DNR funds volunteer monitoring efforts

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MADISON – Twenty-three Wisconsin organizations, local governments and projects will share a combined $100,000 from the Department of Natural Resources to expand volunteer efforts to help monitor Wisconsin’s natural resources. Efforts will focus on monitoring resources as wide-ranging as water levels in northern lakes, the spread of invasive plants in southwestern Wisconsin, and bumble bees in southern Wisconsin.

Marsh bird monitoring
Nearly two dozen organizations or institutions will receive funding this year through DNR’s Citizen-based Monitoring Partnership Program to expand volunteer involvement in collecting information about the condition and abundance of Wisconsin wildlife, waters and other natural resources.
Photo Credit: DNR

The funding is part of the Citizen-based Monitoring Partnership Program, through which DNR has supported 242 high-priority monitoring projects since 2004. Sponsoring organizations typically contribute $3 in donated time and money for every $1 the state provides toward the projects, says Eva Lewandowski, who coordinates the Citizen-based Monitoring Program for DNR.

“Citizen-based monitoring efforts contribute valuable information about Wisconsin’s natural resources, support DNR initiatives, and help us make the most of state dollars,” Lewandowski says. “We’re extremely pleased with the quality and variety of the applications this year.”

Citizen-based monitoring is widespread and successful in Wisconsin; more than 150 organizations in Wisconsin rely on volunteers every year to collect information about the health and distribution of wildlife and plant species and water quality. Some projects in the state, such as the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey, which is in its 35th year, provide crucial long-term data sets, while others address emerging issues like the spread of invasive species to new areas in Wisconsin.

“There are citizen-based monitoring projects in all parts of Wisconsin, with volunteers from schoolchildren all the way up to retirees helping to monitor our natural resources,” says Lewandowski. “The projects we’re funding this year will join in an excellent state tradition of monitoring plants, animals, and their habitats.”

Below is a list of the projects and their sponsoring organizations and individuals by geographic area.

Northern Wisconsin

  • Lake LevelTrends in Northern Wisconsin: Engaging Citizen Scientists in a Long-termMonitoring Program, North LakelandDiscovery Center, Manitowish Waters
  • Project W.O.W.(the War on Weeds): Tracking invasive plants across Wisconsin’sNorthwoods, Wisconsin HeadwatersInvasives Partnership, Eagle River
  • Mobile Surveys& Roost Monitors: Training the Next Generation of BatEnthusiasts, Joel Knutson, Oneida, Vilas, Forest, and Langlade counties
  • CWTURiverkeepers Stream Monitoring Program, Central Wisconsin Trout Unlimited

Western Wisconsin

  • MenomonieMiddle School Jarrett Creek Scientific Study, Menomonie Middle School,
  • Christmas BirdCount for Kids – Beaver CreekReserve, Fall Creek
  • BuildingRelationships in the Big Eau Pleine Watershed through Water Action VolunteersProgramming, University of Wisconsin-Extension

Southern Wisconsin

  • CitizenMonitoring of Invasive Plants on Major Roads, SouthwestBadger Resource Conservation and Development Council
  • CoordinatingCitizen-based Monitoring for the 10 Mississippi River Basin HealthyWatersheds Initiative Kickapoo Priority Sub-watersheds, Valley Stewardship Network, Viroqua
  • ExpandingCitizen Based Monitoring Partnerships in the Upper Sugar River Watershed, Upper Sugar River Watershed Association,Mount Horeb
  • Citizen-basedmonitoring informs bumble bee conservation in urban and rural southernWisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Arboretum,Madison
  • Clean LakesAlliance Yahara Lakes Water Quality Monitoring, Clean Lakes Alliance, Madison

Southeastern Wisconsin

  • AmericanKestrel Box Installation and Monitoring in Ozaukee County, OzaukeeCounty Planning & Parks Department
  • RiveredgeFrog, Toad & Turtle Citizen Monitoring Program, Riveredge Nature Center, Saukville
  • Expanding theMilwaukee County Parks Citizen-based Wetland Program, Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture
  • Waukesha FoxRiver Bat House Monitoring, WaukeshaFox River Conservation Group
  • WATERshed, Discover Racine/Racine in Bloom

Statewide

  • RecruitingVolunteers for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas II, Wisconsin Society for Ornithology
  • AquaticInvasive Species Bridge Snapshot Day Continuation and Expansion, RiverAlliance of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Wisconsin RarePlant Monitoring Program Coordination, DNR
  • Increasing theExposure to Citizen Science within the Wisconsin Master Naturalist Program,UW-Extension
  • ExpandingVolunteer Engagement in Statewide Freshwater Mussel Monitoring, DNR
  • Assessing dataquality for Snapshot Wisconsin, UW-Madison