The 2019-21 budget process is underway, and we need you to make your voice heard. The Wisconsin Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers was extremely disappointed to find out Gov. Evers chose to offer only a two-year reauthorization of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund and also failed to provide any additional funding to fight chronic wasting disease. Now, it’s up to the Joint Finance Committee and the legislature to step up and take action on these key issues.
The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund (KNSF) is Wisconsin’s version of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, providing funds to purchase conservation easements as well as key properties that ensure hunters and anglers have places to do the things we love while also funding maintenance of our public lands and public waters. These projects often pair funds from the KNSF with federal and private donor money and require multiple years to complete. With the KNSF set to expire in 2020, a two-year reauthorization does not provide the state, counties, cities or nonprofit groups the certainty needed to move forward with public access projects. WI BHA asks the legislature to reauthorize the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund for ten years in the 2019-21 budget.
CWD threatens not only our deer herd but also jeopardizes our hunting heritage and the $1.3 billion economy that deer hunting creates each year. That economy supports over 15,000 jobs and generates roughly $100 million in tax revenue for the state, and yet those dollars remain unused to combat the greatest threat to deer hunting in Wisconsin. In response to Gov. Evers inaction, WI BHA has joined forces with individuals and organizations to form the CWD Action Initiative. The CWD Action Initiative is where organizations, business, local hunting clubs, and individuals can show their support for active measures to combat CWD. This is the first united effort by Wisconsin hunters and conservationists to address this disease. WI BHA joins the CWD Action Initiative in asking the legislature to address these key issues in the 2019-21 budget:
- Create Safe and Convenient Carcass Disposal by requiring landfills to accept deer carcasses and provide funding for the DNR to place and operate 5 deer carcass dumpster sites in each county.
- Improve Wisconsin’s CWD Testing System by doubling the number of testing options within CWD infected areas, creating a permanent DNR CWD sample processing center to replace the leased building that is currently operating on property that is for sale, and directing $5 from all bonus permits statewide to CWD management.
- Improve Bio-Security on Deer/Elk Farms and Shooting Preserves by directing DATCP to depopulate all CWD infected deer/elk farms and shooting preserves, requiring double fencing, requiring all deer/elk farms and shooting preserves to participate in the USDA CWD herd certification program, and establishing a segregated escaped deer fund.
Here’s your chance to demand that your representatives take swift action on CWD and reauthorize the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund for ten years!