The publications below are pieces written by Wisconsin Green Fire's member experts and published by Wisconsin Green Fire that summarize the science and background of key conservation and environmental issues and make policy recommendations that support pro-conservation outcomes.

  • WGF Opportunities Now papers are products of an analysis of current literature, interviews with agency staff and experts, and the consensus of our subject matter teams.
  • WGF Conservation Bulletins reflect the judgment and consensus of our contributors, based on available evidence and relevant research.
  • The Monroe County Climate Readiness and Rural Economic Opportunity Assessment report, a product of a pilot project conducted by WGF and a team of specialists and collaborators that outlines a 30-year vision for conservation and climate resilience in a western Wisconsin county.

Policy makers, conservation organizations, and concerned citizens are all welcome to use and distribute our papers without restrictions.

Special Reports

Cover page of Effects of Wake Boats on Lake Ecosystem Health with text and graphic of a purple and gray wake boat on a blue and gray wave

The Effects of Wake Boats on Lake Ecosystem Health: A Literature Review

Note: This report is temporarily unavailable while we add some updated information.

This February 2024 literature review synthesizes research from over 175 scientific papers to show how wake boats can affect the health of lake ecosystems. Written by WGF's Conservation Fellow, David A. Ortiz, this review summarizes the environmental concerns associated with wake boat use and provides recommendations to minimize those effects and protect Wisconsin's lakes.

  • Aquatic Invasive Species
  • Shoreline Erosion
  • Aquatic Plants
  • Sediment Resuspension
  • Birds and Fish
  • Community Strategies
  • Recommendations


Illegal Deaths and Injuries to Wisconsin's Large Wild Birds: Identifying and Evaluating Recent Occurrences - Phase 1 Project Report

This February 2024 report provides information and recommendations based on five years of data from wildlife rehabilitators on deaths and injuries of Wisconsin's large non-hunted birds. Written by a member of WGF's Wildlife Work Group, Kerry Beheler, this paper is Phase 1 of a larger project on impacts on wild birds.

  • Background on Wildlife Rehabilitators and Non-hunted Wild Birds
  • Data and Results from 2017-2021
  • Discussion and Recommendations
  • Appendix and Supplemental Information

Opportunities Now

Opportunities Now 2.0: PFAS in Wisconsin Drinking Water: A Summary of Current Detections and their Implications for Wisconsin

This November 2023 paper summarizes the issue of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Wisconsin waters with science-based recommendations to protect Wisconsin drinking water and affected people and communities. This paper builds on our 2021 paper: "PFAS – Forever Chemicals in Wisconsin" and our May 2023 PFAS in Wisconsin conference.

  • Background on PFAS
  • Drinking Water and Groundwater Standards
  • PFAS Extent in Wisconsin Water Supplies
  • Costs of PFAS Treatment
  • Recommendations

Opportunities Now 2.0: Imbalance of Power: How Wisconsin is Failing Citizens in Conserving Natural Resources and Protecting our Environment 

The paper addresses the collective effects of state legislative actions, court rulings, and political practices that have undermined democratic processes and profoundly changed the way state government in Wisconsin operates.

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Opportunities Now 2.0: Meeting Wisconsin’s Deer Conservation Challenges

In this report, Wisconsin’s Green Fire examines several threats and trends that, taken together, are affecting the future of Wisconsin’s white-tailed deer herd - including Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), high deer densities, and reduced deer hunter numbers in Wisconsin.

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Opportunities Now 2.0: Wetlands and Waterways in Wisconsin: Navigating Changes to the Federal Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule

This report, co-written by Wisconsin's Green Fire and The Nature Conservancy of Wisconsin, explains the history of the Clean Water Act and the frequent changes to the definition of “Waters of the United States”, which is critical to interpreting and implementing meaningful protections under the law.

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Cover of Energy Report shows windmills next to a farmOpportunities Now 2.0: The Future is Now- Creating a 21st Century Energy Policy

In this report, Wisconsin's Green Fire lays out recommendations to help Wisconsin chart a path towards an energy system that is cleaner, more reliable, equitable, and increasingly decentralized with local generation and local ownership of power sources.

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Cover Page of 2021-2023PFAS Report Opportunities Now 2.0: PFAS - Forever Chemicals in Wisconsin

This report provides a look into sources of exposure, health effects, and known releases of PFAS in Wisconsin, as well as state agency involvement.

Recommendations in the report point to improved environmental management of PFAS grounded in the latest science, methods to reduce exposure and devise clean up procedures for spills and environmental contamination.

Read the report >>







Opportunities Now 2.0: Creating a Shared Vision for Wolves in Wisconsin

In this December 2020 report, Wisconsin's Green Fire outlines the need for an updated state wolf conservation plan in Wisconsin, new policies, and legislation to provide appropriate conservation for this iconic species.

Read the report >>

Please note that WGF published this report before the federal de-listing of the gray wolf in January 2021. Please see WGF's Conservation Bulletin that analyzes the effects of the February 2021 Wisconsin wolf hunt, and recent statement on the February 2022 federal re-listing of Wisconsin gray wolves. 

Opportunities Now 1.0: An Analysis of Priority Issues and Actions for Wisconsin’s Natural Resources

This March 2019 Opportunities Now 1.0 report summarizes the major threats to Wisconsin's natural resources and identifies actions that will result in better conservation outcomes. This report investigates five priority issues:

  • Water Pollution from Agriculture
  • Groundwater Withdrawals
  • Our Land and Water Legacy (Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund)
  • Chronic Wasting Disease
  • Climate Change

Conservation Bulletins

Conservation Bulletin - July 2023 cover page

The 350 Wolf Goal in Wisconsin: An Assessment by Wisconsin's Green Fire on Setting Population Goals for the State's Gray Wolf Population

The Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF) assessment of "the 350 goal" for wolves examines this contentious population goal originating from the WDNR's 1999 wolf management plan. The report outlines the original intent and history of the 350 goal, changes in scientific understanding and public attitudes toward the wolf population in the state, wolf depredation on domestic animals, and future management of gray wolves in Wisconsin.

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An Analysis of Wisconsin's 2022 Draft Wolf Management Plan

The Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF) analysis of Wisconsin's 2022 Draft Wolf Management Plan outlines the aspects of the draft Plan which Wisconsin's Green Fire strongly supports, some issues of concern, and specific recommendations requiring policy, executive action, and/or budget changes.

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The February 2021 Wisconsin Wolf Hunt: A Preliminary Assessment

The Wisconsin’s Green Fire (WGF) assessment of the February 2021 Wisconsin wolf hunting and trapping season includes impacts of the hunt on Wisconsin’s wolf population and recommendations to avoid future failures and ensure that future wolf management is informed by science and best practice.

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Monroe County Climate Readiness and Rural Economic Opportunity Assessment

The Monroe County Climate Readiness and Rural Economic Opportunity Assessment (CRREOA) is a model for any rapid and comprehensive county-level assessment that brings together climate readiness and conservation-based economic opportunities. For this pilot project, WGF recruited a team of specialists and collaborators who together helped craft a 30-year vision for conservation and climate resilience in a western Wisconsin county. Our project was led by a 12-member Core Team, complemented by more than 40 subject matter experts and county-based resource experts who contributed their efforts to ensure that our findings were realistic and grounded in local knowledge.

View a 20-page summary of the full report here.