Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Governor Doyle, 38 State Representatives Reject Wisconsin Sportsmen and Women on DNR Secretary Appointment Bill

Poynette: Yesterday, Governor James Doyle and thirty-eight Wisconsin state representatives rejected the request of 270 hunting, fishing, trapping, forestry and other conservation and environmental groups to restore the appointment authority of the DNR Secretary back to the Natural Resources Board.

While the State Assembly voted by an overwhelming 58 to 38 margin to override Governor James Doyle’s veto of AB 138, the bill that would have restored the appointment authority to the NRB, a two-thirds majority was required because of Doyle’s reversal of his fourteen year support for the Board appointment. Doyle had repeatedly indicated such support to sports groups and individuals when he ran for elections. When the change was made to a Governor’s appointed system, then Attorney General Doyle called it a “wholesale attack on the way we protect the environment.”

In the last week before the vote, big business interests, such as the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Wisconsin Builders Association, the Wisconsin Realtors and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau lobbied state representatives heavily and the two-thirds majority to override the veto was lost. These groups and others opposed to the override contribute heavily to Doyle and the thirty-eight representatives that voted against Wisconsin sportsmen and women. As an example, it has been reported that these interests contributed $4.14 million to Doyle since 2003. Doyle’s aides including a DNR employee were actively lobbying against the override in the State Capitol yesterday.

Approximately two hundred blaze orange clad hunters, anglers trappers and other conservationists were at the Capitol to show their strong support for the veto override.
The following thirty-eight state representatives actually looked those sportsmen and women in the eye and voted no on the veto override.

Republicans Voting Against the Override: Ballweg, Brooks, Davis, Fitzgerald, Friske, Gottlieb, Gunderson, Gundrum, Honadel, Huebsch, Kerkman, Kestell, Kleefisch, Knodl, Kramer, LeMahieu, Lothian, Montgomery, Murtha, Nass, Newcomer, Nygren, Al Ott, Jim Ott, Petersen, Petrowski, Pridemore, Rhoades, Stone, Strachota, Townsend, Vos, Vukmir and Zipperer.

Democrats Voting Against the Override: Steinbrink, Young and Zepnick.
Independent Voting Against the Override: Wood
Democrat Paired Against the Override: Kessler

A special thank you to the following 58 representatives who resisted the heavy lobbying by the business interests and the Governor and voted to support Wisconsin sportsmen and women:

Republicans Voting for the Override: Bies, Kaufert, Meyer, Mursau, Nerison, Ripp, Roth, Spanbauer, Tauchen, Van Roy, and Mary Williams.

Democrats Voting for the Override: Barca, Benedict, Berceau, Bernard Schaber, Black, Clark, Colon, Cullen, Danou, Dexter, Fields, Garthwaite, Grigsby, Hebl, Hilgenberg, Hintz, Hixson, Hraychuck, Hubler, Jorgensen, Krusick, Mason, Milroy, Molepske, Nelson, Parisi, Pasch, Pocan, Pope-Roberts, Radcliffe, Richards, Roys, Schneider, Seidel, Sheridan, Sherman, Shilling, Sinicki, Smith, Soletski, Staskunas, Toles, Turner, Van Akkeren, Vruwink, Ziegelbauer and Zigmunt.

Democrats Paired for the Override: Annette Williams

Republican Scott Suder, a cosponsor and a strong supporter of the bill did not vote due to his active duty deployment in Afghanistan. We greatly appreciate his service and support.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is the state’s largest conservation organization representing 168 hunting, fishing, trapping and forestry-related groups. The Federation is dedicated to conservation education and the advancement of sound conservation policies.

Wisconsin Wildlife Federation - George Meyer

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Today the Wisconsin Assembly was Unable to Override Doyle's Veto on AB 138

By: John E. Durben, President
It looks to me like the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Wisconsin Realtors and the Wisconsin Builders have more clout than all of Wisconsin Hunters, Fishermen, other Sportsmen and Conservation Groups since they won today in the attempt to override the Governor's veto of Bill AB 138 which would have restored the Natural Resources Board appointment of the DNR Secretary.
We will continue as we have since 1996 with the Governor appointing who ever they wish whether they are qualified or not and probably for the same length of term that the Governor remains in office unless they tarnish the image of the appointer.
Without appointing qualified individuals to the position and not allowing for a natural learning curve for a new position as most jobs require, we will continue to see a turnover in the position as we've seen in the last few years since the change in who makes the appointments.
The Democrats who introduced the Bill could only secure 58 of the 64 votes needed (out of 96 voting) to reach the 2/3 majority required to override the veto.
Looks like "politics as usual" to me.
We will provide more information regarding this subject as it is made available.

Overwhelming Public Support for DNR Secretary Appointment Bill: 270 Conservation Groups Endorse Veto Override

Madison: On the day of the Wisconsin Assembly vote to override the Governor’
s veto of Assembly Bill 138, the bill that will restore the Natural Resources Board appointment of the DNR Secretary, Conservation Congress Chairman Ed Harvey (Waldo) and Wildlife Federation President Jack Nissen (Dousman) point out that thousands of individuals in each Assembly District represented by over 270 conservation and other organizations are asking their representatives to honor their request and vote to override the veto on Tuesday.

“The Wisconsin Conservation Congress is comprised of five elected individuals from each county in the state. The issue of the Board Appointment of the DNR Secretary has been voted on several times at our Annual Spring hearings over the last fifteen years. Each time, the votes of sportsmen and women has been resoundingly in favor by a ratio of nine to one in favor. It should not be a surprise that hundreds of conservation organizations have indicated their strong support for AB 138, stated Ed Harvey, (Waldo), Chair of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress.

“Having 168 hunting, fishing, trapping and forestry-related groups belonging to the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, we have a good pulse on how important this issue is to Wisconsin’s hunters, anglers and trappers.” A scientifically valid poll that the Federation did in 2004 showed that 79% of Wisconsin sportsmen and women wanted the authority to appoint the DNR Secretary returned to the Natural Resources Board. The numbers of conservation organizations supporting AB 138 reflects this sentiment,” indicated Jack Nissen, (Dousman) , President of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

Organizations Supporting Bill at Assembly Hearing: Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, Northeastern Wisconsin Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, Wisconsin Woodland Owners, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Wisconsin Federation of Great Lakes Sportfishing Clubs, Sheboygan County Conservation Association, Tri-County Sportswomen, Johnsonville Rod and Gun Club, Eau Claire County Rod and Gun Club, Aldo Leopold Foundation, The Wildlife Society—Wisconsin Chapter, Wisconsin Science Professionals, Friends of the Lower Wisconsin River, Association of Retired Conservationists, WSEU—Local 1215 (Conservation Wardens), North American Lake Management Society, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Chippewa Valley Outdoor Resource Alliance, Wisconsin Association of Field Trial Clubs, RAWSEP, Sierra Club, Green Bay Area Great Lakes Sports Fishermen, Sauk County Sportsmens Alliance, Manitowoc County Fish and Game Pecatonica River Coonhunters, American Federation of Teachers---Wisconsin Taylor County Sportsmens Club, Madison Audubon Society, Clean Wisconsin Wisconsin Wetlands Association , Wisconsin Hunters Education Instructors Association Wisconsin Trappers Association. Kendall Lake Association, Citizen Utility Board River Alliance of Wisconsin, AFSCME Council 24, Argyle Rod and Gun Club Sugar River Pheasants Forever, Rock River Coalition, Triangle Sportsmens Club Pewaukee Lake Sportsmen, Twin City Rod and Gun Club, Milwaukee Casting Club Wisconsin Association of Sporting Dog Clubs, Wisconsin Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign, Sierra Club---John Muir Chapter, Fox Valley Sierra Club, League of Women Voters, Friends of Dane County Parks, Polk County Sportsmen, Wisconsin Sporting Dogs Association, Watertown Conservation Club, Wisconsin Muzzleloading Association, Rock River Buckskinners, Ft. Atkinson Wisconservation Club, Sheboygan Sport Fishermen, Crawford Stewardship, Badger Creek Watershed, Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, Wisconsin Sharptailed Grouse Society, Wisconsin Bow Hunters, Wisconsin Federation of Whitetail Unlimited, West Waubesa Preservation Coalition, Trout Unlimited, Wisconsin Deerhunters Inc., Johnsonville Rod and Gun Club, Waukesha County Conservation Alliance, Izaak Walton League, Wings Over Wisconsin. Outagamie Conservation Club, Dodge County Sporting Alliance, Fountain City Rod and Gun Club, Buffalo County Sportsmen’s Alliance Dane County Conservation League, American Turkey Hunting with Dogs Association.

Organizations Supporting Bill at Senate Hearing: Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin, La Crosse County Conservation Alliance, Walleyes For Tomorrow, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, North American Lake Management Society, Wisconsin Association of Field Trial Clubs, WSEU-Local 1215, Wisconsin Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Wisconsin Sharp-Tailed Grouse Society, Chippewa Valley Outdoor Resource Alliance, Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Dane County Conservation League, Izaak Walton League, Western Dane County Coalition for Smart Growth and Environment, Shadows on the Wolf, Waukesha County Conservation Alliance, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, Manitowoc County Fish and Game, Madison Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Wisconsin Association of Lakes, Wisconsin Audubon Council, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Wisconsin Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign, Western Dane Coalition, Wisconsin Association of Sporting Dog Clubs, Clean Wisconsin, Rock River Coalition, Town and Country RC and D, Wisconsin Science Professionals, Wisconsin Woodland Owners, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Winnebago Conservation Club, Citizens Utility Board, Friends of the Black River, Kimball Lake Association, Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Clubs, AFT-Wisconsin, Midwest Environmental Advocates, Wisconsin Trappers Association, Sierra Club, Dodge County Sporting and Conservation Alliance, Winnebagoland Conservation Alliance, Coulee Region Trout Unlimited, Wisconsin Muzzleloading Association, Triangle Sportsman Club, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, Outagamie Conservation Club, Association of Retired Conservationists, Trout Unlimited.

Affiliate Clubs of Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Supporting Bill: Abbotsford Sportsmen’s Club, Almond Rod and Gun Club, American Wild Turkey Hunting Dog Association, Ashland Bayfield County Sportsmen, Association of Conservation Clubs, of Trempealeau, Augusta Area Sportsmans Club, Badger Dachshund Club Inc., Badger Fishermen’s League, Bangor Rod and Gun Club, Beaver Dam Conservationists Inc., Big 4+ Sportman Club, Boscobel Sportsmens Club, Brice Prairie Conservation Association, Brown County Conservation Alliance, Brule River Sportsmens Club, Butte Des Morts Conservation Club, Carter Creek Sportsmen’s Club, Central Wisconsin Gun Collectors Association, Inc., Central Wisconsin Sportsmen’s Club, Central Wisconsin Shoot to Retrieve, Challenge the Outdoors Inc., Chippewa Valley Outdoor Resource Alliance, Columbia County Sporting Alliance, Columbus Sportsman’s Association Inc., Crystal Lake Sportsmens Club Inc, Dane County Conservation League, Daniel Boone Conservation League Inc., De Pere Sportsman’s Club, Dodge County Sporting and Conservation Alliance, Door County Rod and Gun Club Inc., Dousman Gun Club, Dunn County Fish and Game, Eau Claire Rod and Gun Club, Farmers and Sportsmen’s Club, Field and Stream Sportsmens Club, Fin and Feather Sportsmans Club, Forest County Association of Lakes Inc., Fort Atkinson Wisconservation Club, Friends of MacKenzie Environmental Education Center, Friends of the Brule River and Forest, Green Bay Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, Globe Conservation Club, Great Lakes Sport Fishermen—Ozaukee Chapter, Green Bay Duck Hunters Association, Grellton Conservation Club, Hayward Rod and Gun Club, Jefferson Sportsmen’s Club, Koenig’s Conservation Club, Lake Poygan Sportsmen’s Club, Lakeshore Fishing Club, Lakeview Rod and Gun Club, Lincoln County Sports Club, Little Wolf River Houndsmens Club, Manitowoc County Fish and Game Protective Association, Manitowoc County Coon Hunters, Milwaukee Police Officers Conservation and Sportsman Club, Milwaukee Casting Club, Mosinee Sportsmens Alliance, Nekoosa Conservation League, Northeastern Wisconsin Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, Oakland Conservation Club, Oconomowoc Sportsman’s Club, Oconto County Sportsman’s Alliance, Osseo Rod and Gun Club, Outagamie Conservation Club, Pewaukee Lake Sportsman’s Club, Polk County Sportsmens Club, Prairie Du Chien Rod and Gun Club, Racine County Line Rifle Club Inc., Rio Conservation Club, River Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, South Milwaukee 1400 Fishing and Hunting Club, Sauk Trail Conservation Club, Shadows on the Wolf Inc., Sheboygan County Conservation Association, Shoto Conservation Club, Slinger Sportsman Club, Smerke’s Sportsmen’s Club, Southern Clark County Sportsman’s Club, Sparta Rod and Gun Club, Stan Plis Sportsmans League, Star Prairie Fish and Game Association, Sturgeon for Tomorrow North Chapter, Sugar River Coon Hunters, Suscha-Fale Sportsmen’s Club, Trempealeau Sportsman’s Club, Tri-County Sportswomen’s Club, Triangle Sportsmens Club, Trout Unlimited-Aldo Leopold Chapter, Trout Unlimited Green Bay Chapter, Twin City Rod and Gun Club, Walleyes for Tomorrow Inc., Watertown Archery Club, Watertown, Watertown Conservation Club, Waukesha County Conservation Alliance, Wisconsin Association of Field Trial Clubs, Wisconsin Association of Beagle Clubs, Wisconsin Bow Hunters Association, Wisconsin Bowfishing Association, Wisconsin Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, Wisconsin Coon Hunters Association, Wisconsin Council of Sportfishing Organizations, Wisconsin Deer Hunters Association, Wisconsin Federation of Great Lake Sport Fishing Clubs, Wisconsin House Outdoorsmen Club, Wisconsin Hunter Education Instructors Association, Wisconsin Muzzleloading Association, Wisconsin Sharp-Tailed Grouse Society, Wisconsin Taxidermist Association, Wisconsin Trappers Association, Wisconsin Trapshooters Association, Wisconsin Woodland Owners Association, Wild Ones Natural Landscapers LTD, Wilderness Sportsmen’s Club, Wildlife Society Student Chapter-UWSP, Wildlife Society Wisconsin Chapter, Willow Aces, Wilton Rod and Gun Club, Wings Over Wisconsin, Winnebago Conservation Club, Winnebagoland Conservation Alliance, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association.

Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Priority List Organizations Supporting the Bill: The Aldo Leopold Foundation, Alliance for Sustainability, Artha Sustainable Living Center LLC, Apollo Alliance of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Association of Retired Conservationists, Baird Creek Preservation Foundation, Bayfield Regional Conservancy, Bluebird Restoration Association, Brown County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, Brown County Conservation Alliance, Centerville Cares, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger, Citizens for a Scenic Wisconsin, Citizens Utility Board, Clean Water Action Council of NE Wisconsin Inc, Columbia County Land and Water Conservation Department, Concerned Citizens of Newport, Crawford Stewardship Project, Dane County Conservation League, Door County Environmental Council, ECOS Fox Valley, Friends of the Mead/McMillan Association Inc., Friends of Lincoln-Osceola-Garfield Conservancy, Friends of the Mukwonago River, Friends of Tomorrow/Waupaca River, Grassroots of Waukesha County, Greendale Environmental Group, Highway J Citizens Group UA, Hoy Audubon Society, Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership Inc,. League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, Madison Audubon Society, Wisconsin Audubon Council, Midwest Environmental Advocates Inc., Milwaukee County Conservation Coalition, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Northeast Land Trust Inc., Park Watch of Fond Du Lac, Phantom Lakes Management District, Physicians for Social Responsibility-Wisconsin, Preserve Our Parks, Price County Waterways Association, Racine Dominican Ec0-Justice Center, RENEW Wisconsin, Rock River Coalition, Sauk County Land Conservation Department, Sheboygan Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, Sheboygan County Conservation Association, Sierra Club John-Muir Chapter, Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, Southeast Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, Sustain Central Wisconsin, Sustainable Eau Claire, the Kenosha/Racine land Trust Inc., The Park People of Milwaukee County, the Wildlife Society-Wisconsin Chapter, Town and Country Resource Conservation and Development, Trout Unlimited-Wisconsin State Council, Valley Stewardship Network, Waukesha County Environmental Action League, Wild Ones Natural Landscapers Ltd., Wisconsin Association of Lakes, Wisconsin Association of Land Conservation Employees, Wisconsin Council of Sportfishing Organizations, Wisconsin Deer Hunters Association, Wisconsin Environment, Wisconsin Farmers Union, Wisconsin Interfaith Climate and Energy Campaign, Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association, Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters Institute, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Wisconsin Trappers Association Inc., Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

Monday, February 22, 2010

Crappie is a good word

Ages ago, the “sunfish series” was started. The big fish, the bass, the smaller fish having big mouths, and the smaller fish having the small mouths -- that weren’t smallmouths -- were covered. Most of these fish fed on worms, insects, invertebrates – to be covered soon -- and smaller fish. The sunfish family members preferring smaller fish remain.

Unlike the Model T Ford which only came in black, crappies come in black and white, but not literally.

Due to the Latin alphabetization, the white crappie, Pomoxis annularis (Rafinesque) comes first. “Rafinesque” is the biologist who identified this “annularis” species of the genus Pomoxis.

White crappie start spawning earlier than do other local sunfish. 57 to 73°F is their preferred range. Most spawning occurs between 61 and 68°F, and the fish nests in colonies. White crappie eggs hatch in approximately one day at 70 to 74°F, per a study by Morgan in 1954.

Black crappies, Pomoxis nigromaculatus (Laseur) prefer spawning in 64 to 68°F water, although a low of 58°F was recorded by Siegler and Miller in 1963. Black crappie eggs take longer than do those of their white crappie relatives. 57.5 hours at 65°F was recorded by Merriner in 1971.

Male crappies guard the spawning nests with more vigor than do most other sunfish. Both crappie types build nests near vegetation. Blacks hybridize with whites.

The white crappie has a moderately oblique mouth. These fish inhabit turbid rivers, sloughs and lakes, even over muddy bottoms especially when feeding, and in fast-warming bays in spring. The black crappie has an oblique mouth, and the fish is found in clear, lakes and impoundments having healthy, green aquatic plants providing plenty of prey and oxygen, and in larger streams and flowages, like Okauchee Lake.

Both Pomoxis versions feed on insects, crustaceans and small fish, but white crappies dine on fish throughout the year. Black crappie switch to benthic, or bottom-dwelling, insects during springtime.

Crappie are food for various larger species and when small for yellow perch. Gamefish feeding on crappie include walleye, pike, grass pickerel, and muskellunge. The great blue heron, American merganser, kingfisher and bittern find crappie to be quite tasty. Mink and otter find it easy to catch these sunfish.

White crappie cover the state, except in the very north. Longer living but slower growing black crappie blanket the state including in our northern counties. Black crappies can reach 10 years of age.

Years ago, the Wisconsin DNR found that waters having garfish and crappie produce bigger crappie. Due to less food, crappie in these cases will not stunt.

Surprisingly, non-native, aka “exotic,” carp can help black crappie populations increase by “converting the habitat from a weedy to a more open-water environment” says George C. Beckler in “Fishes Of Wisconsin.” Most cases see the removal of vegetation via weed killing or weed cutting as eliminating plants supporting natural, living crappie food and causing starvation and death.

In a 1957 experiment by Mraz and Cooper, black crappie, carp, largemouth bass, and bluegill were stocked in numerous ponds of the Delafield Hatchery. Five months later, the survival rate was carp in the lead with a whopping 95.5%. Largemouth bass lead the native fish with 49.5% while bluegills fared poorly at a mere 35.8%. Black crappies did slightly better at 44.0%.

Being popular with anglers means crappie have numerous nicknames. White crappie are called silver crappie, pale crappie, ringed crappie, crawpie, crappie, silver bass, white bass, and obvious misnomers such as newlight, bachelor, campbellite, white perch, strawberry bass, calico bass, tinmouth, papermouth, bridge perch, goggle-eye, speckled perch, shad and John Denson.

Many local black crappie nicknames refer to fishing techniques used in catching these fish, and common nicknames are shared with the white crappie.

For white and black crappie, use small minnows and various diminutive artificial baits such as Dick Smith’s Panfish Grubs, Pinkie Jigs, Beetle Spins, curly tail jigs and little crankbaits. The clear metalflake grub body on a yellow with black eyes Dick Smith Grub is the color pattern I created. The metalflakes imitate small fishes’ scales. Yellow and white grub bodies are also good.

Black crappie can stunt when there are too many fish and not enough food. Don’t feel guilty about keeping some crappie for a fish fry.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

“Tip-Up Fishing Secrets for Big Fish”

Wisconsin Fishing Club, Ltd.
An all species, instructional fishing club.
2010 - Our 44th year
Feb. 22 – “Big” Dave Matuka, lure manufacturer & all-season expert angler discusses, “Tip-Up Fishing Secrets for Big Fish.” Learn ice fishing hot areas, baits, equipment and effective techniques. 7 p.m. Yester Years Pub and Grill, 9427 W. Greenfield Ave., West Allis, 414-476-9055. Contact: Dan Freiherr, treasurer, (414) 464-9316, Fishing reports, fishing equipment raffle, plus hot food is available. New members are welcome.

Have a great fishing year,
L.A. Van Veghel
WFC, Media Director & Secretary and
WCSFO, Media Director & Secretary

City of Whitewater seeks grant for land acquisition

WHITEWATER, Wis. – The City of Whitewater has applied for a 50 percent matching grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship – Acquisition and Development of Local Parks program to assist with the purchase of .79 acres of land in the City of Whitewater in Walworth County. The city will provide a 50 percent match to the grant award.

The property is being acquired to expand the community’s Clay Street Nature Park and will provide additional nature based outdoor recreation activities, including non-motorized boat launching, fishing, cross country skiing, and nature study. The property includes approximately 100 feet of frontage along Trippe Lake.

The DNR has made a preliminary determination that the proposed acquisition will not involve significant adverse environmental impacts and neither an environmental assessment nor environmental impact statement will be required for this action. Address public comments on the proposed acquisition to Vance Rayburn, Administrator, Customer and Employee Services Division, care of Dan Kaemmerer, Community Services Specialist, (414) 263-8704, Comments must be received by Monday, March 8, 2010.

Wisconsin Wildlife Federation--Letter Addressing Rep. Gunderson's Issues on AB 138 Override

Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

February 19, 2010

Representative Scott Gunderson
Room North,
State Capitol
Madison, WI 53708

Dear Scott:

Thank you very much for your letter of yesterday to the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. The Federation truly appreciates the opportunity to address the issues that you raised in your letter on this eve of one of the most historic votes ever taken on behalf of Wisconsin’s sportsmen and women.

In your letter you have raised two major reasons that are given by the opponents of the override of the Governor’s veto of AB 138, the bipartisan bill that restores the appointment authority of the DNR Secretary to the Natural Resources Board. The Federation’s Board of Directors has carefully considered these reasons over the last three months and strongly believes that they are not significant concerns to prevent strong support for a veto override. We have been consistently talking to the thousands of hunter, anglers and trappers that we represent and when the issues are explained in detail to them, sportsmen and women agree that the effort to override the Governor’s veto must continue as a high priority.

The policy issues that you raised in your letter:

1. The Senate Amendment to AB 138. The Senate amended AB 138 to include a Senate confirmation vote of any Secretary appointed by the Natural Resources Board. The Federation does truly consider this to be a minor amendment to the bill and one that does not significantly alter the great benefits of the bill restoring the appointment authority to the Natural Resources Board.

Ironically, the Senate amendment was added to the bill to address a concern raised by the bill’s opponents that the strictly Board appointment of the Secretary did not include any scrutiny of the appointment by elected officials. To have an up or down vote by the Senate gives a voice to all of the citizens on the merits of the Board nominee. This is a check and balance that bill opponents have called for in the past.

The argument is made that having Senate confirmation of the Board appointee interjects politics back into DNR operations. Let’s review that argument. I can personally shed some light on it because of my personal experience of having twice gone through Senate confirmation as a DNR Secretary appointee.

As the bill is drafted, the politics would be that the Secretary appointee, once every four years, would need to meet with Senators and urge them to vote to confirm him or her. That is a very modest interjection of politics into the operational aspects of running the DNR. It pales in comparison with the current daily political interference of the Governor’s Office in the operations of the DNR where, as we have seen, the head of the agency can and three years ago was fired for properly carrying out the responsibilities of the position because it was contrary to the direction of the Governor’s Office.

The Senate confirmation does not mean that the Senate makes the appointment. Based on historical practice, the Natural Resources Board, after a thorough search and careful interviews, will make a decision and name a new DNR Secretary. The Senate will hold a hearing and then have an up or down vote on the nominee. That is a routine function in state government. In the forty years that I have been associated in state government, I have seen hundreds if not more Senate confirmations of individuals. During that time I can recall less than ten appointees that were voted down by the Senate. When I was appointed by Governor Thompson, I was approved by the Senate by a 32-1 vote the first time and the second time, the Senate did not even bother to vote, thereby allowing me as the incumbent to continue in the position. The Senate confirmation process is a valid check and balance to assure that an individual outside the broad mainstream will be placed into the DNR Secretary position. It directly addresses the issue of “accountability” that the bill opponents raise to fight the bill. It also directly addresses the concern that you raise in your letter about having a Natural Resources Board appoint a Secretary that does not support hunting, fishing and trapping in Wisconsin.

When the Senate amendment and its ramifications are actually explained to sportsmen and women they either do not have concern about it or actually like it. The Federation will continue its efforts to explain this issue to hunters, anglers and trappers.

2. Need for Legislative Bills Addressing the Make-up of the Natural Resources
Board. Representatives LeMahieu, Vruwink and Danou have introduced bills that place into statute for the first time that three of the seven members of Natural Resources Board must hold hunting, fishing or trapping licenses and that one of the members of the Board must have an agricultural background. These are all good bills strongly supported by the Wildlife Federation and a great majority of Wisconsin sportsmen and women and should be passed by the Legislature.

Some of the opponents of AB 138 insist that these Board make-up bills must be passed before the veto override of AB 138 takes place. While adoption of these bills should occur, the veto override of AB 138 should take place regardless of whether these other bills have fully completed their adoption by the legislature and signing by the Governor, since these bills will have no affect on the selection of DNR Secretaries for many years in the future. Sportsmen and women are seriously and legitimately concerned that some of the bill opponents are using the passage of these bills to justify their opposition to a veto override of AB 138.

Please let me explain why these bills will not change anything for many years. Currently, the Natural Resources Board has four, possibly five members that meet the bills’ requirements that three of the seven Board members have had hunting, fishing or trapping licenses seven of the last ten years. Historically the Board and its predecessor the Conservation Commission have always had more than three such members from 1928 through 2010. In addition there currently is a member of the board with an extensive agricultural background and the Natural Resources Board has had a member meeting that requirement since early in the 1970s. While it may be good to enshrine these requirements in the statute, there is no current impact of adopting these bills into law immediately. Secondly, by their own provisions, the LeMahieu, Vruwink and Danou bill don’t take affect for four and six years respectively.

When this is explained to Wisconsin sportsmen and women they respond that while they want these bills passed, the passage or non-passage of these bills immediately should not be used as a justification to not vote for the override of the Governor’s veto of AB 138 on Tuesday.

3. Benefits of the Bill Override the Above Issues. Wisconsin sportsmen and
and women strongly support AB 138 for three main reasons and are convinced that those reasons strongly supercede the above concerns raised by the opponents of AB 138.

a. Inexperienced Leadership at DNR under a Governor-appointed Secretary system. Under the Governor appointed DNR Secretary system we have seen very inexperienced Secretaries appointed. The last two DNR Secretaries, Hassett and Frank, were appointed as DNR Secretaries without a single day of natural resource management experience. It takes years for such individuals to totally learn the scope and depth of the agency’s responsibilities. Sportsmen and women understand the ramifications of this lack of natural resource management experience of the agency’s leadership on the day-to-day management of the state’s conservation and environmental programs. This is not a reflection on these individuals but rather on the highly flawed system of Governor appointed DNR Secretaries. By contrast, the Board appointed system has had a high degree of selection of well-trained natural resource management professionals to run the agency.

b. High Turnover of Leadership at DNR. Natural Resource management programs by their very nature need long-term steady management without constant turnover of leadership. Under the Governor appointed DNR system, we have had three new DNR Secretaries in the last nine years, an average tenure of three years. It is highly likely that we will again have a new Secretary in less than a year. This high revolving door leadership of the Governor appointed system is in stark contrast to the fact that in the fifty years immediately prior to the change there were four Secretaries of the Department, an average tenure of twelve years. This steady management of the agency led the Wisconsin DNR to be rated as one of the top five to ten natural resource agencies in the country. Sportsmen and women know that they are best served when you have long-term steady management of DNR with experienced leadership.

c. Political Involvement in Day-to-Day Management of DNR. All you have to do is speak with members of the public that work with the agency on a frequent basis or with employees of the agency. They will tell you of the current very high degree of the Governor’s Office involvement in the day-to-day agency’s management of natural resources. Sportsmen and women for almost one hundred years have strongly opposed significant political intervention in the management of natural resources, believing that natural resource management should be professional and science-based and guided by sound conservation policies adopted and reviewed by the legislature. That has been lost by the current Governor appointed DNR Secretary system.

Sportsmen and women and other citizens are also appalled that a Governor appointed Secretary was terminated three years ago by the Governor because he faithfully carried out his duties to enforce state air regulations against a state-owned facility contrary to the wishes of the Governor’s staff. This would not have happened under a Board appointed Secretary system.

Scott, once again thank you for the opportunity to address the concerns that you raised in yesterday’s letter. There is a great deal that you, the Federation and Wisconsin sportsmen and women agree on and that surely includes that we have knowledgeable and experienced steady leadership making natural resources decisions based on sound public policy and science and without day-to-day political intervention.

Wisconsin sportsmen and women overwhelmingly support AB 138 and are strongly calling for its override. They are very savvy individuals and are very capable of sorting out the wheat from the chaff. They recognize that the arguments They know that the arguments raised by the bill’s opponents are not persuasive. They believe that the current version of AB 138 is a far, far more preferable way of selecting a DNR Secretary than our current Governor appointed system. They are strong and diligent in their request to you and your colleagues to vote for an override of the Governor’s veto of AB 138. It is and will remain a high priority for them.

Thank you for your hard work for conservation.

George Meyer
Executive Director
Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

Cc: Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Board of Directors

WWF Calls for a Strong Bipartisan Vote on DNR Secretary Bill Veto Override

Poynette: Today, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation comprised of 168 hunting, fishing, trapping and forestry-related organizations is calling on members of the Assembly of both political parties to vote on Tuesday for the override of the Governor’s veto of Assembly Bill 138, the bill that restores the appointment authority of the DNR Secretary back to the Natural Resources Board.

AB 138 was introduced on March 9, 2009 by sixty-eight legislators, sixteen Republicans and fifty-two Democrats. The bill passed the Assembly on September 2009 with a strong bipartisan vote of 61 to 32 with forty-nine Democrats and twelve Republicans voting in favor. The bill passed the Senate on a bipartisan 21 to 11 vote with sixteen Democrats and five Republicans voting in favor.

A virtually identical bill, AB 504 was introduced in the last session of the Legislature by Republican Representative Scott Gunderson. That bill had forty-nine sponsors, with twenty-five Democrats and twenty-four Republicans.

“This issue should not be a partisan issue, 90 percent of Wisconsin sportsmen and women have repeatedly made a strong statement that Assembly Bill 138 as it is currently written should be passed into law,” stated John Nissen, (Dousman), President of the Wildlife Federation. “This should not be a partisan political issue, the sportsmen and women in this state view this issue as what is good for natural resource management in Wisconsin, not what political advantages can be gained.”

“Unlike the Board-appointed system, Wisconsin’s sportsmen and women have seen repeated turnover of Governor-appointed Secretaries with the average tenure being three years. We have seen the last two Secretaries become appointed with literally zero days of natural resource management experience and we have seen a Secretary replaced because he had the courage to make an enforcement decision that was unpopular with the Governor’s staff, indicated Ralph Fritsch, (Townsend), Past President of the WWF. “Wisconsin did not have these major problems under the Board appointed system that we had in place between 1928 and 1995. This inexperience and rapid turnover is contributing to the serious natural resource management problems that we are experiencing in the state with deer, wolf and bear management.”

“The Wildlife Federation is asking for legislators of both parties to look past minor issues such as whether other bills should be passed first or the minor amendment added to AB 138 by the State Senate and to stand strong with their sportsmen and women to override the Governor’s veto of the bill. It is time to restore experienced, professional natural resource leadership to the top of the Department of Natural Resources,” stated George Meyer, WWF Executive Director.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is made up of one hundred and sixty-eight hunting, fishing, trapping and forestry-related organizations in Wisconsin.

The Federation is dedicated to conservation education and the advancement of sound conservation policies. For further information, contact George Meyer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation at 608-516-5545.

Great American Moose Fest

Montello, WI. May 1 and 2, 2010. Click Here for more information.

Statewide Annual Spring WCSFO Meeting

The Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations (WCSFO) hereby announces its Annual Spring Meeting on Saturday, March 20, 2010. The event is held at Gander Mountain at 6939 S 27th St., Franklin, WI. The Meeting will begin at approximately 10:00 AM and run until 3:00 PM. Meeting attendees will get a discount on Gander Mountain merchandise.

Meeting participation is open to everyone interested in fishing, so membership in WCSFO is not required.

Since WCSFO is a statewide organization, we ask for your input on all issues confronting us at this time. This is the place and the time to voice your opinions. We present the anglers' views to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Fishing Club representatives must attend. New club, business and individual members are welcome.

Representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources are invited to attend and provide us with updates on our fishery. "VHS" and "Silver Carp" will probably be hot topics.
Make you plans now to attend! For further information about the meeting or if you want information regarding joining our club, contact: John Durben - President at 715/745-2248 or

A meeting agenda will be posted in the near future.

26th Annual Kid's Fishing Clinics

Sponsored in cooperation with the Wisconsin Council of Sport Fishing Organizations; Milwaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha County Parks; Milwaukee County House of Correction Fish Hatchery; and the Department of Natural Resources.

February 23 - 24, 2010 Natural Resources Board Agenda

For meeting at:
Room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF 2)
101 South Webster Street
Madison, Wisconsin

Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2009

Click Here for Agenda

Public Service Conference - Water and People

Friday, February 26, 2010

There is still time to register for the 2010 Marquette University Law School Public Service conference: Water and People.

Read law professor Matt Parlow's blog entry about the conference. Visit the website to review the line-up of speakers.

Water Ethics. Economic Development. Environmental Protection. Great Lakes Restoration. Environmental Justice.

Water Pricing. Water Access. Water Quality. Water Infrastructure. Regional Planning. Water Law and Policy.

Join us and add your voice to these issues which are vital to our future.

Register today – breakfast, lunch and a reception included.

Water and People Conference in Milwaukee, WI

3rd Annual Battle on Bago (Fish Contest)

Contact: Glenn Curran, (920) 410-0313 (email:
Details: Battle on Bago Dates:2/26/10 - 2/27/10 Event Type:Fishing Tournament/Fisheree
Location: Lake Winnebago State: Wisconsin Contact:Glenn Curran Contact Email: Contact Phone: (920) 410-0313Web Site: Details: 3rd Annual Battle on Bago at Menonimee Park Oshkosh. Over $60,000 in cash and prizes to be given away. All proceeds are directed towards various youth programs and conservation efforts in the state of Wisconsin. Please visit our website for updated information on ticket sales, and other tournament information.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Van Akkeren Calls for Vote to Override Governor’s Veto on DNR Secretary

“Prior to 1995, the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources was appointed by the DNR Board. It’s time to return to a Board appointed Secretary”, exclaimed State Representative Terry Van Akkeren (D-Sheboygan). “To those ends, I am calling on our Assembly leadership to schedule AB 138 for an override vote.”

Prior to 1995, the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources was appointed by the citizen run DNR Board. In 1995, an amendment was inserted into the State Budget Bill allowing Governor Thompson to appoint the Secretary. Assembly Bill 138, authored by Representative Spencer Black and cosponsored by Rep. Van Akkeren, would restore the DNR Board’s authority to appointment the DNR Secretary, taking that power away from the Governor. AB 138 was passed by the State Assembly by a vote of 61-32 (4 paired votes) and the Senate by a vote of 21-11. On November 13th, it was vetoed by Governor Jim Doyle.

“We need to take the politics out of the DNR to the greatest extent possible,” stated Van Akkeren. “It is dangerous to have the Department responsible for our environmental protection and outdoor recreation subject to political whims and pressures. For that reason, I not only support this bill but have been cosponsoring this legislation since I came to the State Assembly in 2003.”

“This is also an issue which resonates with my constituents,” added Van Akkeren. “A wide variety of individuals have raised this issue with me and asked for my vote in restoring a Board appointed DNR Secretary. It’s an issue which is brought up to me nearly every time I attend one of the monthly meetings of the Sheboygan County Conservation Clubs. The statewide Conservation Congress has also chimed in on the issue, supporting the legislation in 2006 by 85% of the vote.”

“AB 138 passed the Legislature by a strong margin,” concluded Van Akkeren.
“Looking at the roll call votes from last Fall, it’s hard to say if we have sufficient support to override the Governor’s veto, but I think it’s time to bring it to the floor to find the answer to that question. I support AB 138 and plan to vote to override this veto. It’s time to stand up and be counted on this issue. It’s pretty simple, either you support efforts to return the appointment power to the Board or you want the Governor to make this appointment. It’s one way or the other. I supported this bill when Tommy Thompson was Governor and I support it today under Governor Doyle. Let’s see where everyone stands. It’s time for our Assembly leadership to schedule this vote.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Green Bay Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Hosts 16th Annual Fishing Banquet

The Green Bay Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen presents their 16th Annual Fishing Banquet. The Banquet will be held at the Stadiumview Bar and Grill and if you attend - you could go home with some cool prizes.

Click on Poster to enlarge