As we enter 2013, an event that can energize conservationists and offer a preview of the natural resources agenda for the upcoming legislative session is the annual DNR Roundtable. It is advertised as bringing citizen stakeholders together to discuss important fisheries, wildlife, ecological and water resource issues. And it does!
I enjoy it because of seeing so many folks I like and used to work regularly with. The two days of convening can be a great networking session, seeing and talking to DNR experts, conservation activists, interested legislators and citizens across the state. I always learn about new issues, and new takes and information on continuing issues.
DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr will kick off the Roundtable by giving a summary of 2012 for the department, and a preview of what to expect for 2013. Attendees can then decide on three different concurrent sessions for fisheries, wildlife, and ecological and water concerns. There will be joint sessions this year of these concerns too.
Issues to be discussed for the above sessions include aquatic invasive species and Asian Carp, native prairie protection and grassland management, and Clean Water Legacy projects and groundwater consumption. Informal meetings after dinner on Friday night can be helpful to visit with colleagues about what you learned in the session (s) you attended. The Roundtable’s end on Saturday brings helpful session summaries and reflections from the Commissioner’s office.
I especially appreciate the DNR’s inclusiveness of the attendees by always asking folks: What might the DNR do about the identified issues; and What questions can the DNR, or other conservation groups, answer about the complexity of issues?