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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2018 News and Feature Stories







Kirtland's Warbler 2018 Nesting Season Report



Male Kirtland's warbler.

Male Kirtland's warbler. Photo by Joel Trick.


February 4, 2019


On April 12th, 2018, the US Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposed rule to remove Endangered Species Act protection for the Kirtland's warbler. Publication of this proposed rule means that the Service believes the Kirtland's warbler no longer faces the threat of extinction and that mechanisms are in place to ensure continued habitat management and cowbird control so that the warbler's recovery will remain intact into the future. The 90-day public comment period on the rule closed on July 11, 2018. Comments received from the public and peer reviewers on the proposed rule are being evaluated and a final determination on the status of Kirtland's warbler is expected in the Spring of 2019.


Kirtland’s warblers nest in young jack pine stands in Michigan and red/jack pine stands in Wisconsin and Ontario, winter in deciduous forests of The Bahamas, and were among the first wildlife in the United States identified as being at risk of extinction. Populations dipped to a low of 167 pairs in 1974 and when the Endangered Species Act was passed into law in 1973, the Kirtland’s warbler was on the initial list of endangered and threatened species. With cooperative efforts among conservation partners, the Kirtland’s warbler population is now estimated to be over 2,300 pairs, more than double the recovery numerical goal. The Kirtland’s warbler population continues to grow and has exceeded the numerical recovery goal for the past 16 years.


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Reestablishing wild rice in Green Bay




September 28, 2018


Wild rice is being replanted in Green Bay’s coastal wetlands to restablish a resource used by Native American tribes and wildlife. The rice was seeded in the fall of 2016 and 2017 by local conservation partners and sportsmen’s groups. It is purchased annually from a Great Lakes source in northern Minnesota.

Thousands of acres of wild rice once lined the shores of Green Bay. It served as an important food source for waterfowl on their spring and fall migrations. Local Native American tribes also relied on the rice for subsistence and cultural practices.


Today, the few remaining wild rice beds still provide nutrition, nesting materials, and cover for waterfowl and other birds. Mammals such as muskrats use the tender stalks for food and to construct their lodges. Rice beds also serve as nursery areas for small fish, frogs, and other invertebrates. Water quality is improved in areas with wild rice beds through soil stabilization, uptake of nutrients, and reducing wave action.


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NRDA trustees restore Menominee Indian Tribe trout pond




September 28, 2018


After a Natural Resource Damage Assessment was conducted on the Fox River/Green Bay, the trustee council determined there was work to be done to restore the land and water to a healthy state. The trustee council includes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State of Wisconsin, the Menominee Indian Tribe and the Oneida Nation.


At the forefront of the partnership and restoration efforts was supporting the efforts of the Menominee Indian Tribe and the Oneida Nation to enhance their specific cultural practices and restore the land so that community members can hunt, fish, hike, collect medicinal plants and partake in the traditions that their cultures are built upon.


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Final restoration plan and environmental assessment for the Sheboygan River and Harbor site released




September 27, 2018


In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, the Natural Resource trustees for the Sheboygan River and Harbor site have approved their final restoration plan and environmental assessment for the site. The final restoration plan and environmental asssessment present the types of restoration projects the trustees have selected to implement to restore natural resources and services injured by hazardous substances released in and around the site.


In a settlement with Tecumseh Products Company, Thomas Industries and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, the Trustees received approximately $4,500,000 to support restoration, preservation, recreational enhancements and past Trustee costs relevant to assessing natural resource injuries.  The trustees selected two habitat preservation projects as partial compensation for natural resources injuries: (1) The acquisition of Amsterdam Dunes property, approximately 184 acres abutting Lake Michigan within the Sheboygan River Basin; and (2) the acquisition of the Willow Creek property, a unique, 140-acre urban open space located within the City of Sheboygan. Future restoration projects at either of the habitat preservation sites or at other sites in the identified restoration area will cumulatively restore injuries to wildlife and aquatic habitat resources and their lost uses that occurred when hazardous substances were released at the Site.


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Wetlands preserved on Green Bay West Shore




September 20, 2018


This spring, the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust closed on an acquisition that preserves 78 acres of wetlands, part of the Green Bay West Shore complex, in Oconto County. The property shares a boundary with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources 928 acre Green Bay West Shore Wildlife Area – Oconto Marsh Unit, and is adjacent to a 70-acre property that was acquired by NEWLT in 2015. The property is an important stopover site for migratory birds and is likely being used by northern pike to spawn due to connectivity and nearby proximity to Green Bay. The wetlands are rated exceptional for water quality, carbon storage, flood abatement and wildlife habitat.


The Fox River/Green Bay Natural Resource Damage Assessment (FR/GB NRDA) Trustees helped support this acquisition as well as the 70-acre acquisition from 2015. Properties such as this help preserve natural resources injured by the release of PCBs into the environment through the permanent preservation of habitat. The use of NRDA funds to protect wetlands, riparian areas and associated uplands of the FR/GB NRDA Restoration Area also prevents further destruction of important natural resources that are being threatened by development.


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Oneida Lake Habitat Creation




September 20, 2018


In the 1950s, hazardous chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, were released by paper companies into Wisconsin’s Fox River/Green Bay ecosystem. This greatly impacted the water quality, native fish and wildlife, and the local community.


After a Natural Resource Damage Assessment was conducted on the Fox River/Green Bay, the trustee council determined there was work to be done to restore the land and water to a healthy state. The trustee council includes the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the State of Wisconsin, the Menominee Indian Tribe, and the Oneida Nation.


At the forefront of the partnership and restoration was support off the Oneida Nation as well as the Menominee Indian Tribe to enhance their specific cultural practices and restore the land. These efforts were key to ensuring that community members can hunt, fish, hike, collect medicinal plants and partake in the traditions that their cultures are built upon.


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Something's fishy in Green Bay




September 20, 2018


The muskellunge is a large freshwater fish native to North America and an exciting sportfish for many anglers in the Midwest. Muskies can be found in lakes and rivers all over the Great Lakes region, into Canada, and the upper Mississippi River drainage.


The musky population was decimated during the early to mid-1900s by habitat destruction, pollution and over-fishing. The need to re-establish this native top-predator has been identified in several conservation planning efforts as they are an important part of a fish community that maintains balance in the food web.


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Northeast Wisconsin event promotes pollinator habitat


Monarch butterfly on flower.

Monarch butterly on a flower.


August 24, 2018


On August 24, 2018, more than 30 landowners and land managers gathered at a private landowner’s property in Algoma, Wisconsin, to learn how to create and enhance habitat for pollinators. Participants toured approximately 11 acres of pollinator habitat and learned about site preparation, pollinator seed mixes and planting methods. The landowners also shared their successes and challenges with maintaining the planting. Biologists from the Fish and Wildlife Service and Pheasants Forever organized the event. The event helped inform those interested in pollinator conservation and increased awareness of the importance of wildlife habitat. The decline of the monarch butterfly and other pollinators has increased interest in pollinator habitat in northeast Wisconsin. The Service and Pheasants Forever plan to organize similar events in the future.




Wisconsin contributes towards endangered Great Lakes piping plover recovery


Piping plover chick.

A newly banded piping plover chick.

Photo by Joel Trick


August 20, 2018


In 2018, federally endangered Great Lakes piping plovers nested in two locations in Wisconsin. On Lake Superior, three pairs nested at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore’s Long Island. This site has continuously supported piping plovers since 2005. On Lake Michigan, three pairs nested at Cat Island. Piping plovers have successfully nested on the island since 2016. Plovers at both sites are successful thanks to the ongoing partnership among the Service, National Park Service, Bad River Tribe, Wildlife Services, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Brown County Port, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and others.


These contributions are critical to the recovery of Great Lakes piping plovers. At least 50 nesting pairs outside of Michigan is required before Great Lakes piping plovers can be reclassified from endangered to threatened. In the Great Lakes this season, 67 pairs nested, most of them in Michigan, a significant number for a species that was nearly extirpated by the 1980s.


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Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds help acquire Door County Natural Area



Boreal forest habitat.

Boreal forest habitat in Door County, Wisconsin purchased with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funds.

Photo by Kari Hagenow, The Nature Conservancy


February 26, 2018


A recent purchase by The Nature Conservancy will protect nearly 400 acres of coastal boreal forest in Door County, Wisconsin. The acquisition, funded in part by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, is in an area surrounded by the Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands State Natural Area. Once the land is designated as a state natural area, it will almost double the size of this unique and diverse natural area. The acquisition also improves public access to the state natural area by connecting once-isolated parcels of land.


This parcel of land and the state natural area are within the Door Peninsula Coastal Wetlands Ramsar site, a globally important wetland. Influenced by its location on Lake Michigan and the resulting local climate, Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands is a landscape where northern plants, animals and forests can thrive far south of where they are normally found.


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Last updated: February 13, 2019