Wisconsin DNR working on deal to get elk from Kentucky

Elk bull


Journal Sentinel files


By Paul A. Smith of the Journal Sentinel

Dec. 17, 2014


An agreement to transfer 150 elk from Kentucky to Wisconsin is imminent, a top Kentucky wildlife official said Wednesday.

“We are in the final stages,” said Karen Waldrop, deputy commissioner at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, in a phone interview. “I expect everything to be in place very shortly so the next phases of work can begin.” Continue reading

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Early migration shows loon flight path

December 16, 2014

By: Chelsea Mongeau

Loon study pic

Geolocator tag on a common loon. Image: Kevin Kenow, USGS

When it comes time to take a winter vacation, even 4-month-old common loons from the Great Lakes region waste no time flying to warmer climates.

These birds began making their way down to the Gulf of Mexico between late October through the beginning of November – a few weeks earlier than usual – because of the early cold, according to U.S. Geological Survey researchers.

The researchers tagged 20 of the birds in Minnesota and Wisconsin in August with satellite transmitters and geolocators to monitor their migration to the Gulf of Mexico. The transmitters track the pressure, light levels and temperature of where the birds happen to be. Continue reading

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8 Animal Plagues Wreaking Havoc Right Now


December 3, 2014


When we talk about studying, controlling, or just plain worrying about pandemics, we usually think of our own, human diseases. But many other species face existential threats as well. In the wild and on the farm, through climate change, human agency, and other causes, deadly diseases and conditions are ravaging specific animal communities. Here are eight of the scariest diseases plaguing the animal kingdom today. Continue reading

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Senate passes increase in duck stamp price

December 02, 2014


By Ramsey Cox

The Senate passed two bills dealing with conservation efforts on Tuesday.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) got unanimous consent to pass H.R. 5069, the Federal Duck Stamp Act, and S. 1000, the Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act, in the Senate.

Last month, the House passed H.R. 5069, which increases the price of duck stamps from $15 to $25.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) said the bill was needed for conservation efforts since the price of duck stamps hadn’t been increased since 1991. Part of the price of duck stamps goes to conservation of public lands used for hunting.

“This is huge news for conservation and duck hunters,” Vitter said. “This legislation boosts conservation efforts, which in turn directly impacts the success of duck hunters in near and future hunting seasons.”

The duck stamp bill now heads to President Obama’s desk for his signature before becoming law.

Warner said his Chesapeake Bay bill would solidify federal commitments to restoring the body of water and ensure accountability for every dollar spent in the effort.

“Restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay must be a national priority,” Warner said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Warner’s bill heads to the House for further action.


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CRP Enrollment Declines Linked to High Commodity Prices

WMI Outdoor News Bulletin November 17, 2014

According to research from Purdue University, enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has been steadily declining since 2007. One of the primary drivers of this are the high commodity prices through last year that encourage farmers to plant or rent their agricultural lands, reports the Wildlife Management Institute.

David Widmar, a research associate at Purdue’s Department of Agricultural Economics, found that the number of acres in CRP fell by nearly 10 million acres between 2007 and 2013. He reported that North Dakota’s enrollment dropped by 47 percent (1.6 million acres) during that period with Montana close behind at 43 percent (1.4 million acres).

High commodity prices have driven farmland rental rates up making it more profitable for landowners to cash rent their land rather than keeping it enrolled in CRP. Current CRP acreage approximates levels enrolled in the late 1980s when the program was in its initial ramp-up stage. CRP participation peaked in 2007 when over 35 million acres were enrolled and the 2014 Farm Bill calls for further decline to 24 million acres by 2018.

CRP has easily been the most effective federal program in recent times to improve water quality and provide much needed grassland habitat for wildlife. It will be especially important that the acres that remain in CRP be targeted at the most effective locations and be managed properly to achieve the most benefits. (pmr)




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