Curent Issues

Current Legislative/Regulatory IssuesWI Capitol Image

The Wisconsin Waterfowl Association consistently works to stay up-to-date and involved in those legislative & regulatory issues most important to our membership and our mission.

Here are some of the issues we are currently participating in:

2016 migratory bird hunting season structure process & 2017 hunting zones update:

As many of you are aware, there has been a change in the federal process for setting annual migratory bird hunting seasons.  Starting with the 2016 seasons, these decisions will be made using the scientific survey information from the prior year’s research, instead of current-year research, as had been done, for a very long time.  This change will allow the process to take place over a longer period of time, instead of the “hurry-up” process previously in place, with a very condensed timeline, from spring breeding surveys, to mid-summer season-setting decision actions.  Thus, the 2016 process began in the fall of 2015, using 2015 spring survey data.  WWA is actively involved in this process, with representatives on the WDNR Migratory Bird committee, and the WI Wildlife Federation Migratory Bird commitee, offering input.  Additionally, the hunting zones (currently structured as North, South, and Mississippi River) will be reviewed in 2016, with any possible changes put in place for the 2017-2020 hunting seasons.  Here are the details for the public input period:

Public hearings regarding proposed 2016 waterfowl season structure will be held March 14-17. Feedback received from the public in recent years helped the department develop current season structure, which has been favored by most hunters.

Once every five years, Wisconsin is given the opportunity to review duck zone structure — this will be an important topic in 2016. Due to the federal regulations change this year, we will make any adjustments to our zones, in 2017, and they will stay for four years, through the 2020 hunting seasons, for this cycle, at which time we’ll have the opportunity to review them again, for the 2021 season. After public comments have been collected, final season structure will be set by the Natural Resources Board at its April 12 meeting.

Post-Flyway Council meetings/sessions and public hearings will be held at the following locations:

Post Flyway Meetings and Special Sessions

  • Saturday, March 5, Stevens Point – Schmeeckle Reserve Visitor Center, 2419 Northpoint Drive. This meeting is open to the public and DNR staff will present information regarding waterfowl status and proposed regulations. However, this is a Wisconsin Conservation Congress committee meeting, so participation in the discussion will be limited to committee members. Citizens may submit public comment to DNR staff via email or letter following the meeting.
  • Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12, Wausau – Wisconsin Waterfowl Hunters’ Conference -The Plaza Inn and Suites, 201 N 17th Ave. Proposed season breakout session March 11 at 4 p.m. and March 12 at 12:30 p.m. (The need to register for the conference is waived for people who wish to participate only in a breakout session.)

Public Hearings

  • Monday,March 14, 7 p.m., La Crosse – State OfficeBuilding, Rooms B-19 and B-20, 3550 Mormon Coulee Road.;
  • Tuesday, March 15, 7 p.m., RiceLake – AmeriVu Inn, 1710 South MainSt.;
  • Wednesday, March 16, 7 p.m., Appleton – Agricultural Services Center, Mainconference room, 3369 West Brewster St.; and
  • Thursday, March 17, 7 p.m.,Pewaukee – Wildwood Lodge, N14 W24121 TowerPlace.

The department will accept public comments on the proposed waterfowl season structure at each public hearing. People who would like to provide input directly or are unable to attend a hearing may submit written comments through midnight Friday, March 18. Written comments can be sent to Taylor Finger, Wisconsin DNR, PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707, via email to Taylor.finger@wisconsin.gov or by calling 608-261-6458.

2015/16 proposed legislation concerns:

In December and early January, WWA joined with several other groups, signing onto a letter sharing our opposition to several provisions of Assembly Bill 600, which would allow significant damage to occur to wetlands and important riparian habitat areas.              Conservation Organizations Testimony_AB_600

Late in the session, we also voiced our concerns to a number of concerned state senators, regarding SB493, known as the “aquaculture bill”, which would have had significant, unintended, wetland impacts.  We are hopeful that the positive portions of this bill can be re-introduced in the next legislative session, with the corrections offered by our friends at the WI Wetlands Association, so this industry can be helped to prosper in Wisconsin.     WI Waterfowl Assoc No SB493 Cowles