The Kewaunee County Board has gone on record as favoring an increase in the amount of state dollars dedicated to supporting county conservation departments.

The resolution, which had been unanimously recommended by the board’s Land and Water Conservation Committee, notes that the state had been budgeting $9.3 million annually from 2001 through 2011 to help fund land conservation departments, “the necessary local delivery mechanism for a wide range of nature resource management programs including non-point pollution control, reclamation of non-metallic mines, invasive species control, woodland management, (and) lakes protection.”

Since 2012 the budget has been reduced to $8 million a year, which has led to staff cuts at county departments and other reductions in service.

“The inability to adequately fund local, voluntarily accepted farm conservation practices has led to environmental problems and increasing citizen suits and court decisions against farmers,” the resolution says.

The resolution, which has been passed by several county boards around the state, urges the governor and Legislature to restore the $9.3 million funding level of last decade, “recognizing the invaluable service that county conservation employees provide in helping Wisconsin farmers grow our state’s agriculture while preserving the state’s land and water resources for future generations.”

Supervisors approved the resolution 19-0 during their regular April meeting.

The Legislature is currently working on the 2017-19 bienniel budget, which was introduced with the $8 million appropriation. The budget needs to be passed by the start of the new fiscal year July 1.