DNR’s Mitro named Fisheries Biologist of the Year

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce that Coldwater Fisheries Research Scientist, Dr. Matthew Mitro, was awarded Fisheries Biologist of the Year by the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA) at their annual meeting earlier this year.
This award is given to an individual who has shown “unparalleled initiative towards the better understanding of fishes and their conservation.”
There is no better way to describe Mitro (pictured) and his extensive 19 years of fisheries research with the DNR. His work focuses on inland trout species, and he has been essential to many trout projects, including:
* Long-term trout and stream habitat monitoring study.
* Research on gill lice infecting brook trout.
* Contributing to the trout and beaver management plans.
* Protocol development for age estimation in brown trout and brook trout.
* Modeling changes in stream temperature and trout distribution in response to climate change.
“I always had a personal interest in trout, as trout were one of the first fish I ever fished for as a kid,” said Mitro. “They are beautiful fish. They have a fascinating life history and are important indicators of wider environmental health.”
Mitro is currently focusing on a statewide project investigating the influence of beavers on trout populations and habitat in streams. He is also evaluating the survival and reproductive fitness of different strains of stocked brook trout in streams, and temporal trends in trout, stream temperature and flow.
Mitro is a member of the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) Fisheries Working Group and was instrumental in the first WICCI assessment, with trout at the forefront. He also served as co-chair for the group.  Mitro is heavily involved with Trout Unlimited and the Fishers and Farmers Fish Habitat Partnership. He also serves as an officer for the Wild Trout Symposium and participates in the annual Driftless Area Symposium.
More information on Mitro’s current trout projects can be found on the DNR Fisheries Research webpage at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/research/fisheriesresearch.html.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


ADA-accessible yurt open for reservations

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources announced the opening of an ADA-accessible yurt for hunters in the Flambeau River State Forest in Sawyer County.
The ADA-accessible Elk Ridge yurt was paid for through a Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act (PR Act) grant and is exclusively available to hunters until Nov. 30. It will re-open on May 1 for the spring turkey seasons and then, from June 1 through Aug. 31, the yurt is reservable for all recreation purposes.
“It will be so nice to allow people to enjoy such a unique opportunity while staying in the Flambeau River State Forest. The yurt will provide an experience to enjoy nature, hunting, fishing, relaxing and most of all to create lasting memories,” said Maggie Lorenz, Flambeau River State Forest Property Manager.
The yurt offers nearby access to hunter walking trails and a carry-in canoe/kayak launch on the Flambeau River. The yurt can also be accessed directly from the Flambeau River, as it is just upstream from Dix-Dox Landing. Amenities include:
* Bunkbeds
* One ADA-accessible bunk
* Wood-burning stove
* Bear-proof food storage box
* Enclosed vault toilet
* Fire pit
* Outdoor game pole for processing
In addition to the Elk Ridge yurt construction, the PR Act grant also helped DNR staff complete more than 140 different access improvement projects at 75 state properties, including:
* Upgrading over 100 parking areas
* Improving 57 miles of roads
* Upgrading 200 miles of hunter-access trails
* Building new hunting blinds
* Upgrading dams for impoundments that support waterfowl
* Creating habitat for game birds through 3,000 acres of rotational grazing projects
The PR Act grant is funded through firearm and ammunition purchases. The funds translate into approximately 540,000 acres of improved hunter access across Wisconsin.
More information on the PR Act and the Wisconsin Habitat Partnership Fund can be found on the DNR’s website at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/aid/WHPF.html. Additionally, Elk Ridge yurt reservations can be made on the DNR’s reservation webpage at https://wisconsin.goingtocamp.com/?utm_source=QRcode&utm_medium=General%20Use&utm_campaign=Camping%20Reservations.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR

DNR eyes comment for statewide incidental take notice

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) proposes to issue a Broad Incidental Take Permit/Authorization (BITP/A) for the incidental taking of state endangered and threatened species that may occur as a result of surveys, removals and propagation that are required for regulatory purposes.
In this situation, incidental taking refers to the pursuit and catching of animals for the purposes of surveys and removals, as well as the removal and propagation of plants at a construction site.
The DNR recognizes that surveys, removals and propagation are often required for regulatory projects to minimize impacts to endangered and threatened species. Because these activities occur regularly with identical conservation measures, the DNR proposes issuing this Broad Incidental Take Permit/Authorization for Regulatory Removals. An Incidental Take Permit/Authorization is typically issued on a project-by-project basis. However, a Broad Incidental Take Permit/Authorization is used for projects that occur routinely on the landscape and have identical conservation measures.
The DNR concludes that the proposed work will minimize impacts to the species by adhering to conservation measures, is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence or appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and/or recovery of the state population of the species or the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part and the habitat that is critical to their existence, and has benefit to the public health, safety or welfare that justifies the action.
Conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the endangered and threatened species will be incorporated into the proposed Regulatory Removals Broad Incidental Take Permit/Authorization. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on the species are available by visiting the DNR Incidental Take Public Notices webpage at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/erreview/itnotices.html or upon request from DNR Conservation Biologist Rori Paloski at 608-516-3742 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
The public is encouraged to submit written comments regarding this proposed Broad Incidental Take Permit/Authorization by Dec. 16, 2022 to:
Department of Natural Resources
c/o Rori Paloski, DNR Conservation Biologist
101 S. Webster St. Madison, WI 53707
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-516-3742.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Enter Minnesota state parks, recreation areas for free

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will waive entrance fees to all 75 state parks and recreation areas Friday, Nov. 25 - the day after Thanksgiving.
This “Free Park Day” is one of four days each year on which the DNR waives the vehicle permit requirement to enter state parks and recreation areas. The goal of Free Park Days is to encourage Minnesotans to get outdoors and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of spending time in nature.
“Minnesota state parks and recreation areas are open year-round and provide places of peace and beauty to recharge during the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season,” DNR Parks and Trails Division Director Ann Pierce said. “It’s a fantastic time to get out into nature with friends and family following Thanksgiving celebrations.”
According to the American Psychological Association, spending time in nature is linked to improved attention, lower stress, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even increased empathy and cooperation.
There’s a state park or recreation area within 30 miles of most Minnesotans. Free Park Days provide an opportunity to visit a state park or recreation area for the first time or return to an old favorite to discover something new.
Most state park offices and visitor centers will be lightly staffed on Nov. 25. Before and during their visit, visitors are encouraged to:
* Check visitor alerts and find directions on state park pages via the DNR website at mndnr.gov.
* Download GeoPDF maps at mndnr.gov/mobile/geopdf before the trip. These maps will display a user’s current location, like other map applications, but the user does not have to be connected to the internet or have cell service to use them.
* Visit the self-orientation signs near the park entrance for suggestions on what to see and do while visiting.
* Help protect these special places for the future by staying on trails and leaving no trace.
For more information, visit the free entrance days to all Minnesota state parks page of the DNR website at mndnr.gov/freeparkdays or contact the DNR Information Center by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 888-646-6367 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR proposes Incidental Take Notice for Juneau County

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources proposes to issue a permit for the "incidental taking" of a rare snake, which may result from the Orion Lodge Timber Harvest.
Incidental take refers to the unintentional loss of individual endangered or threatened animals or plants that does not put the species' overall population at risk.
The landowner proposes to conduct a timber harvest on 58 acres, a required mandatory practice under NR 46, Wis. Admin. Code.
The presence of the state endangered eastern massasauga rattlesnake (pictured) is confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some snakes.
The presence of the state endangered and federally threatened eastern massasauga is confirmed in the vicinity of the project site. DNR staff determined that the proposed project may result in the incidental taking of some snakes. This permit would cover any incidental take for the state listing and would not cover any incidental take for the federal listing.
The DNR concludes that the proposed project is not likely to appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival or recovery of the species within the state, the whole plant-animal community of which they are a part of, or the habitat that is critical to their existence.
Conservation measures to minimize the adverse effect on the threatened and endangered species will be incorporated into the proposed Incidental Take Permit. Copies of the jeopardy assessment and background information on these species are available by visiting the DNR Incidental Take Public Notices webpage at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/erreview/itnotices.html or upon request from DNR Conservation Biologist Rori Paloski at 608-516-3742 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  
The public is encouraged to submit written comments regarding project-related impacts to the eastern massasauga rattlesnake by Nov. 29, 2022 to:
Department of Natural Resources
c/o Rori Paloski, DNR Conservation Biologist
101 S. Webster St. Madison, WI 53707
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-516-3742.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR


Season 10 of EagleCam NestFlix begins

Attention all EagleCam fans. Thursday is a big day!
The Minnesota DNR EagleCam goes live to begin its 10th anniversary season, and it’s Give to the Max Day.
The female in the EagleCam nest has accepted a new mate into her territory. This is only the second female to inhabit the nest and she took possession in the spring of 2019. She replaced the pioneering female who had been the resident female for at least 10 years.  
The DNR takes the opportunity each year on Give to the Max Day to highlight the Minnesota Nongame Wildlife Program and turn the EagleCam back on. Government agencies are unable to participate in the official Give to the Max campaign. But that doesn’t mean donations aren’t needed! Much of the Nongame Wildlife Program’s work is funded by donations received online and on state tax forms. Donations are double-matched by the Reinvest in Minnesota fund, so every $10 you donate becomes $30 for Minnesota’s wildlife and natural areas. Donations are used to conduct wildlife research and management, run the EagleCam and so much more. For more information, please visit mndnr.gov/donate.
The DNR appreciates your continued support of the Nongame Wildlife Program. The program relies on your contributions and this important work couldn’t be done without your support. Thank you!

SOURCE: Minnesota DNR

DNR asks public to report black bear den locations

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources encourages the public to report any black bear den locations they find across Wisconsin in order to help with an ongoing study on black bear reproduction.
The Black Bear Litter and Diet Survey will begin its second year of data collection this upcoming winter. The study will generate new estimates of black bear reproductive rates within each bear management zone, and these estimates will improve the accuracy of the population models used in each zone. Additionally, researchers are investigating a connection between consumption of human food sources and bear reproduction since diet can affect cub survival rates and litter sizes.
“Public reporting is essential to this project. You don’t find bear dens every day, so it is important that people report them to us when they find them,” said Dr. Jennifer Price Tack, DNR Large Carnivore and Elk Research Scientist. “Reporting dens helps us meet the sample size requirements for our study and increases the accuracy of the black bear population model.”
Price Tack describes the importance of this project and public reporting in this short video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7su1tUCu10.
The public is encouraged to report as much information about known black bear dens as possible without approaching or disturbing the dens. Den locations from prior years can be useful since black bears will occasionally re-use dens.  

A SAFE, SUCCESSFUL FIRST SEASON
Surveying efforts began earlier this year, and the bear research team was busy surveying dens all season. They worked with landowners to visit the den before deciding to survey, determining if the den is safe, accessible and in use. They surveyed as far south as Jackson County and as far north as Iron County.
Staff successfully GPS-collared 13 female black bears (called sows). Collars help staff learn more about bear foraging behavior and locate the sows in the following years. Revisiting the sows will help staff determine the reproductive success of each sow, such as her litter frequency, litter size and the survival rates of the cubs. Data on sow weight, body measurements and age were also collected.
While surveying, bear health and safety are a top priority. Designated staff monitor the sow’s breathing and heart rate while the rest of the team quickly gather the needed samples and measurements. Any cubs present at the den are carefully weighed and sexed. Cubs are tucked into staff’s coats to keep them warm because the cubs cannot yet regulate their own body temperature. Once researchers are finished, the sow and cubs are tucked back into their den.
“We completed all surveys without any safety issues. That’s huge. We put a lot of work into minimizing the risks to people and bears, and we will continue to make that a priority in coming years,” said Price Tack.

LOOKING AHEAD
The Black Bear Litter and Diet Survey team will continue to survey dens for the next seven to eight years. Over that time, the team hopes to get 100 collars out across each of the bear management zones, with approximately 20 collars per zone. So far, the team is on track for the needed sample size, but they’ll need new reports each year to meet their benchmark.
The public can report known black bear dens to the DNR at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7DSMFZS.

SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR