Conservation grab bag: Bad BWSR idea, and a fellow trout angler passes

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A proposal emerged last week to combine the Board of
Water and Soil Resources with the state Department of
Agriculture.

Bad idea.

As Joe Albert reports in the Jan. 27 Outdoor News (and this
website) it’s part of the House GOP’s Reform 2.0 effort to find
more efficiencies in state government. Sounds reasonable, but
legislators should look elsewhere for problems in government.

BWSR is the state soil and water conservation agency that
administers programs that prevent sediment and nutrients from
entering state lakes, rivers, and streams (and ultimately the Gulf
of Mexico “dead zone.”) The 20-member board consists of
representatives of local and state government agencies and
citizens, and it runs lean and mean on staffing. BWSR has been
around since 1987 and administers 90 soil and water conservation
districts, 46 watershed districts, 23 metro watershed management
organizations, and 80 county water managers.

The staff at Outdoor News relies heavily on BWSR employees as
sources for conservation and farm policy items, so we know the
Board and its charter pretty well.

Per Albert’s story, the good news is that legislators who
understand BWSR and how it works (from any political persuasion)
appear to recognize that the agency doesn’t need fixing. House
Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance
Committee Chair Denny McNamara, R-Hastings, said: “I have to be
honest – BWSR is an organization that works very well … They do
good work – on the ground they’re doing really good stuff that we
want to expand on.”

This isn’t the first time the idea to meld BWSR into Ag has come
along. It’s faded away in the past; here’s hoping that’s what
happens this time, too.

How about one from the “you-can’t-make-it-up”
file?
Check out this case of a company that probably won’t
be winning a good corporate citizen award anytime soon. This is why
we have environmental regulations, folks. One-hundred years ago,
before conservationists passed all those irritating environmental
laws, this would have been business as usual. Today it’s shocking.
Thank you Teddy Roosevelt.

In the meantime, don’t think I’ll be dropping a dry-fly in this
stream.

Friend and frequent Outdoor News contributor Mark Strand
has new “e-book” celebrating the fine sport of turkey
hunting.

“Turkey Camp… and other turkey hunting stories,” contains a
dozen stories about the addicting sport of gobbler chasing. It’s
written and illustrated by Mark Strand, lifelong hunter and angler,
and a longtime outdoor writer and photographer and filmmaker.

“Turkey Camp” is published in e-book formats, readable on all
modern e-readers and computer screens. It’s available from all
major e-retailers or directly from the authors website.

Finally, I’m sad to hear about the passing of an old
friend from the Minnesota Conservation Federation
, Dave
Moran. He passed away on Jan. 11 at the age of 81 after fighting a
hard, tough battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Dave was one of the first guys I met during my early years at
Outdoor News. Then president of the MCF, he was a big advocate for
mourning dove hunting years before the season actually became a
reality. A guy who could broker deals, Dave focused on big picture
issues like wetlands conservation, WMAs, and water quality.

Here’s an excerpt from a piece about on Moran from current
Minnesota Conservation Federation Executive Director Gary
Botzek:

A Minnesotan his whole life, Dave Moran grew up in St. Cloud
and lived in Bloomington, Prior Lake, and Lakeville. He’s survived
by his wife of 57 years, Joanne, with whom he raised four children:
David, Jr., Danelle, Douglas, and Donald.

Moran served in the Air Force for four years and worked for
North Central and Republic Airlines in administrative capacities.
While working for the airlines, the Moran family lived in South
America. After he retired from the airlines he earned single and
multi-engine flying certificates and became a flight instructor and
charter pilot at Flying Cloud Airport. He logged 6000 hours of
flying time.

Dave and fellow MCF booster Gordie Meyer were longtime
hunting and fishing partners. Not only did they hunt and fish
together, but they traveled to numerous conservation meetings
around the state for a number of organizations.

They worked on Consolidated Conservation lands in Northwest
Minnesota, the dove season, they worked on WMAs, they worked on
RIM, and they worked on Legacy funding. They were joined by MCF
greats Al Farmes and Frank Schneider in their many conservation
efforts.

In the early 1990s, Gov. Arne Carlson asked Dave to serve on
a new task force that was looking at ways to protect the ever
deceasing wetlands in the state. The result of the study was the
Wetlands Conservation Act of 1991 which is still a conservation
main stay in Minnesota.

They worked the longest and hardest on the restoration of
the Vermillion River in Dakota County where trout are back in
business due to their efforts.

Dave served on the Minnesota Conservation Federation board
for many years including serving as president. He was also
president and board member of the Scott County Pheasants Forever
and a board member of the Fish and Wildlife Legislative
Alliance.

Dave was passionate about preserving the environment and
working to save our wetlands and trout streams so that future
generations would be able to enjoy walking in the fields and
forests full of wild birds or throwing a fishing line into a clean
stream in an attempt to work with mother nature to see if the fish
would bite today. That passion was his legacy!

The MCF is honored that Dave Moran gave so much time and
energy to our organization. We plan on planting a tree in his honor
on the same Vermillion River native prairie site where Gordie
Meyer’s memorial stands.

Long live the memory of David E. Moran. He was loved by many
and will be missed by the same.

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