DATCP to Survey for Spongy Moth in 47 Wisconsin Counties

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will be setting more than 10,000 traps for spongy moth (formerly known as gypsy moth) in 47 counties from mid-May through early June. DATCP requests that property owners allow trappers access to place traps and not disturb the traps once in place.

“The data we gather from these traps provide an estimate of the state’s spongy moth population and is used to plan for next year’s spray treatment,” said Michael Falk, DATCP Spongy Moth Program Manager. “It also helps DATCP nursery and Christmas tree inspectors check trees for spongy moth egg masses in the fall.”

Traps are small green boxes tied to tree branches. The trap contains the scent of a female spongy moth that is undetectable to other insects and is used to attract and catch adult male spongy moths.

Trappers will monitor traps until male moths stop flying and the traps are removed in August. Trappers wear fluorescent vests and carry identification cards. Each trap is labeled with a phone number that property owners can call if they have questions or decide they want it removed.

For more information on spongy moth trapping:

USDA Biological Control Lab Seeks Green Ash Trees

Emerald ash borer (EAB) is an invasive insect from Asia that was first introduced into the United States in 2002. The Emerald ash borer (EAB) has been found in 64 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.  Since its discovery, EAB has caused the death and decline of tens of millions of ash trees. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is using ash trees against the pest to help preserve and protect the tree species. They are asking Wisconsin landowners for their help.

Wisconsin landowners have donated live, infested ash trees to USDA’s EAB biological control program. The staff will then use the wood to rear EAB’s natural enemies and release them in Wisconsin and 28 other EAB-infested States. The biocontrol staff will need more ash trees to continue producing and releasing these stingless wasps that attack and kill EAB and are hoping more Wisconsin residents will consider donating their ash trees this year.

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

“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.”

[Read more…]

Northern long-eared bat proposed as endangered

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on March 22, 2022, a proposal to reclassify the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The bat, currently listed as threatened, faces extinction due to the range-wide impacts of white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease affecting cave-dwelling bats across the continent.

Bats are critical to healthy, functioning ecosystems and contribute at least $3 billion annually to the U.S. agriculture economy through pest control and pollination. The growing extinction crisis highlights the importance of the ESA and efforts to conserve species before declines become irreversible.

“White-nose syndrome is devastating northern long-eared bats at unprecedented rates, as indicated by this science-based finding” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Charlie Wooley. “The Service is deeply committed to continuing our vital research with partners on reducing the impacts of white-nose syndrome, while working with diverse stakeholders to conserve the northern long-eared bat and reduce impacts to landowners.”

White-nose syndrome has spread across nearly 80% of the species’ entire range and nearly all of its U.S. range since it was listed as threatened in 2015. The proposal to change the status of the northern long-eared bat comes after an in-depth review of the species found that the bat continues to decline and now meets the definition of endangered under the ESA.

[Read more…]

Pixelle sells Stevens Point paper mill

The Stevens Point Journal is reporting that the Stevens Point paper mill has been sold to a Miami-based private equity firm.

Pixelle Specialty Solutions and other affiliated paper mill plants have been sold to H.I.G. Capital.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The Stevens Point mill employs about 300 people. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

Wisconsin Rapids VERSO mill sold

Swedish company, BillerudKorsnäs, officials announced the completion of its acquisition of Verso on March 31, 2022.  Their press release does not mention the future of the Wisconsin Rapids paper mill.

The acquisition of Verso reinforces BillerudKorsnäs’ strategy to drive profitable and sustainable growth and its ambition to accelerate its growth in North America. As a result of the acquisition of Verso, BillerudKorsnäs is now one of the largest providers of virgin paper and packaging materials with a cost and quality advantage.

Going forward, BillerudKorsnäs intends to simplify its company name and brand to “Billerud”, which it will operate under in all markets, including the U.S.  BillerudKorsnäs is committed to continuing to serve Verso’s customers across all segments and realising its previously announced plans to convert several of Verso’s assets into paperboard machines, while maintaining Verso’s position as a quality and cost leader in speciality and coated paper.

Deer Hunters (& Woodland Owners Concerned about Deer Browse): Help Shape The 2022 Season For Your County

The first round of County Deer Advisory Council (CDAC) public meetings is starting March 21.

At each meeting, County Deer Advisory Councils (CDAC) will consider recommendations on holiday hunts, extended archery seasons and antlerless deer quotas.

Make sure you’re part of the conversation. Visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) website for info on your county’s meeting date, time and Zoom link:

Find My County Meeting button

Participate In Deer Season Planning

There are several ways to participate in deer season planning:

CDACS Are Your Voice In Deer Management

Each county in Wisconsin has a County Deer Advisory Council to provide input and recommendations to the department on deer management within their county. Councils work with local DNR staff to schedule meetings, provide community outreach and an opportunity for public input, review population data and deer impacts on forests and agriculture, develop recommendations on county population objectives and create annual antlerless harvest quotas.

In early May, each CDAC will make recommendations to the department for the 2022 season based on deer herd metrics, county deer population goals and public feedback. This summer, the DNR will bring its recommendations for the 2022 season to the Natural Resources Board.

The public can submit questions about the process to DNRCDACWebMail@wisconsin.gov. More information is available on the DNR’s County Deer Advisory Councils webpage.

Emerald Ash Borer Detected in Bayfield Co

In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has detected emerald ash borer (EAB) for the first time in Bayfield County. A resident reported this ash tree-killing beetle in the city of Bayfield on March 2 and it was confirmed to be EAB by USDA-APHIS on March 11. It appears to have been present in the reported tree for at least three years prior to detection, with the symptomatic tree showing significant woodpecker flecking, epicormic sprouts, and D-shaped exit holes.

Bayfield County is the second new county detection of 2022 and marks the 63rd county detection since EAB was first confirmed in the state in 2008. There are nine Wisconsin counties that have not had an EAB detection. There are no regulatory changes as a result of this detection. EAB was federally deregulated as of January 14, 2021, and Wisconsin instituted a statewide quarantine in 2018.

For more information about EAB and where it has been found, visit https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/EAB.aspx.

Note: DATCP will send notifications only when EAB is found for the first time in a county.

“Into the Outdoors- Heroes of the Forest” Television Program

The upcoming episode of the 17-time Emmy Award winning television show, “Into the Outdoors,” will feature forestry careers at the WDNR. Titled “Heroes of the Forest,” the episode airs March 19-20 across Wisconsin, and will be available online starting March 21. Check here for your local air times. The episode is targeted towards young people interested in natural resources, and will explore the career opportunities available with the WDNR. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is focused on advancing diversity across the department, and they believe that starts with educating youth about the importance of forestry and the wide array of opportunities available within the WDNR.

DNR Accepting Entries for 2023 State Park and Forest Vehicle Admission Sticker Contest

The WDNR is calling for entries from Wisconsin high school students for the 2023 Wisconsin State Park and Forest vehicle admission sticker design contest. The contest is open to all high school aged students attending public, private or parochial schools, as well as homeschooled students. Vehicle admission stickers provide access to the many state parks, forest and recreational areas across Wisconsin. Entries are being accepted through April 30, 2022. Rules, submission guidelines, and information can be found here. Good luck!

Help Protect Wood Turtles at Tax Time

Wood Turtles are an important and threatened species in Wisconsin. According to the WDNR, researchers in a multi-year, multi-state research project discovered that females of this species travel as far as 4 to 5 miles to lay their eggs, and have an internal “GPS” that guides them to their same nesting sites year after year!

Research projects like these are made possible by donations to the Endangered Resources Fund, and you can help by donating on your Wisconsin Income tax form! The state of Wisconsin will match every dollar donated to double your impact towards conserving threatened and rare species in our state.

The Endangered Resources Fund has helped return Blanding’s turtles, bald eagles, and trumpeter swans, and has conserved many other threatened flora and fauna in the state. These donations are not used for wolf management purposes.