Bat disease takes its toll; Wisconsin sites see 30-100 percent decreases

Contact(s): Owen Boyle, 608-576-2446; Paul White, 608-267-0813
Call goes out to report surviving bats this summer
MADISON -- A bat disease that has raced across the eastern U.S. and Canada , killing upwards of 7 million bats, is following the same pattern in Wisconsin, winter hibernacula surveys show. Twenty-four of 28 counties with known bat hibernacula are now confirmed to have bats infected with white-nose syndrome or the fungus that causes it, and sites in their second and third year of infection are seeing population decreases of 30 to 100 percent. "The disease has progressed in Wisconsin as it did out east," says Owen Boyle, species management section chief for the Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation program. "That doesn't make the numbers any easier to see. The effect of white-nose syndrome on our cave bats in Wisconsin, as nationally, is catastrophic." [Read more...]

Zdanovecs Awarded 2017 Forest Conservationists of the Year by WI Wildlife Federation

2017 Forest Conservationists of the Year presented by WI Wildlife Federation to Jim & Marlene Zdanovec

In 1985, dreams of eventually returning to their roots were realized when Jim and Marlene Zdanovec purchased 160 acres of land in Marathon County, Wisconsin. Wildlife was the main reason the Zdanovecs purchased the property. The Zdanovec's objective with this land was to work with the abandoned pits and unmanaged forest to promote long-term productivity of the forest ecosystem with good land stewardship, for the benefit of the land, forest, and wildlife. Today, the spoil piles are now gone, sloped and contoured by the Zdanovecs to blend in with the surrounding topography. Waste granite from the excavations has been used to construct and repair three miles of access roads. Topsoil was added and areas were vegetated to eliminate erosion into what are now referred to as "wildlife ponds." Once empty water holes now brim with life. From the spring peepers to the geese to the wild rice that grows along the banks of ponds, forest life flourishes here. [Read more...]

WWOA’s New Forestry Leader Scholarship

  NEW! Forestry Leader Scholarship: Help WWOA reach its match goal of $20,000! [Read more...]

Going Paperless May Not Be Greener After All

02/23/2016   Source: Two Sides North America, 2016
“Go paperless, go green” is a common theme these days as many corporations and governments encourage their customers and employees to switch to electronic transactions or communications. But are appeals to help the environment by eliminating paper based on sound science or on marketing strategies aimed at cost cutting? Read more at the following link:

Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month: Help Keep Pests from Bugging Wisconsin

WI DATCP Contact: Donna Gilson, 608-224-5130,  or Bill Cosh, Communications Director, 608-224-5020, MADISON – You've heard it before, and we hate to be pests, but now that cabin and camping season is starting, remember: Don't move firewood. "This is probably the single most important thing you can do – or not do – to prevent spreading insects and diseases that could severely damage our forests," says Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. April is Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. Most Wisconsin residents are probably aware of pests like the gypsy moth and emerald ash borer. Kuhn's bureau conducts an annual aerial spray program to control gypsy moth populations, and 50 of the state's 72 counties are under a quarantine for the pest. Emerald ash borer, a much newer invader, has now been found in 41 Wisconsin counties. [Read more...]

Building bat houses now can aid bats that survive white-nose syndrome

MADISON - People can help bats that survive white-nose syndrome this winter by building a bat house where they can raise their young during summer months. "Bats surviving white-nose syndrome need all the help they can get to raise their young and help rebuild populations," said Heather Kaarakka, a Department of Natural Resources conservation biologist who works with Wisconsin's bat populations for the Natural Heritage Conservation Bureau. For easy instructions and how-to videos, check out the Department of Natural Resources' bat house web pages at, keyword "bat house." DNR's Bat House Building Handbook provides full instructions for building and installing bat houses. [Read more...]

Wildfire activity increases; DNR is geared-up and ready for the battle

Forty-four wildfires have burned in the last week with more anticipated this weekend due to strong winds and dry conditions in parts of the state.  As the DNR suspends burning permits in several counties where the DNR has burning authority, the public is being asked to use extreme caution, especially with brush or burn piles, and follow the fire restrictions over the next few days until the fire danger minimizes. "Already, we have more than doubled the number of wildfires this year compared to last year at this time," said Catherine Koele, DNR wildfire prevention specialist. "We've had more than 190 wildfires since the snow-cover disappeared and we have a lot of fire season left before things green-up and the fire danger subsides." [Read more...]

2017 NRCS Local Working Group Notice Dates Announced

The Local Working Group (LWG) is a diverse group of people with agricultural and natural resource interests. Members may be agricultural producers representing the variety of crops and livestock raised within the local area; owners of nonindustrial private forest land; representatives of agricultural and environmental organizations; and representatives of governmental agencies carrying out agricultural and natural resource conservation programs and activities for the area. To ensure that LWG recommendations take into account the broad scope of people served by USDA, members will include historically underserved groups, such as women and minorities; persons with disabilities; beginning and limited resource farmers, and socially and economically disadvantaged groups. Individuals or groups wanting to become a LWG member may submit a request to the Designated Conservationist explaining their interest and credentials for becoming a member. [Read more...]

Three new members inducted into Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame

Long-time Natural Resources Board member Christine Thomas among inductees
STEVENS POINT, Wis. -- A University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Dean of the College of Natural Resources who served for 11 years on the state Natural Resources Board is among three new members who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame this year. Christine Thomas, along with Hugh Iltis, a distinguished UW-Madison professor of botany, and Milly Zantow, a pioneering recycling advocate for Wisconsin, will be inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame during a ceremony on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22. [Read more...]

Birch tree bandits cut and run in Minnesota and Wisconsin

Thieves are illegally cutting down thousands of birch trees in northern Minnesota and Wisconsin to make a quick buck off city dwellers who love the paper-white logs, limbs and twigs in their home decor.

The thefts have caught county sheriffs and state natural resource officials by surprise over the past few months, sending them scrambling to determine how big the problem is and how to keep it from getting worse.

In the meantime, the thieves are leaving gaps in the northern landscape that will take at least a decade to refill with birch.

Chief Deputy Mike Richter with the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin was among those scratching their heads when word spread that swaths of birch saplings were being felled by crooks. “And then I learned some stuff about the market,” he said. [Read more...]

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