Natural Resources

Tracking a Spreading Bat Disease
5:22 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

White Nose Finding Isolated, DNR Confirms

White nose syndrome is named for the characteristic white fungus found on affected bats' faces and bodies.
Credit Marvin Moriarty / US Fish and Wildlife Service

Wisconsin’s first evidence of the bat disease white nose syndrome was restricted to a single site, the DNR confirms.

The state agency has finished testing samples taken earlier this year from caves where bats hibernate. 

The Grant County location that tested positive for white nose syndrome was the only one that did. 

As DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Director Erin Crain explains…the agency prioritizes testing samples where white nose is suspected.

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Questioning Mine Safety, Accountability
4:55 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Plaintiffs to Pay Mining Company Court Fees After Environmental Dispute

A Duluth woman is raising money to offset court costs that she’s being asked to pay on behalf of a mining company. 

Laura Gouger says she and two other plaintiffs have to pay more than $60,000 of the opposing side’s legal fees…after losing a case they brought against the Flambeau Mining Company. 

“I’m very disappointed.  I would say that mining companies are not held accountable for polluting public waters.”

The Flambeau mine near Ladysmith was an open pit copper and gold mine that operated between 1991 and 1999. 

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Water Levels Already High
4:02 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Rainy Forecast Prompts River Flooding Worries

As seen from Rhinelander's Davenport Street Bridge, water levels on the Wisconsin River have been higher than usual after heavy rains.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

We’re still drying out from last week’s storm…and another is on its way.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for Tuesday night through Wednesday night. 

Water levels on the Wisconsin River are already elevated from last week’s rainfall. 

The Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company has been releasing water from many of its reservoirs.

As Operations Manager Peter Hansen explains, rainfall reports Thursday and Friday ranged from2.5  to 6 inches. 

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Color Report returns
9:00 am
Sun September 7, 2014

Tourism Secretary Says Wisconsin Is Prime Fall Color Spot

Fall colors

While last week's storms produced a reminder that summer still has a potent punch, fall color time is around the corner. The state's top tourism official says travelers  still have much see.

Department of Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett says they've launched their Fall Color Report on their website, tracking where fall colors are on display. Klett says there are more than 100 volunteers in all 72 counties filing reports on the changing leaves. Klett says fall has turned into an important travel time for some people...

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Fallen Trees and Road Washouts
5:50 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Wind and Rain Close Some Areas of Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

Some roads and recreational areas may be closed following Thursday's intense storms.
Credit US Forest Service

Some campgrounds and trails are closed due to storm damage in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.

Campers and hikers may want to check for the latest details before heading out.

Forest spokesperson Hilary Markin says most of the damage happened in the western sections of the the Medford-Park Falls District and Great Divide District.


“So north of the Winter area, between Park Falls and Hayward is where a lot of the damage occurred. They had a lot of wind damage, and then also flooding with all the rain that came down.”

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Eagles Bounce Back
4:00 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Oneida, Vilas Counties Hotspots for Bald Eagle Recovery

Credit Michele Woodford / Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

It’s no longer uncommon to see a bald eagle in the Northwoods. 

Oneida and Vilas counties have the highest number of pairs of bald eagles in Wisconsin, according to the most recent DNR survey in 2013.

After disappearing from most areas of the state in the mid-20th century, there are now more than 1300 pairs of eagles in Wisconsin. 

Ron Eckstein, a retired DNR Wildlife Biologist, worked on eagle conservation efforts for more than 25 years.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Eckstein to hear more about bald eagle success story.

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Meeting Sept. 25
5:38 am
Mon September 1, 2014

10 Years Of Fighting Aquatic Invasive Species--What's Next?

Ted Ritter
Credit Vilas County Land and Water Conservation

A meeting later this month will celebrate 10 years of Northwoods efforts to fight aquatic invasive species, but a spokesperson says the gathering will also look at challenges for the next decade.

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Wildlife Matters
4:00 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Getting Involved in Deer Management


Deer season is drawing nearer, and that means hunters will have to face a variety of changes in the way the state is managing deer.  In today’s Wildlife Matters, DNR Wildlife Biologist Jeremy Holtz talks about one of the key changes – the creation of county deer advisory councils.

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How People Feel About Wolves
5:07 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Wolf Survey Reveals Favorable Attitudes Towards Wolves

Credit Derek Bakken

Most Wisconsinites support a wolf hunt in the state, but only a minority of people want to see the wolf population decrease from its current level.  That's according to some of the draft findings of a recent DNR survey of how people feel about wolves. 

The DNR mailed out surveys to almost 9,000 residents, about half of which were returned and analyzed. 

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Harvesting a Traditional Food
4:52 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Wild Rice Season Behind Schedule

Oneida County lake as seen from above, partially covered with bright green wild rice beds.
Credit Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Wisconsin’s wild rice season is getting a late start, thanks to this year’s long winter and cool summer. 

Though Labor Day weekend often marks a key time for harvesting the traditional Ojibwe food staple, this year hardly any rice is mature and ready for picking.  That’s according to Wildlife Biologist Peter David with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

“I have heard very few reports of rice being ready at this point, there probably are a couple of odd riverbeds.  But by and large, things are not ready to go.”

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