Conservation News from Others

March 2023

The annual spring Conservation Congress advisory meetings allow all citizens to vote on questions involving Wisconsin’s natural resources.

Many of the questions involve hunting and fishing regulations, and other questions involve the health of the land, insects, and wildlife in general.

This year voting will take place at in-person meetings held in every county of the state on the evening of Monday, April 8, or people who want to just vote from their home can access the questionnaire from their computer and vote from April 10 through April 13.

A sampling of questions

          A specific land use question is concerned about mowing down low-growing native vegetation under powerlines during the summer nesting season.

          Milkweed is the one basic plant required by monarch butterflies, and the wintering population of monarchs reached the second lowest ever this past winter.

          Question 27 on the Conservation Congress questionnaire is aimed at urging powerline companies to not mow low native vegetation during the summer.

          Explanatory material says that although powerlines need to eliminate tall trees under powerlines, the low-growing milkweed, hazel, and dogwood are used by monarch caterpillars and nesting songbirds.

          Mowing in the summer not only destroys the milkweed containing monarch eggs and caterpillars but also songbird and wild turkey nests.

          It may seem like a small thing, but powerline companies have thousands of miles of powerlines in Wisconsin, which pass over private land managed by private landowners.

          The question asks:  Would you support the Wisconsin Conservation Congress advising the Department of Natural Resources Natural Heritage Conservation Bureau to request powerline companies refrain from mowing during the summer months and encourage powerline companies to work with private landowners to manage powerline vegetation that provides habitat for insects and wildlife?


          Another question would expand opportunities for deer hunters with disabilities.  Currently disabled hunters participating in the October Disabled Deer Hunt program cannot hunt on their own property or lands that have access to without that property being enrolled as a sponsor, which requires a minimum acreage and being open to other disabled hunters.  Modifying the disabled hunt to wave these requirements during the weekend that it coincides with the statewide youth deer hunt when high visibility clothing is required statewide would allow disabled hunters to hunt without meeting these requirements that apply to the remainder of the disabled hunt program.

          The question asks:  Would you support a modification of the land requirements of the October disabled deer hunt during the weekend that coincides with the statewide youth deer hunt?


          Another question notes that there has been a decline of 2.9 billion birds within North America since 1970, and grassland birds were declining the most by 53% over 50 years.

          The Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin works to reestablish the population of the Eastern bluebird and other cavity-nesting birds in the state that have significantly declined since the mid-1960s.

          The question asks:  Do you support DNR using their resources and working with the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin to expand nesting box monitors and to help educate the public about the impact of pesticides on grassland bird populations?


          A similar question aimed at reducing the mortality of wild birds, says that house cats let out-of-doors, kill an estimated billion birds each year in the United States.  Education about the impact of free-roaming cats could change the behaviors of pet owners and reduce bird mortality.

          The question asks:  Do you support the DNR and other conservation groups creating an awareness campaign focused on the adverse impact outdoor cats have on Wisconsin’s wild bird populations?


          Another question states that the monarch butterfly has continued to decline in Wisconsin.  If it were to be designated as the state butterfly, more citizens may take action to support raising monarchs.

          The question asks:  Would you support the Conservation Congress working with the state legislature to designate the monarch butterfly as the Wisconsin state butterfly?


          Other questions include:

      phasing out lead ammunition in hunting with firearms by 2030;

      eliminating landowner preference for 30% of spring turkey hunting permits;

      prohibiting the use of wake boat ballast systems on Wisconsin lakes and rivers to help reduce the spread of invasive species;

      allowing the public to legally walk directly across railroad tracks/right of ways for purposes of accessing state lands and waters;

      banning the shining of wildlife in Wisconsin from September 15 through December 31.

      allowing hunters who quarter their deer in the field to leave non-edible parts at the site of harvest;

      supporting the department to pursue the establishment of a northern and southern woodcock zone in Wisconsin;

      Support establishing a commercial fishery for lake trout in Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan.

          Many questions include regulations for hunting and fishing and are asked by both the Conservation Congress and the Department of Natural Resources. 

This spring’s in-person meetings will take place on Monday, April 8, one in every county of the State.  Locations are often schools or municipal buildings, and locations are publicized and listed on the DNR website.

          Doors will open at 6 P.M for the meetings on Monday, April 8, with DNR staff available at 6:30, followed by the election of open positions for County Congress delegates at 7 p.m. and then voting on advisory natural resources questions presented by the DNR and Conservation Congress from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

          People who prefer to vote online from their homes will have that opportunity from noon, Wednesday, April 10 until noon, Saturday, April 13.  Using your computer or cell phone you can go to the DNR website to vote on questions, or directly to

Citizens can vote on all or only those questions they have an opinion on from the list of advisory questions presented by the DNR and from the Conservation Congress.

          Votes must be made by noon on Saturday, April 13.

          For people who want to vote and cannot attend the in-person meeting and do not have online access, they can contact Kari Lee-Zimmermann, DNR Conservation Congress Liaison, (Cell Phone: (608) 219-9134) and with enough advance notice she will mail a questionnaire, but it must be returned by the deadline of April 13.

From Editor:  If you have questions or would like more information, feel free to contact Tim Eisele.  Photos are available showing a powerline containing native vegetation, including milkweed, and the empty powerline following mowing and mulching of all the vegetation.  Why am I sending this out?  Linda and I were 1 of 8 people who submitted the powerline question in 8 counties in 2023.  It was approved in all 8 counties and now is going statewide to all 72 counties and we feel many landowners will be interested in it.

submitted for your consideration from Tim Eisele

Outdoor Writing and Photography



phone: (608) 233-2904