Re-alignment of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council is expected to begin soon.
Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids, is expected to be re-appointed to the council, this time as representative of the DFL majority.
Previously, Saxhaug had served as the Senate minority's representative when Republicans controlled the Legislature.
Also expecting an appointment is Robert "Bob'' Anderson, mayor of International Falls. His term would be for four years.
The Lessard-Sams Council is charged with reviewing conservation projects to be funded from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, which was created with passage of the 2008 Legacy Act.
The council's recommendations are just that, recommendations, and the Legislture can accept them or not.
But so far, the council's suggestions have been passed by the Legislture relatively intact.
Eight citizens and four legislators make up the panel.
The House has yet to announce its picks or, possibly, re-appointments. Gov. Mark Dayton also so far has been mum on appointments to be made from his office.
Appointments are staggered to prevent wholesale turnover.
The Outdoor Heritage Fund, through the Lessard-Sams Council and Legislature, pays for almost $100 million in conservation projects each year.
Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr opened the DNR's annual stakeholder meetings Friday in St. Paul listing accomplishments his agency and supporters have achieved in the past year, and challenges that lie ahead.
Accomplishments cited by Landwehr:
• Successful wolf season
• A hunting and fishing license fee increase
• The undertaking of two enforcement academies
• Wild lands and waters secured by the Outdoor Heritage Fund (Legacy money.)
• The writing of a state prairie conservation plan
• Changes in the waterfowl season; establishment of a new invasive species research center at the U
• Water quantity and quality
• Loss of grasslands
• Aquatic invasive species
• Recruitment of hunters/anglers
• Mille Lacs walleye management
• Decline of the state's moose
• Forest management in a time of difficulties for the forest-products industry
Below is Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp's statement following a federal judge's ruling Wednesday afternoon that prohibits Chippewa in that state from night hunting of deer with aid of a light, at least until a Dec. 12 hearing.
The Chippewa declared last week, through their Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, that beginning Monday their band members could hunt deer at night across the northern third of Wiscsonsin with aid of a light "at the point of kill.''.
The DNR objected and filed suit, saying an earlier federal court ruling prohibited the practice, even though night hunting for coyotes is allowed by the state.
The latest conflict arose after the DNR also allowed night hunting for wolves beginning Monday with aid of a light "at the point of kill.''
Most Wisconsin Chippewa oppose the state's wolf hunt.
Here's Stepp's statement:
“This afternoon Judge Barbara Crabb of the Western District Federal Court ruled that the State may enforce state shining laws against any Chippewa Tribal member hunting deer at night within the Ceded Territory (roughly the northern third of the state) until the preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for Dec. 12 and further order of the court. Chippewa Tribal members have been prohibited from night hunting/shining deer since 1990 in line with a 1989 federal court decision.
“The State is pleased that shining will be prohibited until such time as we can adequately address these issues within the appropriate court setting. We will continue to try to work with the Tribes to resolve this issue.”
The Wisconsin wolf harvest has risen to 38 after a busy weekend in which seven animals were taken, two by foothold trap.
In all, 21 of the 38 animals were caught by traps — an indication how effective this method is compared to hunting.
Wolves taken in Wisconsin have been widely dispersed. Below, in order of animals killed, beginning on Oct. 15, the first day of the season, and ending Sunday, Oct. 28, is a list of counties where harvests have been recorded.
Forty-two percent of hunters and anglers who consider themselves Republicans, and an even greater percentage who say they are ideologically conservative, agree with hunters and anglers of more independent and liberal persuasions that global warming is occurring and that the nation’s natural resources should be protected for future generations.
These and other findings of a nationwide poll conducted for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) were released Tuesday in an effort to inject conservation into discussions leading up to November’s local, state and national elections.
“Hunters and anglers have a strong desire to pass on this incredible (outdoor) legacy,’’ NWF supporter Theodore Roosevelt IV said in a conference call with reporters. “We want to encourage sportsmen to raise their hands and ask questions (of candidates) this fall.’’
A high percentage of hunters and anglers vote, the poll found, and while gun rights are important to them, natural resource conservation is also important.
NWF Minnesota spokesman Gary Botzek said the poll was conducted because, “We need to get (conservation) on candidates’ agenda, their radar screen. Now is the time to talk about our favorite issues, ranging from clean air to clean water to all of the hunting and fishing issues.’’
Kathleen Hadley, a NWF national board member from Montana, told reporters that warm weather in recent years has contributed to “turning our forests into tinder boxes.’’
“Ranchers are worried about feeding their livestock, and hay prices are out of sight,’’ she said. “We need to ask our political candidates to lay out their plans for wildlife and our public lands.’’
According to the poll:
• Most (59 percent) respondents believe global warming is occurring, and 66 percent agreed that, “We have a moral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children’s future.’’
• Most (57 percent) favor the government’s effort to limit carbon dioxide and other air pollutants that affect the public’s, and wildlife’s, health.
• A clear majority (87 percent) worry kids today don’t spend enough time outdoors.
• And 79 percent favor restoring clean water protections to smaller creeks, streams and wetlands — safeguards that were undercut by a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.
The poll did not ask its 800 respondents where conservation fits among their hierarchy of political issues. Other polls have shown the economy dominates voters’ concerns.
In Minnesota, Botzek said, hunters and anglers were most recently politically energized in 2004 and 2008.
The constitutional right to hunt and fish passed in the earlier election, and approval of the Legacy Amendment followed four years later.
But neither hunters, anglers or other conservationists seem motivated this election cycle, despite big issues “left hanging’’ in Washington and St. Paul, Botzek said.
“On the federal level, the farm bill didn't’t get done, CRP is going away, and clean water legislation didn’t get done,’’ Botzek said. “Here in Minnesota, wetland protection needs to be strengthened, as do invasive species and drainage laws.’’
Conducted Aug. 27 through Sept. 1, the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
The entire poll is available here.