Pollinator Week highlights insects' importance

MADISON, WI - Pollinators are critical for Wisconsin ecosystems and crops including cranberries, peppers and tomatoes, and Pollinator Week, June 18-24, highlights steps city and rural residents can take to help protect and increase pollinator habitat.
A pollinator is any animal that visits flowering plants and transfers pollen from flower to flower, aiding plant reproduction. In Wisconsin, native pollinators include bees, butterflies, moths, flower flies, beetles, wasps and hummingbirds. Populations of some pollinators in Wisconsin, including several bumble bees and butterflies, are declining and habitat loss is one of the major causes.
Without pollinators, Wisconsin cranberry growers would lose three-quarters of their crop, apple growers would lose 80 percent, and cherry growers would lose 60 percent. In 2015, that would have added up to a whopping $134 million loss, according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
"It's all hands-on deck for pollinators," says Owen Boyle, who leads the Department of Natural Resources' species management section. "Our native pollinators are incredibly important to maintaining Wisconsin's native ecosystems and agriculture, and we can all take steps to help them."
People can plant native milkweed and nectar plants, take it easy on mowing and pesticide use, and get involved in volunteer monitoring to help collect information on where pollinators live and their abundance, according to Boyle.
"Even if you live in an apartment and you have a balcony, you can grow flowers that provide food for pollinators," he said.
General best management practices for pollinators and aimed at farmers, homeowners with lawns and gardens, beekeepers and right-of-way managers, are found in the Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Plan developed in 2015 and led by DATCP.
Globally, somewhere between 75 percent and 95 percent of all flowering plants - some 180,000 species in all and 1,200 crops - need pollinators to help reproduce, according to the Pollinator Partnership, the organizer of the awareness week. Many of these flowering plants feed other wildlife and support healthy ecosystems that clean the air and stabilize soils, Boyle says.
Exciting public and private efforts are underway to help pollinators, including a Wisconsin effort bringing together diverse interests to create and carry out a statewide habitat restoration plan for monarchs, according to Boyle. While monarchs are not the most efficient pollinators, monarch habitat benefits other more efficient pollinators as well, like bees. Many habitat and other efforts by Wisconsin governments, nonprofits and utilities on behalf of monarchs are listed in the Wisconsin chapter, pg. 243, of the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy.
Other ways Wisconsin residents can help pollinators is by participating in citizen-based monitoring projects to help collect information about the location and abundance of Wisconsin's pollinators including bumble bees, Karner blue butterflies and monarchs, Boyle says.
Find more information and sign up for free email or text updates to get videos, photos, plant lists on the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, by searching keyword "Pollinator."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Flooding, washouts close some parks, trails in northwestern Wisconsin

SUPERIOR, WI - Heavy rains across northwestern Wisconsin last weekend and early this week have flooded some roads and caused washouts on some highways, roads, state parks, forests and trails. According to the National Weather Service the area has received 7 to 12 inches of rain from Friday through Monday.
There are several Wisconsin State Park System property and portions of properties that are closed due to the rain and flooding in Douglas, Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, Burnett and Price counties. Amnicon Falls State Park, located about 7 miles east of Superior, is currently closed, but was expected to re-open the afternoon of June 19. Pattison State Park about 13 miles south of Superior is open for camping only. All trails, observation areas, picnic and day-use areas are closed.
The Saunders Grade, Wild Rivers and Gandy Dancer state trails in Douglas County are currently closed. Several canoe launches, picnic areas and day-use areas at Brule River State Forest are under water and currently unusable. The St. Croix Family Campground at Governor Knowles State Forest will be closed at least until June 20. The bridge at the headwaters of the White River in the Town of Delta is currently closed. Portions of the Tuscobia Trail are also washed out in southern Price County; a reroute will be established soon.
The public is urged to use caution as they recreate in the coming days and weeks. People traveling in the area can check the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's 511 Wisconsin website for road closures and any available detours.
Do not attempt to travel on water covered trails and roads. Stay out of areas, roads and trails posted as closed. Keep a safe distance away from the edge of fast moving water, streams and rivers. Kayaking or canoeing in flood or high water conditions is extremely dangerous.
Conditions at properties in the counties and in the northwest part of the state are changing rapidly was water levels decrease in some areas and increase in other areas downstream. For additional and the most current information continue to follow Wisconsin DNR on social media as well as searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for "Current Conditions."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

East Moore Lake named one of top 50 ‘Mom Approved’ lakes

Fishing fun for all ages and abilities is close to anyone in the Twin Cities area, where 66 lakes have easy-to-reach piers, family-friendly settings and fishing for bluegill and catfish through the Fishing in the Neighborhood program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
“These lakes are for all ages and are great places for people of all ages to learn how to fish, or really for anyone who wants to relax and wet a line,” said Tim Ohmann, east metro area fisheries specialist. “From a pier, it’s often easy to see fish take your bait – that’s a highlight for a lot of kids.”
A national organization this week gave a nod to one of these waters – East Moore Lake in the north metro suburb of Fridley – which was singled out in a list of the top 50 “Mom Approved Places to Fish and Boat” by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.
“We’re happy to hear a lake like East Moore is getting some national attention,” Ohmann said. “This helps us show how easy it is to go fishing here, since Moore is one of dozens we have that offer similar experiences for nearly 3 million people.”
For the award, outdoorsy moms in Minnesota were asked to vote on their favorite place to fish and boat based on a list of accessible fishing locations. Now the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation is taking votes to narrow the list down to the top 10. Anyone can vote at takemefishing.org/momapproved.   
The FiN program puts about 25,000 bluegills into the 66 small lakes in the metro area each year. Anglers need not buy expensive tackle or boats to catch bluegills. A cane pole or inexpensive rod and reel set up with a bobber and a worm for bait will do the trick. Panfish also can be caught using crickets, bugs, small leeches, crankbaits, little jigs and by flyfishing.
A list of metro fishing lakes and more about the FiN program can be found at mndnr.gov/fin.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR seeks comments on Tioga Recreation Area Mountain Bike Trail project

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments on an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) prepared for the Tioga Recreation Area Mountain Bike Trail project in the city of Cohasset in Itasca County.
The city proposed construction of 30 miles of single-track mountain bike trail within the 500-acre Tioga Recreation Area. Facilities include trailhead, parking, signage, restrooms, picnic shelters, changing shelters and a bike repair station. Additional outdoor recreational opportunities include hiking and snowshoeing.
The agency will take comments during a 30-day public review period from June 18 to July 18.A copy of the EAW is available online on the project page. A hard copy may be requested by calling 651-259-5126.
The EAW is available for public review at:
* DNR library, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul.
* DNR northeast regional office, 1201 East Highway 2, Grand Rapids.
* Minneapolis Central Library, Government Documents, 2nd Floor, 300 Nicollet Mall.
* Duluth Public Library, 520 West Superior St., Duluth.
* Grand Rapids Area Library, 140 NE 2nd St., Grand Rapids.
The EAW notice is published in the June 18 EQB Monitor. The EQB Monitor is a biweekly publication of the Environmental Quality Board that lists descriptions and deadlines for environmental review documents and other notices.
Written comments must be submitted no later than 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 18, to the attention of Bill Johnson, EAW project manager, Environmental Policy and Review Unit, Ecological and Water Resources Division, DNR, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025.
Electronic or email comments may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with “Tioga Recreation Area” in the subject line. If submitting comments electronically, include name and mailing address. Written comments may also be sent by fax to 651-296-1811. Names and addresses will be published as part of the EAW record.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Invasive Species Month gets new name and focus

MADISON - After 15 years, Invasive Species Awareness Month is getting a new name and focus: Wisconsin Invasive Species Action Month.
"Now that many Wisconsin residents and visitors are aware of the problems with invasive species, the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council has changed the name and focus of the month to move people from awareness to action," says Tom Buechel, the council's chair.
Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that can cause ecological, environmental, or economic harm. Some can affect human health. Emerald ash borer, quagga mussel, buckthorn, reed canary grass, oak wilt disease, gypsy moth, garlic mustard and purple loosestrife are all examples.
"Once an invasive species gets established, it can be extremely difficult to control, so the most important action Wisconsinites can take is to avoid moving invasive species to un-infested sites in Wisconsin and to other states," says Drew Feldkirchner, who leads DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation Program, which coordinates DNR invasive species efforts.
To prevent accidentally spreading emerald ash borer, oak wilt and gypsy moth, campers and recreationists should obtain firewood locally, and buy only firewood certified as safe by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection or by USDA. Learn more on DNR's website, dnr.wi.gov, and search keyword "firewood."
Anglers and boaters can help protect lakes and rivers by cleaning recreational equipment after every use and draining all water from gear before leaving a site. If possible, wash gear with hot water and dry it for five or more days between uses. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "aquatic invasive species."
Gardeners and landscapers can prevent spreading invasive species by planting and promoting only native plants or non-native plants that don't expand beyond the garden or seed into other areas.
For more information visit the Invasive Plants Association of Wisconsin website at www.ipaw.org.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


WisCorps summer crew kicks off June 15

On Friday, June 15, WisCorps will send eight crews into the field throughout Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest to embark on their conservation and community revitalization projects.  
More than 50 teens and young adults from across Wisconsin will be at the WisCorps Headquarters at Myrick Park Center, 789 Myrick Park Drive in La Crosse for an orientation and send-off ceremony.
Since its founding in 2009, WisCorps has sent more than 90 crews across the state of Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest serving over 1,000 teens and young adults. These individuals learned new skills while working to conserve our natural resources and help build accessibility for everyone to the outdoors.  
Summer 2018 projects include:
* Mayor’s Crew: Neighborhood revitalization projects in the Powell-Poage-Hamilton, Washburn, Holy Trinity-Longfellow and Lower Northside Depot Neighborhoods.
* WisCorps WORKS: Individual work experience placements in local businesses and organizations.
* Inclusive Crews: Erosion control and planting in neighborhood parks, garden accessibility construction and home repair projects.
* Conservation Crews: Construction of new recreational trails at the La Crosse County Landfill, Trail reconstruction at Perrot State Park, restoration of sensitive wetland areas at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Hammond, Indiana, backcountry trail maintenance, Isle Royale National Park, ADA boardwalk construction at Chad Erickson Memorial Park, and restoration of the Ice Age Trail in Manitowoc, WI.
Start-up Schedule (Friday June, 15, 2018)
2:30 Guests arrive (local dignitaries, WisCorps supporters and family members) for building and grounds tours

SOURCE: WisCorps

Ruffed grouse survey results indicate decrease in breeding grouse

MADISON, WI - Roadside ruffed grouse surveys completed this spring showed statewide drumming activity decreased 34 percent between 2017 and 2018.
While this decline does not follow the generally predictable grouse population cycle, the 2018 drumming observations do fall within the normal range of variability of the grouse cycle.
The survey results showed a 34 percent decrease statewide over 2017 levels. The downturn was seen in both the central (-29 percent) and northern (-38 percent) forest regions of the state. These two areas comprise the primary grouse range in Wisconsin. While the decreases in the southwest (-14 percent) part of the state were smaller by percentage, and an increase in the southeast was observed, these areas are not within the primary range for grouse. The drumming activity in southwestern and southeastern Wisconsin are at or near historic lows, and likely would not significantly add to grouse abundance in the state.
For complete roadside ruffed grouse survey results, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "reports."
"Ruffed grouse populations are known to rise and fall over a nine to 11-year cycle, and the last peak in Wisconsin's cycle occurred in 2011," said Mark Witecha, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources upland wildlife ecologist. "Based on the historical grouse cycle in Wisconsin, it was expected there would have been a significant drop in the population in the northern forest back around 2015. However, the population decline was only about half as low as anticipated.
"With this somewhat abbreviated low point in the population cycle in 2015, an increasing phase lasting several years is expected, so a decline in 2018 is not consistent with a typical population cycle, but does confirm the reports we received from hunters last fall," added Witecha. "As these survey results indicate, there is some variation from the historical pattern in the grouse population over the last several years, specifically in the primary northern range. In the more southern survey areas, a long-term decline in the population is consistent with a loss of quality young forest habitat."
Roadside surveys to monitor the number of breeding grouse have been conducted by staff from the department, U.S. Forest Service, tribal employees, and numerous grouse enthusiasts and volunteers since 1964.
Roadside surveys to monitor the number of breeding grouse have been conducted by staff from the department, U.S. Forest Service, tribal employees, and numerous grouse enthusiasts and volunteers since 1964.
From seeds to sky
"Ruffed grouse rely on dense, young forest cover resulting from disturbances such as fire and logging. Beyond actively managing state-owned lands, the Wisconsin DNR is working to provide suitable grouse habitat through an extensive collaborative effort known as the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership," said Witecha. "This partnership provides technical and financial assistance for young forest management on private lands, benefiting ruffed grouse and other wildlife species by helping maintain healthy and diverse forest communities."
For more information about grouse hunting in Wisconsin, search keywords "ruffed grouse hunting." To learn more about managing habitat for ruffed grouse and other wildlife species, search keywords "young forest."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR