Friday, September 21, 2018

Draft proposal to remove the St. Louis River Area of Concern fish tumors and deformities impairment available for public review and comment

Research confirming that white sucker fish in the St. Louis River Area of Concern have a low rate of fish tumors and deformities is leading to a request by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to remove an impairment. 
Fish were sampled in 2011, 2013 and 2015 and research was conducted to determine if fish tumors and deformities were more common in the St. Louis River Area of Concern.  Multiple lines of evidence verified that the tumor incidence rate was not significantly different between the river and Lake Superior.  Further, the St. Louis River AOC tumor rates were lower than other similarly studied AOC and non-AOC sites in the Great Lakes.  The age and gender of the fish were found to be more important factors for fish tumor development.
Because of these findings, the Fish Tumors and Deformities Beneficial Use Impairment is proposed for removal.  The removal recommendation and study are available online for public review and comment from September 21 through October 12, 2018.  
To learn more about the proposal and to provide comments, please see the following documents:
Comments can be submitted to Matt Steiger, Wisconsin DNR AOC Coordinator, at until 5:00 pm October 12, 2018.
Paper copies of the draft document are also available for review in the Superior Public Library at 1530 Tower Ave. Superior, WI and the Duluth Public Library at 520 W. Superior St. Duluth, MN.  Public comment forms are included and formatted for mailing to Matt Steiger, Wisconsin DNR, 1701 N. 4th St, Superior, WI 54880.  Comment sheets may also be scanned and emailed to Steiger.
Written and electronic comments sent or post-marked before 5:00 pm on October 12, 2018, will be considered.  A final removal recommendation will be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after public input has been reviewed and considered. 
General questions about the removal proposal may be directed to Matt Steiger at 715-395-6904 or Barb Huberty, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency AOC Coordinator, at 218-302-6630.
The St. Louis River Area of Concern will have seven remaining Beneficial Use Impairments to address before the entire Area of Concern can be delisted.  The St. Louis River Area of Concern is one of forty-three Areas of Concern designated in 1987 as the most highly contaminated areas in the Great Lakes.
This work was included in the St. Louis River Area of Concern Remedial Action Plan and was funded primarily by the federal Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.  The primary partners involved in this work included the Environmental Protection Agency, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Friday, July 20, 2018


EVENT                  DAY                DATE                 LAST YR DATE

Meeting             Thursday          12-06-2018                 12-07-2017
Meeting             Thursday          01-24-2019                 01-25-2018
Clinics               Saturday           02-09-2019                 02-10-2018
Meeting             Thursday          02-21-2019                 02-15-2018
Meeting             Thursday          04-04-2019                 04-05-2018
Clinics               Saturday           04-13-2019                 04-14-2018

Wrap-up meeting to be announced later

All clinic meetings to be held at Greenfield Park at 7:00 PM

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Hope Everyone is Enjoying Their Summer!

Hunger Task Force needs our help at the fish cleaning station to filet donated Lake Michigan trout and salmon from generous tournament participants. The fish we process into cleaned filets, gets put into family size portions, put into Ziploc storage bags and onto the refrigerated truck to be delivered on Monday to area families that would not normally get this valuable protein in their diets.

 Bay City TournamentPlease share this with fellow club members or if you have someone such as a teenager that needs service hours, or a friend/spouse that wants to help but doesn't clean fish well, they can still help by bringing fish to a cleaner, putting processed filets into storage bags, changing water buckets, putting fish scraps down the incinerator, loading bins onto the refrigerated truck, etc. 

Please sign up via email or text ( or 414-467-6658) for this event as soon as possible if you are able to help the whole 4.5 hourrs or just part of it. "Many hands make light work" and it's great to be outdoors with fellow fisherman for a good cause!

What to bring:
Filet knife (manual or electric) HTF does have some extras on hand

Apron and hand rag (HTF has paper towel but a rag is helpful)

Wear old clothes/shoes you don't mind getting wet or can throw out.

Possible bug lotion for flies

Water is provided for volunteers from HTF, and the concession stand will be open.

The Brew City Fish Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, August 4 (rain date August 5th) at McKinley Marina located at 1750 North Lincoln Memorial Drive Milwauke, WI 53202 

The fish tournament runs 5:30 am - 1:30 pm
(but fish processing volunteers are needed noon - 4:30 pm) boats must be in the breakwater by 1:30 for weighing in which begins at noon.

For more information on the the tournament 

With Gratitude,

Brenda Rosin-Schaff
Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organization (WCSFO)
Kids Fishing Clinics of Southeastern WI (KFC)

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Summer inspectors help boaters prevent the spread of invasive species in Wisconsin's waters

June 26, 2018

By Jennifer A. Smith

As another Wisconsin summer hits its stride, it's a good time for Wisconsin boaters to think about responsible boating practices.  They can enjoy the great outdoors and protect our waters at the same time by taking simple actions to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).

Clean Boats, Clean Waters is a statewide boater education program that Wisconsin Sea Grant implements in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin-Extension.  With the help of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding, Sea Grant educates boaters along the Great Lakes coast.

Trained watercraft inspectors are stationed in four areas of the state, where they teach boaters how to take the preventative steps required by state law to minimize the risk of spreading unwanted “hitchhikers,” such as zebra mussels and quagga mussels, from one body of water to another.

Tim Campbell, Sea Grant’s AIS outreach specialist, works closely with Wisconsin DNR on the program.  As he summed up Wisconsin law, “Basically, you’re not allowed to transport aquatic plants, mud or animals on a public roadway. You also can’t transport lake or river water, so you need to drain out the water before leaving the boat landing.”

While more than 90% of boaters say they are familiar with Wisconsin law and “always” or “usually” take steps to clean their watercraft, that still leaves many boating trips each year that present some risk.

Inspectors talk to boaters (and users of other watercraft, like kayaks and paddleboards) about these requirements and, when needed, help them take the necessary actions, such as removing plants from a hard-to-reach part of a trailer or draining excess water from boat compartments.

“Especially at the beginning of the boating season, people can be rusty in their boating habits,” said Campbell.  “And it’s always good for inspectors to be there to talk to the few people who haven’t yet heard the ‘Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!’ message.”

Clean Boats, Clean Waters inspectors are based out of Appleton, Green Bay, Milwaukee/Port Washington, and the Kenosha/Racine/Milwaukee area.  The aim is not to penalize boaters, but to help them comply with the law and protect our waters so they can be enjoyed for generations to come.

“Many of the boaters thank me for being out and doing my job, which is pretty cool,” said inspector Matthew Cherney, a UW-Madison student majoring in geological engineering and geoscience.  Cherney, who is from Appleton, covers boat launches in and around Milwaukee.

The inspectors are all college students and work through Labor Day or so.  It’s gratifying work, said Nick Holtmeier, a UW-Whitewater student majoring in biology and Spanish, whose area is northeastern Wisconsin. "My favorite part of performing inspections is getting to talk to the public to inform them about a topic for which I have a passion.”

The program has been quite successful in holding the line on the spread of AIS.  Said Campbell, “Clean Boats, Clean Waters has been going on since 2004, and we know that it works to change boater behaviors.  It’s the best program we have to really make an impact on the spread of invasive species.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Optimum Timing for Dredging in Great Lakes Harbors Takes a More Scientific Turn

“Dredging Windows” Are Topic of Scoping Meeting for Pilot Project"
May 22, 2018

By Marie Zhuikov

It can’t happen just any old time. Removing sediment from or adding it to harbors to help ships pass or for construction projects is regulated by state and federal rules designed to lessen impacts to the plants and animals living in both marine and fresh water.

“We used to call them fish windows,” said Gene Clark, Wisconsin Sea Grant coastal engineer. “But we’ve learned that other species can be affected by the timing of dredging as well – things like mussels, amphibians and wild rice. It’s not just a fish window, it’s an environmental window for dredging.”

These timing windows were first created almost 50 years ago, spurred by the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act in 1969. They hardly ever change and are enforced through the permitting process by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state departments of natural resources. The designations of these windows were set by natural resource experts, however specific science-based data to help them was lacking.

According to a white paper on dredging windows in the Duluth-Superior Harbor, a number of new scientific tools are now available to “evaluate the specific impacts of dredging, to more accurately monitor the biological integrity and specific biological functions of different parts of our harbors, and to assess changes due to season variation. In addition, new engineering technologies have resulted in new dredging methods and construction options to reduce the impacts of the dredging process, as well as in-water facilities maintenance and fabrication.”

Bringing dredging windows up to date was one of the most important issues identified by harbor stakeholders when asked where they thought Sea Grant could make a difference, Clark said. At stake is money and time, not to mention the wellbeing of the environment.

“The timing of the dredging windows can be very strict, and they can make projects more costly,” said Clark. “The problem doesn’t just affect our harbor. All dredging projects on the Great Lakes have this issue, too.”

Clark believes that with more information about where critical habitats are in the harbor and when important wildlife activities are going on, such as fish spawning, money can be saved on behalf of taxpayers and the contractors.

Clark has teamed with Dale Bergeron, Minnesota Sea Grant maritime extension educator, and members of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority to work on the issue. They have been working for a year to write a white paper, develop a process for deciding what studies are needed, and provide a template for studies in other ports.

 “Our goal is to facilitate discussions between the regulatory agencies, the U.S. Army Corps and the contractors,” Clark said. They also plan to work with academic researchers to find funding for the studies.

One activity is taking place next week on May 30. A select group of people from the Duluth-Superior area have been invited to participate in a scoping meeting to conduct a “Science-based Review of Environmental Windows for Dredging and In-water Construction in the Duluth/Superior Estuary and Harbor.”

On the agenda is the history of dredging windows, and defining biological issues such as locations of high- and low-productivity areas and the impacts of seasons and climate variability, and discussion of new technologies that are available for dredging and reducing turbidity. The resulting tasks will take the form of a pilot project, for which funding will be sought.

“Perhaps in a couple of seasons, we’ll have enough information so we can actually make a difference in when dredging windows are set, and potentially save the corps some money, save the contractor money and save some angst on behalf of the permitting agencies,” Clark said.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018


Brenda Rosin      Schaff called the meeting to order at approximately 7:30 PM.   

Everyone present introduced themselves and their club affiliations.

Attendance:  Brenda Rosin Schaff, Ron Gray, Klye Olsen,  Duane Marcell, Brandon Witt, Ryan Flohr, Dave & Karen Schmitt, Steve Spielbauer, Dan & Diane Floryance, Jim Gilles, Jean Tackes, Jill Levy, Rick Frye, Rick Kirkley, Mary Lee Hatland, Don & Judy Kirby, Cliff Schulz, Wayne Avery, Cornell  Stroik, Dave Mueller, Kiven Groff, Barb Stevenson

Brenda opened the meeting by thanking everyone for there attendance. Because Klye Olson of the DNR had to leave to go back to work she had Klye described what his job consists of on a typical day. Kyle gave a detailed description of what his day is like.        

Brenda  then asked Dave Mueller to give us an up-date on the Hunger Task Force Hatchery and his stocking of the ponds. Dave talked about the various fish the hatchery has, their growth rates, talked about the pump problems they have had to over come. Dave also talked about the stocking of the ponds, species stocked, numbers stocked and dates of he stocking.

Brenda addressed the clinics and the weather conditions we had for the clinics. She noted she still has not heard from all the parks with the final numbers. She will send out final numbers when all the clubs get there numbers in. She noted that she and Ron had received e-mails stating that we should have cancelled the clinics due to the weather conditions. As everyone knows it is our policy to run the clinics no matter what the weather conditions are because a larger part of the teaching is conducted in doors. At this point in the meeting an open discussion took place. Points discussed were the logistics of the following. Present fishing regulations for kids only fishing, limitations in time frame and equipment of stocking, park reservations, commitments of volunteers for additional dates, providing the kids a season to fish without adult competition, scheduling around the Easter holiday, life of the stocked trout in the ponds as water warms. During this discussion the subject of illegal adult fishing came up.  After discussion the best thing to due is call the DNR hot line. After all discussion a vote was taken on continuing our policy of not cancelling due to weather conditions.  

Brenda talked briefly about the donations we received and the thank you letters that need to be sent out. She also addressed the schedule for next year. Ron commented that we could start working on next years flyer today by having the members in attendance commit to next years clinic dates which were announced as Feb. 9th and Apr 13th 2019. Badger Fisherman’s League stated they could not continue with the clinic’s due to a lack of help and the Wisconsin Fishing Club stated they are dropping out of the ice fishing clinics due to poor attendance at their park. Wern Valley indicated they will no longer support the clinics due to a lack of volunteers. Ron said he will then move forward with notifying the clubs not in attendance at this meeting for their commitments to next years clinics so the flyers can be finalized. He will also need to talk with the Waukesha County Parks to see which parks will be available next year. During discussion it was noted that the registration forms used needed some space adjustments for entry information. Brenda said she will  make adjustments for next year.

During discussions Brenda noted that American Legion Post 537 gave the Kids Fishing Clinics a very generous donation. Ideas discussed for using this donation were fish tanks for displaying fish and fishing tackle that could be purchased for kids prizes at the clinics. Discussion also noted that donation barrels could be placed at the clinic sites for donations to the Hunger Task Force who supports the clinics at their many distribution sites.

Brenda introduced  Cornell Stroik treasurer of the Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations (WCSFO). Cornell gave a talk about how and why the WCSFO was formed and their interface between the sport fishing clubs and the department of natural resources. He indicated the WCSFO is a 501C3 organization and finances the printing of the kids fishing hand books. He indicated that most of the kids fishing clinic clubs presently belong to the organization. The president of the WCSFO has retired from his position due to health reasons. Cornell has asked that the organization look into training someone for his position. Ron Gray is taking over the position as secretary from Brenda due to her health reasons. This leaves the offices of President and Vice President open and the need for someone to train for treasurer. The WCSFO holds two 2 scheduled meetings a year one in March and October on the third Saturday of the month. The WCSFO has a seat on the DNR fishery advisory board.

Brenda asked if anyone was interested in these positions and would like to run in an election for them. Two members were and a request was made by another if we could hold off on an election so their club members could be notified. Brenda stated we will hold an election meeting on Thursday May 24th . The location will be the Milwaukee Casting & Sportsmens Club at 18200 W. Cleveland Ave. New Berlin, WI at 7:00 PM. Please note: That you or your club must be a member of the WCSFO to be considered for these positions.


Ron Gray,  Secretary

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Draft proposal to remove Lower Menominee River Area of Concern Restrictions on Fish Consumption available for public review and comment

After nearly 30 years of cleanup and remediation efforts, the Wisconsin and Michigan Departments of Natural Resources are seeking public comment on our joint recommendation to remove the listed impairment for Restrictions on Fish Consumption from the Lower Menominee River Area of Concern (AOC). A draft proposal is now available for public review that summarizes the remediation actions taken and results of follow-up testing that indicate AOC targets are being met. The proposal also includes documentation of stakeholder involvement in this process.

Anyone wishing to review the proposed impairment removal document can find it here:
Restrictions on Fish Consumption Impairment Removal Proposal (PDF)

Information about the Lower Menominee River Area of Concern is available at this link.
Comments can be submitted to Vic Pappas, Lake Michigan Field Supervisor, at until May 18, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. Questions about the BUI removal may be directed to Mr. Pappas or to the Michigan DNR Area of Concern Coordinator, Stephanie Swart, at 517-284-5046 or by e-mail at swarts@Michigangov.

The removal proposal is made by the Wisconsin DNR Office of Great Waters, Michigan DNR Office of the Great Lakes and supported by the Lower Menominee River AOC Technical and Citizens Advisory Committees. Sediment removal, cleanup projects and other changes have reduced pollutants within the boundaries of the Area of Concern and existing advisories relate to pollution coming from outside of the AOC.

It’s important to note that while the area of concern is no longer a source of certain pollutants that have been found in fish, pollution is still coming from outside the area. As a result, advice about eating fish should still be followed This advice can be found at:

To learn more visit http:/ and search “AOC.”

Friday, April 13, 2018

2018 Peshtigo River State Forest work plan posted for public comment

The 2018 integrated property management meeting minutes and work plan for the Peshtigo River State Forest have been posted for public review, questions or comments.  These documents can be found on the ‘Management and Business' tab of the Peshtigo River State Forest home page.
Comments on the minutes are due by April 30, 2018 and should be directed to:
Avery Jehnke, Property Manager
Peshtigo River State Forest
N10008 Paust Lane
Crivitz, WI 54114

Forest staff dealt with record rainfall and several staffing vacancies in 2017 but managed to move forward with projects, recreation operations and establish and administer timber sales, which generated approximately $181,000 in stumpage revenue during 2017.
The state forest team will have a new look in 2018. Three vacancies have been filled, including a property manager/forester and two rangers who will support recreation operations on the state forest.
The 2018 work plan includes four timber sales prepared for bidding in 2018 and several areas to be evaluated for future timber harvest.  Other projects planned include boat landing improvements, opening of a new golf cart trail, invasive species control and road work in high-use areas.

Thanks for your interest in the Peshtigo River State Forest,

Friday, April 6, 2018

Sea Grant Helps City Clean Up Its Zoning Code “Monster”

April 2, 2018

By Marie Zhuikov

The city of Superior, Wisconsin, is surrounded by water. The St. Louis River bounds it to the west, the Nemadji River to the east, the Pokegema River to the south, and the harbor and Lake Superior to the north.

“Protecting that water as well as our overall natural environment should be one of our highest priorities,” said Superior Mayor Jim Paine. To that end, city staff and a contractor are beginning a process this summer, led by Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Julia Noordyk, to review and update city codes and ordinances to reduce stormwater pollution.

The effort is thanks to a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and involves something called a green infrastructure audit. Green infrastructure includes creating natural water-collecting features like rain gardens, permeable pavement and green roofs to help soak up snowmelt and rainwater. This runoff water can often be laden with contaminants like salt in the snow or oil from roads. It bears a toxic load as it infiltrates surface waters or groundwater.

Interest in a green infrastructure audit grew from a workshop Noordyk, water quality and coastal communities outreach specialist, put on last year in Duluth with staff from Minnesota Sea Grant.
“We did a full-day workshop for communities around the Duluth-Superior area,” Noordyk said. “We had planners, city staff and stormwater engineers in the room. We talked about why green infrastructure is important and why codes and ordinances are important to green infrastructure implementation. Then the communities did an exercise that included community scoping and applying the audit tool to their stormwater ordinance.”

The workshop spurred the idea of cooperation between Superior’s Environmental Services Division of Public Works and Noordyk, which led to the successful grant proposal for the code audit. Activities will follow the process outlined in Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Tackling Barriers to Green Infrastructure: An Audit of Local Codes and Ordinances workbook, which involves community scoping, auditing codes and ordinances, and developing a strategy for adoption of the changes.

Noordyk expects to have her work cut out for her, playfully stating, “I’ve already heard that Superior’s zoning code is a monster.” The mayor echoes this viewpoint. “I think everybody agrees that our zoning codes need revision. The most important thing, though, is that we have a vision for what kind of city we want as we’re revising them.”

Noordyk stresses that this is a community-driven process. “The main strategy is to bring everyone on board at the beginning. We’re not trying to do code changes that the community is against. The code audit is about going through the process and figuring out what changes make sense and will help the community reach its goals.”

The process will take several months and several community meetings. The first will be on May 17 when Noordyk makes a presentation to the Superior City Council, which is the organization that needs to approve any code and ordinance changes.

Mayor Paine is excited about the green infrastructure audit. “It’s one more step toward making a better city. Green infrastructure is generally cheaper, it’s permanent and it does the job better than anything else we can create,” he said.

Public meetings set for Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands, and Northwest Lowlands Ecological Landscape regional master plans postponed due to weather

Public comment period will be extended through May 3

ASHLAND, Wis. - With a spring snow storm set to impact much of the state, the public open house meetings for the Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands, and Northwest Lowlands Ecological Landscapes have been postponed. Concerns over safety for the public and staff traveling to the meetings drove the decision to reschedule.

The public open house meetings will be held later in April. Both meetings run from 5 to 7 p.m. and will be held:
  • Tuesday, April 24, Ashland at Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, 29270 County Highway G
  • Wednesday, April 25, Spooner at DNR Service Center, 810 W Maple St.
While the public meetings have been postponed, people can still learn more about and engage in the planning processes for Superior Coastal Plain, Northwest Sands, and Northwest Lowlands regional master plans online by searching the DNR website,, for keywords "master planning" and selecting the ecological landscape they would like to learn about. People will also find opportunities to offer their input on the planning and management of the properties.

In addition to the opportunities to offer input online or at public meetings, people may contact DNR Planner Phil Rynish, by email at, phone at 608-266-5854, or US mail at Phil Rynish, Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53707-7921.

The public comment period for the first phase of planning will now remain open through May 3, 2018.

Potawatomi State Park observation tower permanently closed

Significant wood decay requires tower to be dismantled

STURGEON BAY, Wis. - Significant wood decay has been found in the observation tower located at Potawatomi State Park creating unsafe conditions and requiring removal of the tower. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has permanently closed the tower, which has been closed for the winter season since last December.

A similar tower located at Peninsula State Park was removed in 2016 after studies found severe wood decay in that tower as well.

Routine inspections of the Potawatomi tower were conducted in the spring and early winter of 2017. During these inspections park staff found visual decay and movement of the structural wood tower members. DNR engineering staff were brought in and conducted additional inspections and recommended further review.

The DNR then again requested assistance from the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, which had gained valuable experience from their inspection of Eagle Tower at Peninsula. Forest Product Laboratory staff conducted an inspection in February 2018 using non-destructive wood-testing methods to examine the wood members and the structural integrity of the tower. Their inspection found significant decay in the structural and non-structural wood members of the tower, and they recommended that the tower be closed to the public and dismantled because the decayed components could not be repaired.

"This is a difficult decision for us because we know how much our visitors enjoy climbing this tower for its panoramic views of Sawyer Harbor, Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay, but public safety is always our number one concern," said Ben Bergey, director of the Wisconsin State Park System.

The department is currently working with a number of partners to build a new fully accessible observation tower at Peninsula State Park to replace Eagle Tower that will be constructed in late 2018.

The 75-foot tall Potawatomi tower was completed in 1932. It was financed by an organization known as the Sawyer Commercial Club, which promoted economic development in the Village of Sawyer, the original name for Sturgeon Bay's west side before it was annexed in the late 1800s.
"At this time there are no plans to replace the tower, but we welcome opportunities to work with partners to provide additional recreation opportunities at the park, which could include new observation facilities in the future," Bergey said.

Any new structure would have to meet state and federal building codes and be fully ADA compliant and accessible.

The department will begin planning deconstruction of the tower immediately with the intention to complete it as soon as practicable.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Public comments sought on waterway and wetland general permit for water quality activities

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on a proposed waterway and wetland general permit for certain agricultural water quality conservation activities.
"The proposed general permit would allow county, state, and federal agencies to implement water quality conservation practices in agricultural settings through a streamlined permitting process," said Amanda Minks, DNR waterway and wetland policy coordinator.

Several activities can be covered under the proposed general permit so long as they meet the applicable permitting standards and include grassed waterways, filter strips, lined waterways, grade stabilization structures, stream crossings, water and sediment control basins, dams, sediment basins, and constructed wetlands.

"This permit supports conservation work done by partner agencies, including county land conservation department, NRCS and others," Minks said.

DNR does not anticipate this general permit to result in a significant negative effect on the environment. To view a copy of the draft permit or to view other information about the Department of Natural Resources individual and general permitting process, search the DNR website,, for "wetland disturbance."

An informational hearing is also scheduled for Wednesday, March 21, 2-3:30 p.m. in room G09 of the State Natural Resources Building, 101 S. Webster St., Madison. Comments can be submitted to until close of business March 30.

For more information, call Amanda Minks at 608-264-9223 or submit written comments via U.S. mail to Amanda Minks, DNR-WT/3, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Important Conservation Bills

February 16, 2018 (Washington, DC) - The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing yesterday on the Recovering America's Wildlife Act (H.R. 4647), among other important bills for fish, wildlife, and land conservation.

Recovering America's Wildlife Act was introduced on December 14, 2017 in bipartisan fashion by Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus Members (CSC) Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (NE) and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI) to provide adequate funding for the nearly 12,000 species identified as at-risk by state fish and wildlife agencies in their State Wildlife Action Plans. Specifically, this legislation would dedicate $1.3 billion annually in existing funding from the royalties and fees collected from offshore and onshore energy and mineral development on federal lands and waters towards state-based fish and wildlife conservation efforts. 

"Our nation's fish and wildlife are some of our most valuable resources, supporting jobs, our economy and providing countless hours of outdoor enjoyment," said Congresswoman Dingell. "I am proud to work with Congressman Fortenberry on the Recovering America's Wildlife Act, which compliments landmark conservation programs already in place to help protect at-risk species before it is too late. The approaches in this bill are proven and some of the best ways to restore and create new habitat, and ensure future generations can enjoy our rich outdoor heritage. I am pleased to see the Natural Resources Committee move this important legislation forward today and will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it across the finish line."

In addition to H.R. 4647, the Committee discussed the Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow's Needs of 2017 (H.R. 2591), introduced by CSC Vice-Chair Congressman Austin Scott (GA). This bipartisan bill, supported by CSC leadership, would clarify that one of the purposes of the Pittman-Robertson Fund is to extend and provide technical and financial assistance to the states for hunter recruitment and retention efforts.

Bob Ziehmer, the Senior Director of Conservation for Bass Pro Shops, testified in support of H.R. 4647 and H.R. 2591. Ziehmer, who previously served as the Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, is a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America's Diverse Fish and Wildlife Resources, along with Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane. The panel recommended the funding approach that is addressed in Recovering America's Wildlife Act.

CSF applauds House Chairman Rob Bishop, Chairman Tom McClintock, and the House Natural Resources Committee Members for their leadership in advancing pro-sportsmen legislation in the 115th Congress. 

Informational Meetings for Proposed Updates to Wisconsin's Wetland Indicator Layer

The first step land owners, developers and builders need to take before picking up a shovel or calling in the bulldozers is determining whether a proposed project site is located within a wetland. A new upgrade to the Department of Natural Resource’s interactive wetland indicator map found at will make it easier to determine if a project has the potential to impact wetlands.
“The advantage of this new upgrade is to target potential wetlands on a land owner’s property to avoid any inadvertent wetlands disturbance during development and avoid unnecessary wetland delineation costs,” says Amanda Minks, DNR Waterway and Wetland Policy Coordinator.
Minks said the DNR has been working with the National Resource Conservation Service to integrate updated soil information, field reporting and digital topography tools to its current map, which is referred to as the pink layer, so that the agency can provide users with the most comprehensive tool possible.
If wetland impacts are possible, state law requires a wetland delineation to confirm wetland impacts and determine the amount of the potential impact. The newly upgraded tool will allow users to target areas at a more refined scale, which can help avoid or minimize wetland impacts and determine the appropriate regulatory process for projects.
To preview the updated system to potential users, the department is hosting two hour-long informational meetings on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 10:00 a.m., at the Green Bay Service Center, and Friday, March 9, 2018, 2 p.m., in room G09 at the DNR Central Office, 101 S. Webster, in Madison.
“We want to give our potential users an opportunity to experience the changes before we release the final upgrade to the public in late spring this year so they will better understand the changes and how to use the layer,” Minks said.

Anyone interested in learning more about wetland indicators can visit the DNR’s website ( to read more about recognizing indicators and view informational videos about the steps toward ensuring building projects start off on the right track.   Questions or comments can also be emailed directly to Amanda Minks at

Friday, February 16, 2018

Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes Film Screening and Talk

February 15, 2018

By Tim Campbell and Marie Zhuikov

Join Tim Campbell, aquatic invasive species outreach specialist for UW-Extension and Wisconsin Sea Grant, for a free screening of the two-hour documentary, “Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes,” followed by a short question-and-answer session. The screening will take place at 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Friday, March 9, at the Lake Superior Estuarium on Barker’s Island in Superior (3 Marina Drive).

The film takes viewers below the surface of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem, and into the middle of a complex web of interactions and changes. For over a century, non-native plants, fish and invertebrates have been silently invading the Great Lakes and are transforming the ecosystem from top to bottom, threatening ecological diversity and local economies.
Making Waves chronicles the path of this invasion to the present day. The filmmakers join researchers on the front lines as they work to understand invasive species and to restore native species in an effort to prevent a biological takeover of the Great Lakes.

The screening is sponsored by the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve.


Bloody Red ShrimpMADISON, Wisc.—A single specimen of the bloody red shrimp (Hemimysis anomala) has been detected in the Lower St. Louis River near Allouez Bay, Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today.  Sweep net samples were processed and taxonomic identification completed by Service staff and Badger Technical Services in January 2018.[WRS-D1]  This is the first detection of the species in Lake Superior, which was collected as part of annual sampling done by the Service.

“While the collection of a single individual shrimp suggests this species is not abundant or widespread, it’s a disappointing detection.  While the impacts on other Great Lakes are currently unknown, we still want to be cautious about how we approach the management of this species,” said Jeremy Bates, Early Detection and Rapid Response Coordinator with the WDNR. 
Bloody red shrimp was first reported in 2006 in Lake Ontario and Lake Michigan, and is already documented in all other Great Lakes.  The species, like other invasive species, are known to reproduce and spread, ultimately degrading habitat, out-competing native species and short-circuiting food webs.
“Early detection is crucial to effectively managing invasive animals before they gain a foothold in the environment,” said Amy McGovern, Midwest Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The discovery of a bloody red shrimp in Lake Superior is a testament to the ongoing importance of the Great Lakes Early Detection and Monitoring Program.”
The Service will continue targeted sampling for bloody red shrimp and other annual AIS sampling throughout the Great Lakes as part of the Great Lakes Early Detection and Monitoring Program. 
Boaters and anglers in Wisconsin are asked to do their part to make sure aquatic invasive species (AIS) don’t move to inland waters by taking the following preventive measures:

  • Inspect and thoroughly clean equipment and clothing
  • Remove aquatic plants and debris from boats and equipment
  • Drain water from live wells and bilge compartments before leaving the waterway
  • Transport your catch on ice

Friday, February 9, 2018

Public meetings set for mid-February and early March to update sturgeon management plan

OSHKOSH, Wis. - Wisconsin's oldest fish species - lake sturgeon present when dinosaurs roamed the earth - is set for an updated management plan. Sturgeon lovers can help shape that plan by attending one of eight public meetings statewide in mid-February and early-March.

"Wisconsin's sturgeon team is in the early stages of a process to update the sturgeon management plan and we want to hear from anglers and others interested in sturgeon," says Ryan Koenigs, the sturgeon biologist who leads the Department of Natural Resources sturgeon team. "These meetings provide people an opportunity to comment on the state's sturgeon management program and will set the stage for development of the plan."

Sturgeon facts and history

Lake sturgeon are currently managed under guidance from the 2000 Lake Sturgeon Management Plan. An updated plan will allow DNR staff and partners to continue to build on the previous plan's success, set new goals, and include management strategies for both lake sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon management. It is important to note that the previous plan did not include shovelnose sturgeon.

Public meeting dates, locations and starting times are listed below:

• Tuesday, Feb. 20 - Eau Claire, 6:30 p.m., DNR Eau Claire Service Center, 1300 W. Clairemont Ave.;
• Tuesday, Feb. 20 - Fitchburg, 6:30 p.m., DNR Fitchburg Service Center, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road;
• Tuesday, Feb. 20 - Webster, 6:30 p.m., Larsen Family Public Library, 7401 W. Main St.;
• Wednesday, Feb. 21 - La Crosse, 6:30 p.m. DNR La Crosse Service Center, 3550 Mormon Coulee Road;
• Wednesday, Feb. 21 - Oshkosh, 6:30 p.m., Coughlin Building, Conference rooms A and B, 625 E County Road Y;
• Wednesday, Feb. 21 - Park Falls, 6 p.m. Public Library, 410 Division St.;
• Tuesday, March 6 - Ashland, 6 p.m. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, 2100 Beaser Ave.; and
• Tuesday, March 6 - Oconto, 6 p.m., Oconto City Hall, 1210 Main St.

There also will be future opportunities for people to comment online, and materials prepared for the meetings will be posted online as they become available.

Wisconsin has long been regarded as a national and international leader in sturgeon protection, restoration and research - a reputation built since DNR began regulating sturgeon harvest on the Winnebago system in 1903.

Wisconsin offers a hook-and-line season on multiple major rivers with healthy, growing populations and boasts the world's largest self-sustaining population of lake sturgeon. In locations where sturgeon populations are not as strong, DNR and partners are working to rebuild sturgeon populations.

For more information regarding sturgeon management, visit and search keyword "sturgeon."

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Attention Winnebago System Sturgeon Spearing Enthusiasts:

WCSFO Photo by: John Durben

The 2018 sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes is only a little over a month away, starting on Saturday February 10.  We've experienced some very cold weather the last few weeks and have some pretty thick ice developed throughout the system.  In fact, some of the local fishing clubs and conservation groups have already put out their tree lines and are now maintaining access points and plowed roads.  From what I've heard, Lake Winnebago is pretty rough though and there are quite a few cracks, so be sure to use caution and remember no ice is every 100% safe.

Many spearers are starting to wonder about water clarity so we had one of our technicians check clarity in a couple of locations today (January 8).  Attached is a map of where he checked clarity and what visibility was.  In the locations checked, clarity ranged from 7.5-10.5' with quite a bit of variability.  This is a very small sample size, but it appears that clarity is not great at this point in time.  Hopefully things will improve a bit over the next month.  We will be checking clarity again during the week leading up to the season and I will be sure to send out that update once it becomes available.

I also have attached a copy of the spearing rules and regulations for the 2018 season.  I hope everyone had a happy holiday season and I look forward to the month of anticipation that lies ahead between now and February 10!
Ryan Koenigs
Senior Fisheries Biologist / Winnebago System Sturgeon Biologist
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
625 E County Rd. Y, Suite 700
Oshkosh, WI 54901
Phone: (920)303-5450
Fax: (920)424-4404