USDA expands Partnerships with New Programs

USDA Announces Historic Investment in Wildlife Conservation, Expands Partnership to Include Additional Programs

$500 Million from Farm Bill Is Part of Broader Commitment from FSA and NRCS to Working Lands Conservation that Benefits Wildlife and Supports Agriculture and Rural Communities 

BOULDER, Colo., June 27, 2023 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing that it will expand its work on wildlife conservation by investing at least $500 million over the next five years and by leveraging all available conservation programs, including the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), through its Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) effort. These commitments, which align with President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, will ramp up the conservation assistance for farmers, ranchers, private forest owners and tribes with a focus on working lands in key geographies across the country as well as hiring for key conservation positions. The funding will help deliver a series of cohesive Frameworks for Conservation Action, which establish a common vision across the partnership of public and private interests and goals for delivering conservation resources in a given ecosystem, combining cutting-edge science with local knowledge.

The new funding includes $250 million from the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and $250 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).  Today’s announcement builds off more than a decade of growing Farm Bill investments in wildlife habitat, and serves as a roadmap to leveraging both Farm Bill funding and the historic investments from the Inflation Reduction Act to guide conservation efforts. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Farm Service Agency (FSA) will coordinate this work through WLFW, which focuses on voluntary, locally-led efforts that benefit wildlife and agricultural communities.

[Read more…]

DNR Retiring Hunt Wild Wisconsin Mobile App

App Users Encouraged To Use Online Hunting Resources


MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that as of June 29, 2023 the Hunt Wild mobile application will be retired. Instead, hunting and regulation resources can be found on the DNR’s Hunting webpage.

The Hunt Wild mobile application was launched in 2018 to provide mobile access to hunting information. Hunting hours, site-specific rules and regulations, CWD sampling locations, public lands information and more could be found on the app.

The DNR is retiring the app as it has reached the end of its life cycle. The hunting information from the app is still available in a mobile-friendly version by visiting the DNR’s hunting webpages. In early July, hunters will also be able to download a copy of the current 2023-24 Combined Rules and Regulations Pamphlet from the Hunting webpage for offline access.

Current users of the app will be able to open and access data stored in their app until June 29. After that date, the application will no longer be updated and maintained. The DNR thanks everyone who downloaded and used the app over the years.

USDA Seeks Donations Of Infested Ash Trees

By Kyle Loughlin, Field Team Lead, USDA-APHIS
or 734-732-0025

A window cut into a tree’s bark shows signs of emerald ash borer infestation.

USDA staff cut a ‘bark window’ in green ash to uncover signs of emerald ash borer. Photo: US Department of Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking Wisconsin landowners for help in the battle against emerald ash borer (EAB).

EAB is an invasive insect from Asia that was first introduced into the United States in 2002. Since its discovery, EAB has caused the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees.

The USDA is asking Wisconsin landowners to donate live ash trees infested with EAB to support USDA’s biological control program. The staff will use the wood to rear EAB’s natural enemies, which will then be released in Wisconsin and 31 other EAB-infested states and Washington, D.C.


The wasp species Tetrastichus plainpennisi lays eggs inside emerald ash borer larvae.

The wasp species Tetrastichus planipennisi lays its eggs inside emerald ash borer larvae where they feed and develop into red-eyed pupae before completing their lifecycle. Photo: US Department of Agriculture

USDA is interested in a minimum donation of 100 green ash trees per harvest site. USDA contractors will harvest trees weekdays between January and May at no cost to the landowner and will return the site to pre-harvest conditions, to the best of the contractor’s ability.

Biological control helps to reduce pest populations by using natural enemies such as parasitoids (stingless wasps), predators, pathogens, antagonists (to control plant diseases) or competitors. This approach is a practical option to suppress pest populations and an environmentally sound method of pest control.

The biological control staff needs more ash trees to continue producing and releasing the stingless wasps that attack and kill EAB and is asking Wisconsin residents to consider donating their ash trees this year.

“Our facility in Brighton, Michigan, is one of a kind,” said EAB biocontrol manager Ben Slager. “We rear almost a million wasps each year and provide them at no cost to our state cooperators for release. We’ve harvested EAB-infested ash in Michigan, Ohio, and last year in Wisconsin. Over the years, we have had to travel farther to find the material we need.”

Staff look for live green ash stands where trees range in size from 8 to 20 inches in diameter and show significant decline, including cracked or loose bark, dead branches and thinning leaf canopy. They also look for damage from woodpeckers feeding on EAB larva. This season, the staff will scout for potential properties in Eastern Wisconsin, ranging from Sheboygan and Fond du Lac counties to Outagamie and Door counties.

“We are making phone calls to land managers to ask for their help in locating potential sites for harvesting ash trees in the fall,” said Biocontrol Field Team Leader Kyle Loughlin. “After we get some leads on sites, we’ll visit those locations this summer to determine if they meet the criteria and develop a schedule to begin harvesting sometime in December or January.”

The Spathius agrili wasp lays eggs on an emerald ash borer larva, killing the host.

The stingless wasp (Spathius agrili) lays up to 20 eggs on an emerald ash borer larva. Once the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae will feed on and eventually kill the host. Photo: US Department of Agriculture

Loughlin encourages interested property owners to call him so he can answer their questions about donating their ash trees. “Many people call me because a neighbor or friend told them what we are doing,” he said. “I explain how the process works and what they can expect.

“There’s absolutely no pressure to make a decision. In fact, I recommend that they take some time to think before they move forward. Even after they decide to donate their trees, they can still change their mind.”

Contact Kyle Loughlin at 734-732-0025 or for more information.

Apply by May 19, 2023 to Receive Funding to Help Protect Natural Resources

Joint Chiefs’ Partnership Supports Forestry and Wildlife Conservation in Northeastern Wisconsin

The Northeast Wisconsin Forestry and Wildlife Partnership project has been developed through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership (JCLRP) to address wildfire threats, water quality, and wildlife habitat. The JCLRP enables the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U.S. Forest Service to collaborate with agricultural producers and forest landowners focused on conservation and restoration efforts. These conservation efforts aim to achieve several landscape-level outcomes, including reductions in storm-caused fuel loads and fire risks, improving water quality and aquatic habitat, increasing habitat for species such as golden-winged warblers, brook trout, and monarch butterflies, and promoting forest health through oak wilt prevention and planting resilient tree species. The project area is centered on the Lakewood-Laona Ranger District of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest (CNNF), and includes portions of the Eagle River-Florence Ranger District, private and Tribal lands in Florence, Forest, Langlade, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, and Shawano counties.

Some of the conservation priorities identified by the Partnership for Fiscal Year 2023 include:

  • Forest Management Plans
  • Trout Stream Crossing Improvement
  • Wildfire Hazard Reduction/Storm Damage Cleanup
  • Oak Wilt and Emerald Ash Borer Mitigation

Landowners interested in applying for funding should visit the NRCS website or contact their local NRCS Service Center.

2023 Spring Hearings Statewide Results

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced the 2023 Spring Hearing questions and results are now available.
More than 11,500 people responded to the 2023 Spring Hearing questionnaire available online April 10-13.

The annual Spring Hearing is an opportunity for the public to provide input on a wide array of natural resources-related proposed rule change questions presented by the DNR and advisory questions presented by the Conservation Congress. The public also has the opportunity to provide input on resolutions that members of the public previously submitted.

Public input received through this process is advisory to Natural Resources Board members, department staff and anyone working on these issues.
Results from the public input will be considered by the Conservation Congress, DNR and Natural Resources Board in the coming months.

Gov. Evers Announces Forestry Budget Initiatives

Governor Evers Announces Budget Initiatives to Bolster Conservation, Strengthen Forest Industry

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today will visit Milwaukee’s Arborist Apprenticeship Program to highlight his 2023-25 biennial budget initiatives to strengthen Wisconsin’s forest regeneration and management, take preventative action against invasive species, and expand the forestry industry workforce across the state.

“Conservation is part of our DNA as Wisconsinites, and preserving our forestland and other outdoor spaces is not only important for Wisconsinites’ health and well-being but also critical to our state’s economic success.” said Gov. Evers. “From investing in forestry regeneration and mitigating invasive species to bolstering our vast forestry workforce, these investments are about protecting our environment and growing our economy for generations to come.” [Read more…]

DNR Confirms CWD In Wild Deer In Winnebago County – Public Meeting Set

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirms a wild deer tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Winnebago County in the town of Nepeuskun. This positive is also within 10 miles of the Waushara County, Green Lake County and Fond du Lac County borders.

The deer was a three-year-old doe, reported sick and dispatched by the local sheriff’s department, and is the first confirmed wild deer CWD-positive detected in Winnebago County.

The DNR and the Winnebago County Deer Advisory Council will be hosting a public meeting on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, from 6-8 p.m. DNR staff will provide information about CWD in Wisconsin, local CWD testing efforts and disease surveillance options being considered. The meeting will be held at:

Omro Town Hall
4205 Rivermoor Rd
Omro, WI 54963

[Read more…]

Douglas Co Quarantined for Spongy Moth (formerly Gypsy Moth)

Trapping data collected by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) indicates that the spongy moth (formerly Gypsy Moth), an invasive insect from Europe that feeds on the leaves of more than 300 tree species, is now established in Douglas County.  As a result, this county has been placed under state and federal spongy moth quarantine, joining most of eastern and central Wisconsin already considered to be infested with the pest.

[Read more…]

WI Conservation Congress and DNR to Host Open Houses in All Counties

WWOA members are encouraged to participate in both of these activities – the WDNR Open Houses and the online Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearings online survey.  Questions on the survey are not just about hunting and fishing regulations or issues. Your input on natural resource issues ranging from banning the Fall shining of wild animals, lead poisoning of eagles, hazardous wakes from wake surfing boats, to mining regulations is important!

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) invite the public to attend an open house the week of April 3-6 to learn about resource management in their area.

Location details for each county open house are available on the WCC/DNR Open Houses webpage.

DNR staff and WCC delegates will be on hand at these open houses to discuss local issues of importance, answer questions from the public, and open a dialogue between the public, the DNR and the WCC about areas of interest and concern.

The WCC will also hold their delegates’ elections at each open house. Two of the five WCC seats will be up for election in each county.  The open houses precede the annual WCC/DNR Spring Hearings.

In addition to the opportunity to engage with DNR staff and WCC delegates at these open houses, the public is also invited to participate in the annual spring hearings the following week that focus on natural resource-related advisory questions and proposed rule changes.

The Spring Hearings will again be held in a virtual format, as has been done since 2020. Anyone can provide input on the 2023 Spring Hearing online questions. There is no age or residency requirement for providing input through this process. This year’s online questionnaire will be open for input from April 10 at noon through April 13 at noon via the Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearing webpage.

The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is the only statutory body in the state where the public elects delegates to advise the Natural Resources Board and the DNR on responsibly managing Wisconsin’s natural resources for present and future generations. The Congress accomplishes this through open, impartial, broad-ranged actions. Learn more about the WCC and how to become involved in resource management decisions on the Wisconsin Conservation webpage.

WDNR Division of Forestry, 5-year Strategic Direction published

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR)’s Division of Forestry’s Strategic Direction is a five-year plan that builds off of the Wisconsin forestry community’s 10-year Statewide Forest Action Plan. It allows us to connect our vision for the future using tangible strategies and actions.

Since 2012, the division has used strategic planning to define our niche within the broader statewide and national forestry community to:

  • Maximize the value delivered to the people of Wisconsin
  • Efficiently use available resources and collective capacity
  • Effectively adapt to new and emerging opportunities and challenges

The Division of Forestry has been working on developing our next Strategic Direction for the past year.

Earlier this spring, we notified you that we had reviewed and incorporated feedback received on the Strategic Direction and provided a document summarizing that feedback and how it was addressed. We are now proud to present the final Division of Forestry Strategic Direction for fiscal years (FY) 2023-2027. Thank you again for your interest and to all who participated in the development of this plan.

You can find the complete document and learn more about the process used to develop the plan by visiting:

FY2023-2027 Strategic Direction