The Association of Retired Conservationists was organized by a group of retirees from the Wisconsin Conservation Department in the 1960's. By the mid-1970's, the WCD had been combined with the Department of Resource Development to form the Department of Natural Resources, and the retirees group had grown significantly, met monthly for lunch and began inviting speakers to address the group on issues of interest to the members. Today, the organization has more than two hundred members.

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Important Timely News

ARC letter to lawmakers opposing DNR split                                           Jan 18, 2017

Wisconsin Association of Retired Conservationists
Madison, WI
33 Stacy Lane
Madison, WI 53716
January 11, 2017

RE: Proposal to split Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Dear State Representative:

The Association of Retired Conservationists--an organization of more than 300 foresters; conservation wardens; fish and wildlife managers and biologists; parks and recreation, and air and water quality professionals; and licensing and customer service specialists--strongly recommends against dividing Department of Natural Resources functions into separate agencies. Such a move would be a disservice to the people of Wisconsin, the sustainability of its natural resources and the health of its environment; and would undoubtedly increase costs, reduce service and response to conservation needs, create inefficiencies in integrating essential work, and cripple the ability to focus on the natural resources and environmental priorities of lawmakers.

There is wisdom and efficiency in DNR's integrated conservation and environmental functions, the proof most easily seen in our world-class hunting and fishing opportunities, our top-ranked state parks and bicycle trails, our nation-leading network of snowmobile trails, and our nationally-recognized clean air and clean waters essential to enjoying these pursuits. They are reflected in the record number of bald eagles now nesting in Wisconsin; our removal of osprey and trumpeter swans from the state endangered species list; the resurgence of lake sturgeon and walleye in Lake Winnebago; and in the economic and ecological renaissance of once contaminated rivers and harbors in Milwaukee, Sheboygan, Racine and Marinette. The seamless current structure-though not perfect-for decades has provided a solid foundation for two of the state's top three economic engines--forest products and tourism.

These high quality natural resources that make Wisconsin a vacation, hunting and fishing destination, a healthy place to raise our children, and a quality of life attraction to businesses were the direct result of an integrated DNR. Stepping backward from that successful and proven structure is a mistake.

These are just a few examples of the benefits to citizens, our natural resources and the environment of an integrated DNR working with partners and citizens. More examples include:

*Integrated work teams assure our forests, parks and lands provide year-round recreational opportunities, habitat and food for wildlife, and raw products for industry. As well, these lands function as filters of our surface and groundwater, and protection against flooding.

*DNR's integrated customer call center (available an unprecedented 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week) is a one-stop resource where citizens can get a permit, license or tag; register a recreational vehicle; find a park; report emergencies, poaching and other violations; get regulations questions answered; or get connected with experts in all fields pertaining to the state's land, water, air, wildlife, fisheries and environment. In many cases, cross-trained customer service professionals are able to provide callers with a complete picture of requirements and contacts for outdoors projects.

*Developing boat access sites, which are so important to local economies, is a seamless collaboration of property management specialists, site engineers, fisheries technicians, water resource and stormwater engineers, grant specialists, aquatic invasive species technicians, and conservation warden recreational safety specialists. Proposed plans to split DNR would break siting boat landings into five different agencies, inevitably slowing and complicating the process.

*In a recent example, a storm that moved through northern Wisconsin left the Tuscobia Trail impassable with fallen trees and debris. After two failed attempts to find a contractor for the cleanup, fisheries and forestry utilized their programs' trained operators and heavy equipment to get the job done. Rapid response and sharing of such resources is one strength of a unified and responsive DNR, assuring the year-round efficient use of resources and staffs during their different busy seasons. As has been proven during many times of emergency, having priorities set by one administration enables a unified, fast response from all programs.

*Integrated work teams assure a single contact for business for meeting all land, air and water requirements. Splitting the agency would, for example, force a developer to consult one agency on endangered resources, another on wastewater or other water and air permits, and perhaps another for removing land from forest tax law enrollment. Getting approvals and permits from multiple agencies would cost developers more in time and preparation. Without DNR coordination assistance, environmental impact statements, U.S. EPA, U.S. Corps of Engineers, and other companion permits would be far more complex and time consuming to assemble, obtain public input, and complete. Priority of the projects would be subject to costly and time-consuming multiple agency administrations, approvals, goals and schedules.

*DNR has been particularly effective in providing emergency services in response to flood, fire and windstorm events. The effectiveness and efficiency of DNR's proven record in emergency response would be significantly impacted by a split, not only from an incident management perspective. but also in accounting for costs during the incident and recovery efforts following the incident. Recent examples of this would be the breach and subsequent draining of Lake Delton in 2008 and the Germann Road fire of 2013. The Town of Morrison well contamination integrated response team dealt with a large and severe manure spill that affected several waterways and area wells. This team set up a single post in the town hall where area farmers and property owners could come together and get needed permitting and financial assistance. Applications then were processed, evaluated, approved and issued in one evening and in one place.

*In addition, a consolidated DNR operates with shared information management, personnel, finance, specialized equipment, secretary's office and administrative functions. In a split DNR, this necessary internal infrastructure would have to be replicated across multiple agencies at increased cost to taxpayers.

DNR's administration under Secretary Cathy Stepp has just completed an extensive restructuring process to streamline the agency and improve agency responsiveness. Implementation has just begun. We strongly believe that this restructuring should be given an opportunity to work before considering dividing the agency. A division would disrupt services, bring with it a host of new and unknown challenges, build walls between services, create priority and goal-setting conflicts and communication problems, and would be extremely expensive and difficult to walk back. Perhaps most importantly, it also would deprive the department's clients and customers of the efficiency of 'one stop shopping' in their personal and business relationships with the department.

The members of the Association of Retired Conservationists, with literally thousands of years of combined experience in managing natural resources and the environment, voted unanimously to support maintaining the present integrated structure of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. We have worked within that structure and believe it is the most efficient and effective way to deliver high-quality environmental and natural resources service to Wisconsin's citizens and economy.


Laurel F. Steffes, President
Association of Retired Conservationists

Conservation Lobby Day is March 29                                           Jan 18, 2017

Save the Date!
Conservation Lobby Day is March 29
Dear Laurel,

It is back! Conservation Lobby Day 2017 is March 29!

Register here today.

Join us at the Monona Terrace and the State Capitol for this exciting day. You will join hundreds of conservation voters demonstrating their power and voicing their concerns to legislators.

Wisconsin is facing unprecedented threats to its drinking water, public lands, and its conservation heritage. In the face of these threats, Conservation Lobby Day 2017 offers you an opportunity to take direct action in defense of Wisconsin's natural resources.

This year's Lobby Day will be an exciting, engaging event. It will include speakers, opportunities for education, and time to convene with hundreds of your fellow conservation voters to fight together as well as socialize and network.

At Conservation Lobby Day 2017, you will:
*Get the inside scoop on the top issues facing our drinking water and public lands.

*Participate in a scheduled meeting with your state Senator and Representative's offices.

*Network, strategize, and make new friends with hundreds of other conservation-minded citizens from across the state.

*Attend trainings presented by professionals.

Register here today.

We will keep you updated on our website as the day draws nearer. For now, save the date -- March 29 -- and register so we know you are coming. I am very excited to see all of you. Your voices, energy, and conservation values send a powerful message to legislators. Truly, we cannot wait to get started!

Thank you for being a conservation voter,

Jennifer Giegerich
Legislative Director
Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters

RetiredRick                                           Jan 7, 2017

Hot off the press, DNR report to JFC on revenue options titled 'Revenue Options for Wisconsin Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Management'. Thank to Bob S. See 'What's New' page for the report

Laurel Steffes                                           Jan 4, 2017

Here's the information on the newly forming advocacy/speakers' bureau group that is forming among retirees to support DNR programs:

New organization forming - Resource and Speakers' Bureau in Support of DNR Programs
From Terry Daulton and Jeff Wilson
Hello folks,
Jeff Wilson and I are writing to share an idea we have been kicking around, to get feedback from friends and colleagues and to see if the concept merits further discussion.
In recent months and years, many of us who have spent out lives working in natural resources research, management, or policy have been dismayed (if not depressed) by threats to environment and the land ethic Aldo Leopold developed and nurtured in Wisconsin. I think that many of us have also felt a bit hopeless and powerless in the face of negative attitudes towards science, facts, and the relentless focus on short term economic policies which put the environment at risk. Whether premeditated or not, it is clear that there is a multi-faceted attack on the land ethic in Wisconsin and now perhaps nationally. Two weeks ago I received a copy of an article in "The Guardian" written by the fiction author, Barbara Kingsolver, that really got us fired up. It suggested that it is time for us to take off the kid gloves and use our expertise to defend our values, whether we are writers, artists, or scientists. I have attached the link for that article below here.
So, we have come up with an idea for an organization of natural resources professionals who want to provide good information to the public and media on natural resources policy. This group could be mostly retirees who can speak out without fear of backlash and who have a deep understanding of the history of resource management in the state. We are envisioning the goals of this group could be to draw on the expertise of members to write white papers as issues arise, and these papers could be used to create press releases, letters to the editor, and could be posted online on a blog perhaps. This could be a bit like a Union of Concerned Scientists, but with a Wisconsin natural resources focus. The group would have members from different specialties such as wildlife, watersheds, permitting, air quality, fisheries, forestry, parks, or research. In this way, each person would be free to work in their area of expertise when an issue arose, and the work load would not be too onerous for any one person. We tried to think about whether an existing organization is doing this kind of work. There are many great organizations in the state and region, but when we thought about it it seemed like most existing non-profits have missions that give them a focus on one field or the other, or perhaps do not have the breadth of technical expertise that this proposed group could provide. Also, a group of (mostly) retirees has extensive background in agency methods and planning and how policies actually play out on the landscape.
Jeff and I would like to offer to host a get together to discuss this idea and whether it is worth pursuing.
We have come up with a couple of ideas for names for such a group.... drawing on the Leopold Legacy. One might be the "Green Fire Coalition" or another idea could be the "Land Ethic Coalition". But we could explore this idea too. I am attaching a doodle poll here to see how many of you might be interested in an initial conversation and what dates might be convenient. Please also share this with colleagues who you might think have an interest and ability to contribute.

Second Email:
. . . we have settled on Feb 25th for the meeting date. We have contacted Kemp Station, which for those of you who may not have been there, is located just outside Woodruff. I have tentatively reserved their new meeting room space and told them I thought we might need a few overnight rooms. Kemp has reasonable overnight housing for those who might want to stay over one night or make a weekend of the trip. In fact, if we do have several overnight folks, we get the meeting space for free! The fee for a night is $40 (unless you are university staff and get a discount). You can visit Kemp Station website for more information, The rooms have single beds, and there are kitchen facilities and bathrooms in the main lodge building. The station is set in a lovely stand of old hemlock forest on the shores of Tomahawk Lake, so a great location for us to ponder our purpose and goals.
Please let me know if you plan to come to the meeting and if you would want a room for overnight. It would be great if you could get back to me soon, so I can confirm numbers with Kemp. At the latest, please let me know by January 5.
Even if you can't make the meeting on the 25th, but have ideas you want to share, please send me the information. If you would like to be removed from this list please let me know.
Terry Daulton and Jeff Wilson
ORGANIZATIONAL DRAFT-GREEN FIRE (Name to be discussed and is tentative)
To date, most of the people who have been invited to participate in our new group are retired natural resource professionals from state or federal agencies or colleges/universities. There seems to be a consensus that we can contribute to maintaining the land ethic in Wisconsin, help protect the legacy of science based natural resources management in the state, and put our professional skills to work in a way that feels meaningful and impactful.
There are also concerns that we target our efforts carefully with a realistic understanding of the political times and the fact that we all have full and busy lives. With this in mind, we suggest preparing for our meeting with some ideas to work from. Please send your responses to the following questions to help us make our time productive.
Possible roles for the organization have been suggested:
*drafting white papers and press releases on various topics to provide to interest groups, policy makers and the public
*investigating communications between politicians, agency staff and funders to identify problems
*lead an effort to bring together environmental and resource user organizations across the state in a focused campaign.
*Will our group be only responding to issues, or also taking a proactive approach with a positive message
1. What role (from the above list or other ideas) or roles would be the most important and effective for our group to take on as a main focus.
2. Should our focus be state-wide, or should we tackle national or local issues?
3. What natural resource issues/topics should we take on (list your top five)?
4. What kind of organizational structure should we consider? Are there models we could use?
5. Will you need overnight lodging for the meeting at Kemp Station? If so, Friday and/or Sat/?
6. Would you stay for a later afternoon happy hour and dinner time potluck Saturday night?

Barbara Wolf                                           Dec 19, 2016

We are sad to learn that Thomas Kroehn, former water quality engineer and head of the DNR Environmental Programs until his retirement in 1992, passed away on December 7. Tom's daughter Mary Ann Buenzow is a current DNR employee and his son-in-law Brian Buenzow is retired from DNR's wildlife program and an ARC member. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 7, 2017, at 11 a.m. at Midvale Community Lutheran Church, 4329 Tokay Blvd, Madison, WI 53711. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. until the time of the service.
Full obituary may be found at

DuWayne Gebken                                           Oct 16, 2016

Carl Blabaum's obituary
Blabaum, Carl J.

DuWayne Gebken                                           Oct 12, 2016

Kwallek, Albert Joseph Jr.

Barbara Wolf                                           Sep 16, 2016

Peggy Beaumier from the NER retiree group sent this along: The Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility (BAFF) in Kewaunee is having its Open House again this year! It will be held on Saturday, October 1, from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. There will be casting practice for children as well as a 1 1/2 mile nature hike.

Barbara Wolf                                           Sep 16, 2016

Here's a reminder for current group health insurance program participants. Have you earned your 2016 Well Wisconsin Incentive? Complete both the wellness assessment and health survey now to avoid delays in payment. Incentives earned after October 31 will not be issued until January 2017. For more information, go to and see who is eligible, find further links to your health plan's physician form and health survey, and register for an onsite biometric screening.

Retired Rick                                           Sep 14, 2016

From Darrell Zastrow:

After 24 years of dedicated service to the DNR, Paul DeLong is leafing the agency to pursue another opportunity. In October Paul will become the Vice President of Conservation with the American Forest Foundation. As he branches out in his new endeavor, we will certainly miss our bud and pine away thinking about days gone by. No more can we needle our friend or bark at him about our challenges here at DNR. A gathering is planned to bring some crown closure to a great career in DNR as well as to celebrate this jolly good willow.ehfellow.

We'll be hosting an open house to celebrate Paul's career with DNR and wish him well! Please join us as we root for him in his new venture! Cake will be served.

Following the open house, we will gather at the downtown Great Dane. Hope to see you there!

Paul DeLong Farewell Open House
Thursday, September 29
3:30 - 4:30 p.m., GEF2, Room G09
The celebration will continue after 4:30 at Great Dane

If you wish to contribute toward a parting gift and sign a card for Paul, please see one of the following-or forward contributions via mail-by September 23:

*Kelsey Pickart - GEF2, AD/8
*Melody Marshall - GEF2, FR/4

Please share this message with your staff and others who may be interested. Thanks!

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