DNR News Roundup; There are several DNR stories here.


DNR News Roundup


Contact: Zach Lawson, DNR Fisheries Biologist
Zachary.Lawson@wisconsin.gov or (715) 492-5276
Jason Folstad, DNR Fisheries Technician
Jason.Folstad@wisconsin.gov or (715) 476-7857


New Walleye Regulations For

Turtle-Flambeau Flowage


MERCER, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has issued new walleye regulations for the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage and connected waterbodies. Anglers should note that these changes went into effect on April 1, 2020, ahead of the game fish season opener on May 2, 2020.

These new walleye regulations will impose a minimum length limit of 12 inches. Anglers will also only be allowed to keep one walleye over 15 inches with a total daily bag limit of three walleyes.

Waters subject to the new regulations include:

  • Turtle-Flambeau Flowage
  • Trude Lake
  • The Bear River
  • The Flambeau River – upstream of the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage at Murray’s Landing
  • The Little Turtle River
  • The Manitowish River – upstream of the Flambeau River to the Rest Lake Dam (including Benson, Sturgeon and Vance lakes)

“This new regulation is tailored to a system with a recent decline in natural reproduction, but where harvest pressure on the entire population remains high,” said Zach Lawson, a DNR fisheries biologist. “Combining recent survey information with a rich historical dataset on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage suggests that this regulation is a sustainable option for protecting one of Wisconsin’s great walleye fisheries.”

This Turtle-Flambeau Flowage regulation change should help reduce the harvest of both juvenile and adult walleyes while still allowing anglers to harvest some quality-sized fish. The goal of this regulation change is to manage for a higher walleye population density with larger walleyes available for harvest.

Visit the 2020 Fishing Regulations for more information.

Contact: John Pohlman, DNR property planner
john.pohlman@wisconsin.gov or 608-264-6263


Initial Public Input Period Set For Central Sand Hills Master Plan


MADISON, Wis. – The public will have an opportunity from April 20 to June 5, 2020, to provide input and share ideas on the future use and management of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources properties in the Central Sand Hills region. The department is initiating a planning project to develop a master plan that covers the 67 DNR-managed properties in the region, totaling just over 90,000 acres. The region includes all of Marquette County and portions of Columbia, Green Lake, Portage, Dane, Sauk, Adams, Waupaca and Waushara counties.

Some of the well-known properties that will be included in the Central Sand Hills region master plan are:

  • Devil’s Lake and Hartman Creek state parks;
  • the Mecan, White and Pine river fishery areas;
  • Grand River Marsh, White River Marsh, Germania and Lawrence Creek wildlife areas; and
  • Parfrey’s Glen, Observatory Hill and Gibraltar Rock natural areas.

Several of the properties included in this planning project have existing master plans that meet current requirements, while others don’t have plans or have outdated ones that do not meet current standards.

As a first step in the planning process, the department is seeking comments on the public’s use of the properties, perspectives on current and future habitat and recreation management, and suggestions for issues to evaluate in the planning process.

Given the COVID-19 public health emergency, the department will not host public meetings during this initial comment period. Rather, a set of documents and a slide show have been posted on the DNR website that provide background information about the properties included in the planning process as well as general information about the region. There is also an online comment form on the webpage. The public input period has been extended from 30 days to 45 days to ensure the public has ample time to review the information and submit comments.

The department appreciates the public’s patience during this time. As state agencies continue operations, please understand that most DNR staff are teleworking and may have limited access to files and delayed online connectivity. Staff will keep their voicemails and out-of-office messages up to date and will respond as they are able. The department asks that those wishing to provide input into the planning process:

  • email whenever possible to communicate with staff, and
  • submit their comments related to the master plan using the online input form whenever possible, rather than sending comments by mail.

The department will use the input gathered in this initial phase to develop draft habitat and recreation goals and objectives for each property and a set of management actions to reach the objectives. These will be combined into a draft master plan that the public will be able to review and comment on in the fall. The result of this process will be a new master plan that covers all of the properties within the region. Master plans are guided by Chapter NR 44, Wisconsin Administrative Code and establish the level and type of resource management and public use permitted on department-managed properties.

For a list of all the properties included in this planning process and for additional information, people are encouraged to visit the Central Sand Hills Master Plan website here (link coming).

“While we regret not being able to host public meetings to kick-off this planning project, we encourage everyone to visit our website and share their perspectives on future use and management of DNR properties in the Central Sand Hills and to learn about the department’s property master planning process,” said John Pohlman, the department’s lead planner for the project.

In addition to the opportunities to offer input online, people may contact DNR Planner John Pohlman, by email at john.pohlman@wisconsin.gov, phone at 608-264-6263, or U.S. mail at John Pohlman, Wisconsin DNR, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53707-7921.

Contact: Mike Vogelsang, DNR North District fisheries supervisor
Michael.Vogelsang@wisconsin.gov or 715-365-5211


Catch And-Release Walleye Regulations Remain In Effect On Minocqua Chain For Another Year


MINOCQUA, Wis. – To protect the future walleye fishery, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is extending the catch-and-release walleye season on the Minocqua Chain of Lakes in Oneida County beginning May 2, 2020.

The catch-and-release regulation for walleye was implemented in 2015 to help rehabilitate the declining walleye fishery. Several years of no harvest has allowed the walleye population to grow, but natural reproduction and population goals are still not at target levels. The Natural Resources Board approved an emergency rule to put the extension into effect while a permanent rule is under discussion.

Walleyes are currently stocked into the Minocqua Chain to help re-establish populations, but populations on some of the lakes are still below established goals. Walleye population goals are expected to be achieved by 2021 under this emergency rule.

Waters subject to the extended catch and release season include:

  • Lake Kawaguesaga
  • Lake Minocqua
  • Mid Lake
  • Little Tomahawk Lake
  • Tomahawk Lake

A partnership of stakeholders including the DNR, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Walleyes for Tomorrow, Lac du Flambeau Tribe and Tribal Natural Resources Department and Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company have met over the past several years to evaluate the status of the walleye population and make recommendations to bring it to sustainable levels.

This stakeholder group has worked with the public to support extending the catch-and-release season for walleye to meet walleye population goals in Lakes Kawaguesaga and Tomahawk and solidify natural reproduction across the lakes, which will decrease the need for future stocking of young walleye to sustain the population. The Lac du Flambeau Tribe will also maintain the walleye spearing prohibition on the Minocqua Chain to help achieve these goals.

“One more year of catch and release walleye fishing on the Minocqua Chain will help increase walleye abundance to levels that will be more sustainable for harvest,” said Mike Vogelsang, DNR North District fisheries supervisor. “This will also give us time to bring partners and anglers back to the table to discuss permanent regulation options for future fishing seasons.”

More information on fishing regulations can be found here.

Contact: Michelle Staff, State of Wisconsin National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator
michelle.staff@wisconsin.gov or 608-220-5633


Reminder: FEMA Extends Grace Period for Flood Insurance Renewal Premiums


MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants to remind the public that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is extending the grace period to renew flood insurance policies from 30 to 120 days to help serve National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) customers who may be experiencing financial hardships during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

To avoid a lapse in coverage, there is typically a 30-day grace period to renew policies. However, due to COVID-19, flood insurance policyholders may not meet the standard policy renewal deadline. The grace period allows policyholders experiencing financial hardships avoid cancellation.

The extension applies to NFIP flood insurance policies with an expiration date between February 13-June 15, 2020 and written directly through the NFIP or through a private company that writes NFIP policies (called a “Write Your Own” Company).

Anyone can be financially vulnerable to floods. Homeowners and renters outside of designated floodplains are at risk, and most are not properly insured for floods. In fact, people living outside of mapped high-risk flood areas file nearly 25 percent of all National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance claims and receive one-third of Federal Disaster Assistance for flooding.

Recent Wisconsin spring inland flooding projections by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicate that major flooding is anticipated in Grant and Lafayette counties this spring, while moderate flooding is expected in northeast, southwest and far north Wisconsin. Minor flooding is expected statewide.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers anticipates coastal flooding along the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. Water levels in Lake Michigan are expected to be at or beyond record highs with water levels reaching 4-15 inches higher than last year. Lake Superior levels are expected to be well above average.

The DNR provides technical assistance to 556 communities in Wisconsin that are members of the NFIP. The DNR partners with FEMA, to assist these communities in the reduction of flood losses through sound floodplain management practices. As members, citizens of these communities have the right to purchase flood insurance through the NFIP and could potentially benefit from the extended grace period for premium renewals.

For more information about renewing flood insurance policies or resolving an underpayment, policyholders can contact their insurance carriers or call the National Flood Insurance Program Call Center at 1-877-336-2627.

Property owners or renters interested in purchasing flood insurance, should reach out to a local agent. If a local agent does not write policies, visit Floodsmart.gov to find a list of agents certified to write National Flood Insurance Program policies in Wisconsin.

Contact: Jenni Birkholz, DNR Environmental Business Support Coordinator
jennifera.birkholz@wisconsin.gov or 608-266-8226


Public Comments Sought For A Proposed Green Tier Contract With Inpro Corporation


MUSKEGO, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requests public comments on the proposed Green Tier contract with Inpro Corporation in Muskego, Wisconsin. The contract includes Inpro’s six facilities and would advance the company to Tier 2 of the Green Tier program. The DNR welcomes comments from Inpro’s customers, neighbors, stakeholders, and others through May 27.

Inpro is a global provider of architectural products for building professionals. The company makes and services products with a commitment to protecting buildings and the well-being of the people who use them. Product categories include door and wall protection, washroom systems, expansion joint systems, privacy systems, elevator protection, architectural signage, and commercial window treatments.

In Tier 2 of the Green Tier program, participants negotiate customized contracts with the DNR and interested stakeholders. These contracts enable significant environmental improvements and can allow for certain types of regulatory flexibility, though Inpro is not requesting any flexibility at this time.

Participants in Tier 2 of Green Tier are recognized for satisfying rigorous eligibility requirements. Applicants must have an environmental management system (EMS), a plan-do-check-act tool that helps a company understand its environmental impacts, already in place at the time of application.

The EMS developed by Inpro was certified by the International Organization for Standardization in 2013 and renewed in 2018. They have a robust sustainability program to improve environmental impacts by setting goals and ensuring continual improvement as they work toward superior environmental performance.

As a Tier 1 participant, Inpro currently commits to continual improvement of their environmental performance. Future goals for the Muskego facilities include reducing waste generated by manufacturing processes, minimizing consumption of natural resources, communicating environmental practices to its employees, customers, suppliers and the community, and complying with or surpassing environmental regulations and other requirements.

Program information is available on the Green Tier website. Comments and requests may be directed to: DNR Environmental Business Support Coordinator Jenni Birkholz via email to jennifera.birkholz@wisconsin.gov or by calling 608-266-8226.