In light of COVID-19, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and the DNR have announced the in-person portion of the 72 public meetings known as the Spring Hearings that were to be held in each county on April 13 are cancelled. The public will continue to have the opportunity to provide input on the natural resources advisory questions from the DNR, Natural Resources Board (NRB), and WCC through the online input option.
The Conservation Congress provides input on pending natural resource issues. The Chair of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Larry Bonde of Kiel says the cancellation is a milestone...
"For the first time in our 88 year history. we are not going to have in-person hearings because of the concerns over COVID-19 virus. I don't know if someone was looking over us, but the insight or foresight members of the Congress had, last year we instituted on-line option to give us input..."
Bonde says there's no doubt in-person hearings are an effective way to get input from outdoors folks. But even with not getting that type of input, he says last year's online submissions proved to be effective...
"Last year we had over 10,000 people submit input on line and it mirrored what we saw in the in-person input. It tells me that the people who were online last year viewed things the same way as those who appeared in person..."
Bonde says he hopes the public doesn't see this move as a way to move all the hearings to online input. He says the Conservation Congress is committed to hosting live events when it is safe to do so.
The Conservation Congress is the only one in the nation of its type, created by renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold. Five citizens from every county in the state get elected to the Congress. No other state has a natural resources advisory panel like the Conservation Congress.