Last week, the House and Senate subcommittees for Natural Resource Appropriations reported out their respective budgets, check out some of the highlights below.
The Executive proposal included an additional 3 full-time employees and $1.6 million General Fund for the wildlife management program. The new funding will be used for lab technicians, testing costs and supplies, rapid response partnership with the US Department of Agriculture, and veterinary diagnostic services. This increase will also support the DNR’s bovine tuberculosis (TB) and deer management operations, including chronic wasting disease (CWD) response and sharpshooting efforts. A one-time appropriation of $1 million General Fund for 2017-18 has been moved to ongoing for FY 2018-19 making a total recommendation of $2.6 million for wildlife management. The recommendation from the House concurred.
The Senate budget proposal for the Wildlife Division included the additional $2.6 million General Fund and 3 full-time employees. The recommendation also included an additional $1 million, making the total recommendation from the Senate $3.6 million for wildlife management.
Additionally, the Executive budget proposal includes an additional $1.5 million General Fund and 10 full-time employees to train and hire ten new conservation officers (CO). There are currently 232 COs serving; these officers enforce natural resources (game, fish, forestry), environmental pollution and outdoor recreation (boating, hunting, ORV) laws. The Senate concurred while the House recommendation provides 5 conservation officers and only $750,000 General Fund.