Legislative proposal would make it simpler to unload Wisconsin pure areas | WUWM 89.7 FM

Wisconsin touts its pure belongings — from rivers and streams, to woodlands in between. For greater than 30 years the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program has helped preserve roughly 650,000 pure acres within the state.

This system pays landowners to protect important pure areas with an eye fixed on defending water high quality and increasing alternatives for out of doors recreation.

READ: Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program Creates More Greenspace Throughout Wisconsin

Republican state Rep. Calvin Callahan of Tomahawk thinks it needs to be simpler for house owners to take away property from the stewardship program and promote it.

On Wednesday, Callahan addressed the Meeting Committee on Forestry Parks and Outside Recreation and requested fellow lawmakers to assist a proposal he co-authored that, he says, removes the pointless pink tape.

Screenshot taken from WisconsinEye

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Rep. Calvin Callahan outlined his proposal to make modifications within the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program on Feb. 2.

Assembly Bill 852 simplifies this course of for nongovernment conservation organizations, counties and native governments from begin to end whereas nonetheless sustaining the intent of the stewardship program. Nobody is required to promote their stewardship land. We’re merely making it simpler for individuals who now not want that land for their very own conservancy objectives,” Callahan mentioned.

Callahan mentioned the method is cumbersome and complicated. Underneath his proposal, solely the state Division of Pure Sources must OK the sale.

And, he mentioned, the vendor would pay again the total stewardship grant quantity to the state “plus curiosity inside one yr of their discover to promote the property … The property should stay open to the general public as outlined of their unique stewardship request till the land is offered.”

A company known as Gathering Waters mentioned the proposal may unravel conservation partnerships that, at their basis, are based mostly on belief.

Charles Carlin

Screenshot taken from WisconsinEye

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Gathering Water’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Charles Carlin.

Charles Carlin is strategic initiatives director for the alliance that features greater than 40 land trusts across the state.

“To achieve success, this work depends on the generosity and belief of landowners. It’s a narrative of collaboration. We oppose the invoice as a result of it diminishes belief of donors and belief of native governments. The understanding amongst all of the events is that the land is conserved perpetually. This invoice ends that,” he mentioned.

Carlin fears the invoice may lead to as much as 90,000 acres bought by nonprofits and native governments being taken out of conservation.

He informed the Meeting committee that quite than encouraging conservation because the Knowles-Nelson program intends, the invoice would domesticate what he calls perverse incentive. “Whereby grantees may use the stewardship program as a supply of low curiosity capital as a way to buy actual property, maintain it as an appreciating asset and promote it for a revenue sooner or later.”

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Screenshot taken from WisconsinEye

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Committee chair Rep Jeff Mursau requested if there’s room for compromise on the proposed invoice.

Committee chair state Rep. Jeff Mursau of Crivitz, a Republican, requested Carlin if he may assist a modified model of the invoice. “If it was amended some method to embrace that if an NCO (nonprofit conservation group) acquired cash or helped acceptable the cash for it that they might put situations on that, would you be in favor of the invoice?” he requested.

“I feel we might completely be open to having that dialog with the invoice authors about how one can discover a method to have acceptable safeguards,” Carlin mentioned. “It’s laborious to say proper now if such and such have been finished hypothetically, we might assist the invoice, however we might welcome that dialog.”

The committee is slated to fulfill in govt session subsequent week.

On the time this story was produced, Mursau hadn’t determined if the invoice could be on the agenda. A spokesperson for the consultant mentioned Mursau would “positively take into account an modification that the invoice authors and anxious stakeholders may agree on.”

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Editor’s notice: A portion of the audio is from WisconsinEye.

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