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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Deer Baiting Ban Imposed July 1 In Marinette County

Issue Date: July 19, 2018

DNR Wildlife Biologist Caroline Ward informed Marinette County Board's Infrastructure Committee on Thursday, July 12 that deer baiting and feeding have been prohibited in Marinette County since Sunday, July 1. The ban will remain in effect here for at least three years, due to discovery of chronic wasting disease in a 2-year-old white tail doe at the Wild Rivers Whitetails deer farm in the Town of Goodman.

The baiting and feeding ban also affects Florence and Forest counties, since both boundaries are within a 10-mile radius of the deer farm. As of July 1, THE addition of Marinette, Forest and Florence Counties brings the total number of Wisconsin counties where baiting and feeding are banned to 43.

This is the first case of chronic wasting disease found in Marinette County. The doe reportedly was born on the deer farm in Goodman and died during fawning.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), the Wild Rivers Deer Farm has about 320 deer in a 230-acre single fenced facility. It also maintains a nearby fenced area as a deer shooting preserve.

Ward said DATCP is in charge of chronic wasting disease control inside the farm fences, and the DNR is responsible for control in unfenced areas.

She said individuals may still feed bids and small mammals, provided the feeding devices are within 50 yards of a human dwelling and are placed at a sufficient height or design to prevent access for deer.

Ward said persons wanting to report a sick deer should search key words "sick deer" on the DNR website, or contact a local wildlife biologist.

She said cooperation of the Highway Department is also important, as dead deer they discover should be reported. They also are asked to report finding dead crows, blue jays, etc.

She said in the near future a special public meeting of the Deer Advisory Council will be called to discuss the chronic wasting disease issue, including the feeding and baiting ban.

Supervisor Al Sauld asked About the possibility of requiring a double fence around deer farms to prevent contact between the farm-raised deer and their wild counterparts. Ward said Gov. Scott Walker had put that on the agenda for the Natural Resources Board, along with proposed rule against transporting whole deer carcasses, and the proposals are moving forward. Sauld understood the Natural Resources Board had rejected the whole carcass transport ban idea a few years ago.

At the meeting Ward also reported on work being done by the on the Athelstane Barrens area, which is owned by Marinette County but managed in cooperation with the DNR. She said they had burned the Barrens area this spring to encourage better natural prairie growth, and "a lot of wonderful plants have come up, including milkweeds and morning star. This is a plus for Kirtland's Warbler management efforts, as well as an assist to survival of the monarch butterfly.

Supervisor Glenn Broderick commented that milkweed is a most important food source for pollinators, particularly the Monarch butterflies, and there is a national effort in progress to promote growth of the pollinator population. Pollinators are vital for agriculture and gardening.

The Athelstane Barrens work is financed in part by a special DNR fund that allocates a nickel per acre of County Forest for wildlife habitat improvement. He noted it used to be a dime an acre. He and Ward both expressed hope that efforts to get it back up to a dime an acre will be successful.

Ward said there are all kinds of projects she would like to use the money for in Marinette County.

Marinette County has 233,000 acres of County Forest, so the added funds would b substantial.

Ward said the DNR had been doing some work at Morgan Park on a 60-acre stand of popple that was not growing well. While the area was being cleared to encourage better natural regeneration, DNR crews had started construction of a hunter walking trail, which she said "is coming along great."

DNR Forester Dan Mertz told the committee that DNR personnel had logged 3,258 hours doing work on the Marinette County Forest during their recently ended fiscal year. This exceeded their goal of 2,900 hours.

He explained the hours are divided among the 29 counties that have county forests, based on the number of acres each contains. He predicted they may not be able to devote as much time to Marinette County next year because several counties have asked for huge increase in allocated hours to work on some special projects.

Mertz sad he and Infrastructure Committee Chair Al Mans had been able to share a lot of information on problems and solutions at the recent Wisconsin County Forest Association meeting in Florence County.

Their tour included what he called a "deer exclosure," a section of county forest which is fenced off to keep deer out.

Mertz said in hopes of improving natural forest regeneration they will look again this year at reducing the deer population in parts of Marinette County.

The committee was told boaters at Twin Bridge Park are causing problems for campers who moor their boats there. Forest and Park Administrator Pete Vilas said there are plans to Put buoys around the camper portion of the beach and boat landing area to keep the boaters further out on the flowage and prevent them from taking over the beach.

The committee agreed to seek County Board approval of an ordinance change that will allow them to hold future meetings AT the Highway, Forestry and Parks Department headquarters in Peshtigo rather than at the courthouse in Marinette, and on the second Wednesday of each month rather than the second Thursday.


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