Earlier this week, Representatives Mursau, Swearingen,
and Czaja joined me in conducting listening sessions throughout the district.
It was a great opportunity to hear from constituents on the issues that they are
facing everyday. On Monday, Rep. Mursau and I traveled to Oconto Falls, Suring,
and Wabeno where we heard from constituents on the importance of mental health,
library funding and Wisconsin's wolf hunt.
On Tuesday, I was joined by Rep. Swearingen in Eagle
River, Land O'Lakes, and Manitowish Waters. Snowmobile funding, rural schools,
and culverts were the hot topics of the day. Rep. Swearingen also gave
constituents an update on the Speakers Taskforce on Rural Schools, which he
chairs. The second public hearing on the Speaker's Taskforce has been scheduled
for November 6 from 1:30 to 4:30 PM in Elroy.
On Wednesday, Rep. Czaja and I held listening sessions
in Marathon, Birnamwood, and Bowler. The hot topics included industrial sand
mining and education as multiple school administrators joined us. I would like
to thank both the representatives and the many constituents that took time out
their busy days to join me at the town halls to listen to the issues that effect
people across the Northwoods.
Ottawa National Forest To Increase Harvest
Forest officials plan to step up aspen logging, nearly tripling harvests. In a
letter sent to the Gogebic County Board of Commissioners, Susanne Adams,
Ontonagon-Bergland District ranger, said while the Ottawa has been averaging an
annual "regeneration harvest" of 600 acres per year, the revised forest plan
calls for harvesting 1,700 acres annually.
"In order to
maintain 109,000 acres of aspen on the forest, a priority will have to be made
to regenerate mature aspen stands (greater than 40 years of age) within the next
10 to 20 years, or the opportunity will be lost." Adams wrote in the letter
that was accepted and placed on file by the board on Wednesday. Adams indicated
the increase from 600 to 1,700 acres per year would be scheduled over a 10 year
While there is a
long way to go to reach appropriate harvest levels on national forest lands, I
applaud the management of the Ottawa National Forest in the Upper Peninsula for
taking the first steps to increasing harvest and management for aspen.
Z104 Radio Moving To
WJMT/Z104 Radio in
Merrill is moving to a new home. The radio station has operated out of the
Lincoln House for more than 20 years. This past winter, a water pipe in the
Lincoln house froze and burst flooding the station. Jim Medley, operations
manager, feels the new place, with its extra space and better equipment, should
add an extra level of professionalism and pride that comes with the hometown
Reports from across
the state indicate the white-tailed deer rut is underway with a surge in scrapes
and rubs that bucks use to mark territory, and bucks being seen in active
pursuit of does. Archers are reporting some very good success with larger bucks
now on the move. Deer movement has been going on day and night and vehicle deer
collisions are on the rise. Motorists need to be alert for deer suddenly
entering roadways and remember if one deer crosses there is likely another deer
Cold fronts in the
last week have brought increasing numbers of Canada geese into the state.
Waterfowl hunters along the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan are reporting
increasing numbers of diving ducks including bluebills, redheads, and
are enjoying an abundance of birds on state wildlife areas, with stocking up
from 2012. Birds will continue to be released throughout the month of November.
Grouse hunters are reporting a few birds but in general the population does seem
to be on the lower end of its cycle, though some areas are reporting decent
The wolf harvest
has reached 181 animals as of October 31 and the season has now
been closed in three harvesting
zones [PDF], the two most northern zones and the central forest zone.
Raccoon trappers are also reporting increased success this season.
With all the
hunting activity and colder weather, fishing activity has slowed in many areas,
but hardcore musky anglers are still reporting decent success on northern lakes,
where some good walleye action has also been reported. Some bluegill action was
reported on pools of the Mississippi River. Skim ice has been seen in the
mornings on the backwaters of the Mississippi as well as on small Northwoods
has dropped off on Green Bay but there were some perch being caught in the
Sturgeon Bay area. Lake Michigan tributaries are still producing some salmon and
trout, but the fall runs appear to be subsiding.
numbers continue to build as traditional hotspots like Crex Meadows in Burnett
County and along the Lower Wisconsin River. Large roosts of blackbirds numbering
up to 50,000 are being seen in the south. Tundra swans made their first push
into the state this week. The red-tailed hawk migration is just passed peak,
while bald eagle numbers are on the rise and golden eagles and rough-legged
hawks have moved in from their arctic nesting
Walleye anglers and others
interested in walleye management are invited to take an online survey to help
shape the state’s future stocking strategy for walleye now that a $13 million
investment to upgrade facilities and increase operating funds is expected to
significantly boost the number of larger walleye stocked in
“The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative
has the capacity to increase seven, eight, even 10 times the number of larger
walleye for stocking in Wisconsin waters where natural reproduction isn’t
getting the job done,” says Ron Bruch, a Department of Natural Resources
fisheries section chief co-leading public involvement efforts.
“That increase is significant, and
we need to take a look both at our walleye stocking strategy and our walleye
management plan in general. We want to hear what the public thinks are the most
important considerations for how we manage walleye fisheries in the future and
for where we put these fish.”
The survey is found on DNR’s
Wisconsin Walleye Initiative Web page, which contains a variety of materials
relating to the walleye initiative. It can be reached from DNR’s home page by
searching for “walleye”
and clicking on the “take the survey” link.
The survey is part of DNR’s ongoing
efforts to reach out to walleye enthusiasts, tribes and business interests with
a stake in walleye fishing in Wisconsin to help chart the future, Bruch says.
Earlier this month, the same survey was shared with people who attended public
meetings in Hayward, Rhinelander and Oconomowoc and with participants in two
business focus groups.
Bruch says that results from the
survey will be incorporated into the stocking strategy that state fisheries
officials present to the state Natural Resources board in December. That
stocking strategy needs to be determined soon for DNR to figure out logistics
for where to raise the fish, how many of particular strains, and where to
deliver them next year.
The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative is
a two-year investment of fishing license fees and state tax dollars to help
produce for stocking in more waters more of the larger walleye that have better
survival rates in the wild. In addition to DNR hatcheries receiving $8.2 million
for repairs and upgrades and more money to raise more fish for the next two
years, the initiative provides for a one-time, $2 million competitive grant
program for municipal, tribal and private fish hatcheries for upgrades to
increase their capacity to raise fish, and $500,000 for the state to purchase
fish from non-state hatcheries.
Sign up for free
updates on the walleye initiative
Get the latest stocking reports,
videos, and other information about the walleye initiative, walleye management
and walleye fishing in Wisconsin by signing up for free email updates or mobile
alerts. From the Wisconsin
Walleye Initiative Web page, click on the subscribe button and enter your
email address or cell phone number for mobile alerts.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron
Bruch 608-267-7591; Steve Avelallemant 715-365-8987