Wisconsin residents will be able to nominate and elect local representatives to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and express support or non-support for a range of advisory questions on natural resources management issues at the Conservation Congress’ spring meetings held in every county of the state on Monday, April 09 starting at 7 p.m.
The county meetings are held jointly with the Department of Natural Resources Spring Hearings. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is a statutorily established advisory group to the state Natural Resources Board (NRB).
“In St. Croix County, the joint DNR and Conservation Congress annual county meeting will be held at the River Crest Elementary School, Cafeteria, 535 County Road F, in Hudson,” said Dave Larson, chair of the St. Croix County delegation.
At the meeting, citizens will have the opportunity to comment and register their support or non-support for congress proposals that could someday become the rules that regulate fishing, hunting, trapping and other outdoor recreation activities in Wisconsin. They may also submit resolutions addressing conservation needs or concerns they observe.
“Citizens have the opportunity to weigh in on natural resources issues that may affect them. The Congress asks these questions to gauge the public’s support, or lack thereof, on any given issue,” said Dave Larson.
Results of the public’s input on these proposals will be presented to the Natural Resources Board in May 2018. If there is support for a proposal, the advisory question could become a DNR rule change proposal in following years.
This year the Conservation Congress will seek public input on 36 advisory questions on a range of topics, some of which include:
• a proposal to return to a three-zone mink and muskrat season framework;
• a proposal to allow the unrestricted harvest of white perch on Lake Superior;
• a proposal to change the requirements for obtaining a Wisconsin Guide License;
• a proposal to designate all karstic Wisconsin as sensitive areas;
• a proposal to allow the transfer of bear tags to Wisconsin senior hunters (≥ 70 years old);
“Conservation Congress advisory questions generally originate from citizens’ ideas.” said Larry Bonde, Chairman of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress. “If resolutions presented at the county level meetings are supported, the resolution is advanced to one of the Congress’ advisory committees and the District Leadership Council for consideration.
“Each year, there are over 200 resolutions submitted locally. Not all pass, but the ones that do have the potential to become a rule, policy or legislative change in the subsequent years,” Bonde said. “It is a true grassroots process that empowers the citizens of this state to shape natural resources policy.”
Anyone submitting resolutions must submit two copies of their resolution typed or neatly printed on 8-1/2 by 11-inch white paper. Resolution writing instructions and a template for writing a resolution are available online at http://dnr.wi.gov/About/WCC/springhearing.html
In addition to the Congress advisory questions, the county meeting is also reserved for the election of delegates to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress. To vote for Congress delegates, one must be 18 years old and provide identification along with proof of residency in the county.
“There will be two seats up for election, in St. Croix County in 2018,” stated Dave Larson. “Any citizen of the county, who is a Wisconsin resident and is at least 18 years of age may be nominated to the Congress for a two or three-year term. Nominees must be willing to volunteer their time and represent their local citizens on natural resource issues.”
As established by Wisconsin State Statutes, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress is officially recognized as the only natural resources advisory body in the state where citizens elect delegates to represent their interests on natural resources issues on a local and statewide level to the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources. Their mission is to represent the citizens of Wisconsin by working with the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources to effectively manage Wisconsin’s greatest asset, our abundant natural resources, for present and future generations to enjoy.