MADISON — Following today’s press conference at the State Capitol regarding the Department of Natural Resources’ Science Services positions cut in Gov. Walker’s budget, Clean Wisconsin releases this statement:
“The DNR’s Science Services staff provide a high-quality service to the state and are critical to maintaining Wisconsin’s natural resources, resources that help drive our economy and make Wisconsin a great place to live, work and visit,” says Amber Meyer Smith, director of programs and government relations for Clean Wisconsin.
For instance, John Magnuson, Professor Emeritus, UW Madison Department of Zoology and Director Emeritus, Center for Limnology, spoke about the excellent progress these scientists have made on information tools that enable wise natural resources decision-making across the state, such as the Aquatic Invasive Species Smart Prevention tool. This tool helps prevent unwanted invasive species, like Zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil, and allows a quick response should an invasive occur. Other such research and tools is currently being done that looks at issues such as trout fishing, algal blooms, preventing erosion of farm fields, buffer zones and more. Without this high-level knowledge and these valuable tools, said Magnuson, our key industries, resources and economy are at stake.
“The loss of these positions would leave a gaping hole in sound research and analysis regarding a variety of natural resource issues,” adds Smith. “The DNR Science Services staff have been involved with over 300 projects in the last two years alone, including sustainable fisheries, invasive species, Great Lakes, game management and sustainable forestry and more. These issues are of high priority for Wisconsinites and greatly impact Wisconsin’s economy.”
In addition, many of the staff targeted in these cuts are federally funded; eliminating the positions provides no savings to our state budget. In fact, these staff bring in several million dollars in research funds annually, funds that could be jeopardized without dedicated research staff. It is imperative that these positions be restored.