Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Walk-O-Meter

Create new panel to provide advice on hunting and environmental matters

Will "create Governor Advisory Groups consisting of everyday sportsmen, conservationists, business owners and rank-and-file DNR employees to advise me on new and existing regulations and practices."


Updates

The group is in place and has been meeting

The Legislature approved the creation of the Sporting Heritage Council in the fall of 2011, and Gov. Walker signed it into law in the spring of 2012.

The purpose of the 12-member council is to advise the governor and the Natural Resources Board on fishing, hunting and trapping issues. The Department of Natural Resources says "the council will largely focus on recruitment, retention and increasing access to resources and outdoor opportunities."

The council includes the DNR secretary or a designee, six citizens representing groups involved in outdoors activity, four state lawmakers and four DNR employees.

The DNR's web site indicates the council first met in April, and has met a total of four times this year. It's next meeting is scheduled for January 2014.

We rate this a Promise Kept.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources web site

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Sporting heritage draws different reactions across state," Aug. 28, 2013

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Botched grant weighs down Sporting Heritage Council," Oct. 26, 2013

In the discussion stage, but on the horizon

On the campaign trail, Gov. Scott Walker promised to "create Governor Advisory Groups consisting of everyday sportsmen, conservationists, business owners and rank-and-file DNR employees to advise me on new and existing regulations and practices."

Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bill Cosh referred our question to the governor's office. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said in an email that there had been no action taken to create the advisory groups.

"We"re working on it,” he said.

Cosh noted a news release issued by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress that says the group plans a new format for its annual meetings, which will take place April 9, 2012 in all 72 Wisconsin counties. The WCC advises the DNR on fish and game rules.

The new format calls for a "town hall” portion of the meeting where citizens will be asked to "bring their ideas for regulation simplification and areas of conservation concern,” Conservation Congress Chairman Rob Bohmann said in a the release.  

"This year the WCC will still have advisory questions for citizen input and will take resolutions from citizens, but we are encouraging other user groups and conservation-minded individuals to come and engage in a county level conversation about issues facing Wisconsin"s natural resources,” he wrote.

The conservation congress isn"t a new group. The organization is 77 years old -- one of the oldest groups of it's kind in the country. Former Democratic Gov. Patrick Lucey in 1972 signed legislation that formalized the group's role as a liaison between citizens, the Natural Resources Board and the DNR.

For now, we'll move that promise to In the Works.

Sources:

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp on Wisconsin Eye, Aug. 30, 2011

PolitiFact Wisconsin,  "Scott Walker says the DNR has mismanaged the state"s deer herd and lowered the deer population,” Oct. 24, 2010

Emails/interview Bill Cosh, spokesman, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Sept. 2 and 6 2011

Email, Chris Schrimpf, communications director for Gov. Scott Walker, Sept. 2, 2011

Email, Cullen Werwie, press secretary for  Gov. Scott Walker, Sept. 7, 2011

Wisconsin DNR web site