Conservation Congress Supports Karst Rules, Fees for State Land Use

At the annual meeting of the Conservation Congress, 76 Door County residents weighed in on fish, wildlife, hunting and natural resource questions that may make their way to the rulebook of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the future. Door County’s meeting in Sturgeon Bay was just one of the 72 meetings taking place in each county throughout the state at the same time.

“Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that has this process,” said Dave Tupa, chair of Door County’s five-member Conservation Congress. He said the popular vote of attendees typically drives the agenda for new rules that are considered by the Natural Resources Board.

Most questions deal with rules on fishing, hunting and trapping, sometimes in specific regions or bodies of water. But others, including those related to climate change, karst topography and natural resource funding, have broader implications for the state agenda.

Here are just a few of the results to questions posed to the residents:

Would you support a $5 annual fee for all users between the ages of 16 and 64 of state fishery, wildlife, natural areas and leased public hunting grounds and dedicating that money to directly support fish and wildlife habitat management and infrastructure on those properties?

Door County:  38 yes, 18 no

Kewaunee County:  18 yes, 32 no

State:  3,378 yes, 2,411 no

Would you support the Wisconsin Conservation Congress taking a position on and encouraging legislators and DNR to support science- and market-based legislation and rules to reduce the risk of global warming and increase the use of renewable energy resources?

Door County:  46 yes, 12 no

Kewaunee County:  25 yes, 20 no

State:  3,590 yes, 1,840 no

Do you support the Conservation Congress working with the DNR and Natural Resources Board to establish new rules designating the entire karstic areas of Wisconsin, both dolomite and calcareous bedrock areas, as sensitive areas meriting special groundwater protection by the state and freeing municipal governments to make additional rules and regulations based on local geological consideration?

Door County:  49 yes, 9 no

Kewaunee County:  31 yes, 12 no

State:  3,631 yes, 1,092 no

Would you support legislation to enact fines/penalties to any landowner and/or renter of agricultural land who violates the law and tills within five feet of any stream, ditch or top of the channel of any surface water?

Door County:  43 yes, 12 no

Kewaunee County:  31 yes, 14 no

State:  4,060 yes, 1,127 no

Fluorescent yellow as option to wear during all firearm deer seasons?

Door County:  38 yes, 24 no

Kewaunee County:  19 yes, 31 no

State:  2,892 yes, 2,511 no

Register all non-motorized watercraft?

Door County:  19 yes, 42 no

Kewaunee County:  14 yes, 33 no

State:  1,636 yes, 3,660 no

The Door County Conservation Congress also considered resolutions calling for action against the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer and creating a safe harbor in Whitefish Dunes State Park. Results from those resolutions were not available as of Pulse press time.

The full body of the Conservation Congress will meet May 11 and 12. Using citizen input from the questionnaire, the group will vote on which measures to send to the Natural Resources Board for consideration. The Natural Resources Board does have authority to implement many of the rules proposed on the questionnaire without approval from the legislature or governor.

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