Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cleanup finished on popular Blatz Pavilion lagoon in Milwaukee

EDITOR'S ADVISORY: - This article has been updated to clarify some points about uses of the lagoon following the cleanup.

MILWAUKEE – The popular Blatz Pavilion lagoon in Milwaukee’s Lincoln Park has reopened for boating and fishing after mud containing PCBs was removed from it as part of a collaborative project between the Department of Natural Resources and Milwaukee County. Planning continues for a larger effort to clean up the adjacent Lincoln Park Lagoon and channel.

“We’re very pleased to complete this important first step in restoring recreational opportunities in Lincoln Park,” says DNR Secretary Matt Frank. “The park has long been an important recreational spot for the local community, and this work allows people to enjoy it again.”

Contact with Milwaukee River water is no longer a problem for people boating in the lagoon as a result of the project. People fishing from 1-acre lagoon who want to eat their catch should follow the fish consumption advice for that stretch of the Milwaukee River.

Frank says that the $1.3 million project was possible because of state Great Lakes Program Funds that Gov. Jim Doyle and the Wisconsin Legislature provided to address the significant sources of toxic chemicals that have contaminated fish in Wisconsin's major tributaries to the Great Lakes.

“This project, like the Kinnickinnic River cleanup announced last week, demonstrates Governor Doyle’s commitment to providing the resources to successfully address the contaminated sediment sites in the state and restore our natural resources for people to enjoy," Frank says.

On July 20, Doyle announced a $24.4 million project to clean contaminated sediment from the Kinnickinnic River in Milwaukee. The state is leveraging about $7.7 million of state funds, earmarked in the current state budget, to secure $14 million in federal funds for the cleanup.

The city of Milwaukee also is contributing money.

The Blatz Pavilion site was identified as a priority cleanup site by the DNR and the local community following a 2005 report on PCBs in the Estabrook Impoundment in Lincoln Park in Milwaukee, according to Ted Bosch, project engineer from the DNR Southeast Region. The risks posed by the site included skin contact and potential water ingestion by park users, and the consumption of too many contaminated fish from the river. Infants and children of women who have eaten a lot of PCB-contaminated fish may have lower birth weights and delayed physical and learning development. PCBs also may affect reproductive function and the immune system and are also associated with cancer risk.

The department conducted an environmental investigation of the river but was not able to determine a source that was responsible for the PCB contamination.

The Blatz project removed an estimated 300 pounds of PCBs in nearly 4,000 cubic yards of mud from the lagoon bottom. About 2,000 tons of the mud with higher concentrations of PCBs were shipped out of state to a chemical waste landfill. About 3,500 tons of low level sediment were disposed in a local solid waste landfill, Bosch says.

The lagoon bottom was restored with sand and gravel and improvements were made to the lagoon waterfront, Bosch says. The DNR, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Milwaukee County, and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sanitary District all provided supervision for the contractor performing the work.

The experience DNR staff gained on other sediment remediation projects, including the Lower Fox River project, resulted in the success of the Blatz Pavilion lagoon project, according to Greg Hill who leads the DNR’s statewide contaminated sediment management program.
That expertise will be important as the DNR and Milwaukee County tackle the larger clean up project the must be done in the adjacent Lincoln Park Lagoon and channel. The DNR is developing a project plan with Milwaukee County to design and implement this next project.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Greg Hill - (608) 267-9352

Labor Day holiday boaters, anglers reminded of steps to avoid spreading invasive species

MADISON -- As anglers and boaters head out for the summer's last big boating hurrah, they are reminded to take a few simple steps to keep Wisconsin lakes and fish healthy for the future.

An online video demonstrates the steps that will keep invasive species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil, and the fish disease viral hemorrhagic septicemia, from spreading to new waters.

The primary way that invasive species are spread to new waters is by boat traffic. The invasive species may attach to the boat, become entangled in its propeller or on the boat trailer, or be carried within its bilge or live well. VHS can spread when infected live fish are moved to a new water or in bilge water or live well water carrying with the virus.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement - (608) 266-2141

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hearing in the matter of the permit application of Cambrian Development LLC

September 8 - A contested case hearing in the matter of the permit application of Cambrian Development, LLC for a permit to grade more than 10,000 square feet on the bank of the Wisconsin River to construct a boat ramp and for the Water Quality Certification of the Federal Clean Water Act to place fill in .094 acres of wetland along the Wisconsin River, City of Wisconsin Dells, Columbia County, will commence at 9:30 a.m. in Room 26 at Baraboo Civic Center, 124 Second St., Baraboo. It will continue, if necessary, on Sept. 9 through 12, at the same location. The public comment portion of the hearing will be held on September 9, 2008, commencing at 7 p.m. at the Baraboo Civic Center. All witnesses who have filed testimony shall be present and made available for cross-examination unless all parties stipulate that such a witness need not be present. Rebuttal witnesses will be allowed if appropriate. For information contact the Division of Hearings and Appeals at (60) 266-7709.

Public Hearing relating to the Identification, Classification and Control of Invasive Species

August 14, 15, 19, 20, 26 - Pursuant to ss. 23.09(2)(intro.), 23.091, 23.11(1), 23.22(2)(a) and (b)6., 23.28(3), 27.01(2)(j), 29.014(1), 29.039(1), 29.041 and 227.11(2)(a), Stats., interpreting s. 23.22(2)(a), Stats., the Department of Natural Resources will hold public hearings on the creation of ch. NR 40, Wis. Adm. Code, relating to the identification, classification and control of invasive species. The order creates rules for the identification, classification and control of invasive species, as part of the department’s statewide program to control invasive species required under s. 23.22 (2), Stats. Section 23.22 (1) (c), Stats., defines “invasive species” to mean nonindigenous species whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. The proposed rule and fiscal estimate may be reviewed and comments electronically submitted at the following Internet site: Written comments on the proposed rule may be submitted via U.S. mail to Ms. Kelly Kearns, Bureau of Endangered Resources, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707 or by email to Written comments may be submitted until Sept. 5, 2008. Written comments, whether submitted electronically or by U.S. mail, will have the same weight and effect as oral statements presented at the public hearings. A personal copy of the proposed rule and fiscal estimate may be obtained from Ms. Kearns. The public hearings will be held on:

August 14, Fitchburg - Gathering Waters/Glacier’s Edge conference room, DNR South Central Region Headquarters, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road at 10 a.m.

August 14, Milwaukee - Room 141, DNR Southeast Region Headquarters, 2300 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive at 3pm.

August 15, Green Bay - Lake Michigan room, DNR Northeast Region Headquarters, 2984 Shawano Ave., at 1 p.m.

August 19, La Crosse - Room B19 & B20, State Office Building, 3550 Mormon Coulee Road, La Crosse at 1 p.m.

August 20, Spooner - Large conference room, DNR Northern Region Headquarters, 810 W. Maple Street at 2:30 p.m.

August 26, Wausau - Council Chambers, Wausau City Hall, 407 Grant Street, at 1 p.m.

Sturgeon hook and line season to open Sept. 6 with new regulations

MADISON – The 2008 hook and line season for lake sturgeon opens Sept. 6 on major river systems statewide, with rule changes aimed at assuring the future of the state’s sturgeon fisheries.

The season has been shortened and ends Sept. 30, and the minimum length for harvesting sturgeon has been increased to 60 inches. There is a one-fish limit per season on those waters where there is an open season. There is catch and release only fishing on a stretch of the Menominee River downstream from the Hattie Street dam to Green Bay.

The St. Croix River below St. Croix Falls, which borders Wisconsin and Minnesota, will not be affected by the permanent rule this season. Opening day there is also Sept. 6 and the season will close Oct. 15. There is a 50-inch minimum length harvest limit and a one-per-season bag.

The state Natural Resources Board adopted the changes earlier this year to reduce the sturgeon harvest on several popular fisheries and provide additional protection to spawning females, according to Karl Scheidegger, who leads the Department of Natural Resources sturgeon management team.

“Increasing angler pressure and harvest trends prompted the rule change to protect the fisheries,” Scheidegger says. “We had the same season structure and harvest rules in place in 2007 under emergency rules, and they worked well. They allowed all interested anglers to participate in the season while protecting the reproductive females.”

Lake sturgeon are slow-growing, late maturing fish, with females spawning for the first time when they are 20 to 25 years old and then only every three to five years thereafter. Because females are larger than males, they are often targeted by anglers, and their overharvest can cause population declines that may take years to recover.

“These changes will allow Wisconsin to continue to offer a unique angling season into the future. We hope anglers will continue to participate and continue to support our sturgeon management efforts,” Scheidegger says.

Remember to buy a harvest tag

If anglers do plan to harvest a sturgeon this season, they must purchase a harvest tag before they fish. The sturgeon harvest tag was implemented for the first time in the 2006 hook and line season. All revenues from the harvest tag sales go directly to projects dedicated to the improvement of sturgeon populations and habitats and therefore, better fishing opportunities. No tag is needed if anglers are catch and release fishing only.

The harvest tag is available throughout the season and costs $20 for residents and $50 for nonresidents. It can be can be purchased: over the Internet through the Online Licensing Center; by calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236); at license sales locations; or DNR service centers during their regular business hours (check service center link for hours of operation, which vary by service center; service centers are closed Saturdays).

Anglers who harvest a legal-size fish must immediately attach the harvest tag to the fish and take it to a registration station by 6 p.m. the next day for registration.

All anglers must have a Wisconsin general inland fishing license unless they are under 16 years old, or were born before Jan. 1, 1927. Military personnel who are Wisconsin residents and in active service but on furlough or leave are eligible to received a free annual fishing license. They still need to purchase the $20 lake sturgeon harvest tag if they plan to keep a lake sturgeon.
Waters open to hook-and-line sturgeon fishing can be found in the 2008 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations.

For more information, visit the lake sturgeon page of the DNR Web site where you can find details about current regulations, restoration efforts, sturgeon distribution and much more.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Karl Scheidegger – (608) 267-9426

Great Lakes shoreline owners gain easier way to manage invasive plants on lake beds

MADISON – People who own lakefront property along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior now have a quicker, less expensive permit process available to allow clean up of accumulations of zebra mussels, dead fish, and algae on the beach and to allow control of invasive plants like Phragmites.

“Lakeshore property owners will get the streamlined permit process they want for cleanup and sensitive beach vegetation and near shore habitat will be protected,” says Martin Griffin, the Department of Natural Resources policy coordinator who helped develop the general permits.

Effective Aug. 1, property owners can apply to remove algae, mussels, dead fish and similar large nuisance deposits or to remove and control emergent invasive plants on exposed lake bed.

Both general permits contain basic conditions the lakefront property owner is required to follow to protect the lakebed and public rights in the water, carry a $50 application fee and will be processed within 30 days. That contrasts with the individual permits that were previously the only option available and required a $500 application fee and a 30-day public comment period.The general permits are aimed at answering property owners’ requests for help in responding to the increased accumulations of invasive species, which exceed the property owners’ ability to clean up by hand, Griffin says.

Two trends -- near-record low water levels on the Great Lakes exposing more lakebed and increased populations of invasive species such as zebra mussels, quagga mussels, and blooms of the nuisance algae cladophora – are combining to leave large quantities of this biological material washed ashore.

The resulting mixture of algal mats and decaying zebra mussels and other invertebrates and fish have caused unsightly, smelly conditions at many sites ranging from northeastern Green Bay and the tip of Door County to Kenosha.

To compound this issue, the lakebed exposed as a result of lower water levels also has been taken over by dense invasive stands of Phragmites and other non-native plants that can eliminate the native plants that provide valuable food and shelter for fish and wildlife.
To qualify for a general permit to remove plant and animal nuisance deposits, people must:
  • Limit removal to the plant and animal nuisance deposits.
  • Assure the total amount of material removed is less than 3,000 cubic yards.
  • Minimize equipment impact to the lakebed and surrounding vegetation.

To qualify for a general permit to manage invasive species growing on exposed lake bed, people must:
  • Mow or spread herbicide in conformance with an invasive species control plan.
  • Operate the motor vehicle in a way that minimizes impacts to the native lakebed material and any surrounding native vegetation.

People interested in applying for the general permits are encouraged to review information about this streamlined process on the DNR Web site.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Martin Griffin (608) 266-2997 or Kristy Rogers (920) 662-5117