The following articles come from the
May print edition of the ECCOLA newsletter.

Timber Wolf Population Growing
May Calendar

Vilas County Approves New Shoreland Ordinance

By a 14-3 vote, the Vilas County Board approved a new shoreland ordinance on April 10th. The new ordinance restricts waterfront lot size based on a lakes classification system where small vulnerable lakes receive the highest level of protection.

Thanks to calls and letters from ECCOLA members and other environmental groups in the days leading up to the vote, political momentum for passage was achieved against stiff opposition from the powerful real estate lobby.  Several key Supervisors who had previously not declared their support, or opposed  stricter shoreland protections, came out in favor of the ordinance on April 10th.  The campaign to pass the important shoreland protection ordinance again shows how committed citizen action by ECCOLA can truly make a significant difference.

The new law goes into effect on May 1, in time for this summerís building season.  The new ordinance isnít simply a rewriting of the old ordinance with a few twists, rather, it embarks on a new concept of lake classification to place the tightest restrictions on waterbodies that are the most vulnerable to overdevelopment.   Every one of Vilas Countyís 1300 lakes is categorized into one of nine classifications based on size, sensitivity to pollution and level of development.   For example, on trout streams and lakes under 50 acres, any newly platted lot will have to contain at least  300 feet  of frontage and 60,000 square feet  of areas for the entire lot.

Timber Wolf Population Continues To Grow

Wisconsinís timber wolf population increased about 11 percentóto about 200 wolves in 54 packs up from an estimated population of about 180 wolves in 46 packsófrom 1998, according to results of an annual overwinter population count conducted by state wildlife biologists.

Wolf packs are distributed across at least 20 Wisconsin counties.  Eight packs consisting of 25 to 28 wolves are located in the central forest from eastern Eau Claire County down to the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Juneau Co.  The other 46 packs are located across northern Wisconsin.  Most packs occur from Lincoln County westward. Two wolf groups were detected in northeastern Wisconsin.  A pair of wolves north of Star Lake in northern Vilas County, and a small pack of three wolves in northern Forest County were counted. This is the first verified wolf pack for the Nicolet National Forest.

Wolf population counts have been made annually since 1979 using aerial observations of radio-collared wolves and their companions and snow tracking by Department of Natural Resources biologists and volunteers.

The growth of the population was not as high this year as it has been in some recent years due to the fact that most of our stateís most favorable wolf habitat is starting to filled up.  Although there is still good room for population growth in the northeast, much of the more suitable habitat is filled in northwestern and north central Wisconsin.

The largest pack in the state was the Wilson Flowage Pack of Price County with eight wolves. Average pack size this winter was 3.5 wolves per pack.  During winter, 22 packs contained radio-collared wolves. Collared packs are generally counted directly from the air while, other packs are counted by following tracks in the snow.  Wolves were considered extirpated from Wisconsin, or no longer found in the state, by 1960.  They returned to the state in the mid-1970s, and by 1980 the population had increased to 25 wolves.

Protection provided by the Federal Endangered Species Act allowed wolves to expand and re-occupy former range in the Great Lakes region.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced in June 1998 the intent to completely remove wolves in Wisconsin and adjacent states from the federal endangered species list within the near future.  The formal process to remove the species from the federal list should begin later this year and could be completed in 12 to 18 months.

DNR staff began work on a new wolf management plan for the state three years ago.  A second draft Wisconsin Timber Wolf Management Plan is currently out for public review.  This plan outlines how a reclassified wolf population will be managed in the state, and determines criteria for removing wolves from both the endangered and threatened species lists in the state.  Because the wolf population has been at the goal state reclassification from endangered to threatened for more than three years, the Department of Natural Resources this year is proposing reclassifying the wolf from and a state endangered to a state threatened species.

People attending the DNR spring fish and wildlife rules hearings held April 12 in each county of the state endorsed by a vote of 4,593 to 829 a proposal to change the timber wolf from endangered to threatened status in Wisconsin.  In the current draft of the plan wolves would be removed from the Wisconsin Endangered and Threatened Species List after the number of wolves in Wisconsin reached 250 in one year.  The statewide population goal was modified from a maximum of 500 wolves to a minimum management goal of 350.

The plan was prepared by the Wisconsin Wolf Advisory Committee and revised after people interested in wolves from throughout Wisconsin and across the nation contacted the committee to comment on the first draft of the management plan.  Copies of the current draft of the Wolf Management Plan are at libraries in Superior, Hayward, Park Falls, Rhinelander, Green Bay, Wisconsin Rapids, Black River Falls, Madison and Milwaukee. The draft plan is also available at DNR Service Centers at Spooner, Rhinelander, Green Bay, Eau Claire, Madison and Milwaukee.

The draft plan is also on the DNR web site.  Copies can also be requested from Wolf Plan, PO Box 4001, Eau Claire, WI, 54702.  People can send comments to that address of by e-mail.  Comments are due by May 12.  After comments have been received, the plan will be once more revised before being submitted to the Natural Resources Board for approval.  FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Adrian Wydeven, Mammalian Ecologist, (715) 762-4684 ext. 107 Randy Jurewicz, Bureau of Endangered Resources (608) 267-7507 or David Weitz, Public Affairs Manager, (715) 839-3715 (Portions reprinted from the DNR Outdoor Report 4/27/99)

May, 1999 ECCOLA Calendar
May 10th--Oneida County Vote on Shoreland Ordinance: Courthouse in Rhinelander 9:00
May 17-- ECCOLA wildflower walk: Rendezvous at the corner of Hwy 47 and 51 in Woodruff at 6:00 PM
May 22--WI Science Advisory Council on Metallic Mining Meeting: 9:00 AM Rhinelander-DNR Office  107 Sutliff Ave
May 22--U.S. Forest Service Nicolet Chequamegon National Forest Master Plan Public Meeting; 9:00 AM Wausau--call  (715)362-1300 for location
May ECCOLA Meeting Will Take Place Among Spring Wildflowers 

This springís warm temperatures have made it an excellent year to enjoy the profusion of wildflowers carpeting hardwood forests of the Northwoods. Dave Picard, ECCOLA Board member and amateur naturalist will lead a walk on Monday, May 17th.  He will identify and talk about some of our regions most beautiful wildflowers such as the trillium, violets and hepaticas.  If youíve ever wanted to learn more about the flowers that caught your eye in the spring.  Donít miss this chance to enjoy a fun, spring evening learning experience. For more info call Dave at 356-2539.  See Calendar for rendezvous site

for more information, contact ECCOLA

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