Sunday, September 26, 2021

Play

New Yorkers voice concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional and state voting districts; and providers ask the Supreme Court to act on Texas' new abortion law.

Play

The January 6th committee subpoenas former Trump officials; a Senate showdown looms over the debt ceiling; the CDC okays COVID boosters for seniors; and advocates testify about scams targeting the elderly.

Play

A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

Calls Amplify for WI to Renew Outdoors Stewardship Funding

Play

Monday, January 25, 2021   

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. -- Wisconsin residents have shown a renewed interest in outdoor activities during the pandemic, but conservation groups and some local governments say to keep public lands viable, a key program needs to be renewed.

Next month, Gov. Tony Evers unveils his proposed budget, and nature advocates hope it includes re-authorization of the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, due to expire this summer.

The state fund was established in 1989 to buy natural landscapes and administer grants for trail construction and other outdoor improvements.

Matt Dallman, deputy state director for The Nature Conservancy, said it benefits residents all over Wisconsin.

"Natural resources and our natural environments in the state are important, whether they're in an urban setting or in a rural setting, important to our economy" Dallman asserted. "It's places where people get out, hike and ski."

Last year, the Department of Natural Resources reported a surge in visitations to outdoor sites, putting strain on operations and infrastructure. Advocates say that's why another 10 years of funding is needed.

During the pandemic, a bi-partisan poll commissioned by The Nature Conservancy found 76% of state residents supporting a renewal. It's unclear whether Republican leaders would back the move, if Evers recommends it. Some have raised concerns about debt obligations tied to the program.

Zach Vruwink, former mayor of Wisconsin Rapids, and other local leaders said the investments will pay off. He noted Wisconsin Rapids used more than $2 million in grants from the program for shoreline stabilization and recreational trail work along the Wisconsin River.

"The projects were completed, last year in 2020," Vruwink explained. "And now we're seeing great interest by the public to convene in those spaces, particularly during COVID."

He added visitors support "Main Street" businesses in smaller towns, which have a hard time attracting larger retailers.

Supporters of the stewardship program said it also can protect water quality, mitigate flood risks, and protect a variety of species.

The program is operating on a one-year extension, but the current funding is much lower than the previous recurring amount of $86 million.

Disclosure: The Nature Conservancy - Midwest Region contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Sustainable Agriculture, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
The climate resilience package includes $1.5 billion for measures to better defend the state against wildfires. (Peter Buschmann/U.S. Forest Service)

Environment

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …


Social Issues

BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …

Social Issues

LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan advocates for children and families are praising many of the investments in the 2022 state budget passed this week…


According to the World Health Organization, about one in six people age 60 years and older experienced some form of abuse in community settings during the past year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is strong public support in Iowa to enact a state law that criminalizes elder abuse, a topic also being discussed by law …

Environment

SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…

Roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants reside in the United States. (JP Photography/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CHICAGO -- Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to …

Environment

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021