Lakeville artist wins walleye stamp contest

Lakeville artist Stephen Hamrick won the Minnesota Walleye Stamp contest.
Judges selected his painting from among 11 entries for the annual contest that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources sponsors.
The 2019 walleye stamp features Hamrick’s painting of a walleye swimming at night under a full moon near an angler’s leech-baited hook and slip bobber. Hamrick has won a DNR stamp contest 11 times. He also has won the waterfowl, pheasant, wild turkey, trout and salmon, and walleye stamp contests.
The voluntary walleye stamp validation costs $5, but the DNR does not require anglers to buy it to fish for or keep walleye. For an extra 75 cents, the DNR will mail the pictorial stamp to purchasers. The DNR also sells a pictorial collectible stamp without the validation for $5.75, and sells walleye stamps year-round. Customers can purchase walleye stamps at any time, even if they already have a fishing license.
Judges also selected Stuart Nelson of Cloquet and Josh Evan of Mapleton as finalists in the Oct. 25, contest at the DNR headquarters in St. Paul. The DNR offers no prizes for the stamp contest winner, but the winning artist retains the right to reproduce the work.
The DNR uses revenue from stamp sales to purchase walleye for stocking in Minnesota’s lakes. All license vendors still have the 2018 walleye stamp available for purchase. The DNR website at has more information about stamps.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge honors volunteers

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge Winona offices recently honored volunteers and their guests at a volunteer recognition event.  
During 2018, more than 100 volunteers contributed more than 1,200 hours of service representing nearly $28,000.
Volunteer activities included assisting with the refuge booth at community functions, biological surveys, youth fishing days, river cleanups, invasive species monitoring and control, and youth educational activities.
The 2018 Volunteer of the Year award was shared by Roger Harms and Jay McLaren both of Rochester, MN. The two men were recognized for their efforts in mapping and establishing the Chippewa River Canoe Trail, a nearly seven-mile paddling trail located near Nelson, WI. The two men also annually assist refuge ranger Ed Lagace with maintenance of four water trails on the refuge which have obtained National Recreation Trail status.  
The volunteer program is an excellent way to gain experience, help wildlife, meet interesting people and is open to all ages and abilities. If you would like to enjoy a productive and rewarding experience as a refuge volunteer, call 507-494-6236.
SOURCE: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Here's a 'bittersweet' message about colorful autumn arrangements

MADISON - Homeowners and decorators creating their autumn displays should avoid two invasive plants that have been used historically in Thanksgiving and other floral arrangements but are increasingly recognized as harmful to forests, wetlands, prairies, and other wild areas.
Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose offer attractive red accents but their use in holiday decorations and their disposal in compost piles increases the risk that these invasive plants will spread to new sites, says Matt Wallrath, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources outreach coordinator working with the plant nursery, aquarium, pet, and bait industries to prevent the sale and distribution of invasive species.
"Our wild lands and conservation areas are threatened by these non-native plant species, which can out-compete native plants and displace native wildlife," Wallrath says. "Vendors and consumers should seek native plant alternatives instead and avoid these invasive plants, which are illegal to sell or distribute in Wisconsin."
Oriental bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus) is a vine that spreads in forest understories and is known to kill mature trees by strangling their trunks. Multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) is a shrub that can form impenetrable bramble thickets that impede hunters and other recreationists, while shading out native plant species.
The colorful fruits of these species are often eaten by birds and dispersed to areas far from their origin. Once established, these species are difficult to control. Even when these plants are cut down close to the soil, they re-sprout from roots remaining below ground.
Kelly Kearns, an invasive plant specialist for the DNR Natural Heritage Conservation Program, suggests that vendors, decorators and others looking for bright accents should consider using Wisconsin native species including American bittersweet (Celastrus scandens), winterberry (Ilex verticillata) and native roses like smooth rose (Rosa blanda).
"Native alternatives can add vivid color without posing a threat to our Wisconsin plants and animals," Kearns says.
To control the spread of invasive species, Wisconsin regulates the importation and sale of more than 140 plants, as well as some animals that have been identified as invasive in Wisconsin.
Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose are on the list of restricted species on the Wisconsin invasive species rule (Wis. Adm. Code ch. NR 40), making it illegal to transport, introduce, gift, buy, sell, or trade these plants unless you are trying to control or safely dispose of them.
Search the DNR website,, for "invasive species rule" to find an interactive list of invasive species, with factsheets, photos, identification tips and more.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

$5.7 million available for wetland restoration projects

MADISON - Conservation groups, private landowners and government organizations are encouraged to apply for a share of $5.7 million from the Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust available to complete wetland mitigation projects.
Proposals for the current round of funding are due Dec. 14, and can be used to cover all aspects of restoration including land purchases, site construction and long-term maintenance and monitoring.
"We look forward to working with new partners to restore wetland functions and ecosystem services that will benefit local watersheds and communities alike," said Tom Pearce, WWCT project manager for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
More than $2 million of this funding comes from Foxconn as its required payment into the WWCT for mitigating wetlands at a 2:1 acre ratio. This portion of the funding will be targeted to mitigation projects in southeast Wisconsin, specifically the Upper Illinois service area and the Southwestern Lake Michigan service area.
Created in 2014, the WWCT allows for the purchase of wetland mitigation credits as specified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Wisconsin DNR wetland permits. The funds generated from credit sales then help offset the cost of wetland restoration projects. Funds are awarded to applicants through a competitive request for proposal, or RFP process. The DNR administers the funding program.
The WWCT will issue quarterly RFPs beginning Jan. 1, 2019 as funds become available. This abbreviated fall RFP is meant to inform potential applicants of current funding opportunities as soon as possible as the WWCT transitions to the new quarterly schedule.
The Trust is currently funding wetland restoration projects on more than 450 acres statewide with work on these projects continuing this year.
Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Josh Brown at 608-266-1902 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., to discuss possible projects. Additional information can be found by visiting the DNR website,, and searching "WWCT."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

Temporary off-highway vehicle trail closures begin in November

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will restrict recreational use of off-highway vehicles (OHVs) in some areas during the upcoming firearms deer hunting season.
Vehicles affected by the restrictions include all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) and registered off-road vehicles (ORVs) such as four-wheel drive trucks that are not being used in conjunction with deer hunting by a licensed deer hunter.
The restrictions, which apply to state forest trails and access routes, but not to state forest roads, aim to protect recreational riders from potentially unsafe riding conditions, and minimize conflicts between deer hunters and recreational riders who may inadvertently disturb them.
Licensed deer hunters may still use these routes in conjunction with their hunting activity:
* Before legal shooting time.
* From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
* After legal shooting hours.
Effective dates of the recreational riding restrictions will be:
* Nov. 3 – 18 for the northeastern Minnesota 100 Series deer season.
* Nov. 3 – 11 for the Minnesota 200 Series deer season.
Because recreational OHV trails located in southeastern Minnesota close Nov. 1 each year, no additional OHV riding restrictions are necessary in that part of the state.
While many have voluntarily opted not to ride forest trails during deer hunting and small-game seasons, recreational state forest use has become a year-round activity for many. DNR officials remind everyone who visits Minnesota’s state forests this fall to put safety first.
For more information, see the 2018 deer season map or contact the DNR Information Center at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 (8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday).

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

Pond owners should dispose ornamental aquatic plants properly

MADISON - With winter fast approaching, many pond owners are clearing out ornamental aquatic plants and animals before their ponds freeze over.
However, some plants, like water hyacinth, water lettuce and parrot feather, that can make a pond beautiful and healthy in the summer are non-native and highly invasive species and should not be thrown away into lakes, rivers or wetlands.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources urges pond owners to properly dispose of these aquatic invaders.
"Water gardeners love these plants because they are easy to care for and grow, but they may not be aware that they are also prohibited species in Wisconsin and can potentially block waterways and choke out native habitats," says Alex Selle, an aquatic invasive species coordinator for the DNR West-Central Region.
If released into natural waterways, these plants can reproduce very quickly and potentially produce thousands of seeds that can be spread by wind or water. Left uncontrolled, the plants can form dense colonies that cover entire ponds and lakes making boating, fishing and other water activities difficult. These dense colonies can also degrade water quality by reducing oxygen levels during dieback important for fish and blocking sunlight that keeps native aquatic plants alive.
"The best way to dispose of your aquatic pond plants is to drain as much water from them as possible, bag them and dispose in your garbage pick-up," Selle says. The bag will keep any plant fragments, like leaves, roots and seeds, from dispersing when the plants dry out.
There are ways you can help prevent the spread of aquatic plants commonly used in aquaculture:
* Build your aquatic gardens away from natural waterways and flood zones.
* Learn to recognize invasive species.
* Purchase and plant non-invasive and native plants.
* Check plant orders for unwanted invasive hitchhikers.
* Do not use invasive plants, fish, crayfish or snails in your garden.
* Do not release any plants, fish or invertebrates into natural waters.
Consult the list of regulated aquatic invasive species found on the DNR website.
DNR staff request that anyone who sees any of these invasive species while enjoying the natural areas of Wisconsin, report the location using the agency's online reporting form. For more information search the DNR website,, for aquatic invasive species.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

19th annual Enchanted Forest event this Saturday

Join WisCorps at Myrick Park in La Crosse for a fall festival and trick-or-treat event, Enchanted Forest, presented by Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare.
On Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., there will be lots of family friendly fun happening in the park for children of all ages and all abilities! Families follow the Enchanted path where they meet their favorite fairy tale characters while gathering treats along the way.  
At the end of the Enchanted Forest trail, children discover fun fall games, magic, snacks, Mad Science, not-so-creepy critters, and more.
The La Crosse community has cherished this event as the premier non-spooky Halloween event in the area. Not only is this non-spooky event appropriate for all ages, WisCorps also strives to make Enchanted Forest accessible for people of all abilities. In addition to the Enchanted trail being wheelchair and stroller friendly, all-terrain power wheelchairs called Action Trackchairs will be available to reserve at no cost. Contact WisCorps to reserve in advance.
New in 2018, Enchanted Forest will be participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project. This project, led by the Food Allergy Research & Education foundation, allows children with food allergies or children unable to have candy for various reasons, to be included in trick-or-treating festivities. This year, 9 of the 17 trick-or-treat stations will be giving out non-food treats. This will be signified by a teal pumpkin at the station and the Enchanted Forest map. Please note there will still be candy and food at this event.
WisCorps is a non-profit organization headquartered at the Myrick Park Center. Their mission is “to develop leadership, self-confidence, and a strong work ethic in youth and young adults through the active stewardship of Wisconsin’s communities and natural resources.”
WisCorps values environmental sustainability and will offer event goers the opportunity to purchase reusable treat bags for $5, in order to reduce waste caused by single-use materials.
Enchanted Forest acts as a fundraiser for WisCorps, and has brought over 3,000 people to the park in recent years. The event is valuable to the community, promoting an active lifestyle, healthier alternatives and inclusivity.
To purchase your tickets, visit stop into the Myrick Park Center at 789 Myrick Park Dr. La Crosse, WI 54601 during business hours, Monday-Friday 8 am to 4 pm. You can also contact Tammy Schmitz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (608) 782-2494 with any questions regarding the event. “Like” Enchanted Forest 2018on Facebook for updates and information!
SOURCE: WisCorps