Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sen. Tiffany's E-Update

November 1st, 2013

Listening Sessions Completed
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
Ottawa National 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 period.

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 New Building

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 radio station.

Outdoor Report
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 in pursuit.

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 canvasbacks.

Pheasant hunters 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 woodcock numbers.

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 ponds.

Fishing pressure 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.

Sandhill crane 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 grounds.

Walleye Initiative

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 Wisconsin.

“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

Calendar of Events

Upcoming Events
Start Date
11/2/2013 Christmas in November Presque Isle
11/9/2013                                                        Soup for Shelter                                            Rhinelander
11/9/2013 November Christmas Bazaar St. Germain
11/9/2013 Christmas Fest Sayner
11/11/2013 Veterans Day Sale Eagle River
11/22/2013 Festival of Lights Three Lakes
11/23/2013 Harvest Dinner Three Lakes
11/23/2013 Holiday Bazaar and Christmas Cookie Sale Eagle River
11/29/2013 Boulder Junction Annual Christmas Walk Boulder Junction

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