New Wisconsin DNR secretary invites agency employees to Natural Resources Board meetings

Natural Resources Board members met informally with DNR employees following the January board meeting. (Photo by Tim Eisele)

A sense of newness permeated the January meeting of the Natural Resources Board (NRB) in Madison.

The meeting was the first for new Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole and members of Cole’s new staff.

Cole’s appointments so far include: Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Kluesner; Chief Legal Counsel Cheryl Heilman; Internal Services Director Doug Haag; and Chief State Forester Fred Souba.

For the first time in the history of board meetings, the NRB and secretary arranged a “meet-and-greet” for DNR employees with NRB members. Employees were encouraged to attend and meet volunteer board members who have the responsibility of establishing policy for the DNR. Often only administrators and bureau directors leading specific programs appear in front of the board to give reports. This was an opportunity for the average Joe and Jane ecologist to meet those policy-makers.

Cole announced at the beginning of the meeting that he was excited to have the opportunity as secretary and he knows well the excellent talent of DNR employees, who will exemplify true professionalism.

During discussion over problems with Wisconsin’s water quality and non-point water pollution coming from large farms, Dr. Frederick Prehn noted the conundrum regarding solving non-point source pollution and CWD on deer farms. Both involve a confusing mix of responsibilities by the DNR and the Department of Agriculture and Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

Cole ran with that, and said he and the deputy secretary and NRB chair will meet with the DATCP secretary and board chair to discuss concerns. He also said that a joint meeting of the NRB and DATCP board, something that was done several times years ago but has not been done within the past eight years, would be worth doing.

It makes good sense that both agencies should work together for the good of Wisconsin resources and citizens.

Categories: Wisconsin – Tim Eisele

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