Conservation Congress hearings to offer new, online input

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MANITOWOC COUNTY, Wis (WBAY) -- Anyone who enjoys Wisconsin's natural resources will have a new way to offer their input this year on future management.

The public can weigh in on proposed fish and wildlife rules online.

Celebrating its 85th year in existence, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress is truly unique.

"It's a great way for citizen input and citizens advising the Natural Resources Board to make decisions on policy making to how we manage our natural resources and there's no other state in the nation that has something as spectacular as what we have here in Wisconsin with the Conservation Congress," says Larry Bonde, Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chairman.

Every year, on the second Monday in April, the Conservation Congress holds hearings in every county at 7 p.m.

It's an opportunity for the public to offer input on proposed DNR rule changes-- and make new suggestions in the form of resolutions.

"The resolutions are where a citizen has an idea to change a rule, or modify a rule, or change a bag limit and they submit a resolution at their spring hearing, if that passes in the county it then goes to a Conservation Congress advisory committee and if they approve it, then the next year it's an advisory question," says Bonde.

Over the past few decades, attendance at the spring hearings statewide has averaged just 5,000 participants, just a fraction of the overall hunting and fishing public.

So this year, a change.

"We've been working for 10 years, we've been looking at some type of online option so that people who can't attend the hearing, whether it be a work schedule, or children or whatever the issue may be, give them a way to give us their input on the same issues that we deal with that night in person. "So I'm excited and I think it's a great opportunity, I fully expect at least 5,000 or more to give us their input online this year," says Bonde.

Beginning Monday April 8th at 7 p.m., the public will have three days to go online and complete the spring hearings questions and survey. They can be accessed here:

Click here for the DNR's website

Click here for the Conservation Congress' website