Forty-two residents who gathered at Kewaunee High School were among more than 5,000 people who came out to participate in the 2017 Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings that were held in every county statewide on Monday.
Results from the annual public hearings were released Tuesday afternoon.
The state Department of Natural Resources say the county meetings “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.”
Among the statewide results highlighted by the DNR: People voting on the department’s wildlife management administrative rule proposals supported the option to list the monk parrot as a depredating species under wildlife damage and nuisance control rules, as well as eliminating the fall turkey permit drawing in favor of an over-the-counter issuance. The majority of voters favored the fisheries management rule change idea to allow trolling with one hook, bait or lure per angler and a maximum of three hooks, baits or lures per boat in Florence, Iron, Lincoln, Oneida, Sheboygan, Vilas and Waupaca counties and allow trolling with up to three hooks, baits or lures per angler in all other waters of the state.
Citizens also supported the option to have a shorter regulation change process for fishing on individual lakes or a chain of lakes in response to a fish consumption advisory. Attendees favored a number of Wisconsin Conservation Congress advisory proposals including allowing the assistant of a disabled hunter to pursue and dispatch a legally wounded animal, increasing lead reclamation efforts and training at shooting ranges, and fee increases to support aquatic furbearer research and cold water fish hatcheries.
A number of environmental regulation initiatives were up for a vote, most of which passed statewide and by a wide margin at the Kewaunee meeting.
Among those were measures giving the DNR authority to suspend the CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) application process when tribes, local governments and other entities need to study pollution impacts (passed 21-6 in Kewaunee); requiring public notice be sent to residents within two miles of a proposed high-capacity water well (28-2), and providing for suspension of high-capacity water wells that have caused an impact or impairment (24-2). All three measures also passed by a wide margin statewide.
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 24 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.