Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

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The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (or DNR) is a government created department that was created to preserve, protect, and regulate the natural environment of Wisconsin for the benefit of the residents and visitors. Just a few of the many things that the DNR does includes forest management, fish and wildlife management, water and air quality maintenance, and law enforcement.

Department of Natural Resources History

Between 1787 and 1848, territorial laws in what soon would be Wisconsin, regulated game, wildfires, trapping activities, water navigation, fishing, and timber trespass. The Wisconsin Conservation Commission was created in 1915. 1917 was the year the natural resources laws were restructured. This would become the basis for our current natural resource laws today. In 1934, the State Conservation Commission had created the Conservation Congress. They created the Conservation Congress to give citizens a way to give their input and exchange ideas that concerned issues in conservation. Before 1937, regulations, bag limits, seasons, and fees were handled by the state legislature. In 1967, the Department of Natural Resources was created while the state government was reorganizing. It was a merger between the Department of Resource Development, and the Conservation Department. Legislation was signed in 1972 by governor Patrick Lucey that recognized the Conservation Congress legally. This ensured that citizens would have a way to give their input to the Natural Resources Board and the Department of Natural Resources. Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources was the first department of its kind in our nation's history.[1]

Who Makes Up the DNR?

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board

The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board is a policy making body that consists of a seven member citizen board. The board oversees the agency by exercising responsibility and authority that is in accordance with the state laws of Wisconsin. The board directs the agency by creating policy for the department. The board will also hire an administrative secretary. Citizens may attend board meetings and their input is welcome there. Citizens can testify and submit written comments when issues come before the Natural Resources Board. The Natural Resources Board is appointed by the governor with the consent and advice of the senate.[2]

Department of Natural Resources Staff

The staff at the DNR have many different jobs. They manage wildlife, forests, fish, parks, and air and water resources just to name a few. The DNR aims to promote a sustainable and healthy environment, along with many outdoor activities and opportunities for the public. A secretary administers the department. This secretary is appointment by the governor after getting consent and advice from the senate. The DNR headquarters is located in Madison. The department has 5 regional offices along with 200 other offices and field stations throughout the state. About 70% of the department's personnel is operating at field stations that are located outside of Madison.[3]

DNR Divisions

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is divided into six different divisions: Air, Waste, and Remediation and Development, Customer and Employee Services, Enforcement and Science, Forestry, Land, and Water.

Air, Waste, and Remediation and Development (AWaRe)

The Air, Waste, and Remediation and Development Division, also known as AWaRe, aims to protect human health and the environment. They work in partnership with communities, businesses, advocacy groups, and citizens to recognize relationships between our air, land, and water resources. To improve their services, they rely on self evaluation, environmental indicators, and feedback from others.[4]

Customer and Employee Services (CAES)

Also known as CAES, the Customer and Employee Services Division functions to serve customers of the department, both internally and externally. This division is in charge of managing sales of licenses statewide, communication internally and externally, education, conservation, human resources, environmental financial aid programs, budget and finance, information technology, fleet management, and also mail distribution.[5]

Enforcement and Science

The Enforcement and Science Division contains The Bureau of Law Enforcement. It is home to the Conservation Warden Service as well. This service provides the law enforcement function within the Department of Natural Resources. It is dedicated to protecting the natural resources and the citizens of Wisconsin while also working cooperatively with other law enforcement at the local, state, and federal level. They work cooperatively on many emergency and and law enforcement response initiatives. They promote public safety and natural resources as well as promote it. They do this through enforcement, community involvement, and education. They encourage people to think on behalf of future generations when it comes to Wisconsin's natural resources. The Bureau of Science Services part of the division is a behind the scenes operation. Researchers, critical thinkers, and analysts use their expertise to become the foundation of all science based decision making in the DNR. The research they do influences the methods used by the DNR to manage wildlife and to also handle other issues in the environment.[6]

Forestry

The Division of Forestry creates programs to sustain and protect forests throughout the state of Wisconsin. To meet the demands of the forest today, and to prepare for the future, they combine technical and financial assistance, planning, research, education, technology, and policy. The forests in Wisconsin cover nearly 16 million acres and almost half of the state. The trees are vital to the quality of life in Wisconsin. They provide a lot of different cultural, social, ecological, and even economic benefits that we all use daily-from clean water, air, and wildlife habitat, to recreational activities, to many paper and wood products.[7]

Land

The Land Division of the DNR protects and enhances the landscape of Wisconsin, along with protecting Wisconsin's strong heritage of hunting and trapping. This division oversees the stewardship program. The program is responsible for plans for wildlife and habitat, preserves endangered plants and animals, and celebrates outdoor recreation. Many places visited in the state fall under this division.[8]

Water

The Water Division of the Department of Natural Resources shares the job with local governments, citizens, and businesses, to conserve and restore water resources. The water resources in Wisconsin are a foundation for Wisconsin's economy, quality of life, and environment. This division conserves and restores the water resources for the citizens of Wisconsin for now and in the future. [9]

References

  1. "Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources." Wisconsin Conservation Congress History. Wisconsin Department Of Natural Resources. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://dnr.wi.gov/about/wcc/history.html>.
  2. Thomas, Christine L.. “The Policy/administration Continuum: Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Decisions”. Public Administration Review 50.4 (1990): 446–449. Web...
  3. Thomas, Christine L.. “The Policy/administration Continuum: Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Decisions”. Public Administration Review 50.4 (1990): 446–449. Web...
  4. "About the DNR." Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://dnr.wi.gov/about/>.
  5. "About the DNR." Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://dnr.wi.gov/about/>.
  6. "About the DNR." Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://dnr.wi.gov/about/>.
  7. "About the DNR." Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://dnr.wi.gov/about/>.
  8. "About the DNR." Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://dnr.wi.gov/about/>.
  9. "About the DNR." Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Web. 10 Dec. 2015. <http://dnr.wi.gov/about/>.

Additional Resources

  • Thomas, Christine L.. “The Policy/administration Continuum: Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Decisions”. Public Administration Review 50.4 (1990): 446–449. Web...

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