quantify those benefits over the next decade. 

Wisconsin DNR Toxicologist Mike Meyer says when loons consume mercury through eating fish, it can inhibit the birds’ reproduction.

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History Afield
9:57 am
Thu October 23, 2014

The Once-Popular Art of Hunting With Live Decoys

It was once common practice for duck hunters to use live decoys to lure waterfowl.
Credit Wisconsin Historical Society

It’s duck hunting season in the northwoods and while plenty of artificial decoys will be used by waterfowlers to lure birds within gun range one thing they won’t be using is live decoys.  

  This technique of waterfowl hunting was regulated out of existence in 1935, partly because of the severe drought of the early 1930s that devastated waterfowl populations.  But the practice was once common and even celebrated. 

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Declining Populations of Iconic Fish
1:20 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Scientists Investigate How Walleye Are Faring in Wisconsin Lakes

Populations of adult walleye are declining at an average rate of two percent per year.
Credit Eric Engbretson / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Researchers at the Wisconsin DNR are looking for answers as to why walleye populations are declining in the state.

DNR Research Scientist Gretchen Hansen says adult walleye numbers are declining statewide by an average of two percent per year. 

“So there’s a lot of variability.  So in some lakes, populations are going up, but in the majority of lakes populations are going down.  And a lot of that is driven by failed recruitment, so failed reproduction.” 

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Fieldwork Done For Now
10:56 am
Mon October 20, 2014

DNR Says It's Quiet on the GTAC Front

The Wisconsin DNR is waiting for the next move from Gogebic Taconite, now that the company has stopped fieldwork operations for the year.

DNR hydrologist and project lead Larry Lynch says activity on the proposed mine site wrapped up last month. 

“They stopped their data collection in regard to surface monitoring, so right now there’s really nothing going on on the site.  They also stopped their road improvement work on one of the access roads.” 

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