Wisconsin Ecological Services Field Office

Midwest Region

 

Wisconsin Field Office

2661 Scott Tower Drive
Green Bay, WI 54229-9565
Phone: 920-866-1717
Fax: 920-866-1710
TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay)

e-mail: GreenBay@fws.gov

 


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2016 News and Feature Stories

 

Reestablishing Wild Rice in Lower Green Bay

 

Biologist seeding wild rice.

Service biologist and partners seed wild rice in Lower Green Bay.

Photo courtesy of Steve Kass/Ducks Unlimited.

 

November 9, 2016

On a sunny November day, partners from more than nine different organizations set out in their boats to seed 20 acres of wild rice in Lower Green Bay. The boats traveled up Duck Creek, through expansive emergent wetlands in the estuary and into backwater areas behind the Cat Island chain.

 

University of Wisconsin Green Bay students have been monitoring the growth within test plots of wild rice, wild celery and bulrush over the last few growing seasons.

 

“Wild rice is a really charismatic species and often targeted for restoration,” said Brie Kupsky, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay graduate student. “If we can re-establish wild rice in the lower Bay, it will build immense interest and investment in the restoration. “Based on the success of these test plots, wild rice planting efforts were expanded this year.”

 

“The rice is attractive to migrating waterfowl, but it also soaks up pollutants and other nutrients,” stated Ducks Unlimited Biologist Brian Glenzinski. “Fish like northern pike benefit from increased foraging habitat too.”

 

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Wisconsin Kirtland's Warbler 2016 Season Report

 

Male Kirtlands warbler.

Photo courtesy of Joel Trick.

 

September 1, 2016

This season marked the 9th year of Kirtland’s warbler monitoring in Wisconsin. From only seven Kirtland’s found in 2008 to 30 in 2016, we have witnessed a growing and geographically expanding population due to the conservation efforts and support from many dedicated partners and individuals. This season had numerous successes; an expansion in the Adams County breeding site and new breeding areas in northern Wisconsin, continued and new habitat management projects, three field trips, the initiation of research studies, continued projects such as adult and nestling banding and the playback experiment, continuation of the state-wide census, new nest monitors, new and returning partnerships, and the growing public interest and care for this compelling warbler.


On May 14, 2016, the first Kirtland’s of the season was detected at the Adams County site by Ashley Hannah (UW student and Kirtland’s monitor). In the snow, wind, and cold AJPI (a male banded at the site in 2012) was observed low in a red pine. Aged to be 5 years old, AJPI is our third oldest Kirtland’s at the Adams County site. On May 16, four male Kirtland’s were heard by Barry Benson (U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services) while checking cowbird traps. Over the course of the week more Kirtland’s were detected and many of the returning warblers were on territories that they held in previous years.

 

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Endangered piping plover nests in Lower Green Bay for the first time in 75 years

 

Green Bay, Wis. – Local partners announce the nesting of the endangered piping plover in Lower Green Bay on the Cat Island Chain

 

Male Piping plover with a chick.

Male piping plover with chick. Photo courtesy of Tom Prestby/UWGB.

 

August 9, 2016

2016 is shaping up to be a groundbreaking year for endangered Great Lakes piping plovers in Lower Green Bay. This summer, for the first time in more than 75 years in Lower Green Bay, piping plovers successfully nested at the newly restored Cat Island Chain and fledged three chicks. Local UW-Green Bay Researcher Tom Prestby, who routinely monitors the site, spotted the nest in late May.

 

"Piping plovers have used the site increasingly since it was created, including multiple males throughout the summer of 2015 but they were unsuccessful attracting a mate. We knew breeding was likely if a female found them and we’re pleased that it happened this year," Prestby explains.

 

Piping plovers once nested on the wide beaches of sand and cobble along the shores of all the Great Lakes. Loss of habitat caused numbers to dip below 20 pairs in the Great Lakes before the small shorebird was listed as endangered in 1986. One estimate puts the Wisconsin piping plover population at 75 to 95 breeding pairs in the 19th century. Green Bay has regularly been an important migratory stopover site for the endangered piping plover and with the rebuilding of the Cat Island Chain it is now able to support nesting piping plovers. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore is currently their only regular nesting location within Wisconsin.

 

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Green Bay Field Office Assists with Aldo Leopold School Exploratory Week

 

 

A biologist assists an Aldo Leopold Community School student with planting.

A biologist assists an Aldo Leopold Community School student with planting.

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 

June 2, 2016

Each spring, the Aldo Leopold Community School in Green Bay, Wisconsin, holds an exploratory week where students participate in a two-hour environmental themed course each day. This year, biologists from the Green Bay Field office worked with the school to develop a pollinator-focused course for the event.

 

A total of 18 kindergarten and third graders signed up for the course. Students started the week learning about pollinators and pollinator habitat. On the fourth day, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program biologists Gary Van Vreede and Reena Bowman helped students and staff plant two monarch gardens in front of the school. On the final day, Reena Bowman helped students with a play in which they acted out the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. This activity helped the students understand the importance of milkweed to monarch survival.

 

Along with supporting the Service’s Monarch Initiative, this project will provide continued educational benefits for students and the community. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife program helps private landowners improve wildlife habitat by providing financial and technical assistance.

 


 

USFWS Determines Critical Habitat is not Prudent for Threatened Northern Long-eared Bat

 

Determination based on desire to reduce potential disturbance at hibernation sites, habitat requirements of species, and acknowledgement of white-nose syndrome as primary threat

 

Northern long-earred bat with WNS.

Northern long-earred bat with white nose syndrome.

 

April 25, 2016

Given the nature of the primary threats facing the species and the potential harm of publishing its hibernation locations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that designating critical habitat for the northern long-eared bat under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is not prudent. The Service’s determination does not affect the bat’s threatened status, which it received in 2015 due to white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease impacting cave-dwelling bats.

 

Critical habitat is a designation under the ESA for lands that contain habitat features that are essential for the survival and recovery of a listed species, which may require special management considerations or protections. The ESA requires the Service to consider which areas are needed for a species’ recovery and to designate critical habitat accordingly, unless it determines that doing so is not prudent for the species.

 

In making its determination, the Service conducted an in-depth analysis of the bat’s seasonal habitat needs, which include mines and caves for hibernation in winter and forested areas for roosting and raising young in summer. Because designating critical habitat requires identification of specific tracts of land, the Service determined it is not prudent to designate hibernation sites as critical habitat. Doing so would increase the risk of vandalism and disturbance to bats at hibernation sites and could hasten the spread of white-nose syndrome. 

 

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Protections Finalized for Threatened Northern Long-Eared Bats

 

Northern long-earred bat in a cave.

Northern long-eared bat. Photo by Ann Froschauer/USFWS.

 

January 13, 2016

In an effort to conserve the northern long-eared bat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a final rule today that uses flexibilities under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to tailor protections to areas affected by white-nose syndrome during the bat’s most sensitive life stages. The rule is designed to protect the bat while minimizing regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies and others within the species’ range.

 

“The overwhelming threat to the northern long-eared bat is white-nose syndrome,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Until there is a solution to the white-nose syndrome crisis, the outlook for this bat will not improve. This rule tailors regulatory protections in a way that makes sense and focuses protections where they will make a difference for the bat.”

 

The Service listed the northern long-eared bat as threatened under the ESA in April 2015 and established an interim 4(d) rule following drastic population declines caused by white-nose syndrome in the eastern and midwestern United States. This deadly disease continues to spread westward and wreak havoc on cave-dwelling bats. In November 2015, presence of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome was confirmed in the 30th state – Nebraska.

 

The final 4(d) rule for the northern long-eared bat removes prohibitions that would otherwise be in place on “incidental take” of the bat in areas of the country not affected by white-nose syndrome (see map). Incidental take includes harm, harassment or mortality that occurs incidental to an otherwise lawful activity, such as clearing trees for a construction project.

 

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Last updated: July 27, 2017