Tuesday, February 7th, 2023
Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

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Mixed Bag: Outdoor information from around Wisconsin

Evers Administration Seeks Approval to Start New PFAS Regulations

Madison (AP) — Democratic Gov. Tony Evers plans to ask state officials again for permission to develop limits on a group of chemicals known as PFAS in Wisconsin groundwater. DNR officials are set to ask the Natural Resources Board on Dec. 14 for permission to start drafting numeric standards for four types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in groundwater.

Evers’ administration controls the DNR, but conservatives control the NRB. The NRB adopted PFAS limits in surface and drinking water earlier this year but killed the DNR’s proposal to set groundwater limits amid concerns that the cost of drilling new wells and installing treatment systems could cost businesses, wastewater plants and paper mills millions of dollars.

DNR officials wrote in a memo to the board that they want to renew the process to set groundwater standards for the four substances after the EPA issued health advisories in June recommending standards ranging from 0.004 parts per trillion to 2,000 parts per trillion, depending on each substance.

DNR officials didn’t say what standards they’re considering this time. The proposal that died earlier this year would have set groundwater limits at 20 ppt.

Some research has linked the chemicals to health problems in humans and animals. Several Wisconsin communities are grappling with PFAS contamination in groundwater, including Marinette, Madison, Wausau, Peshtigo, and Campbell.

NRB to Meet Wednesday, Dec. 14, in Madison

Madison — The Natural Resources Board (NRB) will meet in-person at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, in Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF2), 101 S. Webster Street, Madison, to consider proposed rulemaking documents, hearings and donations.

The public may watch the meeting on the DNR’s YouTube channel. Items the NRB will consider include: Adoption of an emergency order related to disposal of material dredged from the Great Lakes; adoption of an emergency order to allow for the use of new cement formulations for the construction of water wells; approval of the scope statement related to setting numerical standards to minimize the concentration of polluting substances for certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in groundwater; approval of the scope statement for proposed rules related to wild bait harvest regulations, and approval of a scope statement and emergency order to establishing the 2023-24 migratory bird season framework and regulations.

Lake Superior Lake Trout Season Now Open

Bayfield, Wis. — Lake Superior’s lake trout season opened Dec. 1 and runs through Sept. 30, 2023, or until the harvest cap is met.

Anyone looking to harvest lake trout must buy a Great Lakes trout and salmon stamp, in addition to their fishing license.

Lake trout are managed in Lake Superior using a quota system with different allocations for different user groups. The Wisconsin waters of Lake Superior are divided into two units. WI-1 encompasses all waters from Superior to Bark Point (known as the Western Arm), and WI-2 includes waters from Bark Point to the Michigan border (known as the Apostle Islands region).

Each of these units has its own harvest quota based on their lake trout populations. Recreational harvest is monitored through sport fishing surveys. The Western Arm has a bag limit of three lake trout; the Apostle Islands region has a bag limit of two lake trout. Both areas have a 15-inch size limit; only one fish over 25 inches is allowed per day. The Apostle Islands region sees more pressure and, therefore, has a trigger in place to close the season prior to Sept. 30, 2023, if 75% of the 12,670 recreational lake trout quota has been reached.

This 2023 season will be the last season under the current lake trout quota for the Apostle Islands region. Using data from 2020-22, a new quota for the 2024 season is being developed.

2023 State Park, State Forest Vehicle Entry Stickers, Trail Passes Now Available

Madison — The 2023 state park and forest annual admission stickers and trail passes are now available and allow admission to more than 60 state parks, state forests, recreation areas and trails from the date of purchase through Dec. 31, 2023.

The stickers are required on all motor vehicles visiting state parks and recreation areas. Some state forest and trail parking areas also require the annual sticker or daily admission pass. A sticker costs $28 for residents or $38 for nonresidents. If there is more than one vehicle registered to the same household, additional stickers are available for $15.50 for residents and $20.50 for nonresidents. A senior citizen (65 and older) annual sticker is $13. Annual trail passes are $25 for residents and nonresidents.

State trail passes are required for all people age 16 or older biking, in-line skating, horseback riding, skiing or off-highway motorcycling on specific state trails. A state trail pass is not required for walking or hiking. Resident and nonresident annual stickers are available online and at state parks and forests via drive-up window service, self-registration or over the phone.

Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge Goes to Winter and Holiday Hours

Trempealeau, Wis. — The Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge contact station, at W28488 Refuge Road, began winter hours Dec. 1. Office hours will be Thursdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (closed Saturday through Wednesday and federal holidays). Call (608) 539-2311, ext. 1, for information.

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