New wrinkle for buffers law, plus Wisconsin panfish, and a Deer and Turkey Show update
In my predictions for 2016 column several weeks ago, I suggested that the buffer rule law that passed last year in the Minnesota legislature should expect some more opposition this winter. Indeed, now that the rubber is meeting the road in the form of the mapping process playing out with the Minnesota DNR, we’ve heard rumblings of Republican opposition. Then today, Friday, Jan. 29, Gov. Mark Dayton issued this statement:
“After meeting yesterday afternoon with House Republican leaders, I have, with great reluctance, instructed the Department of Natural Resources to stop its mapping of so-called ‘private ditches’ under last year’s buffer legislation. The Republican legislators insisted that they did not intend those ditches to be included in the scope of the legislation, even though its buffering requirements would not take effect until November 2018.”
Dayton goes on to say that House leadership had threatened to not consider bonding requests for the DNR and Board of Soil and Water Resources if the private ditches were not retroactively exempted from the new buffer requirement.
“I will not put at risk the water quality improvements in my bonding proposal and other critical bonding measures over this dispute,” Dayton said.
Republicans maintain that protecting private ditches goes beyond the buffer law they negotiated with Dayton in 2015.
Watch for a complete story on the governor’s announcement in next week’s print edition of Outdoor News.
Wisconsin seeks public comment on 10-year panfish management plan
Lots of Minnesotans fish Wisconsin waters, and the Badger State is seeking public comments on a new, 10-year panfish plan that focuses on habitat improvements, predator management and revised bag limits to boost panfish management across Wisconsin. The state’s DNR has scheduled three meetings in early February to encourage feedback, including one in Hayward.
The state has a draft 10-Year Strategic Plan for Managing Wisconsin’s Panfish that it’s developed with extensive public input, data analysis and review of existing literature. It’s up for a final round of feedback before being implemented.
“We’ve received substantial input from anglers and listened to their concerns ranging from the role of predators to fishing pressure to habitat changes on some lakes,” said Max Wolter, a DNR fisheries biologist and panfish team leader. “To make sure we’re addressing anglers’ concerns in the plan, we’re scheduling a final comment period and series of public meetings for Hayward, Waukesha and Waupaca.”
The public meetings are set for:
• Hayward: Feb. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hayward Veteran’s Center, 10534 S. Main St, Hayward, Wis., 54843.
• Waukesha: Feb. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Waukesha Service Center, Room 180, 141 NW Barstow St., Waukesha,Wis., 53188.
• Waupaca: Feb. 11 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Waupaca Library, 107 S. Main St., Waupaca, Wis., 54981.
Outdoor News Deer & Turkey Show update
We’re down to less than a month before the inaugural Outdoor News Deer and Turkey Show. Be sure to check out the complete seminar schedule here plus our 30-second commercial with all the details (complete with fantastic voiceover).
We fully expect this to be the biggest deer show to hit Minnesota in years, and it’ll be a great opportunity for readers to interact with staffers at our newspaper. Tim Spielman, Joe Albert, Javier Serna, staffer and artist Ron Nelson and many of our writers and columnists will be on hand. Hope to see you there Feb. 26-28.