Gypsy Moth Aerial Spraying Update (DATCP)

WHAT: Gypsy moth aerial treatments by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Gypsy Moth Slow the Spread (STS) Program. The STS aerial program for 2018 consists of 36 treatment sites, involving approximately 90,000 acres across 14 counties in western Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Suppression Program is also treating 7 sites in Dane County totaling 485 acres.

WHEN: Tuesday, 22-May-2018, weather permitting.

WHERE: Select sites in Grant, Green, Lafayette, Dane, Vernon, Crawford, and Eau Claire counties. A progress chart and maps of treatment sites can be viewed online at

WHY: The treatments are necessary to control the spread 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.

PLAN DETAILS: The first Btk treatments will begin in the previously mentioned counties covering 15 sites. Most sites may have more than one treatment planned and will be treated again on a later date.

TREATMENTS: Planes will apply Foray 48B, which is approved for use in certified organic production or food processing by the Organic Materials Review Institute. The insecticide contains Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki or Btk. Btk is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that is poisonous to gypsy moth caterpillars when consumed. Btk breaks down in sunlight within a few days.

OTHER DETAILS: Applications can start as early as sunrise and will continue until the day’s plan is complete and as weather conditions allow. Treatment applications require calm winds, high humidity, and no precipitation.

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Camping This Summer? Leave Firewood at Home

MADISON – As you kick off your summer camping and cabin season this Memorial Day weekend, don’t be the one who brings emerald ash borer, gypsy moth or other pests and diseases to new homes in Wisconsin.

“Buy it where you burn it,” says Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau in the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “State parks require that firewood be brought from no more than 10 miles away. National forests require it to be purchased within 25 miles. Many private campgrounds prohibit bringing in firewood at all. And if you live in a county that’s under quarantine for gypsy moth, it’s actually illegal to take firewood to a non-quarantine county. The only exception to these regulations is when you buy firewood marked with the DATCP certification.”

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White-Nose Syndrome Continues to Ravage Cave Bat Populations

Wisconsin bats continue to be hit hard by white-nose syndrome (WNS).  All 60 survey sites visited by conservation biologists in winter 2018 showed signs of infection.  A 99 percent decrease from historic averages at the first documented infection site; a 92 percent drop at sites in their fourth year of infection, and an 85 percent drop at sites in their third year of infection were documented. Twenty-five of the 28 counties with known bat hibernacula now have WNS or the fungus that causes it. The steep loss of these beneficial insect-eaters is likely to be reflected this summer in the nighttime skies.

On the brighter side of things, progress is being made in treatments and vaccines of WNS. Some of that good news includes:

  • Three of the nine bats found in the Grant County site where white-nose syndrome was first detected in 2014 were juveniles, indicating some natural reproduction is still taking place.
  • A technique to administer vaccines to bats to prevent white-nose syndrome infections is showing promise and DNR bat biologists will continue assisting the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Wisconsin researchers in refining the method this summer.
  • A treatment using ultra-violet light is showing promise in killing the fungus causing white-nose syndrome in bats. DNR bat biologists have continued to work with scientists at the U.S. Forest Service in Madison and Bucknell University in Pennsylvania on the study.

To read more about the white-nose syndrome updates click here.

Wisconsin First Detector Network

The Wisconsin First Detector Network (WIFDN) is a citizen science network that empowers people to take action against invasive species through invasive species monitoring, management, and outreach. WIFDN provides training and resources through a combination of webinars, instructional videos, and hands-on workshops, in addition to providing volunteer opportunities to citizen scientists. Click here to get to their website.

Keep An Eye Out for Palmer Amaranth, DATCP Cautions

MADISON – Farmers and land managers planting conservation seed mixes should be on the lookout for an aggressively

Seedling of Palmer amaranth (Minnesota Department of Agriculture)

invasive weed called Palmer amaranth, state plant protection officials say. In addition, anyone packing and labeling such seeds must take steps to avoid contaminating the mixes with Palmer amaranth.

Under a new emergency rule in Wisconsin, Palmer amaranth is a prohibited noxious weed seed, and including it in a seed mix would be a civil or criminal violation for the seed labeler.

“Once established, Palmer amaranth can out-compete other native plants in conservation plantings, and if it gets into corn and soybeans, can cause yield losses as high as 90 percent,” said Brian Kuhn, director of the Plant Industry Bureau in the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “This is an incredibly invasive, incredibly expensive-to-control weed. It’s been highly destructive in some of our neighboring states, and we don’t want to see that in Wisconsin.”

Palmer amaranth is a broadleaf weed that grows 2-3 inches a day. It commonly grows 6-8 feet tall, but may reach 10 feet. It has separate male and female plants, and the females may produce as many as 500,000 seeds. It is related to water hemp and other “pigweeds”, common in Wisconsin, and a casual observer might confuse the two.

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Help Promote Your Local Chapter

The poster features a place for each of the chapters to add their own contact information.

Help us get the word out about the sustainable forestry community! We have a new poster available to help promote WWOA and the local chapters.

Do you know a local business or hangout with a pubic bulletin board? Consider hanging up a poster in your community to let others know about WWOA. Some suggested locations include libraries, municipal buildings, grocery stores, implement dealers, and restaurants.

The posters are printed in color on sturdy cardstock. Know a place to hang a poster you already visit regularly? If interested, contact the office at or 715-346-4798. Let us know the number of posters you would like, and we will mail them to you.

Click on the photo to see the poster in more detail.

Wisconsin-Grown Tree and Shrub Seedlings Still Available for Spring 2018 Planting

MADISON– The Spring 2018 Reforestation Program seedling sales are still in full swing. While the weather hampered some of the harvesting efforts, it has been busy at the Wilson State Nursery in Boscobel- lifting, grading, and preparing seedlings for distribution to the landowners and managers of the state’s forestlands. 

Hardwood tree species still available from the state nurseries include red oak, swamp white oak, white oak, bur oak, black cherry, and black walnut. Wildlife shrubs available include choke cherry, hazelnut, ninebark, juneberry, and American plum. In addition, a few more species may become available in the coming weeks. 

Landowners can purchase these seedlings for reforestation, wildlife habitat, and windbreak and erosion control purposes. Seedlings and shrubs are distributed in April and early May.

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Oak Harvesting Guidelines During Unusually Cold Spring Weather

This year’s cool spring weather has caused people to wonder if the oak harvesting restrictions that usually begin on April 1 (south of the tension zone) or April 15 (north of the tension zone) might be pushed back due to unusually cold temperatures. The simple answer is no. Even during unusually cold springs, consistent messages about preventing the spread of oak wilt disease apply – “Stop pruning in April” and “Avoid harvesting in April (south of the tension zone)”. Delivering the same messages at the same time every year helps ensure that the public protects Wisconsin’s oak resource.

That said, the Wisconsin DNR’s oak harvesting guidelines allow flexibility at the stand level, if landowners/property managers and other affected parties (foresters, loggers, etc.) all agree on modifications based on local conditions. For example, “unusual weather patterns in early spring” is listed as one of the allowable modifications in the DNR’s oak harvesting guidelines.

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Report Occupied Bald Eagle Nests in Southeastern Wisconsin

MADISON – State ecologists conducting aerial surveys for occupied bald eagle nests this spring are asking for the public’s help in locating nests in southeastern Wisconsin. 

If you observe an active bald eagle nest, with adults incubating eggs or exhibiting other breeding behaviors, you are encouraged to report your sightings in one of these ways:

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Keep Wildlife Wild

As the weather warms and people spend more time outside, the frequency of human-wildlife encounters increases. A number of these encounters will no doubt involve young wild animals. Most such interactions are harmless. However, sometimes well-intentioned people interfere with young wildlife because they incorrectly assume a young animal is orphaned. Most wild mothers watch their young from a distance, and what you think is an abandoned young animal may be perfectly fine.

REMEMBER: A young wild animal’s best chance of survival is with its mother! 

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