Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearings – Neonics

2018 Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearings flyer. (WDNR)

Each second Monday of April, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress holds their spring hearings. There are 54 questions this year concerning a myriad of conservation issues. One of great importance to natural landscaping enthusiasts is advisory question 45 on the use of neonicotinoids:

“Should the Conservation Congress work with the DNR, NRB and Wisconsin Legislature to take up the ‘Saving Wisconsin Pollinators Act,’ and include specific language to ban the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (dinotefuran, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) regardless of application method on all state owned agricultural and forest lands, and establish limited use guidelines for continued use on commercial and private agricultural lands? Yes or No?”

“The question relates to banning the use of neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics) on state owned agriculture and forest land. “Neonicotinoids are a widely used class of insecticides. They are neurotoxins that are present throughout all parts of the plant once applied, including the leaves, pollen, and nectar. They can also contaminate water resources and soils as well. Studies show that pollinators are endangered through acute poisonings by coming into contact with these toxins. It has been widely reported that we are currently experiencing a large loss of pollinators.”

Doug Tallamy says a Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) pair brings 390-570 caterpillars to their young per day for 16 days. Photo by Doug Tallamy.

In essence, although neonics are effective against a variety of insect pests, they also kill non-target insects such as pollinators, and can have an equally unhealthy indirect effect on birds, bats and other insect-eating wildlife in the chain of life.

Wisconsin Conservation Hearings

The hearings will be held in each county of Wisconsin on April 9, 2018 at 7:00PM. Everyone attending has a chance to speak on behalf of any of the questions — pro or con. Everyone attending has the opportunity to cast their vote — yes or no — on each question. These citizen advisory ballots are then presented to the Natural Resources Board (NRB) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

If you are not able to attend the hearings personally, your comments should be submitted to the Wisconsin DNR no later than April 9, 2018. Send your comments to:

•Fisheries Rule Coordinator, Scott Loomans, 101 South Webster St. PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, (608) 266-5206, scott.loomans@wisconsin.gov

•Wildlife Rule Coordinator, Scott Karel, 101 South Webster St., PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707-7921, (608) 267-2452, scottr.karel@wisconsin.gov

Please send your comments to the WDNR. Let’s get the use of neonics under control here in Wisconsin.

Hearings Questionnaire

Hearings Locations

Background on Neonic Insecticides by Wisconsin Society for Ornithology

WCHF Announces 2018 Inductees

WCHF Announces 2018 Inductees
Roy and Charlotte Lukes, George Meyer and Arlie Schorger

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame Foundation (WCHF) has announced the selection of four conservation leaders for induction on April 14, 2018 at 10:00a.m. at the Sentry Theater in Stevens Point. The public is invited.

A coffee reception will be held at 9 a.m. prior to the Induction Ceremony on Saturday, April 14th at Sentry Theater in Stevens Point.  Following the ceremony, there will be a luncheon at 12:30 p.m. at the Sentry World Center. The Induction Ceremony and Coffee Reception are free and open to the public. Reservations for lunch ($25 per person) may be made online or by calling Schmeeckle Reserve at 715-346-4992.

Saturday, April 14, 2018
Sentry Theater in Stevens Point
Program: 9 a.m. Coffee Reception (free)
10 a.m. Induction Ceremony (free)
12:30 p.m. Luncheon – ($25/person)

The inductees this year include a couple who have spent their lives as “Partners in Nature” protecting the natural heritage of Door County, a Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) who never retired, and an almost forgotten UW-Madison Wildlife Professor and philanthropist who contributed directly to Leopold’s Conservation Legacy.

Roy (1929-2016) and Charlotte (1944- ) Lukes

Door County naturalists, Roy and Charlotte Lukes, spent their lifetimes protecting the natural beauty of the peninsula and sharing its magic through their teachings, writings, and personal charm. As “Partners in Nature,” they built the Ridges Sanctuary into a center for conservation education, research, and advocacy. They educated and inspired citizens of Door County and the State through their many research efforts, lectures and nature walks, books and newspaper columns. Although Roy has passed on, Charlotte has continued to write the weekly column “Door to Nature” for the Door County Pulse.

Roy and Charlotte were also instrumental in protecting many of the county’s most scenic gems and ecologically valuable habitats. They saw their scientific research on the flora and fauna of Door County as a cornerstone to their work in conservation related education, policy and public leadership.  In recognition of their lifelong collaboration, the couple received nearly thirty awards from numerous educational, literary, civic and environmental organizations.

George Meyer (1947 – )

A highly respected and influential Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR), George Meyer was instrumental in creating and advancing major conservation and environmental policies affecting all of the State’s natural resources. During his three decade career with the WDNR, Meyer worked on many of the most challenging, and often controversial, policy issues affecting Wisconsin.

In addition to his years in public service, Meyer spent much of his life promoting citizen participation and the advancement of conservation organizations. Since retiring from the WDNR in 2002, Meyer has led the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, serving as its first Executive Director. With 200 affiliate organizations statewide, the Federation promotes sound resource management through its educational and advocacy programs.

Throughout his career, he has been respected for his integrity, leadership, and unassuming personality. He has received many awards and much recognition for his contributions to conservation.

Arlie (Bill) Schorger (1884 – 1972)

As a man of many talents, Arlie (Bill) Schorger excelled as a chemist, inventor, businessman, and wildlife conservationist. In conservation circles he is most well known for his work as a nature historian and for his books on the life histories of Wisconsin’s Wildlife and man’s impact on them. His 1955 award winning book, The Passenger Pigeon: Its Natural History and Extinction helped advance a global concern for wildlife management, biodiversity and the new field of conservation biology.

He became a Professor of Wildlife Management after retiring from his business career in paper chemistry and devoted the rest of his productive life to advancing conservation through his research and writings. As a personal friend of Aldo Leopold, he also played a pivotal role in launching Leopold’s career and conservation legacy.

He was also known for his public service, philanthropy and leadership in state and national conservation organizations. He served on the Wisconsin State Conservation Commission (now the WDNR Board) and as President of the Wisconsin Academy of Science, Art and Letters.  As a philanthropist, he contributed to many conservation, literary and civic programs.

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame

The Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame and Visitor Center, located at Schmeeckle Reserve in Stevens Point, was established in 1985 to advance the conservation legacy of Wisconsin and now recognizes 88 leaders who have contributed significantly to it. WCHF is a cooperative venture of 32 State-wide conservation organizations. Individuals may be nominated for induction by member organizations or by the public. Based on a set of criteria, nominees are selected for induction by the WCHF Board of Directors and an independent Board of Governors.

Dianne Moller of Hoo’s Woods and Raptor Friends

Dianne Moller educator, rehabilitator and licensed falconer with Hoo’s Woods Raptor Center in Milton, Wisconsin was a presenter at this year’s Eagle Days along the Fox River. People in the audience got to meet many of her feathered friends.

Eagle Days Along the Fox River – Today

The weather is going to be great today! Last week monitors saw dozens of birds flying or roosting in areas along the Fox. Based on the December survey, the DNR estimated almost 250 eagles in a twenty to thirty mile stretch of river.

Groups of eagles use the largest trees along the Fox River to watch for fish. Photo by Jeff Marquardt.

Take advantage of the winter activity and soar with eagles along the Fox today!

 Schedule

Viewing Sites

Speakers

Audubon Lists 5 Hotspots for Photographing Bald Eagles

Listed in the Winter 2017 issue of the Audubon Magazine were five hotspots for photographing Bald Eagles. They are:

  • Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah
  • Conowingo Dam, Maryland
  • LeClaire, Iowa
  • Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri
  • Skagit River, Washington

Today Bald Eagles nest in every state but Hawaii, so the chance of seeing one is a lot easier than back in the 1960s — before DDT was outlawed. In fact, there is good opportunity to see the Bald Eagles that make the Fox Valley their home.

Although you can see them  all year long, they are especially visible during the winter months because they congregate near the open water of the Fox River. Plan to join us for Eagle Days activities during the next three Saturdays, January 13, 20 and 27th.  See Schedule.

Eagle Monitoring January 13th

Eagle monitoring for this coming Saturday, January 13, 2018, will be from 6:56AM to 8:30AM.  Viewing sites are located throughout the Fox Cities. Citizen scientist eagle monitors will be on hand at each site.

Following the early morning monitoring, a reception will be held at 10:00AM the Atlas Waterfront Cafe for an update by WDNR personnel Bryan Woodbury and Joe Henry on data collected through 2017.

The public is invited to join any of the eagle monitoring activities.

Refreshments will be available.

New Eagle Days Contributor

Mr Brew’s Taphouse in Appleton, Wisconsin has recently been added to our list of contributors for Eagle Days Along the Fox River. Mr Brew’s is located along the river shore and is an excellent place to stop for a brew and watch the eagles. Thank you Mr. Brew’s Taphouse for being a contributor.

Other contributors to our Eagle Days event are:

Wild Bird & Backyard, Appleton

Go Wild with Birds, Neenah

Atlas Waterfront Cafe & Gathering Room, Appleton

Eagle Days Along the Fox River 2018

Thousand Islands Environmental Center in Kaukauna, Wisconsin along with the Northeast Wisconsin Alliance organization, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other interested enthusiasts are collaborating again to provide opportunities  for everyone to view Bald Eagles along the Fox River during the month of January.

Besides learning about the Bald Eagles that make the Fox Valley area their home during the winter months, all visitors will also be able to learn about the history of the Fox River and the abundant wildlife viewing it has to offer.

In a nutshell, here are planned events.  Details can be found at Schedule.

  • January 13  Mid-Winter Eagle Monitoring*
    • 6:44-8:35AM Eagle Monitoring at designated sites
    • 10AM-Noon Reception and update on 2016-17 monitoring results at Atlas Waterfront Cafe
  • January 20  Various Eagle Education Programs
    • 10:30AM-2:30PM Paper Discovery Center
    • 10AM-3PM Neenah Public Library
    • 7:45-9:15 AM Guided Bird Hikes at various locations
    • 7AM-5PM Self-Guided Viewing Locations along the Fox River
  • January 27  Various Eagle Education Programs
    • 7AM-5PM 1000 Islands Environmental Center
    • 9AM-NOON Kaukauna Public Library
    • 7AM-5PM Guided Viewing Locations along the Fox River (Kaukauna locations only)

Fox Cities Eagle Viewing Map

Other American Bald Eagle viewing opportunities in Wisconsin

*Eagle Monitoring

Eagle monitoring occurs on the second Saturday of the month in the Fox Valley area from November through March. Start times begin one half hour before sunrise and continue for ninety minutes.

There are various locations, most of them public, between the mouth of the Fox River on Lake Winnebago and the Wrightstown Bridge. If you’d like to get out to watch for these amazing soaring creatures, contact Cheryl Root for more information. No experience is necessary and there’s no age limitations.

See also Volunteers, DNR Work to sustain Fox River’s bald eagle population

See also Celebration of Eagles.

Newest Sponsors for Eagle Days

We are pleased to announce the addition of two new sponsors for Eagle Days along the Fox. They are Expera Specialty Solutions and Evergreen Credit Union. Thank you both for helping us present Eagle Days to the public.

Other sponsors include The Boldt Company, Cellcom, WE Energies and the JoAnn Roehl Memorial.

Atlas Waterfront Cafe & Gathering Room, Wild Bird and Backyard and Go Wild with Birds are other contributors toward our event.

Resurgence of Eagles in Fox Valley

Effort focuses on bald eagle Resurgence” is the title of an article by Madeleine Behr which appeared in the Appleton Post-Crescent newspaper recently. The article talks about the resurgence of the eagle population along the Fox River and its surrounding communities in the Appleton, Wisconsin area.

It also talks a bit about the history of the clean-up of the Fox River and the impact that has had, as well as the impact citizen scientists have had on on the resurgence of the eagles. Started by retired WDNR wildlife biologist Dick Nickolai, since 2008 volunteers have undertaken eagle monitoring in the Fox Valley. Data shows that we now have 33 eagle nests in the area.

Lastly, it mentions Eagle Days Along the Fox. An annual celebration where citizens can monitor and learn about the Bald Eagles on the Fox River. Next  year’s planned events will be held on January 13th and 20th.

To read the entire article.

See also Eagle Days Along the Fox.