Today, Monday, April 8, starting at 7PM the 2019 spring hearings hosted by the Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) will be held in each county. Wisconsin is one of the few, if perhaps the only, state to give its citizens a voice in conservation legislation through such hearings.
This year there will be an online option for people who aren’t able to attend a hearing in person or who’d rather provide input using their smart phone. The input form will go live at 7 p.m. on April 8 and remain open until 7 p.m. on April 11.* Providing input on citizen-introduced resolutions or participating in the WCC election will continue to require in-person participation.
Although most of the items covered by these hearings relate to hunting and fishing, all pertain to biodiversity and some directly to natural landscaping. Key elements in this year’s questionnaire include the following questions about which I have concerns:
50. Increase setback from fields to streams to 30 feet and encourage establishing vegetation.
55. Restore carcass tag requirement for deer hunting.
56. Support statewide ban on baiting and feeding deer in an attempt to reduce affects of CWD.
57. Require pheasant, grouse and quail hunters to wear blaze orange or pink on 25% of their outer clothing.
70. Restore public funding for public lands.
76-77. Change youth hunting age back to 10 and require only one gun firearm between the mentor and the mentee.
80. Designate the hickory nut as the Wisconsin state nut.
84. Create a Common Reedgrass (Phragmites australis) control fund.
85. Ban lead ammunition and fishing gear in Wisconsin.
86. Support a four-year pilot program creating temporary lead-free ammunition shooting ranges to be used for school sponsored scholastic shooting teams that do not have access to local facilities.
If you are a Wisconsin resident and are not able to attend the session to cast your vote personally or on-line, but you wish to comment on the proposed rule changes or WDNR Wildlife advisory questions, you can submit comments or phone (608) 267-2452 by April 11th.
Wisconsin Conservation Congress
Established in 1937, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress was legislatively recognized in 1972 as Statute 15.348 to ensure citizens would have a liaison between the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources.
“The conservation congress shall be an independent organization of citizens of the state and shall serve in an advisory capacity to the natural resources board on all matters under the jurisdiction of the board. Its records, budgets, studies and surveys shall be kept and established in conjunction with the department of natural resources. Its reports shall be an independent advisory opinion of such congress (s. 15.348, Wis. Stats.).”