The state Natural Resources Board has approved the next two-year budget for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The board approved a small 2-percent increase over its last two-year budget. DNR Secretary Matt Frank says the budget is lean but gets the job done. Top budget priorities include improving the state's water quality, promoting snowmobile safety and enforcement and fighting the spread of invasive species. "Dealing with invasives, whether it's terrestrial invasives like emerald ash borer, gypsy moth or others, and other invasives we find in our lakes and streams, that is a high priority," says Frank.
The board did not approve higher fishing or hunting license or park and camping fees right now. But Frank admits that is a possibility. "Before we ask for any increases, we need really to scrutinize our budget, look for areas that we can streamline," he says, adding that fee increases will be "a last resort." The DNR budget goes to Governor Jim Doyle who will include it in the budget he submits to the Legislature early next year.