Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wisconsin's Conservation Congress needs you!

The Conservation Congress is a citizens' advisory body to the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources and the Natural Resources Board. Anyone can attend and vote on delegates who will act as advisors to the DNR and NRB. These delegates represent whatever interests them and lobby for and against proposed policies, including natural resources, fish and wildlife management. Wisconsin is the ONLY state that does this.

Historically the Congress has been attended mostly by hunters and fishermen and those interests are extremely well represented as a consequence. Lately hunting and fishing policies have been expanded, including controversial policies on wolf hunting and hunting in state parks.

The Conservation Congress needs to hear from a more diverse selection of the population, especially the majority of state citizens who do not hunt and who value the natural environment. I have attended the Congress and the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the hunters, who attend in force. Balance is needed. (For the record, I am not opposed to all hunting, although I do oppose wolf hunting, among other policies. I delight in hiking our excellent state parks and I worry about the proposed expansion of hunting in the parks, which is on the agenda for this Congress.)

Here's the scoop:

Wisconsin Conservation Congress Election and Spring Hearing

When: Monday, April 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Where: For Milwaukee County residents: Nathan Hale High School, 11601 W. Lincoln Ave. West Allis, WI

This is an annual election that takes place in EVERY county in Wisconsin. If you're not in Milwaukee county, find out where YOUR vote is at  then click on 2013 Spring Hearing Locations.

Candidates are nominated to run on the spot and the vote follows. To win a delegate must get a majority of the votes cast. Candidates sometimes win by only a few votes, so this is a case where every vote really counts! Two delegates are elected every year and there are five representing each county. The Wisconsin legislature often looks to this body to support bills relating to natural resources and sometimes the Congress begins the process that leads to creation of a new law - lets make sure it represents all Milwaukee County residents.

In addition to voting for delegates, you can vote on natural resource questions such as, #70"Should we expand hunting in Wisconsin state parks?" #68"Should we prohibit the use of dogs for hunting?". Click on the link above and then on 2013 questionnaire to read all the questions before you vote. You can also submit your own resolution to be voted on such as - "Should we end the wolf hunt in Wisconsin?" 

photo courtesy Kewl
Thanks go to Barbara Eisenberg for providing some of the information above--and for her tireless advocacy!

For more information, go to

Patricia Randolph is another passionate advocate on these issues. To read her column on the subject go to Madravenspeak.

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