To MN-FISH members and supporters—
Want you to know…we’re off to a good start in the new year. We have set our legislative priorities for the new session and we wanted to learn where DNR landed with our list. We also wanted to hear about DNR’s fishing-related priorities.
As a result, we —Garry Leaf, Dave Osborne, Tom Neustrom, Mark Holsten, ex director, and yours truly met recently with DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen and some of her staff—Bob Meier, assistant commissioner; Dave Olfelt, fish and wildlife director; Katie Smith, director of eco/waters division. Also attending were two of our lobbyist team, Ian Marsh and Molly Jansen.
Briefly, MN-FISH goals in the coming legislative session is to seeking bonding dollars:
——$12 million to continue the boat access repair and development efforts
——$14.8 million to continue fixing our state fish hatcheries
——$2 million to create a new metro fish hatchery (location, acquisition, engineering) replacing the old St. Paul hatchery. A new metro facility will raise gamefish, conduct fish research and provide educational opportunities for schools and general public.
——Continued MN-FISH support to control or halt the advance of invasive carp swimming up the Mississippi River.
——Continued MN-FISH support for the Keep It Clean campaign to reduce litter/human waste left behind by ice anglers.
The DNR response to our legislative goals was positive, including replacing the old St. Paul hatchery. DNR officials also provided an update on their plans to utilize last year’s $98 million appropriation, which MN-FISH worked hard to secure last year.
$24 million to upgrade Waterville hatchery; $19 million for Crystal Springs trout facility; $12 million spread across hatchery system. Total: $55 million.
$5 million to improve, expand shore fishing sites at ‘’good fishing locations $38 million to repair, expand public water accesses DNR also said they have completed plans for multi-step actions to stop the invasive carp in the Mississippi.
While DNR and MN-FISH have accomplished much in the past year, we need to remember that DNR’s bonding requests may be reduced or not included in the governor’s own bonding wish list. Hence, DNR’s public support of OUR bonding requests may not happen. That said, MN-FISH intends to charge ahead anyway as long as our goals will help shorten the time between bites.
P.S. Ask a fishing buddy to join us. The more we are; the more we can do.