Toad rescue effort occurs prior to mowing choreWhile cutting my grass this week after all the rain we recently received, I noticed a large number of very small toads fleeing impending disaster as the mower moved toward them.
While cutting my grass this week after all the rain we recently received, I noticed a large number of very small toads fleeing impending disaster as the mower moved toward them.
They were the size of my thumbnail and must have hatched recently as they weren’t present the last time the grass was mowed. I must have rescued a couple dozen, placing them in relative safety under the branches of our ground-hugging spruce. The rains must have provided a hatching opportunity for toad eggs that had been laid earlier.
Toads are members of the amphibian class which includes salamanders and frogs. The term amphibian means “both life forms” and refers to their use of a terrestrial and aquatic habitat.
While there are 11 types of frogs in Wisconsin, there is only one Wisconsin toad -- the Eastern American Toad -- which makes it a rather special animal. Toads can’t give people warts but a dog can experience a rather dramatic response after grabbing a toad in its mouth. The warty protuberances will produce a toxin that causes the dog to salivate profusely giving it a rabid-like appearance.
In my last column, I wondered about the circular ornaments that hang from the power lines near the Oak Ridge Waterfowl Production Area on 220th Avenue east of Star Prairie.
In talking with a couple of folks, they felt that they were placed there to give the nesting eagles a better view of the power lines and help prevent them from hitting the wires on their food gathering trips as they crossed the road to fish in Oakridge Lake. It makes good sense to me. I did like my idea of alien space craft landing markers better, however!
Warden Paul’s Corner
Early Goose Season
With fall right around the corner, many people are ready to go a field in pursuit of game.
The early Canada Goose season opens Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 15. The daily bag limit is five geese with a possession limit of 10 geese. Only approved non-toxic shot may be used. All shotguns must have a plug so the shotgun cannot hold more than three shells (including the chamber). Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. When a goose is harvested, and before it is carried by hand or transported in any manner, the hunter shall validate the permit by slitting or punching holes in the permit accordingly.
To participate in the early goose season, all hunters must possess with them in the field a valid small game, sports or conservation patron license, a current early September Canada goose hunting permit and be HIP registered each year (no charge and acquired when purchasing a license).
Persons 16 years of age and older must also purchase a state and federal waterfowl stamp to hunt geese during the early season. First time Wisconsin hunter education course graduates may use their hunter safety card in place of a small game license and state waterfowl stamp (if 16 or older the hunter would still need to purchase a federal waterfowl stamp).
Persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1973, must have a hunter education certification to purchase any hunting license. Persons 12 and 13 years old must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian while hunting. Persons younger than 12 years of age cannot hunt or purchase a hunting license.
All hunters must observe these requirements when hunting and the federal waterfowl stamp must be signed in ink across the face of the stamp by the license holder. For additional regulations, read the Wisconsin Early September Canada Goose Hunting regulations.
For any questions or to report a violation, call Conservation Warden Paul Sickman at 715-684-2914, ext. 120.
USF&W Manager Tom
Kerr’s WPA of the Week
Over the past several months, I have been writing about the waterfowl production areas in the St. Croix Wetland Management District. The St. Croix WMD is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants.
Since President Roosevelt designated Florida’s Pelican Island as the first wildlife refuge in 1903, the system has grown to more than 150 million acres, 550 national wildlife refuges and other units of the refuge system, plus 37 wetland management districts. Several of these refuges and WMDs are located within a few hours drive. Kevin Lowry, the visitor services manager at Whittlesey Creek NWR, has provided a short update about one of these refuges.
Located approximately three hours north is “The Little Refuge On The Big Lake.” Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge is the first unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System in northern Wisconsin.
The refuge is located near Ashland along Wisconsin State Highway 13, just north of the junction with U.S. Highway 2. Established in 1999, the refuge protects, restores and enhances the lower portion of Whittlesey Creek and coastal wetlands along the lakeshore of Chequamegon Bay in Lake Superior. These coastal wetlands are imperative to the wildlife of the south shore of Lake Superior. Although relatively smaller in size when compared to other national wildlife refuges, this little refuge has a big impact.
Currently, the refuge consists of 280 acres with an acquisition boundary of 540 acres of vital coastal wetlands in the Whittlesey Creek Watershed. Additionally, up to 1,260 acres will be protected through conservation easements. Staff members continue to work on conservation and restoration issues on the refuge, but are also available to help landowners interested in improving the management of their land for fish and wildlife by assisting them with forest, wetland and stream restoration projects.
Restoration and management of coaster brook trout, an anadromous fish native to Lake Superior, is one of the refuge’s primary goals. To help restore the coaster brook trout, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as its partners stocked different-aged fish, from adults to eggs, into Whittlesey Creek from 2003 through 2008.
The refuge also restores and manages in-stream fish habitat, stream-side habitat and wetlands, both on the refuge and on private lands to benefit other fish species as well as migratory birds. As lands are acquired, the refuge restores wetlands by plugging drainage ditches and allowing the areas to refill with water. Furthermore, the refuge restores forest habitat along spring-fed creeks that flow through the refuge. There is enormous value not only to the fish and wildlife that use this area, but also to the residents and visitors of the Chequamegon Bay area.
The refuge’s headquarters are housed within the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center near Ashland, Wis. The 37,000-square-foot building opened in May 1998, combining elements of history, natural resources and visitor information under one roof. The center operates through a unique federal, state and local partnership. Refuge staff also assists the center with education, outreach and hosting special events.
The refuge is literally next door to the center. A portion of the refuge now abuts the center’s property. Together, the Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge and the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center offer an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities and outdoor activities.
To learn more about the refuge and center, please check out our Web sites at www.fws.gov/midwest/whit tleseycreek/ and www.north erngreatlakescenter.org/. We hope to see you soon at your National Wildlife Refuge.