For Antigo Times
MADISON – More than 4,300 people came out to participate in the 2016 Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings that were held in every county statewide on Monday, April 11.
The public hearings provide citizens with an opportunity to comment and indicate preference on a wide range of proposed fish and wildlife management issues, Conservation Congress advisory questions, and to submit resolutions for rule changes they would like to see in the future.
A majority of voters favored ideas to shorten the beaver and otter trapping seasons by two to four weeks on non-trout waters and create a local public notice and input process to change certain fish regulations on inland waters. Citizens also supported the Wisconsin Conservation Congress’ advisory proposals relating to the removal of waterfowl blinds on public lands and the creation of a Wildlife Conservation Stamp.
Meeting results, along with written comments on the evening’s questions and DNR recommendations, are used to advise the state Natural Resources Board. This year’s results will be reviewed at the board’s May 25 meeting in Madison. Votes are non-binding and are presented to the Natural Resources Board as a gauge of the public’s support or non-support for proposed changes.
The hearings are held annually on the second Monday in April in conjunction with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings.
The Spring Hearings also provide an opportunity for citizens of each county to elect Wisconsin Conservation Congress delegates to represent them on natural resource issues. The Conservation Congress is the only statutorily recognized citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board. During the Congress’ portion of the hearing, citizens may introduce resolutions for consideration and vote by those attending the hearings.