Wisconsin’s Kazmierski suggests Natural Resources Board review University of Wisconsin research

Natural Resources Board member Greg Kazmierski suggested that the board should review potential contracts with the University of Wisconsin for wildlife research. (Photo by Tim Eisele)

When government officials don’t like what they hear, they tend to restrict communications, while making the claim that they remain open and transparent.

Recently, Gov. Scott Walker has taken that step by suggesting the elimination the Department of Natural Resources’ Natural Resources magazine in the next state budget.

Despite the fact the magazine is self-supporting, spends no tax revenues, has more than 80,000 eager subscribers and keeps citizens informed on DNR programs, the governor’s budget will “kill off” the magazine with the February 2018 issue.

Then, at the Natural Resources Board (NRB) meeting on March 1, board member Greg Kazmierski, of Pewaukee, made a request that causes me to wonder if this board member wants to begin cleansing and controlling research projects.

Kazmierski’s explanation was that, recently, he thought some research from the UW was “outside of our scope.”

Research dollars are tight, he said March 1, adding, “I’d like to have our Memorandums of Understanding with the University at Madison available to the board so that we can kind of look at how this whole process works.”

Maybe this is merely an attempt to get a better understanding of research. But board members are routinely briefed on issues they want to learn more about and Kazmierski could be informed on the process at any time.

Kazmierski’s request falls outside of the realm of setting policy for the DNR and appears to be an insidious attempt to have input into who conducts research for the state.

Kazmierski said that a lot of agencies across the country put research projects out for bid, possibly to multiple universities across the country.

Kazmierski indicated that this might be something that the NRB would want to look into – the bidding-out of research projects.

“Having an understanding of the MOU’s might lead us in that direction,” Kazmierski said.

My hunch is that there are recent study results with which Kazmierski disagrees and now he’d like to know how he can shift research away from UW-Madison to other universities.

Possibly to Dr. James Kroll at Stephen F. Austin University in Texas?

If there is a study that has made mistakes, or falls short on scientific principles, let university administrators, academic peers, and DNR researchers weigh in and hold researchers accountable.

The UW research was based on sifting and winnowing.

Board members shouldn’t start “cleansing” research efforts because they disagree with the results. It’s hard enough to retain good science in an agency that used to employ more scientists and was built upon a strong science foundation.

Categories: Wisconsin – Tim Eisele

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *