The North Central Section of TWS wrote a letter to some of Wisconsin’s legislators, addressing concerns related to proposed changes to Wisconsin wildlife management.
In the 2015-2017 biennial budget, Governor Walker proposes a reduction in over 60 Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employees, including significant personnel cuts to the Bureau of Scientific Services, which is responsible for conducting research activities on wildlife resources within the state.
“We support the use of scientific and ecological information to openly evaluate the consequences of existing and potential wildlife management policies,” says Mike Larson, President of the North Central Section. “Research scientist positions are critical for maintaining the capacity of government agencies to collect valid and relevant data to inform management decisions.”
The Governor also proposed eliminating the policy and rule-making authority of the seven-citizen Wisconsin Natural Resources Board. Wildlife is a public trust resource managed by the government on behalf of the public, who own the resource. The board would transition from having oversight of natural resource issues to functioning as an advisory council to the single governor-appointed Secretary for the department. The North Central Section supported retaining the policy-making authority of the citizen board in order to maintain a more comprehensive representation of the Wisconsin public in the jurisdiction of wildlife.
The budget recommends prohibiting use of funds for land acquisition under Stewardship Program. The North Central section’s letter is supportive of allowing public funds to protect lands that contribute to wildlife habitat conservation.
Larson stated, “We hope that Wisconsin’s public officials consider the input of wildlife professionals when examining process and policy changes to the management of natural resources within the state.”
|Colleen Hartel is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program.