Public Invited to Driftless Area Master Plan Meetings 3-11-2013

RELEASE
Wisconsin Department of Natural ResourcesDNR Logo
South Central Region
3911 Fish Hatchery Rd, Fitchburg, WI 53711
Phone: (608) 275-3266 TDD: 711
dnr.wi.gov www.wisconsin.gov
The following counties are in the South Central Region: Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Grant, Iowa, Jefferson,
Lafayette, Richland, Rock, Sauk.
The Public Affairs Manager for DNR South Central Region is Bob Manwell, (608) 275-3317
March 11, 2013
CONTACT:
Nate Nye, fisheries biologist, Baraboo, 608-635-8122
Bradd Sims, fisheries biologist, Belmont, 608-935-1935
Gene Van Dyck, fisheries biologist, Dodgeville, 608-935-1936
Kurt Welke, fisheries biologist, Fitchburg, 608-273-5946
Bob Manwell, DNR communications, Fitchburg, 608-275-3317
SUBJECT:
Public invited to Driftless Area master plan meetings  Trout LenAndyKurth
FITCHBURG, Wis. – Anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts who visit southwest Wisconsin’s Driftless Area either for fishing or other kinds of outdoor recreation are invited to share their ideas about improving fishing access and management of state lands in this unique landscape.
There are nine public meetings statewide as the state Department of Natural Resources begins the process of preparing a master plan for these state properties. All the meetings run from 4-7 p.m. Four meetings are scheduled for DNR’s South Central Region.
? March 18, Baraboo, UW—Baraboo, 1006 Connie Road
? March 26, Belmont, Belmont Inn, 102 W. Mound View Ave.
? March 27, Dodgeville, Folklore Village, 3210 County Highway BB
? March 28, Fitchburg, Fitchburg City Hall, 718 Main St
People attending the meetings also will be able to see a decade’s worth of information showing fish populations in the affected streams, view maps of existing public access, and learn how climate change is projected to impact the future distribution of trout and bass throughout the Driftless Area.
In Wisconsin, the Driftless Area occupies the western and southwestern portion of the state that escaped the last glacial period and is characterized by rugged topography, springs, cold-water streams and rock outcroppings.
“We want to hear from anglers what influences where they like to fish and what makes a high quality angling experience,” says Paul Cunningham, the Department of Natural Resources fish specialist who co-leads the effort. “We’ve laid out the best science-based data and models available and want to get the best science  data and models and want to get the public’s perspectives on how best to apply this information so that we spend our dollars and staff wisely.
The following counties are in the South Central Region: Crawford, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Grant, Iowa,
Jefferson, Lafayette, Richland, Rock, Sauk.
The Public Affairs Manager for DNR South Central Region is Bob Manwell, 608-275-3317
The public meetings are part of a long-term master planning process for more than 200 properties that will guide DNR’s habitat management and land acquisition efforts in the Driftless Area over the next 15 years.
Most of the properties are narrow strips along some of the most desirable trout and smallmouth bass fishing waters in Wisconsin. Local fisheries biologists will be on-hand at the meetings to make short presentations and answer questions.
DNR currently owns about 28,000 acres in the Driftless Area and holds easements on more than 8,000 acres of land that allow anglers access to more than 300 streams.
“Report card” on trout and bass in different watersheds now available
As a first step in the development of the master plan, DNR staff created a background report describing the streams, the size and abundance of trout and bass in different watersheds, the relative resilience of streams to climate change and a host of other issues.
The report is available on the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, by searching for “master planning” and clicking on the Driftless Area link.
The Driftless Area is recognized as a premier trout and smallmouth bass fishery and draws people from throughout the Midwest who also enjoy the beautiful scenery and other recreational opportunities, Hewett says. Long-term planning for fish management is challenging because the environment is constantly changing, from how land is used to long-term changes in the climate.
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