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Woodland Mentor Program

You are invited to join WWOA’s special Member Only Program!

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2020 USDA-NRCS Public Conservation Virtual Meeting Announced

Landowners encouraged to attend virtual meeting

 

Madison, Wis. – July 6, 2020 − The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Wisconsin has announced this year, we will be holding one statewide virtual Local Working Group (LWG) meeting with a feedback survey to follow. The virtual meeting will be held August 5, 2020, at 10:00 a.m.‒12:00 p.m. Participants will be able to call into a teleconference line or join audio and video though an internet browser using a Microsoft Teams meeting link. Input gathered will help set priorities for USDA conservation programs under the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Local Working Groups offer an opportunity 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 meeting 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.

To join the virtual meeting choose one of the following options:

  1. Teleconference: Call 1-636-352-2946, then type in access code 766 186 811# when prompted.
  2. Video and audio through Microsoft Teams: Visit this site: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/wi/newsroom/pnotice/ and then click on the Teams link at the top of the page. For more information on how to connect via desktop, laptop or mobile device, download these step-by-step instructions. offsite link image 

Please take the LWG feedback survey after attending the meeting by August 21, 2020, by visiting https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/wi/newsroom/pnotice/ and clicking on the survey link. A printed survey may also be requested by calling (608) 662-4422 or emailing your name and address to april.ryan@usda.gov.

Local Working Group meetings are open to the public. Anyone interested in becoming a member of LWGs should contact their local NRCS Service Center. Contact your local NRCS District Conservationist if you are interested in participating. For detailed information on local work groups, see What are Local Working Groups.

DNR: Help Shape Deer Season for Your Community

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 2, 2020
Contact: Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist
Kevin.Wallenfang@wisconsin.gov or (608) 261-7589

Help Shape Deer Season For Your Community By Joining Your County’s Deer Advisory Council

Application Deadline July 1

 

Apply for a seat on a County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) by July 1. / Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

MADISON, Wis. – The Department of Natural Resources invites those interested in deer management in Wisconsin to apply for a seat on a County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC).

Council members include representatives from a variety of stakeholder groups interested in white-tail deer management in Wisconsin. The application deadline for all council seats in each county is July 1, 2020.

Founded in 2014, CDACs were established to provide an open venue to develop county-specific deer population objectives and herd management strategies through public involvement. Council members review and consider a variety of metrics on deer herd trends, impacts to habitat and various human-deer interactions.

“All council seats are open to new applicants,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist. “We put a great deal of stock in public involvement, and we hope folks take extra interest and apply for a seat on their local council. Those selected will serve for three years, and during that time will have a great deal of responsibility in helping manage deer in their county.”

Council members meet annually to review deer population numbers and associated data, gather public input and provide recommendations to the Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Board regarding deer management decisions in their county.

Councils include representatives from agriculture, forestry, tourism, transportation, hunting, Wisconsin’s Deer Management Assistance Program and local government. Applicants must have experience or involvement with at least one of these seven stakeholder categories.

For more information regarding CDACs and to apply, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword CDAC.”

A Deadly Reminder While Walking Pets

A deadly reminder when walking your dog in rural areas as the weather gets nicer… The WDNR and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are asking for the public’s help with a string of fatal animal poisonings in Forest, Marinette and Florence counties, even along the border with Upper Michigan. While the investigation is focused on three counties, officials say others could be impacted. 

Officials are urging people to be cautious when walking their dogs along roadways and trails in these three counties.

The Wisconsin DNR says these suspected poisonings started in 2018, and it’s back now, but worse. Investigators say recently this is happening on very rural roads and mainly on public property but there have also been reports of it happening on private lands.

“We advise the public to just be very careful, be aware of where your dog is walking, and what it’s getting into. The stuff acts very fast,” said Wisconsin DNR Lieutenant, Bryan Harrenstein.

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Spring Hearing Results- DNR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 6, 2020
Contact: Larry Bonde, Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chair
608-235-5825
Kari Lee-Zimmermann, Wisconsin Conservation Congress/DNR Liaison
608-219-9134 or Kari.LeeZimmermann@Wisconsin.gov

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Conservation Congress received a record-setting 64,943 responses to the 2020 Spring Hearing Questionnaire featuring topics ranging from baiting and feeding deer to the use of non-toxic ammunition on state-owned land.  

Due to COVID-19, the in-person portion of the 72 public meetings – known as the Spring Hearings – initially scheduled for April 13 in each county was canceled. The public was able to respond to the natural resources advisory questions from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, and Conservation Congress online April 13-16.

Results can be found here or by visiting the DNR website and searching keywords “Spring Hearings.”  

“I continue to be amazed by the level of participation by Wisconsinites. It shows very clearly how much people care about the natural resources of this state,” said Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chair Larry Bonde. “Given that this was only the second year we offered an online opportunity, and the extenuating circumstances with the COVID-19, I’m thrilled we had this opportunity in place to provide people an avenue for input.”

The Spring Hearings provide an opportunity for the public to weigh-in on a wide range of natural resource-related advisory questions as well as citizen resolutions previously submitted for inclusion. The Spring Hearings also provide an opportunity for the public to elect Conservation Congress delegates to represent their county on natural resource issues. 

The Conservation Congress is the only statutorily recognized citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board. Public input received through this process is advisory to members of the Natural Resources Board, department staff, and anyone working on these issues. 

The results will help guide decision making on potential future rule-making. No final decisions have been made at this time. The public input results will be considered during the Conservation Congress convention that may be held later this summer and during a Natural Resources Board meeting.

PRESS RELEASE: Wisconsin State Parks & Forests to Reopen MAY 1st

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 27, 2020
Contact: DNRPress@wisconsin.gov

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will reopen 34 state parks and forests on Friday, May 1 at the direction of Gov. Evers with special conditions.

Under Gov. Evers’ Badger Bounce Back Plan, which outlines important criteria for Wisconsin to be able to reopen its economy in phases and includes steps to make sure workers and businesses are prepared to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, the DNR will modify current operations to maintain the safest environment for visitors and staff.

Due to unprecedented crowds, litter, vandalism and the need to protect the health and safety of our visitors and staff, Gov. Evers directed the DNR to close 38 Wisconsin State Parks, Forests and Recreational Areas on Friday, April 10.

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USDA Continues Programs and Planning

USDA Continues Conservation Planning and Programs for America’s Farmers
and Ranchers

NRCS Services Available by Phone Appointment Only

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 26, 2020 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field offices are open by phone appointment only until further notice, and NRCS staff are available to continue to provide one-on-one, customer-specific advice to producers to help them meet their unique conservation and business goals.

All USDA Service Centers, including those NRCS field offices, are not currently accessible to customers in person.

NRCS staff are working with customers through phone, mail and online communications, and field work continues with appropriate social distancing to help producers with conservation planning and financial assistance through Farm Bill programs.

“Our team is here to work with you, and we are looking at every possible option and flexibility to support the conservation needs of America’s farmers and ranchers,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “We want to continue our customer assistance while also taking precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.”

NRCS offers year-round continuous signup for its Farm Bill programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. Call respective NRCS field offices about sign up and application submission options.

Additionally, NRCS continues projects with partners, including universities, local and state governments, tribes, nonprofits, and others. NRCS will continue to award projects and to call for proposals for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Conservation Innovation Grants and the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.

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DNR: Spring Hearings In-Person Portion Cancelled

Accepting Public Input Online

Contact(s): Larry Bonde, Wis. Conservation Congress, 608-235-5825
Kari Lee-Zimmermann, DNR, 608-219-9134
March 17, 2020 at 5:43:05 pm

[EDITOR’S ADVISORY: This is a joint news release from the Wisconsin DNR and Wisconsin Conservation Congress.]

MADISON, WI -In light of COVID-19, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are closely following guidelines from the Department of Health Services (DHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).

We continue to receive the most up-to-date information, including new guidance from DHS that recommends canceling or postponing gatherings of 10 people or more to help protect Wisconsinites from the spread of COVID-19, particularly those who are most vulnerable to infection and severe disease.

As such, the in-person portion of the 72 public meetings known as the Spring Hearings that were to be held in each county on April 13 are canceled. The public will continue to have the opportunity to provide input on the natural resources advisory questions from the DNR, Natural Resources Board (NRB), and WCC through the online input option.

The online input option will be provided through a link that will be posted on the Spring Hearing page and will go live at 7 p.m. on April 13. The online version will remain open for three days (72 hours). Results will be posted as soon as they are available.

Each year, citizens can recommend changes to natural resource issues through the submittal of citizen resolutions. In addition, two of the five WCC seats in each county are up for election.

Resolutions can either be emailed to SpringHearingInfo@Wisconsin.gov or typed hardcopies can be mailed to: Kari Lee-Zimmermann, Conservation Congress Liaison, P.O. Box 7921 WCC/4, Madison WI 53707-7921. All citizen resolutions must be received by close of business on April 6. Resolutions must also meet the requirements identified on the Spring Hearing webpage.

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Government Agencies Taking Precautionary Measures to Stop Spread of COVID-19

U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Centers are encouraging visitors to take proactive protective measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Government Service Center agencies such as Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any others, are now requiring all visitors to CALL the agency first to set up a phone appointment. 
You can find your local service center phone numbers by clicking here.

For the most current updates on available services and Service Center status visit farmers.gov/coronavirus.
For Wisconsin DNR COVID-19 response, click here.