Preliminary recommendations for 2018 antlerless quotas to be developed at March County Deer Advisory Council meetings

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MADISON–County Deer Advisory Councils will begin spring meetings in mid-March to start the antlerless harvest quota and permit-setting process for the 2018 deer seasons. Various deer season structure options for each county will also be discussed by councils.

All Council meetings are open to the public, including opportunity to provide feedback, as each council develops their preliminary recommendations for the deer seasons. A meeting schedule [PDF] is available on the CDAC web page at dnr.wi.gov, search keyword “CDAC.”

In addition to attending the CDAC meetings, the public has the opportunity to review and comment on preliminary recommendations through an online survey on the CDAC Web page from April 2-12.

On-line feedback will be considered along with deer season data provided by Department of Natural Resources biologists, foresters and law enforcement when the CDACs develop their final recommendations.

Final recommendations will be presented to the DNR following the April meetings, and then advance to the Natural Resources Board for approval in May, after which time they will be in effect for the 2018 deer season.

Additional information pertaining to CDAC population objective recommendations, agendas and membership is available on the CDAC page of the DNR website or email DNRCDACWebMail@Wisconsin.gov with any questions.

Newly upgraded tool from DNR helps avoid wetland disturbance

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MADISON — The first step land owners, developers and builders need to take before picking up a shovel or calling in the bulldozers is determining whether a proposed project site is located within a wetland. A new upgrade to the Department of Natural Resource’s interactive wetland indicator map will make it easier to determine if a project has the potential to impact wetlands.

“The advantage of this new upgrade is to target potential wetlands on a land owner’s property to avoid any inadvertent wetlands disturbance during development and avoid unnecessary wetland delineation costs,” says Amanda Minks, DNR Waterway and Wetland Policy Coordinator.

Minks said the DNR has been working with the National Resource Conservation Service to integrate updated soil information, field reporting and digital topography tools to its current map, which is referred to as the pink layer, so that the agency can provide users with the most comprehensive tool possible.

If wetland impacts are possible, state law requires a wetland delineation to confirm wetland impacts and determine the amount of the potential impact. The newly upgraded tool will allow users to target areas at a more refined scale, which can help avoid or minimize wetland impacts and determine the appropriate regulatory process for projects.

To preview the updated system to potential users, the department is hosting two hour-long informational meetings on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 10:00 a.m., at the Green Bay Service Center, and Friday, March 9, 2018, 2 p.m., in room G09 at the DNR Central Office, 101 S. Webster, in Madison.

“We want to give our potential users an opportunity to experience the changes before we release the final upgrade to the public in late spring this year so they will better understand the changes and how to use the layer,” Minks said.

Anyone interested in learning more about wetland indicators can search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword “wetland” and click on the link for “map review” to read more about recognizing indicators and view informational videos about the steps toward ensuring building projects start off on the right track. Questions or comments can also be emailed directly to Amanda Minks at Amanda.Minks@Wisconsin.gov.

Urban trees well-loved by private residential landowners

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MADISON — Private residential landowners feel the most important benefits the trees in their yard provide are beauty, shade and cooling, improved air quality, privacy, and making their neighborhood a better place to live, according to the results of the recent Wisconsin Urban Landowner Survey.

As part of a joint project involving the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Extension and the U.S. Forest Service, 6,000 surveys were sent to private residential landowners including apartment and condo owners, homeowners and multi-family housing unit owners in Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Wausau.

More than 1,700 landowners responded, primarily single-family homeowners, providing insights about their attitudes toward tree care, concerns about tree risks and their tree management choices such as pruning and planting.

“While most people see the trees on their property and in their neighborhood as being very beneficial, they typically don’t think of the critical role they play as landowners in caring for the health of the trees in Wisconsin’s cities,” said Katy Thostenson, DNR division of forestry social science analyst. “The Wisconsin Urban Landowner Survey project aims to help urban residents take a new look at the trees and open spaces in their own yard, take steps to be an active steward of their trees and think of their yard as a piece of the wider urban forest in their community.”

A majority of Wisconsin’s 42 million urban trees, 69 percent, grow in residential areas and will continue to face threats from storm events, disease and pests such as Emerald Ash Borer, and development. Urban trees provide valuable benefits for the people who live and work in cities and suburbs, such as improving air quality, reducing energy costs and absorbing storm water, along with many physical and mental health benefits.

Most respondents perceive important benefits from trees on their properties; however, there were significant differences depending on where they live. Suburban homeowners and those with larger properties perceive their trees as more beneficial and have fewer concerns about property damage from trees. In comparison, city homeowners, who own smaller properties and live in more densely populated areas, believe trees pose a greater physical risk to their property. These risks can be reduced through proactive tree care.

The survey also reveals that respondents seek advice and trust information provided by private tree care professionals, followed by their family and friends, and then by municipal, state and nonprofit professionals.

“These results suggest communities would be well-served by communicating how to best care for trees by partnering with professional arborists and personal networks such as neighborhood groups, as people are most likely to act on advice given by those they know and trust,” said Associate Professor Bret Shaw, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Life Sciences Communication in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and communication specialist for the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

The full report can be found on the Forestry Insights website at forestryinsights.org/urban-forestry (exit DNR).

For more information on urban forests, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keywords “Urban Forest.”

Funding for the Wisconsin Urban Landowner Survey project was provided by a U.S. Forest Service grant and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Natural Resources Board to meet February 28 in Madison

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MADISON – A request for adoption of proposed emergency rules relating to deer and turkey registration, a request to revisit Lake Michigan lake trout bag limits, proposed rules related to erosion control and storm water management at construction sites, and a proposed land exchange at Kohler-Andrae State Park are among the items the state Natural Resources Board will address when it meets February 28 in Madison.

The board will convene at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, in Room G09 of the State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2), 101 S. Webster St., Madison.

The board will consider an emergency rule for changes to deer and turkey registration and the reporting of waterfowl harvests. The emergency rule is necessary to make some provisions of NR 10 Wis. Admin. Code, which regulates registering harvested wildlife, consistent with provisions of 2017 Act 59. That statute eliminated the issuance of deer and turkey carcass tags and the requirement to validate those tags upon taking possession of an animal. Under the new statute, the department will issue “harvest authorizations.” Hunters will still be required to provide proof of licensure and harvest authorization while hunting and to register the harvest. The emergency rule is necessary to meet timelines for the upcoming hunting seasons. The department will undertake a permanent rule change that will include public participation and a public hearing.

The board will also consider:

  • a request to reconsider an emergency board order related to lake trout bag limits on Lake Michigan that the board approved in December. The rule they adopted increased the daily bag limit of lake trout from two to three and they are being asked to reconsider a department proposal to raise the bag limit from two to five.
  • a request for adoption of proposed rules affecting ch. NR 152, Wis. Adm. Code, related to model ordinances for construction site erosion control and post-construction storm water management;
  • a request for adoption of proposed rules modifying ch. NR 10 and 45 related to minor revisions of rules for wildlife management, hunting opportunities for the physically disabled, and deer management unit boundaries;
  • a request to approve a land exchange with Kohler Corp in the John Michael Kohler portion of Kohler-Andrae State Park and approval of a road easement for an access road to a golf course the company has proposed adjacent to the state park.

The board will also hear informational items on an update on Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan and the Southwest Wisconsin CWD, Deer and Predator Study.

At approximately noon the board may convene in closed session under the authority of s. 19.85(1)(e) Wisconsin Statutes to discuss the Department of Natural Resources’ competitive bargaining and negotiation position with respect to a potential real estate transaction in Southeast Wisconsin.

The complete February board agenda is available by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov for keyword “NRB” and clicking on the button for “view agendas.”

The public must pre-register with Laurie Ross, board liaison, to testify at the board meeting. The deadline to register to testify or submit written comments is 11 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, 2018. Registration information is available on the agenda and on the DNR website.

Board meetings are webcast live. People can watch the meeting over the internet by going to the NRB agenda page of the DNR website and clicking on webcasts in the Related Links column on the right. Then click on this month’s meeting. After each meeting, the webcast will be permanently available on demand.

Volunteer training set for Rare Plant Monitoring Program

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Native plant enthusiasts sought to see how state’s rare treasures are faring

MADISON — People who enjoy looking for plants can see some of the state’s rarest and most beautiful native species up close in 2018 by participating in volunteer training for the Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program in coming weeks.

Josh Mayer, a volunteer for the Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program, found a new population of narrow-leaved dayflower, a rare native plant, in Grant County in 2017.  - Photo credit: Josh Mayer
Josh Mayer, a volunteer for the Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program, found a new population of narrow-leaved dayflower, a rare native plant, in Grant County in 2017. Photo credit: Josh Mayer

“If you already enjoy searching for rare plants or “botanizing,” we invite you to put your effort to a direct conservation benefit,” says Kevin Doyle, a Department of Natural Resources conservation botanist who coordinates the volunteer program. “Our volunteers get to see rare plants in some of the state’s most pristine places and their contributions are critical to native plant conservation in Wisconsin.”

The volunteer training is free and occurs at four sites across the state: in Juneau County on March 17, Eau Claire County on March 22, Sauk County on March 31, and Racine County on April 7. Find training session details and register on the Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program (exit DNR) web page.

The information volunteers collect help DNR conservation botanists assess plant population trends for state and national conservation efforts. Wisconsin has more than 2,300 native plant species and 344 of them are listed as endangered, threatened or species of concern due to low or declining populations.

The Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program is one of more than a dozen citizen-based monitoring programs coordinated by DNR’s Natural Heritage Conservation Program to help assess populations of rare species and care for State Natural Areas. Since the Wisconsin Rare Plant Monitoring Program started the volunteer training in 2013, more than 240 volunteers have taken the training and played an important role in assessing plant populations.

“Rare Plant Monitoring Program volunteers took things to new heights in 2017,” Doyle says. “Nearly 80 new people were trained and volunteers nearly tripled the number of rare plant assessments we got done. We hope 2018 will be another great year and we invite plant enthusiasts to join our growing team.”

Hundreds of natural resources volunteers gather in Eau Claire on March 22-24

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MADISON – More than 12,000 Wisconsin volunteers searched for rare plants, identified frogs, bats, birds and other species, and cut, dragged and burned invasive plants in 2017 to help care for the natural resources they love.

On March 22-24, 2018, hundreds of these citizen scientists and stewards will gather in Eau Claire for the Wisconsin Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers. They’ll share their work through oral and poster presentations, get the latest research updates and training, enjoy field trips and network with others who are passionate about Wisconsin’s natural resources.

Bumble bee identification and monitoring, shown here, will be among the training sessions offered at the Wisconsin Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers from March 22-24, 2018, in Eau Claire. - Photo credit: DNR
Bumble bee identification and monitoring, shown here, will be among the training sessions offered at the Wisconsin Summit for Natural Resources Volunteers from March 22-24, 2018, in Eau Claire.Photo credit: DNR

“Volunteers’ work is critical to protecting and restoring our native species, our waters and our lands,” says Eva Lewandowski, citizen-based monitoring coordinator at DNR. “This conference celebrates their contributions and helps equip and inspire them to continue their work.”

The summit is the first joint conference of the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network and the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program (both links exit DNR) and is being co-hosted by the Department of Natural Resources and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

More than 12,000 volunteers help collect information on Wisconsin natural resources and many of them will gather March 22-24 for a volunteer summit in Eau Claire.   - Photo credit: DNR
More than 12,000 volunteers help collect information on Wisconsin natural resources and many of them will gather March 22-24 for a volunteer summit in Eau Claire. Photo credit: Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited

Participants in the summit will enjoy trainings on everything from bumble bee monitoring to volunteering on State Natural Areas to lake and stream monitoring. Field trips, research and natural history talks, and a keynote presentation from Julia Robson of Milwaukee County Parks and Walk to Sustain Our Great Lakes are other key parts of the conference, according to Becky Sapper, who directs the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program.

“The summit will be an opportunity for individuals and groups to form partnerships, share ideas, and learn from each other to advance natural resources volunteering efforts throughout the state,” Sapper says.

Anyone interested in natural resource volunteering, including volunteers, land managers, researchers, and project leaders are encouraged to register for the Summit. Registration is open through March 2. Detailed information on the event and how to register are available online at the Wisconsin Citizen-based Monitoring Network (exit DNR) website.

DNR awards grants for surface water project planning

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MADISON — Communities throughout Wisconsin will soon reap the benefits of 222 grants awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources providing nearly $2.9 million in assistance for projects to improve water quality, reduce runoff, create aquatic habitat and reduce the spread of invasive species.

Surface water planning grants provide assistance for lake and river planning projects and aquatic invasive species (AIS) education, prevention and planning. This year, the grants will leverage an additional $1.4 million in matching funds by lake and river associations, local governments and nonprofit groups.

“Planning is a key component of lake protection and restoration, and the surface water grant program is here to assist local organizations in taking this crucial first step,” says Alison Mikulyuk, DNR lakes and rivers team leader.

Planning grants are intended to help communities collect data, assess waterbody condition and understand the source of any problems. This information then becomes the foundation of a lake management plan that details management priorities and future actions. Funding for this effort originates from a tax imposed on fuel used in recreational boats.

“There was a lot of interest this year in projects designed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Several organizations will receive assistance for boots-on-the-ground efforts to inspect waterbodies, build partnerships and engage in education and outreach,” Mikulyuk said.

But AIS projects aren’t the only efforts receiving funding. The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance intends to use their grant to finalize a comprehensive management plan for the four large waterbodies in the Winnebago system. These waterbodies serve nearly 2 million people living within 75 miles. The planning project will lay the groundwork to improve water quality, protect drinking water and safeguard the globally-important population of lake sturgeon.

The 2018 surface water planning grant applications were submitted to DNR in December. Clean Boats, Clean Waters projects, which fund staff to conduct boat and trailer inspections and educate boaters on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species at boat landings, accounted for the largest number of awards with 128 grants totaling more than $657,000. Aquatic invasive species education, prevention and planning efforts represented the greatest area of investment with 33 grants totaling more than $1.1 million.

Grant Type Grants Awarded Award Amount Local Match Amount
Lake Planning 47 839,503.46 516,372.14
AIS Education, Prevention, & Planning 33 1,131,489.24 486,844.25
River Planning 11 110,000.00 108,253.41
Lake Classification 3 144,514.10 48,375.54
Clean Boats, Clean Water 128 657,256.70 280,909.29
Total FY16 Planning Grants 222 2,882,763.50 1,441,754.63

To see the full
list of awards visit dnr.wi.gov and search “surface water grants.” Links
to awarded grants can be found on the right hand side of the Web page under
“Related links” on a desktop computer, or under the “Show more” dropdown on
mobile devices.

Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Management Grant Program applications are now available

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MADISON – Cities, villages, towns, counties, regional planning commissions, tribal governments and special purpose lake, sewage, or sanitary districts have until April 16 to apply for competitive grants to assist them with the control of pollution from diffuse urban sources that is carried by storm water runoff.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is now accepting grant applications for the Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Management Grant Program. The local government must have either jurisdiction over the project area or be required to control storm water discharge with an inter-governmental agreement between the municipality and the Department of Natural Resources.

The application postmark deadline for Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Grant materials for Urban Nonpoint Source Construction projects beginning in 2019, are due April 16, 2018. Urban Nonpoint Source Planning Grant applications will not be solicited in 2018, but will be solicited again in 2019.

The grants reimburse costs of planning or construction projects controlling urban nonpoint source and storm water runoff pollution. Construction grant eligible projects include:

  • construction of structural urban best management practices including detention, wet, infiltration, or wetland basins, or infiltration trenches;
  • engineering design and construction services for best management practices installation;
  • land acquisition and easement purchase, including appraisal cost;
  • storm sewer rerouting and removal of structures; and
  • streambank and shoreline stabilization.

Parties interested in applying can learn more about the application process by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for keyword “grants,” and then click on the button for “find grants” and scroll down to the link for Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Management Grant Program.

A webinar for this grant program has been scheduled for Feb. 28, 2018, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The webinar will provide an overview of the Urban Nonpoint Source and Storm Water Management Construction Grant program, with focus on the application process for funds available beginning in 2019. The webinar will provide an overview of what’s changed since last year, and review what makes a construction grant project (eligibility criteria and project attributes), and tips on writing a strong application.

Go to https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6472756071903552002 (exit DNR) to register for the webinar, or paste the link into your browser window.

Anglers re-write state fish records in catch and release and by weight categories

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MADISON — Records are made to be broken, and anglers quickly proved this truism in the first year of Wisconsin’s new program recognizing catch-and-release state record fish. Traditional state records for fish by weight also fell in 2017, but the bigger story was the multiple first-time records hauled in by two anglers.

“We’re happy that some anglers have taken advantage of the new Live Release record fish category. We’re expecting a lot more activity in 2018 as more people learn about this exciting opportunity,” says Karl Scheidegger, the Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist who coordinates the state record fish programs.

Catch and release state records

Rod Eberly of Appleton secured a spot in state fishing history when his 17.75-inch white bass, caught and released May 8, 2017, was recognized as Wisconsin’s first ever catch and release record. His record, however, was short-lived.

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 8 photos

Anglers nab catch and release fish records

Kevin Larson of Hudson knocked Eberly off the leader board with the 18-inch white bass he caught and released on Cedar Lake in St. Croix/Polk counties on Aug. 23. Larson edged out Eberly’s bass out by a quarter of an inch.

Erika Carter of De Pere became the first female angler to set a new catch and release record in Wisconsin and bested an existing catch and release record. Carter caught and released an 8.75-inch pumpkinseed sunfish on July 4 from Lake Noquebay in Marinette County. Her haul bested the 8.25-inch pumpkinseed sunfish Eric Amenda from Germantown caught and released May 28 from Pleasant Lake in Waushara County.

Other initial records set in 2017 in the catch and release category that were still standing as of Feb. 1, 2018, are:

  • Aaron Fuchs of Baraboo wrestled a 47-inch flathead catfish on September 3 from the Wisconsin River in Sauk County. The fish was returned to the water with a ceremonial SPLASH!
  • Dennis Wilkerson of Twin Lakes caught and released a 10.5-inch rock bass on June 10 from Powers Lake in Kenosha County.
  • Ben Halfen of Prairie du Sac caught and released a 10.5-inch bluegill on June 16 from Reynard Lake in Bayfield County, establishing the first live release state record for bluegill.
  • Jacob Holmstrom from Danburry caught and released a 53.0-inch musky on June 24 from a Burnett County lake.

DNR recognizes live release records by length for specific fish species meeting qualifying lengths. The angler is required to submit an official record application and photos showing the fish lying along a ruler or other measuring device, and with the angler, which are reviewed and certified by DNR fish biologists.

Traditional by weight state fish records

Anglers in the traditional state fish record categories landed 11 new records in 2017, with two anglers accounting for six of them. DNR recognizes anglers who have legally taken the largest fish on record by hook and line, as well as those fish that have been taken by alternate methods including spearing or bowfishing.

Independence Day was more than just fireworks for 12-year-old Parker Welch of Merrill, Wis. The sixth-grader set three hook and line records on July 4, 2017 (see sidebar below):

  • She established the first-ever record for stonecat with her 9.3 inch, 5.4-ounce fish caught from the Wisconsin River in Lincoln County; established the first-ever shorthead redhorse record with an 18.9-inch, 1 pound 12.1-ounce fish caught from the Prairie River in Lincoln County; and bettered the existing golden redhorse record by about 1/4 pound with a 21-inch, 3-pound, 1.4-ounce fish caught from the Prairie River in Lincoln County.
  • Shawn Schmidt of Denmark Wisconsin established a new alternate method (spear-gun) record for yellow perch with a 14-3/4-inch, 8-ounce. fish taken from Lake Michigan in Kenosha County on June 22, 2017.
  • Schmidt also broke his own existing alternate method (spear-gun) record with a 16-inch, 2 lbs. 7.7 oz. yellow bullhead taken from Silver Lake in Washington County on June 29, 2017. The fish bettered the record by over 1-1/4 pounds. Schmidt was one of six anglers to set traditional records in the
    opening months of the 2017-8 fishing season, listed in this June 20, 2017, news release

These records bring his alternate method (spear-gun) record total to seven, for rock bass, bluegill, black bullhead, yellow bullhead, round goby, yellow perch and pumpkinseed.

For more information on state record fish and the process anglers should take if they have caught a fish that might be a state record by weight or under the new live release program, visit dnr.wi.gov and search “record fish.”

Anglers who want to pursue state records for less well-known fish species will want to make sure they do not possess endangered and threatened fish species.


12-year-old angler lands three state record fish in one day

In a year when anglers hauled in a stringer full of state record fish, Parker Welch’s feat stood alone.

Parker Welch, 12, of Merrill, Wis., set three state fish records on July 4, 2017: for golden redhorse, top; shorthead redhorse, middle; and stonecat, bottom. - Photo credit: Contributed
Parker Welch, 12, of Merrill, Wis., set three state fish records on July 4, 2017: for golden redhorse, top; shorthead redhorse, middle; and stonecat, bottom.Photo credit: Contributed

The 12-year-old sixth grader from Merrill, Wis., set three fish records in a single day, spincasting a fish story that begins with the love between a daughter and her father and their appreciation for Wisconsin’s lesser known fish: shorthead redhorse; golden redhorse; and stonecat. “It was exciting,” says Parker.

Her fish story begins 40 years ago, when her dad was growing on up a resort on Pelican Lake between Rhinelander and Antigo. From the time Alan Welch could walk he was catching fish, and by the time he was his daughter’s age he was guiding resort guests on fishing trips and cleaning the fish they caught for money to buy a new bike.

“I caught thousands of walleye and musky,” Alan Welch says. “To keep it interesting, I got into fish identification and I’d start going after weird stuff – fish like gar and carp. They are harder to catch because people don’t target them and there is no information on them.”

When his daughter Parker was a toddler, Welch introduced her to fishing and the two became fishing buddies, a shared bond and commitment to the outdoors that mom Jackie Welch appreciates. Parker became an accomplished angler although the father and daughter mostly focused on lesser known species in surrounding lakes and streams.

Parker enjoys fishing, and continues to make time for it even as she maintains a 4.0 Grade Point Average in school, serves as the wrestling team manager, and shot her first buck this fall.

“I like spending time with my dad,” Parker says. “Whatever he’s trying to catch I try to catch too.”

One day last year her father told her about his idea of trying to set multiple fish records. “I wanted to do it all on the same day so it was hard to beat,” he says.

That the pair set out to accomplish the feat on July 4th was coincidental; they knew from fishing those species before that the catching was easier when it was sunny and hadn’t rained for a couple of days. Fishing from shore with nightcrawlers, Parker caught the shorthead red horse in the morning on the Prairie River. “At that point, I think we knew we could get all three in a day,” Alan says. Parker caught the golden redhorse at noon, and then the pair went home until nighttime, when they went fishing on the Wisconsin River and caught the stonecat, a member of the catfish family whose name reflects its habit of hiding out under stones or logs during the day.

The fishing duo took Parker’s catches to a meat market in Wausau to get them weighed. “Most of them had never seen a fish like that. We had some comments, but they were happy for us,” Alan Welch says.

The daughter and father fishing duo are not ready to rest on their laurels. They’re angling for two records this summer: greater redhorse and longnose sucker.

Keith Warnke hired as Wisconsin DNR R3 Team Supervisor

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MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has named Keith Warnke as the state’s new R3Team supervisor.

Keith Warnke - Photo credit: DNR
Keith WarnkePhoto credit: DNR

Warnke will oversee the development and coordination of a specialized team dedicated to recruitment, retention and reactivation of hunters, anglers and trappers – a priority within the DNR and conservation agencies nationwide. Warnke will remain in the Madison DNR office, where he has served as the hunting and shooting sports coordinator since 2011. Warnke also guided the state’s big game program for seven years. His first full-time job with the DNR included hunter recruitment programs during the 1990s.

Warnke’s previous work experience includes common loon research, farmland wildlife research legislative aide and leading the state’s upland wildlife program. Warnke graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Minnesota.

“As a Wisconsin native, I respect and believe in the state’s outdoor traditions and believe these can touch every citizen – either directly or enjoying the outdoors with family and friends,” Warnke said. “And that direct connection can be through sustainable natural resources to be enjoyed generation after generation, and eating healthy foods harvested from the state’s landscape and waters.”