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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Welcome to the ARC Breaking News/Action page where you are encouraged to enter items members may be interested in reading that are too timely to wait for discussion at our next monthly meeting.

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Important Timely News

                                          Feb 24, 2024

Statement of Todd Ambs Following the Wisconsin State Senate Vote to Reject His Nomination to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board
February 20, 2024

I would like to first of all thank the members of the State Senate who supported my nomination.

Unfortunately, a majority of the Senators did not support my nomination and as a result I now join a growing list of very qualified nominees to a variety of positions in state government who have been rejected for no legitimate reason. Brad Pfaff, Tyler Huebner, Melissa Baldauff, Jim VandenBrook, Sandy Nass, Sharon Adams, Dylan Jennings, Joseph Czarnezki, Dr. Sheldon Wasserman, Jerry Halvorsen, among others, have all been dismissed from their appointments, for purely partisan, petty reasons.

It appears that my transgression is that I cant work with Republicans. That allegation is patently false. They cannot cite a single instance where that has been the case, On the contrary, I have spent more than four decades working in Wisconsin, Ohio and across the nation with members of both parties on a variety of important conservation policy issues. As I mentioned at my last NRB meeting in January, I was honored to have been one of the lead negotiators for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, better known as the Great Lakes Compact at the beginning of this century.

Working with both Democratic and Republican appointees from across the Great Lakes region, we succeeded in developing what many consider to be the greatest conservation agreement in North America in this century.

And that bipartisan work continues to this day. I just completed a two-year term as Chair of the Great Lakes Commission, an international compact commission created by Congress nearly seventy years ago. I succeeded the Deputy General Counsel for the Republican Governor of Indiana and I was succeeded by the Director of the Ohio DNR, appointed by Governor Dewine.

I know how to work in a bipartisan manner. The majority party in the Wisconsin State Legislature does not. In fact, they seem to think that bipartisan is some sort of lethal virus because they avoid it like the plague. The most significant action taken by the majority part in the legislature in the last five years was when they left town entirely in 2020. Instead of digging in to help Wisconsinites cope with the most significant health crisis on the planet in the last one hundred years, they repeatedly refused to convene special sessions called by the Governor to respond to the COVID crisis and instead simply left town. Since that time, the Wisconsin Legislature has repeatedly refused to even come to the table to discuss critical issues like health care, education and workforce development, when Governor Evers has requested a special session to address these important topics.

In regard to conservation issues, as the Assistant and Deputy Secretary for the WDNR prior to my retirement at the end of 2021, I had the task of working closely with several of Governor Walkers appointees to the Natural Resources Board. I have never spoken publicly about those interactions since former board members Fred Prehn and Greg Kazmierski took the unprecedented step of registering in opposition to my appointment to the NRB, I will now break that silence.

Cant work with members of the other party? Prehn and Kazmierski were posterchildren for that cause. While serving as chair and vice chair for the NRB, Prehn and Kazmierski presided over a circus like atmosphere as the Board careened from one embarrassing meeting to another.

During my three years working with them I watched as they:

Regularly shilled for the Republican Party and the states largest business lobby;
Were openly hostile to career state civil servants and belittled average citizens testifying before the board;
Were both patronizing and condescending to women, tribal members and DNR staff;
and, Prehn openly squatted in his position for months after his term expired to prevent a Democratically appointed woman from taking her seat on the Board.

Meanwhile, some people are now trying to build a narrative around my inability to work with others because they cant challenge my qualifications. And they dont like the fact that I have spent my career working on behalf of our natural resources -- enforcing the laws that protect those natural resources and zealously guarding against efforts to weaken protections for our land, air and water.

In short, the majority party in the Wisconsin State Senate has made a mockery of the confirmation process and in turn diminishes the institution that purport to serve.

Despite the vote today, I will continue my public service work. It is what I do. I have devoted my life to public service, as did my father and his father before him.

I am proud of the many shining examples of bipartisan success that I have been able to play a small part in over the past four decades.

I will not allow that record to be tarnished by the actions of the State Senate today.

Retired Rick                                           Feb 23, 2024


Bald Eagles are the national bird of the United States of America and for a time they were endangered.

Thanks to conservation efforts, their population has been stabilized.

Even so agencies like the Southern Wisconsin Bird Alliance want to monitor them to keep track of their numbers, their habits and the challenges they face.

Read More Here

Retired Rick                                           Feb 17, 2024

Wisconsinites Invest Time, Labor in State's Fish, Wildlife Areas

Whether you fish, hunt, hike or birdwatch on one of Wisconsins 200-plus fish and wildlife areas, youll benefit even more if you adopt and work on that prized land with help from the Department of Natural Resources.

After all, you dont have to own property and pay its taxes to bond with land and earn your neighbor's respect through sweat equity or financial contributions. We all value land more personally by investing time, labor and recreation into its soils, plants and living creatures.

Read More Here

Retired Rick                                           Feb 15, 2024


The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board (NRB) will meet in-person for the February board meeting to consider several proposed rulemaking documents, a proposed land sale and donations, and to receive a report of the 2023-2024 deer seasons.

The meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, originating from public meeting room G09, State Natural Resources Building (GEF2), 101 S. Webster Street, Madison, Wisconsin. The Board will act on items 1-4 and 7 as listed on the agenda.

Read More Here

Retired Rick                                           Feb 15, 2024


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is encouraging Wisconsinites and out-of-state visitors to take advantage of unusually warm winter temperatures to get outside and explore northern Wisconsin.

Some years, we hear people talk about how the long Midwest winters make them feel restless indoors, said Steve Schmelzer, DNR Parks and Recreation Management Director. Unusually warm temperatures are giving us the perfect chance to unplug and unwind from the daily hustle and bustle. We invite everyone to take advantage of this weather and shake off their cabin fever by exploring nature.

Read More Here

Retired Rick                                           Feb 12, 2024


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages the public to give back to nature by donating to the Endangered Resources Fund on their Wisconsin income tax form.

The Endangered Resources Fund supports many of Wisconsins rarest plants and animal species. It has helped protect and restore some of the last remaining populations of declining species and special habitats like remnant prairies and oak savannas found in Wisconsins state natural areas. In other cases, the funds have helped support species for which Wisconsin may be an increasingly important stronghold.

Read More Here

Retired Rick                                           Feb 6, 2024


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is now accepting entries for the 16th annual Great Waters Photo Contest and Writing Project through April 1, 2024. The top photographs and writing submissions will be featured in the DNR's Office of Great Waters next calendar.

The photo contest and writing project highlight how people connect with and value the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, inspiring greater care for these vast yet vulnerable resources.

Read More Here

Retired Rick                                           Feb 6, 2024


Read More Here

Retired Rick                                           Feb 5, 2024


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is seeking volunteers who like spending time outside, helping other outdoor enthusiasts and are passionate about Wisconsins natural resources to serve as volunteer campground hosts.

Volunteer opportunities are available at DNR properties in all parts of the state.

Read More Here

Retired Rick                                           Feb 3, 2024


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is aware of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) proposal, announced today, to focus on a national wolf recovery plan. This announcement will result in no change to the listing status and wolves in Wisconsin will remain on the federal endangered species list.

The DNR will continue to follow the guidance laid out in the recently approved Wolf Management Plan to the extent consistent with the listed status, the DNRs authority and applicable laws.

Read More Here

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