Marshfield Clinic Research Institute Lyme Disease Scientists Looking for Research Participants

Marshfield Clinic Research Institute (MCRI) is looking for patients suspected to be in the early stages of Lyme disease to aid in the research of the disease. The research is in participation with the Lyme Disease Biobank, a program that collects blood and urine samples of people with early Lyme disease in multiple regions across the country, including the East Coast, Wisconsin, and California. One of the ultimate goals is to help researchers develop a better diagnostic test for confirming the presence of Lyme disease and in turn improve patient care. Participants will be compensated for participating. See more information in this press release.

Proposed Master Plan Changes Would Improve Access, Including ATV/UTV Opportunities, at Three Northwoods Properties

Public Meeting Dates Listed Below 

MADISON – The public will have an opportunity to comment on draft changes to management plans for three properties in the Northwoods Region of Wisconsin at upcoming public meetings and through a comment period. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is proposing modifications to the property master plans in response to public requests.

The changes at two properties, the Upper Wolf River Fishery Area and the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area, would enable the department to provide all-terrain vehicle and utility terrain vehicle access on designated trails across short stretches of these properties. These short connections on department property, both less than a half mile in length, would create linkages in larger regional trail networks. The department is also proposing to update the land management classifications and maps for these properties and to expand the protection along the Wolf River corridor.

The proposed changes for these two properties will be addressed through master plan amendments. The department anticipates presenting the proposed amendments to the Natural Resources Board at their meeting in Hayward on September 26.

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DHS Encourages Residents to Take Action to Prevent Tick and Mosquito Bites

While many Wisconsin residents are more than ready to take advantage of the warmer weather and enjoy all the resources the state has to offer, the Department of Health Services (DHS) strongly encourages everyone to take care to avoid tick and mosquito bites.

Both ticks and mosquitoes can transmit various illnesses. Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks, and West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, account for most of the disease spread by ticks and mosquitoes in Wisconsin.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows Wisconsin among the top 20% of states reporting cases of tick-borne disease in the country. Wisconsin reported 4,299 cases of Lyme disease in 2017, the highest number reported in our state to date.

In addition, there were 51 human cases of West Nile virus reported in 2017, the highest number in Wisconsin since 2012. Certain dead birds can be an indication of West Nile virus in an area. DHS encourages anyone who finds a sick or dead bird to call the dead bird reporting hotline at 800-433-1610.

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The Tick App

Researchers from Columbia University and the University of Wisconsin – Madison along with members of the CDC Regional Centers for Excellence in Vector-Borne diseases are conducting a tick exposure behavioral study. As part of the study they have recently released the Tick App. The website also contains information on tick ID and tick safety. 

From the Tick App website:

What is the study about?

In two words, Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be transmitted to humans after a tick bite. This study is designed to help researchers understand more about how  people’s practices and activities impact their exposure to ticks. This research is being done because Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease (infections transmitted by the bite of infected arthropod species, such as mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies, etc) in the United States. The information provided will help researchers design integrated control strategies to prevent diseases transmitted by ticks.

Why is my participation important and how is the app useful to me?

If you live in a high-risk area, sharing your experience and perspective with researchers will help them learn about the risk factors for tick borne disease and design better methods that prevent tick bites and tick-borne disease. 

Also included is information that will help you identify the different tick species, ways to prevent tick exposure and other information that will help you understand more about ticks and the diseases they transmit.

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Pending FSC Re-Certification Evaluation of the State of Wisconsin DNR, Managed Forest Law Tree Farm Group

Summary:  As part of an FSC assessment, SCS is currently seeking stakeholder input regarding the forest management of the State of Wisconsin DNR, Managed Forest Law Tree Farm Group.  Please comment via email, or call our offices or representatives to discuss (contact info below).

The State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR) is seeking renewal of their Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) endorsed certification for the Managed Forest Law Tree Farm Group (MFL Group).  The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging the responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC sets standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way. 

The Department of Natural Resources manages a group certification program for non-industrial forestland enrolled in the Managed Forest Law Group to encourage responsible management of private forest land. The Wisconsin legislature enacted the MFL program in 1985. Ownerships are nearly entirely “family forests”, defined broadly as nonindustrial private forest land not part of large forest industry, certain tribal, Real-Estate Investment Trust (REIT) or Timber Investment Management Organization (TIMO) ownerships, and are located throughout the state of Wisconsin. NSF-ISR awarded Tree Farm Group Certificate -1Y942-FC1 in August 8, 2011 after a full Tree Farm Group audit.  After a full audit in March 2008 the MFL Group also achieved Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, registration #SW-FM/COC-003626

Scope and Re-Certification Evaluation Process

SCS Global Services (SCS), a FSC-accredited certification body based in Emeryville, California, will conduct this FSC evaluation.  

Performance will be evaluated against the FSC US Forest Management Standard, Version 1.0. A copy of the standard is available from or SCS upon request.

The Re-Evaluation Process Includes the Following Phases:

  1. Public Notification: distribution of the standard and solicitation of comments on the certification applicant; Audit planning and document review
  2. Field assessment: A representative sample of field sites and operations within the defined forest area are inspected by a team of auditors
  3. Stakeholder consultation
  4. Synthesis of findings: Compliance with the standard is ascertained and the certification decision is formulated
  5. Reporting:   A draft report describing the evaluation process, findings, and certification decision is produced
  6. Delivery of final certification report
  7. Certification Decision: a public summary of the certification report is released, if certification is awarded

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USDA Resumes Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment

One-Year Extension Available to Holders of Many Expiring Contracts through Continuous Signup

WASHINGTON, June 1, 2018 – As part of a 33-year effort to protect sensitive lands and improve water quality and wildlife habitat on private lands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will resume accepting applications for the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Eligible farmers, ranchers, and private landowners can sign up at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office between June 4 and Aug. 17, 2018.

“The Conservation Reserve Program is an important component of the suite of voluntary conservation programs USDA makes available to agricultural producers, benefiting both the land and wildlife. On the road, I often hear firsthand how popular CRP is for our recreational sector; hunters, fishermen, conservationists and bird watchers,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “CRP also is a powerful tool to encourage agricultural producers to set aside unproductive, marginal lands that should not be farmed to reduce soil erosion, improve water quality, provide habitat for wildlife and boost soil health.”

FSA stopped accepting applications last fall for the CRP continuous signup (excluding applications for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and CRP grasslands). This pause allowed USDA to review available acres and avoid exceeding the 24 million-acre CRP cap set by the 2014 Farm Bill. New limited practice availability and short sign up period helps ensure that landowners with the most sensitive acreage will enroll in the program and avoid unintended competition with new and beginning farmers seeking leases. CRP enrollment currently is about 22.7 million acres.

2018 Signup for CRP

For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. To view a full list of practices, please visit the CRP Continuous Enrollment Period page.

FSA will use updated soil rental rates to make annual rental payments, reflecting current values. It will not offer incentive payments as part of the new signup.

USDA will not open a general signup this year, however, a one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants with expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less. Producers eligible for an extension will receive a letter with more information.

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2018 NRCS Conservation Local Work Group Meeting Schedule Announced

Madison, Wis. – May 21, 2018 − The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Wisconsin has announced the schedule for 2018 Local Working Group (LWG) meetings. Eighteen meetings will be held across Wisconsin in August to gather input and help set priorities for U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs under the Farm Bill.

“Local Working Groups offer a seat at the table for interested individuals and groups to advise NRCS on how best to set priorities and locally implement conservation programs,” said Angela Biggs, Wisconsin State Conservationist. “Members are diverse, with an interest and focus on local agriculture and various natural resource issues,” added Biggs. Farmers representing a variety of crops and livestock raised within the local area, private woodland owners, representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations, and representatives of other agriculture and natural resource agencies are welcome and should be represented.

Wisconsin LWGs represent two or more counties grouped together by geography, similar land use, resources, and type of agriculture. See a map of Local Working Groups. This will allow greater flexibility and access to funding for the groups.

One of the main programs discussed at the meetings will be the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), a federal conservation program that helps agricultural producers in a manner that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible goals. EQIP offers technical and financial assistance to help landowners with needed conservation practices for water quality, soil health, wildlife and other natural resources. The program was re-authorized through 2018 in the federal Farm Bill, which was passed in February 2014.

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Recalled Electric Chainsaws Can Accidentally Re-start

Hardware retailer Harbor Freight is recalling one million chainsaws after reports that the machines can re-start even when they’re in the “off” position.

The company announced that it was recalling chainsaws manufactured in China and sold in its stores in the U.S. The Consumer Products Safety Commission says Harbor Freight received 15 complaints where a chainsaw user’s switch malfunctioned and their 14-inch chainsaws restarted unexpectedly.

There are two models of the electric chainsaw being recalled and they are labeled with three different brand names — “The Portland,” “One Stop Gardens” and “Chicago Electric.” It’s important to check if you think you might have one of these saws in your tool shed, because Harbor Freight actually began selling these as far back as 2009.

If you have one, you are being urged to bring it back to the store for a replacement.

Details about the recall can be found here

Mink Frogs Surveys Coming Soon to Northern Wisconsin Wetlands

Mink frogs are a “Species of Special Concern” in Wisconsin, meaning their populations are low or declining. DNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation staff are actively tracking them, but we need your help to close information gaps.

Mink frogs often call during the day, outside the window when our Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey volunteers listen for frog calls. So we’re launching special surveys this summer for mink frogs from June 6 – July 15. The surveys will include two daytime surveys and two evening surveys. For information on  routes and how to be part of the survey can be found here.

Contact project coordinator Rori Paloski for more information.


Rori Paloski |

Gypsy Moth Aerial Spraying Update (DNR)

Below is information about the Wisconsin DNR’s upcoming aerial suppression spray for gypsy moths in Dane County at sites in the cities of Madison and Sun Prairie.

WHAT: Aerial spraying for gypsy moth by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Gypsy Moth Suppression Program.

WHENSpraying is imminent in Dane County (Wednesday, April 23, 2018)

WHERE: Seven sites in Dane County, in the cities of Madison and Sun Prairie. Maps of spray sites can be viewed online at

WHY: The spraying is necessary to suppress populations of gypsy moth, a destructive and invasive pest that feeds on the leaves of oaks, maples, crabapple, birch and many other species of trees and shrubs.

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