The Wisconsin Conservation Congress received a record-setting 64,943 responses to the 2020 Spring Hearing Questionnaire featuring topics ranging from baiting and feeding deer to the use of non-toxic ammunition on state-owned land.

Due to COVID-19, the in-person portion of the 72 public meetings – known as the Spring Hearings – initially scheduled for April 13 in each county was canceled. The public was able to respond to the natural resources advisory questions from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board, and Conservation Congress online April 13-16.

Results can be found at dnr.wi.gov/About/WCC/springhearing.html or by visiting the DNR website and searching keywords “Spring Hearings.”

“I continue to be amazed by the level of participation by Wisconsinites. It shows very clearly how much people care about the natural resources of this state,” said Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chair Larry Bonde. “Given that this was only the second year we offered an online opportunity, and the extenuating circumstances with the COVID-19, I’m thrilled we had this opportunity in place to provide people an avenue for input.”

The Spring Hearings provide an opportunity for the public to weigh in on a wide range of natural resource-related advisory questions as well as citizen resolutions previously submitted for inclusion. The Spring Hearings also provide an opportunity for the public to elect Conservation Congress delegates to represent their county on natural resource issues.

The Conservation Congress is the only statutorily recognized citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board. Public input received through this process is advisory to members of the Natural Resources Board, department staff, and anyone working on these issues.

The results will help guide decision making on potential future rulemaking. No final decisions have been made at this time. The public input results will be considered during the Conservation Congress convention that may be held later this summer and during a Natural Resources Board meeting.