Over 5,000 people attended the 2017 Spring Fish and Wildlife Rules Hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings which were held Monday, April 10.
The public hearings were held simultaneously in all 72 counties and allowed citizens to comment and provide their input on proposed changes to fish and wildlife regulations, as well as Natural Resources Board advisory questions and Conservation Congress advisory questions.
“It’s important that the public is aware of or is influencing what’s going on because they’re the ones that are out there, they can see firsthand what the seasons are like,” Andrew Szymanski, junior resource management law enforcement major, said. “The people that are out there the most should have one of the biggest says in what happens.”
Amanda Kyle, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point graduate and the one to implement compost bins in Lower Debot, said, “As a citizen, I think it’s important to care about my states conservation because I want to leave this place better than I found it.”
The results of the meeting, along with written comments on the evening’s questions and DNR recommendations are used to advise the state Natural Resources Board. Votes are not final and are presented to the Board as advisory.
Issues addressed at the hearings included hunting and fishing regulations, issues related to high capacity wells, pipelines and dog licensing.
The results revealed that Portage county and the state were in favor of opposing the Enbridge Pipeline. The 64-year old pipeline was recently voted against by the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Native Americans.
Citizens of Portage County also voted to increase funding to state parks, for public notice to be sent to areas within a two-mile radius of high capacity wells, and the authority to suspend approvals for high capacity wells that have caused impact or impairment.
The state voted against removing a minimum length and daily bag of five for trout on certain waters in Sawyer County, reducing the size of Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area in Dodge and Washington counties and eliminating the Wolf River Waterfowl Closed Area in Winnebago County.
Portage County also voted yes, 83 to 31, in favor of quality muskellunge management in Dane, Lafayette, Portage, Sawyer and Vilas counties.
More detailed results of the conservation hearings are available at http://dnr.wi.gov/About/WCC/springhearing.html.
Olivia De Valk