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 conservation and natural resources management issues at the Congress’ spring meetings held in every county of the state on Monday, April 9, starting at 7 p.m.
New this year: The Conservation Congress will hold town hall meetings after the advisory questions are done. As part of a directive from the Governor’s Office to the Conservation Congress Chair, the Congress has been asked to assist in developing recommendations for regulation simplification and eliminating barriers to participation in hunting, fishing and trapping. At the town hall meetings, County delegates will be asking attendees for specific ideas that can be incorporated into recommendations to the Governor.
The county meeting is held jointly with the Department of Natural Resources Spring Informational Hearings. For those unfamiliar with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, it is a statutorily established advisory group to the state Natural Resources Board (NRB) on all natural resource issues.
“In Oneida County, the joint DNR and Conservation Congress annual county meeting will be held at Nicolet College in Rhinelander,” said Roger Sabota, chair of the Oneida County delegation.
At the meeting, citizens will have the opportunity to comment and register their support or non-support for congress proposals that someday could 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 there of on any given issue,” said Sabota.
Results of the public’s input on these proposals will be presented to the Natural Resources Board in May 2012. If there is significant 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 52 advisory questions on a range of topics, some of which include:
• a proposal to allow motor trolling statewide;
• a proposal to create a public/private land antlerless deer permit system:
• a proposal to allow the use of crossbows during the bear season;
• a proposal to allow the transfer of a license/permit to a senior or disabled person;
• a proposal to request that the Wisconsin Legislature grant the DNR authority to develop a regulated hunting season for sandhill cranes
• a proposal to allow for a statewide coyote harvest during the gun deer season
• a proposal to return the largemouth bass season opener to the earlier May opener and numerous other statewide and local suggestions for enhancing fishing opportunities on Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers.
“Conservation Congress advisory questions generally originate from citizens’ ideas,” said Rob Bohmann, 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’ study committees and the Congress Executive Council for consideration.
Bohmann 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 81/2 by 11 inch white paper.
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 Oneida County in 2012,” said Sabota. “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.”