Spring Hearing Results- DNR

Contact: Larry Bonde, Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chair
Kari Lee-Zimmermann, Wisconsin Conservation Congress/DNR Liaison
608-219-9134 or Kari.LeeZimmermann@Wisconsin.gov

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Conservation Congress received a record-setting 64,943 responses to the 2020 Spring Hearing Questionnaire featuring topics ranging from baiting and feeding deer to the use of non-toxic ammunition on state-owned land.  

Due to COVID-19, the in-person portion of the 72 public meetings – known as the Spring Hearings – initially scheduled for April 13 in each county was canceled. The public was able to respond to the natural resources advisory questions from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, and Conservation Congress online April 13-16.

Results can be found here or by visiting the DNR website and searching keywords “Spring Hearings.”  

“I continue to be amazed by the level of participation by Wisconsinites. It shows very clearly how much people care about the natural resources of this state,” said Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chair Larry Bonde. “Given that this was only the second year we offered an online opportunity, and the extenuating circumstances with the COVID-19, I’m thrilled we had this opportunity in place to provide people an avenue for input.”

The Spring Hearings provide an opportunity for the public to weigh-in on a wide range of natural resource-related advisory questions as well as citizen resolutions previously submitted for inclusion. The Spring Hearings also provide an opportunity for the public to elect Conservation Congress delegates to represent their county on natural resource issues. 

The Conservation Congress is the only statutorily recognized citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board. Public input received through this process is advisory to members of the Natural Resources Board, department staff, and anyone working on these issues. 

The results will help guide decision making on potential future rule-making. No final decisions have been made at this time. The public input results will be considered during the Conservation Congress convention that may be held later this summer and during a Natural Resources Board meeting.

PRESS RELEASE: Wisconsin State Parks & Forests to Reopen MAY 1st

Contact: DNRPress@wisconsin.gov

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will reopen 34 state parks and forests on Friday, May 1 at the direction of Gov. Evers with special conditions.

Under Gov. Evers’ Badger Bounce Back Plan, which outlines important criteria for Wisconsin to be able to reopen its economy in phases and includes steps to make sure workers and businesses are prepared to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so, the DNR will modify current operations to maintain the safest environment for visitors and staff.

Due to unprecedented crowds, litter, vandalism and the need to protect the health and safety of our visitors and staff, Gov. Evers directed the DNR to close 38 Wisconsin State Parks, Forests and Recreational Areas on Friday, April 10.

[Read more…]

2020 Annual Spring Fish & Wildlife public hearing and WCC county meeting

April 13 – 7 p.m. to April 16 – 7 p.m.

Individuals interested in natural resources management have the opportunity to provide their input and testimony to the DNR and WCC on proposed rule changes and advisory questions relating to fish and wildlife management in Wisconsin.

NOTE: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the in-person portion of the spring hearings has been cancelled.
Starting at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 13, 2020, citizens may go online and provide their input on the proposed questions by utilizing the online option found at DNR.WI.GOV and searching the keywords “spring hearings.” The online input form will remain open for 72 hours.
2020 Spring Hearing Questionnaire
Public hearing/meeting notice [PDF]


WWOA testifies at Managed Forest Law Public Hearing

Update 4/7/20 – AB 856/SB867 failed to pass during this legislative session.

WWOA President Randy Cooper testified at the Wisconsin Assembly Committee on Forestry, Parks and Outdoor Recreation on February 4, 2020 about proposed changes to the Managed Forest Law program contained in Assembly Bill 856 (formerly LRB 5118/1).  Read WWOA’s testimony to learn more.

AB 856 proposes modifying Managed Forest Law provisions created under 2015 Wisconsin Act 358:
– how minimum acreage eligibility is determined
– storage buildings or improvements and how they are classified
– changes the definitions for additional parcels of land to be added to an existing MFL order
– provides more direction on how “material changes” to the MFL program will be designed on legislation or  promogated rules
– changes what circumstances withdrawal taxes and fees may be collected
– defines large ownership (1,000 acres or more under one owner) and allows DNR to create rules that allow these ownerships to deviate from the requirements that apply under the statutue
– removes prohibitions on leasing of MFL lands

WWOA will continue to work with the Legislature, WI DNR, and others to improve the MFL program and keep you informed on these proposals.

USDA Continues Programs and Planning

USDA Continues Conservation Planning and Programs for America’s Farmers
and Ranchers

NRCS Services Available by Phone Appointment Only

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 26, 2020 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field offices are open by phone appointment only until further notice, and NRCS staff are available to continue to provide one-on-one, customer-specific advice to producers to help them meet their unique conservation and business goals.

All USDA Service Centers, including those NRCS field offices, are not currently accessible to customers in person.

NRCS staff are working with customers through phone, mail and online communications, and field work continues with appropriate social distancing to help producers with conservation planning and financial assistance through Farm Bill programs.

“Our team is here to work with you, and we are looking at every possible option and flexibility to support the conservation needs of America’s farmers and ranchers,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “We want to continue our customer assistance while also taking precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.”

NRCS offers year-round continuous signup for its Farm Bill programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. Call respective NRCS field offices about sign up and application submission options.

Additionally, NRCS continues projects with partners, including universities, local and state governments, tribes, nonprofits, and others. NRCS will continue to award projects and to call for proposals for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Conservation Innovation Grants and the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program.

[Read more…]

DNR: Spring Hearings In-Person Portion Cancelled

Accepting Public Input Online

Contact(s): Larry Bonde, Wis. Conservation Congress, 608-235-5825
Kari Lee-Zimmermann, DNR, 608-219-9134
March 17, 2020 at 5:43:05 pm

[EDITOR’S ADVISORY: This is a joint news release from the Wisconsin DNR and Wisconsin Conservation Congress.]

MADISON, WI -In light of COVID-19, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are closely following guidelines from the Department of Health Services (DHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).

We continue to receive the most up-to-date information, including new guidance from DHS that recommends canceling or postponing gatherings of 10 people or more to help protect Wisconsinites from the spread of COVID-19, particularly those who are most vulnerable to infection and severe disease.

As such, the in-person portion of the 72 public meetings known as the Spring Hearings that were to be held in each county on April 13 are canceled. The public will continue to have the opportunity to provide input on the natural resources advisory questions from the DNR, Natural Resources Board (NRB), and WCC through the online input option.

The online input option will be provided through a link that will be posted on the Spring Hearing page and will go live at 7 p.m. on April 13. The online version will remain open for three days (72 hours). Results will be posted as soon as they are available.

Each year, citizens can recommend changes to natural resource issues through the submittal of citizen resolutions. In addition, two of the five WCC seats in each county are up for election.

Resolutions can either be emailed to SpringHearingInfo@Wisconsin.gov or typed hardcopies can be mailed to: Kari Lee-Zimmermann, Conservation Congress Liaison, P.O. Box 7921 WCC/4, Madison WI 53707-7921. All citizen resolutions must be received by close of business on April 6. Resolutions must also meet the requirements identified on the Spring Hearing webpage.

[Read more…]

Government Agencies Taking Precautionary Measures to Stop Spread of COVID-19

U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Centers are encouraging visitors to take proactive protective measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Government Service Center agencies such as Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or any others, are now requiring all visitors to CALL the agency first to set up a phone appointment. 
You can find your local service center phone numbers by clicking here.

For the most current updates on available services and Service Center status visit farmers.gov/coronavirus.
For Wisconsin DNR COVID-19 response, click here.

DATCP Presents Gypsy Moth Treatment Plan at Open House Meetings

Release Date: March 3, 2020
Media Contacts: Stephanie Jentz, Gypsy Moth Public Information Officer
Leeann Duwe, DATCP Public Information Officer, (608)-224-5130


MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) will present this year’s gypsy moth treatment plan at several open house meetings March 16-19. The gypsy moth is a non-native insect with a destructive appetite for hundreds of species of trees and shrubs. Treatment efforts help limit the spread of this pest that is established in the eastern two-thirds of the state.

“The gypsy moth is a serious threat to our forests and urban trees. It has the potential to negatively impact Wisconsin’s timber, paper, nursery, and tourism industries,” said Christopher Foelker, coordinator of DATCP’s Gypsy Moth Program.

Beginning in May and continuing through July, low-flying planes will spray select areas in western Wisconsin to treat for the gypsy moth. A total of about 145,625 acres at 58 sites in 18 counties are scheduled for treatment.

[Read more…]

Forest County Land & Water Conservation Department Receives 2019 NACD Technical Assistant Grant

Contact: Steve Kircher at lcc@co.forest.wi.us


CRANDON, WI– The Forest County Land and Water Conservation Department in Crandon announced that it would be awarded funding through a 2019 NACD technical assistant (TA) grant, made possible through a partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) and the USDA NRCS to build and strengthen technical capacity nationwide. The Land and Water Conservation Department will use TA grant funding to support the Working Forests Project in Forest County. 

Private landowners can voluntarily join the Working Forest Protection Program. Once enrolled, landowners will be provided with resources and cost share opportunities to create stewardship management plans and complete conservation projects that will maintain the working forest status and retain timber production, recreational and cultural uses and conservation values. 

To learn more about technical assistant grants visit:

To learn more about Forest County Land Conservation visit:

USDA to Open Signup for Conservation Reserve Program

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 5, 2019 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is opening signup for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) on December 9, 2019. The deadline for agricultural producers to sign up for general CRP is
February 28, 2020, while signup for continuous CRP is ongoing.

Landowners who enroll in CRP receive a yearly rental payment for voluntarily establishing long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees (known as “covers”) to control soil erosion, improve water quality and develop wildlife habitat on marginally productive agricultural lands.

By enrolling in CRP, producers are improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and restoring habitat for wildlife. This in turn spurs hunting, fishing, recreation, tourism, and other economic development across rural America.

For more information, see the CRP Fact Sheet.