Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Groups and individuals recognized for fisheries contributions

WISCONSIN DELLS – Five of the conservation groups and dedicated individuals who help make fishing great in Wisconsin have been recognized for their efforts on behalf of the state’s anglers.

The Eagle Lake Management District; Wayne Stietz of Argyle; the Elk Creek Rod and Gun Club based out of Independence in Trempealeau County; the Marinette-Menominee Great Lakes Sport Fishing Club in Marinette; and George Greenbank of Hayward all recently received engraved plaques from the Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Management program for their outstanding efforts to improve Wisconsin fishing.

“We learned a long time ago that managing Wisconsin's outstanding fisheries is a job too big for government alone -- and we rely all the time on the help from fishing and conservation organizations across the state,” said Wisconsin Fisheries Director Mike Staggs. “It's an honor to recognize these groups and individuals."

Staggs and the fish biologists who nominated the award winters presented the external partner awards late last month at a ceremony in the Wisconsin Dells. The award winners and a brief summary of their contributions follow:
  • The Eagle Lake Management District, for its work on a fall 2008 project to improve fish habitat and fishing in 515-acre Eagle Lake in Racine County. “While several groups helped with the project, it could not have happened without the financial, volunteer and public support of the Eagle Lake Protection and Management District,” said Doug Welch, the DNR biologist working on the project. Two examples of that critical help: the district contributed more than $42,000 to pay costs including the use a helicopter to apply a naturally occurring toxicant to the lake to kill the abundant, stunted panfish population, and rounded up more than 70 volunteers to pick up the dead fish. The lake will be restocked with game fish this spring.
  • Wayne Stietz of Argyle, for his financial support, labor, and direct involvement in DNR projects and investigations for more than 10 years to maintain and improve local fisheries and promote use of the resource. “In my 10 years as biologist for Lafayette County, no external partner has contributed more to our resources and fisheries program,” said Bradd Sims, the DNR biologist who nominated him. Yellowstone Lake anglers in particular have benefitted from his work. Stietz has helped with carp removal since 1998, catfish and walleye surveys on the lake in recent years, and installation of fish cribs and handicap accessible fishing pads along the lake.
  • Elk Creek Rod and Gun Club, of Independence, for their support of the trout fisheries of west central Wisconsin through such projects as operating two trout cooperative rearing facilities for more than 60 years, initiating local land acquisition for public fishing by selling trout fishing parcels to the state, acquiring public fishing easements, and volunteering help on habitat projects. They also provided financial assistance to the DNR for equipment purchases and hold one of the oldest and largest ice fishing contests in Trempealeau County as well as an annual kids fishing event.
  • The Marinette-Menominee Great Lakes Sport Fishing Club, for their promotion of fishing through the annual charitable kids fishing event, which they have hosted for more than 25 years and which last year alone educated more than 400 area youth. Their “Heads Up” fishing event provides an opportunity for disabled area residents to spend a day fishing. The club’s “Brown Trout Derby” promotes trout and salmon fishing in Green Bay and the tournament information they share with the DNR helps manage these fish populations. Finally, the club recently donated $5,700 for equipment purchase and fish habitat land acquisition and $16,000 toward a fish cleaning station in Marinette.
  • George Greenbank, of Hayward, for his leadership in raising funds for walleye management and his participation in the walleye “Fish Watch” on Whitefish Creek. George was the event coordinator for Walleyes for Northwest Wisconsin, which raises about $14,000 for walleye management programs each year at their annual ice fishing outing on Lac Courte Oreilles. He independently organized the Nelson Lake Bass-O-Rama to help implement a recently recommended DNR management strategy to promote appreciation and harvest of the underutilized largemouth bass to reduce predation on young walleye. The family friendly event has 80 to 90 kids participating every year and to date has raised close to $9,000 to buy extended growth walleye fingerlings to stock into Nelson Lake.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike Staggs - (608) 267-0796

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