Vern Wagner

When Vern Wagner is not tournament bass fishing or teaching kids to fish, he can be found roaming the State Capitol working on fish habitat and fishing legislation.

Fish or Cut bait

Posted by: Vern Wagner under Fishing Updated: October 25, 2009 - 3:12 PM
Questions abound regarding the fate of the 2010 Outdoor funding. Hopefully Legislators will honor the intent of the Outdoors Amendment. Dollars for Clean Water and the Outdoors need to be directed toward the preservation, restoration of water and habitat. Dollars need to go toward the enhancement of hunting and fishing. In 2009 barely a drop of Clean Water funding went toward the preservation of aquatic habitat. Instead U of M studies and impaired waters soaked up millions of dollars.

Jobs for Minnesotans need to be high on the Legislative agenda for 2010. But Outdoors funding streams should not be diverted to solving unemployment. Ten years ago who would have thought that Hook and Bullet groups would have had to resort to bypassing the status quo system and amend the State Constitution to protect and preserve Minnesota's outdoors heritage. Now that it has happened, it seems that now; the Legislature is showing interest. In a State known for it's 10,000 lakes and in place where 1.2 million people buy fishing licenses; it is difficult to understand why Sportsmen and women needed to take the unlikely path of using Minnesota's Constitution to make an end run on the legislative process. Could be that what is important to average Minnesotans hasn't been obvious to folks at the State Capitol.

But I suspect that for better or worse, how the funds should be spent will attract plenty of legislators with a boatload of good idea's. Hopefully we can channel the funds toward what we thought we were voting for.

Another topic that likely will come up this session is: are we are satisfied by the current configuration of State Agencies that deliver natural resources and ecological services, such as the PCA, DNR, and Boards such as BWSR, Forest and Environmental Quality. Questions about how efficient these agencies are as separate entity's will likely be asked. Would we be better served by a single State Agency of Ecology or would we simply be building another bureaucratic monster like the Veterans Administration or U.S. Post Office? We each have a responsibility to pass Minnesota's great outdoor heritage on to future generations, lets make sure it is the same or better then when we took charge of it.
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