Natural Resources

Welcome to the Bad River Natural Resources Department’s project review process. Our Department (NRD) is tasked with facilitating “the development of institutions of tribal self-governance to ensure the continued sovereignty of the Bad River Tribe in the regulation and management of its natural resources” by enforcing the environmental codes and ordinances passed by the Tribal Council that protect the natural resources of the Reservation for the next seven generations. (The rest of our mission statement is on the back of this letter.) The Bad River Tribal Council has additionally supported the project review process through a motion at the August 1, 2018 regular council meeting to allow the NRD to begin implementing the process.

Click on the link(s) below to veiw the Project Review Application and other Project Review Documents: 





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Apakwaanaajiinh are a valuable, unique, and captivating group of mammals. Bats eat large quantities of insects, pollinate, disperse seeds, and their guano is highly nutritious to plantlife. Their true flight capabilities and their fascinating echo location system set them apart from all other mammals. 

Unfortunately, species of apakwaanaajiinh in northern Wisconsin have been declining due to a number of reasons, including the deadly White Nose Syndrome (WNS) that has caused millions of bat deaths. Apakwaanaajiinh conservation is one of the Wildlife Program's many goals. 




Bat Surveys

- How they work

- What we do with the information



Get Involved!

We invite you to learn more about bats and safely engage with them in educational spaces, like the Annual Bat Festival that rotates around cities in Wisconsin, or the annual Bat Awareness Week, which takes place during the last week of October. 

Building a bat house to intall in your backyard is a great project for those who want to get involved. Check out the WDNR's Guide to Building a Bat House (PDF).  If you live on the Reservation, contact the BRNRD Wildlife Program and see about joining the bat house monitoring program and have them install a bat house in your yard! 


Bats in Your Home 

Learn more about White Nose Syndrome












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Makwa have always been a significant part of the Bad River Natural Resources Deparment Wildlife Program—makwag are all over the reservation, and you'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't seen a black bear roaming around the forest or even a more urban spot. The Wildlife Program conducts yearly makwa population surveys and aids in trapping and relocating nuisance bears when needed. 



Population Surveys

The black bear population is surveyed at the same time every year using bait stations on the reservation. Unfortunately, during the 2016 and 2017 season, severe weather and staff presence prevented the regular surveys from taking place. 

2015 Population Results

In this year, the makwa population remained healthy and on the rise on the Bad River Reservation, as 44 of the 50 bait stations (88 percent) were hit during this year's survey. This is up from 16 percent in 2013 and 28 percent in 2014. 


Nuisance Control

In 2017, the BRNRD Wildlife and Conservation Enforcement programs relocated 4 nuisance bears out of a total of 13 bear complaints that were investigated by the wildlife and conservation enforcement programs. 

Relocating bears is only a last resort action. Before reporting a nuisance bear in your area, make sure that there is no trash lying around (especially food wrappers and containers) and keep your dog and cat food indoors where bears cannot access it. Bird feeders may need to be removed from your yard if they are getting frequented regularly by Makwa.  We regularly see spikes in bear activity around the communities in the spring, then again mid to the end of June when breeding activity peaks, and again in the fall just before winter.  Never go out of your way to feed a makwa, as this will teach them to hang around you or your house. This could end up bothering you as well as other people in the area, and could lead to a makwa getting needlessly shot and killed, if not relocated. 

Remember to respect our dear neighbors—Makwa belongs here just as much as we do.



A makwa flees from the trap and release crew in a new, safe location.



Makwa caught on trail camera.






The chipping contractor will drive most of the main roads and stop to chip any piles along these roads. This map (below) shows where the contractor will drive. If you have a brush pile to chip that is not along the green colored roads, please call Nathan in Bad River Natural Resources at (715) 685-7840 ext. 1555 to make sure your address will be on the contractor's list.

Firewise Chipper Map

The contractor will start on Monday, May 1st at Birch Hill and work westward each day. Please have all brush piled up neatly at the end of your driveway by 8:00 on May 1st. An easy way to make sure the pile is visible and easy to identify from the road is to hang a long piece of toilet paper on or above the pile.


If you have any questions, please call Nathan in Bad River Natural Resources at (715) 685-7840 ext. 1555. If Nathan does not pick up, leave a voicemail with your phone number and a good time to call you back.



Bad River Air Quality Program 


► return to Air Quality homepage

► Bad River's Open Burning, Burn Barrel, and Fire Prevention Ordinance

► Bad River's current Fire Danger Level


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Through staff of the Wildlife Program, generous help from the GLRI and Circle of Flight, and partnerships with the WDNR and the NPS, the Bad River Natural Resources Department has been able to implement a migizi study, to find out what contaminants are present in our local environment that can potentially impact migizigag on the reservation.

So far, unfortunately, traces of lead have been detected in migizi chick blood. With this information, the BRNRD plans to expand the study to include a larger range of migizi territory, to begin diet analysis to help pinpoint the source of contaminants, and to increase education and outreach efforts to reduce the use of toxic lead products on the reservation (for example, lead sinkers used in fishing or lead shots used for hunting). We thank you for considering our sacred creatures first before engaging in the use of any type of lead product or other contaminant. 




In order to test migizi for contaminants, nesting trees were scaled with climbing equipment and the flightless chicks were brought to ground level to be weighed, measured, and have blood samples drawn. 








It is the Bad River Tribal Natural Resource Department's (BRNRD) responsibility (as stated in the NRD's Mission Statement) to provide technical assistance to the Bad River Tribe in the protection, conservation, development and management of the natural resources throughout the Bad River Reservation and its treaty fishing waters in Lake Superior, thereby ensuring access to traditional pursuits by present and future members of the Tribe. The following pipeline information is provided to you by the BRNRD:


Pipelines within the Bad River Reservation*

    • Map A:  Pipelines by Company (pdf)
    • Map B:  Pipelines by Product Type (pdf)
    • Map C:  Pipelines by Right-of-Way (ROW) Expiration Date (pdf)
    • Map D:  Pipelines by Installation Date (pdf)


Enbridge Line 5 Through Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest*

    • Map A:  Resource Conditions (pdf)
    • Map B:  Awasiinyag Potential Wildlife Impacts (pdf)
    • Map C:  Nibi Water Resources (pdf)
    • Map D:  Ziiga'andan Potential Drainages (pdf)


Water Sampling*

    • BRNRD Surface Water Sampling Sites from the Last 5 Years (pdf)
    • BRNRD Surface Water Sampling (1997-2016) (pdf)

Land Ownership*

    • Tribal and Individual Allotments with Expired (2013) Enbridge Line 5 Right-of-Way (pdf)

Pipeline Informational Fact Sheets

Bad River Community Informational Pipeline Meetings 

    • The BRNRD held the first of a series of Community Informational Pipeline Meetings on December 15, 2016 at the Bad River Casino Convention Center. (flyer)

*High resolution printouts available upon request, contact GIS & Map services in-person or via email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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2017 Marked the 20th Year of Ma'iingan Research
on the Bad River Reservation!


The Bad River Natural Resources Department began monitoring wolves with radio telemetry back in 1997—three wolf packs were documented that year. Then, in 2011, a fourth pack, called the Potato River Pack, was also documented regularly using parts of the Bad River Reservation. In 2013, the Tribe formally adopted its first version of the Ma'iingan Management Plan.


The Ma'iingan Management Plan is up for its five-year (2018) revisions, and the Wildlife Program is looking for feedback from the community (Ma'iingan Dodem in particular) for these revisions. Please consider signing up for this event and sharing your input!


If you have something to say, 
please e-mail it to Lacey Hill Kastern @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Miigwetch!


Today, the BRNRD continues to monitor wolf packs through their tracks and scat, radio collars, trail cameras, and nighttime howl surveys. Evidence suggests that 21 to 26 ma'iinganag were regularly using the reservation before a number of ma'iingaans (wolf pups) were born in the spring of 2017. 

There is no wolf harvest permitted on the Bad River Reservation and Ma'iingan is recognized as a tribally protected species.



Ma'iingan caught on trail camera.


















Ma'iingan that has just been radio collared.




















Ma'iingan bimikawaan (track).






































Left: Wildlife Specialist Lacey Hill teaches youth about wolf radio tracking and equipment.

Right: Former BRNRD Wildlife Tech Abi poses next to a patch of wolf urine.












Recent Flooding on the Bad River Reservation

Flooded House

The reservation experienced severe flooding Monday, July 11, 2016, through Thursday, July 14, 2016, as a result of a series of thunderstorms. The Bad River broke records with a rise of 27.28 feet. Just a week later, on July 21, another line of thunderstorms moved through the area toppling trees and downing power lines. Flooding has caused the destruction of roads, bridges, community facilities, trails and recreation areas.Bad River

More than 46 homes within reservation boundaries have been affected by flooding, ten of which have been totally destroyed. The flooding cut off the reservation from regular routes to food, water, and medical supplies. As of July 25, damage estimates stand at $1,104,000. The Tribe is continuing to work cooperatively with other agencies to further assess damages. Governor Scott Walker will determine if the state will request a federal disaster declaration.

Response to Flooding on the Bad River Reservation

Response to the recent flooding and power outages was swift and thorough. Many community members and volunteers donated time and resources. A command center was set up in the Casino. Information was made available via a link on the Tribal website, email postings, and a ‘Bad River Flood Command Center’ Facebook page. Maps of road closures and conditions were continually updated and made available. Meals were provided at the Bad River Community Center for flood victims and community members. Bad River Social & Family Services received donations of food, water, and cleaning supplies from across Indian Country, and other communities. These are just a few of the many ways people responded to assist with the flood and subsequent power outage.


A floodplain is the land adjoining a river, stream, lake, or other water course or water body that is susceptible to flooding. The last floodplain analysis on the Reservation was done in 1985, covering the area around Odanah. An updated and more comprehensive floodplain analysis would be helpful in mitigation planning. Modern floodplain mapping is done using LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology. LIDAR collects elevation data quickly, and accurately. For more information on LIDAR, contact Suzi Smith, Bad River Natural Resources Dept. GIS Specialist

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What are Piping Plovers?

Piping Plovers are small, sand-colored shorebirds, between the size of a sparrow and a robin, that nest only on wide beaches between sand dunes and the shoreline. The Great Lakes population of these birds are listed as endangered due to nesting habitat loss and disturbance by humans, their pet dogs, and ATV traffic.

Piping Plovers were listed as endangered back in 1986, when there were only 16 nesting pairs left around the Great Lakes. Since then, the number of pairs has grown to 70, as of 2014. We still have a long way to go. 


Photo of an adult female Piping Plover.
Photo by Royce Galindo 2018.




Project Goal

The goal of the Piping Plover Project is to get these birds off the endangered species list by helping their population reach a higher, stable number closer to what occurred naturally before human interference. 

To accomplish this, two Piping Plover "Monitors" are recruited every year to monitor the areas where these birds nest. Every day during breeding season, they walk the beaches to find and guard plover nests, watch for signs of natural predators and human disturbances, assist in plover chick banding, and educate the public visitors, especially those who bring dogs.

Informational signs are also posted along the beaches where the plovers are nesting. If you come across a roped-off area or beach, please do not enter it, even if you cannot see the plovers. Keep pets close to you and do not approach any birds.


A Piping Plover chick receives its leg bands. Photo by Royce Galindo 2018.



Who's Involved?

This project is a cooperative effort between the Bad River Natural Resources Department, the National Parks Service Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, the U.S. Fish and Wilslide Service, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Nature Conservancy. 


BadRiverNRD LogoTextBad-River-Band-of-Lake-Superior-Chippewa2  460px-US-NationalParkService-Logo.svg   US-FWS-logo  DNRlogoprocess   the-nature-conservancy



If you see plover behaviors like these, please report them
to the Bad River Natural Resources Department. 


display9A pair of plovers close by each other, AND/OR a bird is acting as if injured.

chick6A Piping Plover chick fleeing.

Plover chicks are able to run around feed themselves soon after hatching, so if you don't see an adult plover around immediately, it may not mean a chick has been abandoned. If you find a chick that you are certain is a Piping Plover and it does NOT have colored leg bands as seen in this picture, take note of your location, leave the chick alone, and let us know. 



MIIGWETCH (Thank You)!




Tribal Mitigation Planning Team

A Tribal Mitigation Planning Team has been established. You can become involved by completing the attached survey, or participating in forthcoming community events, to talk about risks and potential strategies.

For questions or comments contact:

Tony Corbine, Grant Administrator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
715-682-7123 x 1560

Suzi Smith, GIS Specialist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
715-682-7123 x 1559

  • Ben Connors, Tribal Roads
  • Jim Stone, Tribal Fire Dept./GLIFWC Warden
  • Debra Tutor, Health Clinic Admin.
  • John Patrick, Tribal Conservation Warden
  • Deb Morrissey, Housing Authority
  • John Prohaska, BRNRD Environmental Compliance
  • Jerry Anderson, White River Township
  • Marty Maynes, IHS Health Officer
  • Lloyd Hartwell, Transit Manager
  • Luis Salas, Chairman, Town of Sanborn
  • Mike Morrissey, Tribal Facilities Manager
  • Neil Bigboy, BRNRD Warden
  • Pam Feustel, Community Health Nurse
  • Lissa Radke, BRNRD Environmental Specialist
  • Patrick Colgrove, Gingles Township
  • Nathan Kilger, BRNRD Air Quality Specialist
  • Phil Livingston, Tribal Water & Sewer
  • Tony Corbine, Team Planner/Writer

The Tribal Mitigation Planning Team (TMPT) has identified and rated natural hazards that threaten the Bad River Reservation. Winter snow and ices storms were rated severe. Natural hazards rated as high risk include: severe thunder storms and high winds, flooding, and wild fires. Dam or levee failure risk is rated as moderate. The risk of tornadoes and drought is classified as slight.

The TMPT also identified, and taken into consideration, significant damage causing events that have occurred on the Reservation, or in close proximity, since 1949. The next step for the TMPT is to work with communities to come up with mitigation strategies.

Steps of the Bad River Pre-Disaster Mitigation Planning Process

The mitigation planning process consists of 6 steps.

  1. Planning - Set up Tribal Mitigation Planning Team, and support personnel.
  2. Risk Assessment - Determine vulnerability of each community to natural hazards and disasters.
  3. Strategizing - Document plans to reduce or prevent structural damage and human health hazards.
  4. State of Wisconsin Review - Ensure compliance of the Tribal pre-disaster mitigation plan with WEMA criteria.
  5. Schedule a Maintenance Plan - Determine how often the plan will be updated, and which Tribal Program or Office will be responsible.
  6. Approval, Adoption, Implementation - Tribal Council, FEMA, and State of Wisconsin approve the plan. Strategies are implemented with additional state funding.

Currently, the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Process is at step 2, the Risk Assessment phase.