DNR asks motorists to ‘give turtles a brake’

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is reminding motorists that turtles are crossing roads to nest this time of year.
Motorists are asked to watch for them and, whenever possible, allow them to cross the road safely.
Each year at this time, many female turtles move from lakes, ponds, wetlands, rivers and streams to nesting areas. They are looking for suitable locations to deposit their eggs. Many nesting areas are a significant distance from turtles’ wintering areas. As they attempt to cross roads, moving at a turtle’s pace, many are hit and killed by cars. Roadway mortality is believed to be a major factor in turtle population declines throughout the United States.
“Wildlife rehabilitators have noticed an increase this year in turtles brought in with cracked shells after being struck by cars,” said DNR herpetologist Carol Hall. “Turtles pre-date dinosaurs by millions of years, and they’ve outlasted them. But, if we want them to be around into the future, we should lend a hand.”
Helping turtles safely cross roads can help preserve Minnesota’s turtles, Hall said. She provided a few pointers:
* Mostly importantly, don't put yourself or others in danger. Simply pulling off the road and turning on hazard lights may alert other drivers to slow down. Be aware of surroundings and traffic.
* Allow unassisted road crossings. When turtles can safely cross roads unaided due to a lack of oncoming traffic, allow them to do so. Observe from a distance and avoid rapid movements, as doing otherwise will often cause turtles to change direction, stop, or seek shelter within their shells.
* If necessary to pick them up, all turtles except snappers and softshells (also known as leatherbacks) should be grasped gently along the shell edge near the mid-point of the body. If it is a snapping turtle or softshell turtle, try to use a car mat and pull it across the road. Many turtles empty their bladder when lifted off the ground, so be careful not to drop them if they should suddenly expel liquid. Avoid excessive handling that can disrupt turtle behavior.
* Maintain direction of travel. Always move turtles in the same direction they were traveling when encountered. Turtles should always be moved across roadways in as direct a line as possible.
* Help document turtle crossing and mortality areas by participating in the Minnesota Turtle Crossing Tally and Count Project. More information can be found at mndnr.gov.
* Turtles injured while trying to cross the road may be taken to your nearest permitted wildlife rehabilitator.
More information about Minnesota’s nine turtle species is available on the DNR website.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


Rapid response efforts ramp up to control invasive species

MADISON - Wisconsin invasive species biologists are ramping up rapid response efforts to quickly control invasive plants when they are discovered and asking for the public's help in reporting new infestations of key prohibited species.
"We're ramping up rapid response because for the first time we have federal dollars to do so for terrestrial plants," says Kelly Kearns, invasive plant coordinator for DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation program.
"We have money for early detection and response for plants on our prohibited list, so we want to know about new locations and get control efforts underway."
People can report invasive plants and animals to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Invasive species affecting lakes, rivers and wetlands and forests have had funding available for rapid response for years. With DNR newly obtaining federal money to tackle terrestrial invasive species, the money has been spent this spring to hire a contractor to remove porcelain berry from several Madison and Middleton neighborhoods. A second round of control work will be underway in the fall.
Under the state's invasive species rule, NR 40, prohibited species are those that are not known to be in the state or only in small selected locations so containment is feasible. With some exceptions, it is illegal to sell, transfer and possess prohibited species.
There are dozens of species on the prohibited list. Kearns says the DNR is especially interested in finding infestations of wild chervil, amur cork tree, and lesser celandine, also known as fig buttercup.
Wild chervil, an herb with fernlike leaves that invades roadsides, open woods, fields and pastures, is now blooming and spreads easily along roadsides and can move into adjacent lands and completely dominate the area. Chippewa and Dunn Counties have large populations, but elsewhere in Wisconsin it is relatively new or not yet present.
"Wild chervil is just starting to bloom and it's only abundant in a few places and we really want to learn where it's popping up," Kearns says. "Report your sightings to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., providing a photo, location and contact information."
Amur cork trees have been present in Wisconsin for a while, first as a landscape planting, it has been spreading as birds eat and spread their seeds. This trees species outcompete other plants in forests.
"We're finding a lot more amur cork trees in areas where they had been planted. Partners are surveying areas to see how abundant it is and working with landowners to remove the trees," Kearns says.
Lesser celandine is a groundcover with kidney to heart-shaped leaves and showy, buttercup yellow flowers that invades forests, wetlands and shoreland areas, as well as upland areas and disturbed areas such as lawns. The invasive is poisonous to livestock and humans, and infestations of this plant eliminate spring wildflowers in woodlands.Meanwhile, additional rapid response efforts are being planned to control invasive porcelain berry in Madison and Middleton neighborhoods.
Porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) is an ornamental plant from east Asia that spreads aggressively, climbing trees and shrubs, eventually blanketing the forest. The vine has been found on hundreds of properties on the west side of Madison so far.
DNR staff have contacted homeowners in these neighborhoods asking them to look for, report the vine, and try to control it if possible or allow DNR-paid contractors on site to control it. The first round of porcelain berry control was completed in March, with about 8 acres treated over 150 properties in the Madison area. A second wave of treatment gets underway this early fall.
This is the largest known population of this aggressive plant in Wisconsin, and DNR invasive species officials are asking area homeowners to help report and contain the species before it spreads further and blankets yards, parks and forests.
"We are working with hundreds of landowners in the affected area, including homeowners, businesses, local governments, and the University of Wisconsin, to document and control this plant," says Jason Granberg, an invasive species specialist for DNR's Natural Heritage Conservation program.
"There may be additional areas where it is present, but not yet reported, so we're asking landowners to keep an eye out for any invasive vines. Any new reports will guide our control work and bring us closer to eradicating this invasive species," he added.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR announces appointments to deer advisory committee

Nineteen individuals will provide input on deer management issues, serving on a new committee the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources created to foster the exchange of information and ideas between the agency and the public.
The DNR established this deer advisory committee as part of the 2019-2028 Minnesota White-tailed Deer Management Plan to enhance two-way dialogue with interest groups on specific deer management topics.
“We selected members to represent the breadth of deer management interests in Minnesota,” said Barbara Keller, the DNR’s big game program supervisor. “We’re really excited to begin a productive dialogue with this advisory group and see what new ideas, perspectives and input they can lend to deer management.”
Members represent varied interests in deer hunting and conservation, farming, urban deer issues and forest management across the state. Committee members will serve three-year terms. The committee will meet quarterly, with the first meeting set to occur later this summer. Committee member names are available on the DNR’s deer advisory committee webpage at http://bit.ly/DeerAdvisoryCommittee.
The DNR strives to maintain a healthy wild deer population that offers recreational and economic opportunities, while addressing conflicts between deer, people and other natural resources. Habitat management, hunting, research and monitoring are some of the primary tools used to manage the Minnesota deer population.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR


DNR completes strategic analysis of aquatic plant management

MADISON - The Department of Natural Resources has completed a Strategic Analysis of Aquatic Plant Management (APM) in Wisconsin, summarizing current information on APM and potential management alternatives.
The Strategic Analysis report will help inform decision-makers and the public about this topic and aid in the development of future APM policy.
While aquatic plants are a critical part of the state's freshwater environment and serve many valuable functions, they can become overabundant and interfere with water recreation and other uses of lakes, rivers and ponds. The ability to effectively manage aquatic plants is complicated by the fact that some DNR rules governing APM have not been updated in over 30 years.
A draft report was released for public review and comment last December. The DNR has revised the report to reflect comments and suggestions received. The final Strategic Analysis report can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for APM strategic analysis, or "aquatic plant management."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

High water continues to cause flooding problems across Wisconsin

RHINELANDER - Over the past several years Wisconsin has received a record-breaking amount of precipitation resulting in high water and flooding issues in several areas across the state.
Many lakes and rivers have flooded this spring and many waterways are still well above normal for this time of year from Bayfield and Vilas counties in Northern Wisconsin to Rock County in the south and from the Fox Valley to the Mississippi River.
Bayfield County temporarily closed County Highway N because of high water on Pigeon Lake and is expected to remain closed for several weeks. Piers and shorelines are underwater on Joyce Lake in Vilas County because water levels are so high.
In the south, a private campground on Clear Lake in Rock County recently received a permit to raise an access road that has been flooded by rising waters since spring. Crystal and Fish lakes in Columbia and Dane counties are seepage lakes - lakes without inlets or outlets - that have had a history of flooding out shorelines and homes for years. Many of the lots at the campgrounds and resorts around the lake have been flooded for months.
"At this time of the year we would normally see water levels starting to recede, but the problem is made worse by the rising groundwater and river levels," said Keith Patrick, a DNR wetland and waterways team leader in Rhinelander. "The problems are generally most pronounced right now at many seepage lakes and are usually closely associated with groundwater. The reality is that on many seepage lakes, water levels will not recede until groundwater levels decline."
In some areas, water levels in long-term groundwater monitoring wells are higher than they have been since the 1930s. Rivers are also running very high in many areas.
Rock and Jefferson counties currently have slow-no-wake ordinances in place on the Rock River. Sauk County has one on the Wisconsin River and Waushara County has one on the Wolf River because of elevated river levels.
In addition, Mississippi River flooding in April and May hit many areas across Trempealeau and La Crosse counties, and in March, flooding events in Green Bay, Fond du Lac and Manitowoc closed several roadways.
"For private property issues, homeowners flood insurance may be best suited to assist the property owners during a difficult time," Patrick said.
Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) has a flooding hazard mitigation program that could assist some people in preventing future flood damage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also has a Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Program that can direct people to federal resources available to lessen the impact of flooding.
If residents have questions about flooding and seepage lakes, more information is available on the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, search keyword "flood" or "waterway," and select the link in the right side navigation panel for "Waterway team contacts."

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Create habitat, volunteer to help bees and other pollinators

MADISON - Wisconsin has 20 species of native bumble bees, and with many of these important pollinators in decline, creating habitat for them or helping monitor their populations are two of the most important steps concerned citizens can take for Pollinator Week this June 17-23.
"Our native pollinators are incredibly important to maintaining Wisconsin's native ecosystems, many fruit crops, and backyard gardens, but they need our help," says Jay Watson, the Department of Natural Resources' insect ecologist.
"Creating healthy habitat for pollinators and getting trained to help identify and locate bumble bees, Karner blue butterflies, and monarch eggs and caterpillars are great ways to help," he added.
Gov. Tony Evers has joined governors from 48 other states to declare July 17-23 as "Pollinator Week."
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 (Wisconsin has 400 species of them, including bumble bee species), butterflies, moths, flower flies, beetles, wasps, and hummingbirds. Populations of some pollinators in Wisconsin, including several bumble bees and butterflies, are in decline, with potential widespread implications.
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.
In Wisconsin, many of these flowering plants and the insects that pollinate them feed other wildlife and support healthy ecosystems that clean the air and stabilize soils, Watson says.
Pollinators are crucial for many Wisconsin agricultural crops, too. 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. Concern over declines in pollinators led that department to initiate development of the Wisconsin Pollinator Protection Plan in 2015.
Good habitat for pollinators will include a diversity of native plants, leaf litter or "un-manicured" green spaces, and minimal to no pesticide use, Watson says.
"Even if you only have a small yard or an apartment balcony, you can grow native flowers that provide food for pollinators," he says.
Lists of plants good for pollinators and other resources are found on DNR's Saving Pollinators web page, found on dnr.wi.gov, search "pollinators."
Volunteering with a citizen-based monitoring program to help pollinators is something that anyone can do, wherever they are in the state, says Eva Lewandowski, citizen-based monitoring coordinator at DNR.
"There are several pollinator projects in Wisconsin that people can join to help provide high quality data that can be used for conservation and management," Lewandowski says. Those programs include:
* Wisconsin Bumble Bee Brigade, a new DNR effort to train citizen scientists to help identify and photograph bumble bees including the rusty patched bumble bee. Wisconsin is one of the strongholds for this federally endangered species. Slots were still available as of June 13 for a training session on July 2, in St. Croix Falls. People may also submit photos and other information of their bee sightings. Access information on both through the Get Involved tab.
* Wisconsin Karner Volunteer Monitoring Program, in which trained volunteers monitor for lupine, the native plant Karner blue butterflies feed on, and adult Karners. One of the remaining training dates for 2019 is June 22, 10 a.m. to noon at Sandhill Wildlife Area. People can also photograph and submit information about Karner blue butterflies they see while outdoors. See the Get Involved tab for more.
* The Monarch Larva Monitoring Project needs volunteers statewide to search patches of milkweed for monarch eggs and caterpillars. Learn more about how to get started monitoring milkweed near you.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

La Crosse's Franciscan Sisters among 'Invader Crusaders'

MADISON - The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse were among those recognized as "Invader Crusaders" in Wisconsin for their significant contributions to prevent, control or eradicate invasive plants and animals.
The Invader Crusader awards were presented by the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council and the Department of Natural Resources during a June 5, ceremony in Madison at Olbrich Botanical Gardens as part of Invasive Species Action Month.
Invasive species are non-native plants and animals that can harm Wisconsin's ecosystems, economy and in some cases, public health. Emerald ash borer, quagga mussel, common buckthorn, giant knotweed, sudden oak death pathogen, gypsy moth, garlic mustard and purple loosestrife are all examples.
The action month aims to engage people in taking actions to prevent spreading invasive species in their work and recreational activities, and to recognize outstanding work done to address invasive species by volunteers and natural resource professionals.
During the award ceremony, DNR Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Kluesner thanked the individual and organizational recipients for their hard work and dedication, which benefit all who live, work and play in Wisconsin. "Today, we celebrate the results of your work - lakes and lands that are given a chance to recover after many hours of hard work and dedication to control and manage invasive species," she says.
Tom Buechel, chair of the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council, which is advisory to DNR, Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Legislature on invasive species issues, told award winners that they take fighting invasive species to the next level.
"You are transforming local hands-on management into teaching and organizing opportunities to broaden the impact of your efforts," he said.
Invader Crusader awards are given in several categories, recognizing individuals and groups, both professional and volunteer, and are selected by the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council. Nominations come from citizens and organizations. The honorees and a brief description of why they received the award are available on the Wisconsin Invasive Species Council website.
The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration created a management plan committed to vigorous control of invasive species on their 200-acre property. After eight years of work, nearly all mature invasives have been removed and they have treated 20 acres of invasive species on adjoining private properties to reduce the amount of invasive seed that washes into a trout stream watershed.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR