2013 highlights of the Wisconsin DNR

MADISON - From the first winter free fishing weekend to a massive wildfire in Douglas County, to the first year of expanded hunting in state parks, to the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, to the launch of a new Department of Natural Resources free hunting and fishing mobile app and a new Public Lands Atlas, here is a look back at the natural resources issues and highlights of 2013.
  • Drinking water monitoring and reporting violations cut by one-third 
    Wisconsin public water supply system operators reduced by one-third their violations of monitoring or reporting requirements for drinking water and continued their stellar record of serving water that met all health-based standards in 2012, a recently released report shows.
  • "Endangered Resources" bureau name changes but mission stays the same
    The state program charged with caring for Wisconsin's endangered resources, nongame animals and State Natural Areas is taking on a new name and organizational structure to better reflect and carry out its broad mission. As of July 1, the Bureau of Endangered Resources officially became the Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation within the Department of Natural Resources.
  • Petroleum cleanup program gets new home at DNR
    Wisconsin's petroleum tank clean-up program is getting a new home with the signing of the state's biennial budget bill. Effective July 2, the petroleum environmental cleanup fund award program, known as PECFA, moved to the Department of Natural Resources Remediation and Redevelopment Program.
  • DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp to throw out first pitch at inaugural DNR Days at Miller Park
    There are few traditions Wisconsin residents hold more dear than hunting, fishing, and baseball. This Friday, July 19, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the Milwaukee Brewers team up for the first DNR Days at Miller Park.
  • Public hearings set on changes to statewide shoreland zoning standards
    Proposed changes to minimum statewide shoreland zoning standards aimed at providing more flexibility for property owners and making the standards easier for counties to implement are the topic of public hearings in August. People also may file comments electronically or by U.S. mail through Sept. 5.
  • Successful calving year good for state's growing elk herd
    Despite a very late spring and hordes of biting insects, more than 250 hardy volunteers joined Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists to search the forests near Clam Lake for elk calves during May and June. This effort revealed that the year has started out exceptionally well for Wisconsin's growing elk herd.
  • Ice fishing season comes early 
    Ice fishing opportunities are going to come early and often this season, good news for the growing number of ice anglersdrilling down into this favorite winter sport, state fisheries officials say.
  • No Asian Carp DNA found in Sturgeon Bay water samples
    Water samples collected from Sturgeon Bay last month and analyzed for evidence of Asian carp DNA have come back negative, state officials announced today.
  • Wisconsin chinook stocking strategy set for 2014 and beyond
    The state's strategy for stocking chinook salmon in Wisconsin's Lake Michigan waters in 2014 and beyond is set and seeks to maintain existing great fishing opportunities in spring and summer all along the coast while tweaking the state's original proposal based on public input to improve fall fishing.
  • New DNR staff to focus on environmental compliance for industrial sand mining
    As part of Gov. Scott Walker's biennial budget, the State Legislature approved the hiring of two new engineers to focus on environmental compliance for industrial sand mines in Wisconsin.
  • New Atlas of Public Access Lands of Wisconsin available online or in print
    A new Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Public Access Lands Atlas is now available online and in a printable format. The atlas highlights the significant increase in public access to Wisconsin lands made possible through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, as well as other lands open to the public for outdoor recreation.
  • Capitol ceremony marks chief warden transfer 
    More than 100 wardens and other law enforcement agency representatives were among those at last week's symbolic ceremony at the State Capitol Assembly Chambers as the Department of Natural Resources and its Bureau of Law Enforcement saluted its 17th Chief Conservation Warden Randy Stark as he ended his more than 31-year career, paving the way for the state's 18th Chief Warden, Todd Schaller.
  • Electronics recycling opportunities continue to grow under E-Cycle Wisconsin
    Wisconsin residents now have access to nearly 450 permanent electronics collection sites, and continue to recycle their old TVs, computers and other consumer electronics at an impressive rate, according to new data compiled by the Department of Natural Resources.