Is the Natural Resources Board dead in the water, now, due to Gov. Walker’s budget proposal stripping it of oversight authority over DNR?




Conservation Congress Opposes Walker Budget Proposal

021415_dsore_s1007_pollpic-smMADISON — Text of letter Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chairman Rob Bohmann sent to Gov. Walker and State Legislators on Feb. 13:

The Honorable Governor Walker and Wisconsin State Legislators,
With full appreciation for your efforts to bring more efficiency to state government and the public sector, I must respectfully but vehemently disagree with the proposal in the 2015-2017 state budget to remove the policymaking authority from the Natural Resources Board and make them strictly an advisory council. The repercussions of this action will have a significant and adverse effect on our state’s natural resources.
Wisconsin has been widely regarded as the center of the conservation movement. It was renowned conservationists Aldo Leopold, William Aberg, and Haskell Noyes that helped forge the Conservation Act of 1927, which created the Conservation Commission (predecessor of the Natural Resources Board). With great foresight these pioneers of conservation created a unique system to keep conservation and politics separate by creating an independent board, beholden to no one. The Natural Resources Board has successfully operated with its policy-making authority uninterrupted for the past 88 years during which time Wisconsin has continuously been a national leader in environmental protection and wildlife conservation efforts.
Nowhere else in Wisconsin state government do the people of this state have such a direct avenue for input as through the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and the Natural Resources Board. Currently, natural resource policy decisions are made in full view of the public, broadcast online, and with ample opportunity for citizens to provide testimony or written comments. The unsurpassed level of citizen involvement we have in the anagement of our state’s resources is the envy of many other states. This proposed change would take the policy-making authority from the public arena to the political arena. Giving the policy-making authority solely to the department secretary would potentially allow for important natural resource decisions to be made behind closed doors without any public vetting. Any potential gains in efficiency that may result from this proposal do not justify the loss of an open and transparent government. The division of power and citizen involvement is essential for the long-term management of the state’s resources which are held in public trust and belong to all citizens of the state.
The Natural Resources Board and Wisconsin Conservation Congress have been working tirelessly in shaping conservation policies for over 80 years. Eliminating the authority of the Natural Resources Board and making the Conservation Congress advisory to the DNR secretary would undermine this proven system of citizen engagement that so many have worked so hard for and would irreparably mar the legacy we leave for future generations. I respectfully ask that the Natural Resource Board retain their policy-making authority and Conservation Congress remain the citizen advisory body to the board to ensure the continuation of Wisconsin’s rich tradition of citizen involvement in conservation.
Rob Bohmann, Chair
Wisconsin Conservation Congress
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DSORe POLL s1006

Last Week’s Poll:  
 Are there enough public shooting ranges in Wisconsin?


Do you agree with Gov. Walker’s proposals to freeze Stewardship Fun spending and make the Natural Resources Board advisory to DNR?

Gov. Walker’s proposed Budget freezes stewardship purchases, makes DNR board advisory

Gov. Scott Walker announced major components of his proposed biennial budget at a joint session of the State Legislature Tuesday evening. Among the elements of the Governor’s proposed budget, several would impact the Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Board. In the Feb. 4 issue of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reporters Lee Bergquist and Paul Smith wrote:

The Department of Natural Resources faces fundamental changes under Gov. Scott Walker’s two-year budget, with one proposal to freeze state land purchases and another to eliminate the authority of its venerable citizens board.

READ MORE HERE: http://www.jsonline.com/news/budget-freezes-stewardship-purchases-makes-dnr-board-advisory-budget-freezes-stewardship-purchases-b-290723841.html 

DSORe Poll S922

Results for POLL S921

Do you think Wisconsin should have an early duck season for teal only?

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Do you approve of the new trolling regulations recently passed by the Natural Resources Board?

Take the POLL: VOTE!
“NEW Trolling reg – On board … ???

The Question: “Do you approve of the new trolling regulations recently passed by the Natural Resources Board?”

WHAT do YOU think of this.
photo c. WDNR ©2014

New trolling rule approved by Natural Resources Board

A proposed rule allowing anglers to troll for fish on inland waters statewide was modified Wednesday by the Natural Resources Board.

Beginning in 2015:

  • Trolling would be legal with at least one line per angler on all inland waters in Wisconsin.
  • In 55 counties in the state, all inland waters would be open to trolling with up to three lines per angler.
  • In the remaining 17 counties – on waters not currently open to trolling – trolling would be allowed but would be limited to one line per angler and no more than two lines per boat, which means no more than two anglers trolling at a time. (Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Iron, Jackson, Lincoln, Marathon, Marquette, Menominee, Milwaukee, Oneida, Ozaukee, Sawyer, Sheboygan, Vilas, Washington and Waushara.)

The board also added a three-year sunset clause meaning the new rule, which would take effect in 2015 pending legislative review, will revert to the current rule in 2018 unless the board takes additional action.

This action will give the DNR and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress time to engage anglers and explore issues related to trolling in counties where the proposal was opposed during the spring fish and game hearings.

“Trolling” means trailing a lure or bait from a boat under power by means other than drifting or rowing.

The proposal to allow trolling statewide with at least one line per angler was supported at the spring fish and game rule hearings by a majority of individuals – 3,646 to 2,250 – and by 61 of the state’s 72 counties.

One key goal of the proposal, sought by musky anglers, is to legalize the practice of trailing live bait behind a boat, while casting with another rod. Under current rules, trailing a sucker or other minnow behind the boat while under power, however briefly, is considered trolling.

Trolling is currently allowed on all waters in 18 counties; on one or more specific waters in 45 counties (105 total waters); and on the boundary waters with Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan, except on Vilas County boundary waters. Trolling is not allowed on any other waters, except that certain disabled anglers can troll anywhere by special permit.

DNR biologists told the board Wednesday that years of data have shown no harmful biological effects to fisheries in lakes where trolling has been legal. Trolling is broadly allowed in surrounding states and in Canadian provinces.

Read more here…

For More Information Contact:

  • Tim Simonson, DNR fisheries management – (608) 266-5222
  • Steve Hewett, DNR fisheries management – (608) 267-7501
  • Ed Culhane, DNR communications – (715) 781-1683


NEXT WEEK: Results for POLL S922
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