Wisconsin Proclaims Arbor Day April 30th

Madison, WI – April 7, 2021:

Governor Tony Evers proclaims Arbor Day April 30th and Forest Appreciation Week 22nd – 30th in Wisconsin.  Arbor Day has been celebrated by our state’s school kids since 1883, and is officially observed in Wisconsin on the last Friday in April. Forest Appreciation Week is a time to acknowledge our state’s trees and forests for their importance to our economy, environment, public health, and collective identity as Wisconsinites. On Arbor Day and during Forest Appreciation Week, the state of Wisconsin encourages all Wisconsinites to spend time outdoors, plant and care for trees, and show their gratitude towards the professionals who dedicate their time to caring for our state’s trees and forests. You can view the proclamation here. The DNR has some great ideas on how to celebrate Arbor Day and to learn more about Wisconsin Forests.

Spring Fire Danger

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today (Saturday, April 17, 2021) announced that fire danger is very high and high across the state.

Sunday’s forecast calls for elevated fire weather, including low relative humidity and increasing southwest winds. Be aware of rapidly changing fire conditions.

Areas with VERY HIGH danger today include Adams, Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Brown, Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Chippewa, Clark, Door, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Florence, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green Lake, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Monroe, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Sheboygan, St. Croix, Taylor, Trempealeau, Washburn, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood counties.

Areas with HIGH fire danger today include Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Lafayette, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Richland, Rock, Sauk, Vernon, Vilas, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.

It’s been a busy wildfire season in Wisconsin so far. During the first week of April alone, 161 wildfires burned more than 1,000 acres; 19 buildings were destroyed and another 179 were threatened by the flames but saved with fire suppression efforts.

The main fire causes have been debris burning and equipment, accounting for more than half of the fires. However, the two largest fires so far this spring in Juneau and Waukesha counties ignited along railroads.

Recent rain had given the state a bit of a reprieve, but the dead grass, leaves and pine needles have dried out and are ready to ignite once again.

April is the busiest month for wildfires in our state. Stay vigilant with any outdoor flames, smoke, campfires, ash disposal or equipment use. Put off burning your debris pile until the vegetation “greens up,” or becomes less dry after spring rains.

Click here to check daily fire danger, wildfire reports and burning restrictions.

Online Spring Conservation Hearings on April 12 starting at 7 pm

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is reminding all Wisconsinites the annual Spring Hearings begin online at 7 p.m. on April 12 and will remain open for 3 days (72 hours) ONLY!

All questions are available to preview here you do not have to answer every question, you can answer the questions that impact you.

This year there are 23 proposed rule changes related to fisheries and 5 proposed rule changes related to wildlife management. There are also advisory questions from Fisheries, the Natural Resources Board, and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress advisory questions include a variety of natural resource items such as #19 regarding the enforcement of trespass issues,  #4 regarding the establish perennial vegetative buffers along rivers, streams, and ditches, or #7 & 8 requiring in-person ATV/UTV and hunter safety classes.

Wisconsinites were able to recommend changes to natural resource issues by submitting citizen resolutions online by 5 p.m. on April 5. Those who complete the online input form (April 12-15) will be able to view the resolutions submitted by individuals indicating they reside in that county.

“We look forward to hearing from the public on a wide variety of natural resource issues,” said Tony Blattler, chair of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress. “We are pleased that we can adjust to the current situation and protect the health of our communities while continuing to provide an opportunity for the public to weigh in.”

Road Weight Limits on for Spring Thaw

Due to the sudden warm up across the State of Wisconsin, WI Department of Transportation has announced that the Frozen Roads period ends, and Class II restrictions begin STATEWIDE at 12:01 AM on Saturday, March 6, 2021. The Posted Roads Period begins STATEWIDE at 12:01 PM on Monday, March 8, 2021.  In addition, many County Highways will start their weight limit restrictions on Monday, March 8, 2021.  This will limit the ability of log trucks to haul timber products on many roads.
For more information on the frozen roads program including a map of the zones, please visit.
Interested in seeing how WisDOT monitors field conditions to verify frost depths, see the following video:

For updates on current road conditions, traffic incidents, even traffic cameras, check 511 Wisconsin and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/511WI

Additional Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Marinette and Oconto Counties

PESHTIGO, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirms emerald ash borer in the Town of Peshtigo in Marinette County. This latest confirmation is in addition to the Town of Abrams and City of Oconto Falls in Oconto County.

Previously, both counties positively identified emerald ash borer (EAB), with additional locations in the Towns of Goodman, Niagara and Wagner in Marinette County, and the Towns of Little Suamico and Morgan in Oconto County. The DNR’s Forest Health Specialists estimated that EAB has been present at the new locations for at least 3-4 years.

EAB kills all varieties of ash trees (white ash, green ash and black ash) but is not known to affect any other Wisconsin tree species. More than 99% of Wisconsin’s ash trees are expected to die. Once infested, ash trees generally die in 4-6 years. Due to a local high water table, sustained flooding and record rainfall in 2019, many ash trees in swamps have already been stressed or killed.

Woodpecker damage, thinning of the tree crown from the top, one-eighth inch D-shaped exit holes and branches sprouting low on the trunk could be signs of EAB infestation.

More information on EAB can be found here. For questions about residential trees, landowners are encouraged to check out the University of Wisconsin EAB page for info and management suggestions.

DNR Confirms CWD Detected In Shawano County

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirms a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Town of Germania in southwestern Shawano County, within 10 miles of Waupaca County. As required by state law, the DNR will renew the baiting and feeding bans in Shawano and Waupaca counties.

The CWD-positive deer was an adult doe harvested during the 2020 gun deer season and was tested as part of the department’s disease surveillance efforts. This is the first wild deer detection in Shawano County.

State law requires that the DNR enact a ban on the baiting and feeding of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a wild or farm-raised deer that tests positive for CWD. Baiting and feeding were already banned in Shawano County due to a prior CWD positive detection in a farm-raised facility in 2017.

The DNR will continue surveillance near the CWD positive detection location. Collecting CWD samples is essential for assessing where and to what extent CWD occurs in deer across the state.

As ever, successful CWD management depends in part on citizen involvement in the decision-making process through local County Deer Advisory Councils (CDAC).

The upcoming Shawano County CDAC meeting to discuss deer population objectives will be extended to include the new CWD information. The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m., with the CWD portion of the agenda beginning at approximately 7:45 p.m. The public is invited to attend. Additional details regarding the Shawano County CDAC is available here. (Select Shawano from the drop-down menu.) Preregistration is not required.

CWD is a fatal, infectious nervous system disease of deer, moose, elk and reindeer/caribou. It belongs to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. CWD occurs only in members of the cervid or deer family – both wild and captive. The Wisconsin DNR began monitoring the state’s wild white-tailed deer population for CWD in 1999. The first positives were found in 2002.

More information regarding baiting and feeding regulations and CWD in Wisconsin is available here. Information on how to have deer tested during the 2020-21 hunting seasons is available here.

DNR Asks Public To Help Shape Deer Management In Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – Hunters, farmers, foresters and anyone interested in Wisconsin’s deer herd can help shape deer management in Wisconsin. Now through Jan. 13, 2021, the public is invited to comment on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) herd size objectives and deer management unit (DMU) boundaries for the next three years.

Each County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) has provided preliminary recommendations to increase, decrease or maintain herd size. In addition, the public has the opportunity to comment on DMU boundary recommendations proposed by the DNR. To view the preliminary recommendations for each county and provide feedback, visit the DNR’s website.

Following the public comment period, each county’s deer advisory council will meet virtually between Jan. 19-25 to discuss input received and determine final recommendations. The public is invited to attend these meetings, listed on the CDAC webpage. Preregistration is not required.

The DNR will review final council recommendations and present them to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board for approval in February.

CDAC council members represent stakeholder groups impacted by deer management. Members work with local DNR staff to schedule meetings and provide community outreach and an opportunity for public input.

Members review county-level population data and deer impacts on forests and agriculture and develop three-year recommendations on county population objectives as well as annual antlerless harvest quotas. These councils provide the people of Wisconsin greater input into local deer management decisions and are essential for shaping the future of deer hunting and management.

Elk Management Plan Open for Public Comment

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now accepting public input on an update to the state’s elk management plan through Jan. 23, 2021.

The management plan outlines objectives and strategies to guide elk management in the state through 2030. Review the proposed plan and view a summary presentation here.

Those who wish to provide comment may do so by emailing elkplan@wisconsin.gov or by mail: Wisconsin DNR, Attn: Scott Roepke, 910 Highway 54E, Black River Falls, WI 54615.

DNR staff will present the plan to the public at two virtual open house sessions held virtually on Saturday, Jan. 9 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and on Monday, Jan. 11 from 6-8 p.m.

“The restoration of elk to Wisconsin is a tremendous conservation success story. We’re looking forward to implementing the approaches identified in this draft update to the elk management plan with the input and support of the public,” said Scott Roepke, DNR Wildlife Biologist. “The management plan emphasizes a science-based approach to managing our state’s elk population and will also address diverse issues from tourism potential to agricultural damage.”

Once widespread here and across North America, elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s due to unregulated hunting and habitat loss. More than 130 years later, they once again live in Wisconsin’s central and northern forest regions. From a population of 25 elk reintroduced in 1995, and with the help of a second reintroduction effort that started in 2015, the state’s total elk population is quickly approaching 400 animals providing significant viewing and hunting interest in the state.

To learn more about elk in our state, visit the DNR website here.

NRCS Wisconsin Announces Deadline for 2021 Wetland Reserve and Agricultural Land Easement Programs

Madison, Wis., January 5, 2021 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Wisconsin has announced the fiscal year 2021 signup deadline is February 5, 2021, for Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) and Agricultural Land Easement (ALE) applications. The 2018 Farm Bill has provided NRCS with technical and financial assistance to help private landowners, tribes, land trusts and other groups protect these valuable lands.

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) umbrella focuses on restoring and protecting wetlands as well as conserving productive agricultural lands and grasslands. The WRE component provides landowners compensation for enrolling their land in easements. The ALE component works with eligible partners to protect agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land.

Applications for WRE and ALE are taken on a continuous basis and they are ranked and considered for funding one time a year. Landowners who have applied for WRE and partners who have applied for ALE in the past need not apply again but may be asked to update their application documents. “There may be other funding opportunities for WRE later in the year. If you do not get an application in by February 5, you may still submit one during the summer. We will consider those applications for funding in the 2022 fiscal year, which begins in October 2021,” said Greg Kidd, Assistant State Conservationist for Easements.

USDA NRCS Seeks Public Input on Guidance Defining Nonindustrial Private Forest Land Eligibility

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking public input on Nonindustrial Private Forest Land (NIPF) related to technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

“We want to ensure we continue program consistency across USDA agencies with how we are defining nonindustrial private forest lands,” said Angela Biggs, NRCS State Conservationist in Wisconsin. “It’s important that our conservation assistance reach all eligible lands in accordance with proper criteria to ensure we enroll eligible lands that hold meaningful opportunities.”

NRCS welcomes input from stakeholders across the nation, including those in Wisconsin, to assist with the development of guidance about how to identify NIPF for program enrollment purposes. NRCS must ensure that such guidance is consistent with how other USDA agencies identify NIPF under identical or similar programmatic frameworks. This request for input is to improve transparency about how NRCS makes land eligibility determinations with respect to forest lands.

Nonindustrial private forest land criteria will be adopted after the close of the 30-day period and after consideration of all comments.

Submitting Comments

NRCS invites input on this technical guidance through January 19, 2021. Electronic comments must be submitted through regulations.gov offsite link image     under Docket ID NRCS–2020–0009. All written comments received will be publicly available on http://www.regulations.gov offsite link image