DNR board OKs request for more land management money

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The state Department of Natural Resources’ board approved a resolution Wednesday asking legislators for more money to manage wildlife habitat and maintain amenities on public lands.

Board member Greg Kazmierski introduced the resolution after complaining in February that funding to manage wildlife and maintain amenities on public lands such as boat landings, parking lots and signs isn’t keeping place with land purchases. The DNR currently owns and manages more than 1.6 million acres of public property.

Tim Gray, a DNR budget analyst, noted in a presentation to the board in February that state funding for wildlife management has grown from at least $7.2 million in fiscal year 2011-12 to at least $11.2 million in fiscal year 2022-23. The amount of state funding allocated for managing public lands stood at $107 million this year, he said. That’s not counting federal funding, he added.

Kazmierski told the board Wednesday that’s not enough. The resolution calls on the Legislature’s finance committee to provide “adequate funding” for habitat management programs and public lands maintenance but doesn’t call for a specific amount. Kazmierski said he simply wants to raise awareness that habitat management and maintenance deserve more money.

The board approved the resolution unanimously.

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