Want to participate in citizen science and enjoy the outdoors this summer? This self-guided Bioblitz at Oronoco Prairie State Natural Area is a perfect opportunity for you. For two weeks, July 15-29, head over to Oronoco Prairie SNA anytime that works for you and make some iNaturalist observations or help identify observations from home in an effort to enhance the species list and assist with data collection for monitoring management projects. This prairie will have many summer blooms, so this is a great opportunity to observe some pollinators! This self-guided Bioblitz allows individuals and household groups to get outside and contribute to citizen science while practicing safe social distancing. To participate, sign up on iNaturalist by joining the Oronoco Prairie SNA Self-guided Bioblitz 2020 project and check the project journal postings for event updates, guidelines and tips, before visiting the site. At the end of the next two weeks there will be prizes for the top observer and top species ID verifier for the Oronoco Prairie SNA Bioblitz project! Results will be shared with participants, and verified research grade plant observations will be added to the plant lists on the webpage. Cannot make it there? Stay tuned for future self-guided BioBlitzes throughout the state. Remember, you contribute by making observations on any SNA near you!
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Count bats in Wisconsin between July 17-19
Leave fallen bat pups alone on ground for mom to rescue Bat pups, particularly at big brown bat colonies, often fall from roosts this time of year. The pups can fall as they're climbing around or accidentally get knocked out when adults shift in the roost, particularly when it's hot. Sometimes the mother may abandon a pup if she has two and one is not doing well. Bat pups are very difficult to care for and usually do not survive in care of humans, so the best option is to leave them be and hope mom comes down to pick them up. Pups make an audible noise and the adults know when their pup is out of the roost.
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Harvesting hay on state lands helps manage grassland habitat
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture have joined forces to help connect the state’s cattle farmers in need of additional forage to DNR area wildlife managers needing to manage grassland habitat. Research over the last two decades shows that grassland wildlife and pollinators respond positively to well-managed haying and grazing. For many years, the DNR has used its conservation grazing and haying program to manage grasslands for the benefit of wildlife. This also produces forage from DNR managed lands, such as wildlife management areas, for cattle farmers. COVID-19-related disruptions at meat packing facilities have caused farmers to hold on to cattle longer than normal. As a result, some farmers have larger herds and are running out of feed. These changes put additional pressure on an already low statewide forage stockpile. Recognizing the opportunity to help address this need while also advancing management objectives on DNR grasslands, this summer DNR staff are working to publicize haying and grazing opportunities and streamline the process for farmers. “The DNR is eager to partner with Minnesota cattle farmers and demonstrate the value grasslands bring to local communities,” said Dave Olfelt, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. “We know we can help local farmers while using haying and grazing to help us manage grassland habitat for wildlife and pollinators.” Haying and grazing activity on Wild Management Areas is timed to avoid nesting and fall hunting seasons. Haying and grazing are done in such a way that substantial areas are left undisturbed and each WMA has good fall and winter cover. Typical hay leases are about 30 acres in size, a small portion of most WMAs. The two state agencies worked together to update and improve information about haying and grazing opportunities on DNR lands. Cattle farmers needing additional forage are encouraged to email their DNR area wildlife manager to discuss options in their area. Area wildlife managers’ contact information can be found on the Conservation Grazing Map on the MDA website. “Grazing and haying can be a valuable tool in grassland wildlife conservation,” Olfelt said. “This is a win-win for both conservation and agriculture.”
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
EIS not required for Willow River Dam Restoration Project
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has concluded that the Willow River Dam Restoration Project in Pine County does not require an environmental impact statement (EIS). The justification for the decision is detailed in a record of decision document. The DNR previously completed an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) on the project, and the results of that worksheet informed the DNR’s determination that an EIS is not required. The DNR proposes to replace the damaged Willow River Dam with a rock rapids dam. The existing dam, built in the 1940s, breached in July 2016 after a large flood overtopped the dam. In its damaged state the dam no longer holds lake levels at their former elevation. To restore lake levels, while also facilitating fish passage, the DNR is proposing to fill in the eroded channel and construct a series of rock arch weirs downstream of the existing dam. In addition to allowing fish passage, the rock arch rapids design will reduce safety issues associated with the previous dam structure. As provided under the Minnesota Environmental Protection Act, the DNR prepared the EAW to assess whether the project presented the potential for significant environmental effects. The analysis considered: * The type, extent and reversibility of environmental effects. * The potential for cumulative environmental effects. * Whether any environmental effects were subject to ongoing regulatory authority. * The extent to which environmental effects can be anticipated and controlled as a result of other available environmental studies. The DNR has determined that all potential environmental effects from the proposed project are minimal or can be managed through ongoing regulatory authority. Given this determination, the DNR is not ordering an EIS. Under Minnesota Environmental Quality Board rules, the DNR’s decision ends the state environmental review process and the project can now proceed to decisions on required permits and other approvals. The record of decision includes the responses to all substantive written comments received on the EAW during the 30-day public review and comment period. Additional information, including decision details about the proposed project and the DNR’s review process are available on the project page.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Invasive butterfly dock found in Oconto County
Paddlers and boaters remember the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Steps: * Inspect boats, trailers and equipment for attached aquatic plants or animals. * Remove all attached plants or animals. * Drain all water from boats, motors, livewells and other equipment. * Never move live fish away from a waterbody.
SOURCE: Wisconsin DNR
Minnesota artists can find stamp contest rules online
Artists can go onto the Minnesota DNR website to find rules and deadlines for contests that decide what artwork will be on 2021 fish and wildlife stamps featuring trout and salmon, waterfowl, pheasant, walleye and turkey. Sale of these stamps supports fish and wildlife habitat work. The stamps can be purchased in combination with a hunting or fishing license, or as collectibles. Artwork entry dates are as follows: * Trout and salmon stamp: Monday, July 20, to 4 p.m. Friday, July 31. * Walleye stamp: Monday, July 20, to 4 p.m. Friday, July 31. * Waterfowl stamp: Monday, Aug. 24, to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4. * Pheasant and turkey stamp: Monday, Sept. 21, to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. For more information and contest guidelines, visit mndnr.gov/stamps or call the DNR Information Center at 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.
SOURCE: Minnesota DNR
Rock Island State Park closes for season
MADISON, Wis. – Due to high water levels on Lake Michigan, accessibility limitations, and COVID-19 and social distancing concerns, Rock Island State Park will be closed for the remainder of the year. The Washington Island Ferry Line had suspended trips to and from Rock Island State Park earlier this year and have extended that suspension through the end of the 2020 season. High water has also submerged piers, limiting accessibility to the island. All camping reservations will be canceled and reservation holders will be provided a full refund. The Friends of Rock Island State Park have also canceled all tours of the lighthouse and boathouse. The public will not be permitted to dock on or use the island for personal use. Property staff and conservation wardens will be monitoring the park for the remainder of the season. Anyone who attempts to access the island may be subject to citations. The DNR urges state park and forest visitors to do their part when visiting DNR properties. Most Wisconsin state parks, forests and other day-use areas do not have garbage or recycling bins. When visiting, please take your garbage and recyclables home with you. We all play a vital role in taking care of our natural resources. Following Leave No Trace principles helps protect the land for generations to come. Fight the Bite! Ticks are out, and visitors should take precautions to prevent Lyme Disease. Visitors are reminded to practice social distancing of 6 feet, refrain from congregating in large groups, travel only within your home communities and follow all existing state park rules and guidelines. Visitors are also encouraged to wear face coverings in situations where social distancing is difficult. The DNR continues to receive the most up-to-date information and will adjust operations as conditions change. We will also continue to monitor on-the-ground circumstances each day to determine additional conditions that may become necessary. Before visiting DNR properties, please check with individual properties regarding changes to property operations. For specific information regarding COVID-19 we encourage the public to frequently monitor the DHS website for updates, and to follow @DHSWI on Facebook and Twitter, or dhs.wi on Instagram. Additional information can be found on the CDC website.