Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund Reauthorization
The Wisconsin chapter has been actively working with other organizations to support the reauthorization of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund. Named after two former Wisconsin governors – Warren Knowles, a Republican, and Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat – the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program funds help pay for the purchase of public land and conservation easements that protect Wisconsin's unique landscapes. KNSP also protects clean water, funds urban and wild trail projects, and pays for crucial recreation infrastructure like boat launches and campgrounds.
If there's a natural area or wildlife refuge in Wisconsin that is special to you, chances are Knowles-Nelson made that possible. Just this past February, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board has approved using funds from Knowles-Nelson to purchase a 14,352-acre Forest Legacy conservation easement in Iron County. This easement, the Great Northern Conservation Easement, will complete a 32,000 acre contiguous swath of public lands and waters (including 3.24 miles of classified trout streams) for all us to enjoy in perpetuity.
Since its inception in 1989, Republicans and Democrats across the state have championed the program because our land, water and wildlife don't have political affiliations. Governor Tony Evers has released his budget proposal, and it includes only a two-year extension of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program as well as a pledge to form a blue-ribbon task force to make recommendations on the future of the program. The two-year extension proposed by Governor Evers would continue funding for the program into 2022. However, we are disappointed that the proposal falls far short of the long-term investment that Wisconsin needs to protect our land, water, wildlife and way of life. The program has previously received reauthorizations for 10 years, providing certainty for investors and potential grant recipients to move forward with projects that benefit the public.
The WI chapter recently joined a group of 50 conservation organizations in sending a letter, urging our legislators to take bold action to keep Knowles-Nelson alive and to secure long-term reauthorization and robust funding of the program.
We all want Wisconsin to be a healthy, thriving place to live, work and play. We believe that strengthening the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program is an opportunity for citizens and lawmakers across the state to work together.
Please join us in Taking Action to show legislators the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program is important to you!
CWD Action Initiative
The Wisconsin Chapter came together with conservation leaders to form the CWD Action Initiative in response to the inaction by Governor Evers’ and legislators in making purposeful strides to combat the always fatal deer disease. The CWDAI is comprised of organizations, businesses, and individuals seeking meaningful action to fight CWD. The full platform created by the CWDAI can be found at www.cwdaction.com.
WIBHA along with the CWDAI is currently seeking to address the budgetary asks in the CWDAI platform, which includes creating safe and convenient carcass disposal, improving Wisconsin’s CWD testing system, and improving bio-security at captive cervid facilities by depopulating all CWD positive facilities and improving fencing requirements.
Please join us in Taking Action to tell legislators the Fight Against CWD is important to you!