A state lawmaker proposes splitting up the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Representative Adam Jarchow (R-Balsam Lake) said the DNR should be split into resource management and environmental protection agencies.
“If you talk to nearly any group out there that is touched by the department — business owners, property owners, hunters, anglers, environmentalists — none of them will say that the agency is doing a particularly good job,” Jarchow said. “What we propose is to spin-off what I would term a ‘super agency’ into two separate, smaller agencies. One would be an environmental protection agency, and one would be an agency that promotes fishing and hunting and sportsmans’ activities.”
Other areas of DNR oversight would handled by three existing agencies. The Department of Tourism would have responsibility for state parks. The Department of Administration would manage land acquisitions and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection would manage forestry operations.
“It will make it very difficult to manage, it’s going to cost more, and there’s going to be reduced service. And it’s really going to make it complicated for the average citizen,” said George Meyer, a former DNR Secretary who heads the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. “Natural Resources issues are not solved by increasing bureaucracy.”
Jarcow said he has not yet discussed his proposal with legislative leadership. Governor Scott Walker told the Wisconsin State Journal that the plan is worth pursuing.