Blue-Green Algae Bloom Season is Here

Webinar about the health risks to be held July 16

MADISON — Heavy rains and high temperature are fueling the growth of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, in water bodies around the state, so the Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources and Health Services are teaming up to present an informational webinar about the health risks of blue-green algae. Some blue-green algae can cause illnesses for people and animals who accidentally ingest or inhale it, or have prolonged skin contact with the algae.

The webinar will take place July 16 at noon. Participants can log on to learn more about blue-green algae and its health effects, how to differentiate blue-green algae from other algae, and ways to stay safe this summer when spending time on the water. People may participate through the DNR media website. [Read more…]

Floods in Northwestern Wisconsin will Result in Some Long-Term Closures at State Properties

Many properties across the north unaffected and remain open

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Heavy rains across northwestern Wisconsin in mid-June will result in some long-term closures of roads and other state facilities. Water has begun receding and state park and transportation officials have a better picture of repairs that will be needed at a number of properties. According to the National Weather Service the area has received 7 to 12 inches of rain from June 15-18. [Read more…]

Private Well Owners Encouraged to Check Wells After Recent Flooding in Northern Wisconsin

MADISON – Recent heavy rains in many northern Wisconsin counties have affected private property owners and state properties.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is offering the guidance below as many property owners will begin assessing damage, checking wells and septic systems and removing storm related debris. In particular, heavy rains can create conditions that affect private wells and drinking water. [Read more…]

WISCONSIN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT RELEASE: Northwestern Wisconsin Flooding

Absentee landowners may want to make time to head to their properties and check for any potential damage caused by these storms.

[clear-line]

Incident Report #3 – 06/19/18 4:00 pm

Recovery and assessment efforts are underway in northwestern Wisconsin, after historic flooding caused widespread damage to roads and properties across the region in recent days.

Governor Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency for Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, and Iron Counties. The governor has directed all state agencies to assist with the response to the flooding. He has also called members of the Wisconsin National Guard to active duty as Major General Don Dunbar, the state’s adjutant general, deems necessary. The governor viewed flood damage in the region on Monday evening and met with local officials who are leading the response.

Property owners in the northwest region who experienced flood damage should contact 2-1-1 to file a report. Information gathered will be passed on to county officials, as they work to assess damage done in their areas. [Read more…]

Aaron Burmeister

Aaron Burmeister has been a life member with WWOA since 1994, and most enjoys WWOA’s field days.

Aaron Burmeister’s passion for sustainable forestry and logging goes back to his high school days when he cut and sold firewood to his teachers. In the 1980s he bought his own land- 5.5 acres of hayfield- that he planted with red and white pine and walnut, with the intention of growing the pines to train the walnut.

Aaron became involved with WWOA because of conversations and involvement in forest with a past member, the late Jim Ring. He was invited by Jim to attend the Annual Meeting in Green Bay that year. Enjoying the organization so much, he decided to purchase a life membership with WWOA in 1994.

“I wanted to help out WWOA more than anything,” Aaron explains. “It’s a great organization that does a lot of good for public outreach and private landowners.”

Burmeister works as a logger in the Fox Valley area. “I want to see the woodlands do well. It’s like Aldo Leopold said, you need all the pieces for something to work. There’s not one aspect of the forest that I’m more interested in than others. Everything is important.”  [Read more…]

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.

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

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