This edition of News to Us highlights a number of proposed changes to State level policies that will affect the natural resources of the Huron River Watershed.   With State budgeting underway, a lot of changes are on the table.  It is a good time to keep an eye on the legislature and speak up where you have an opinion.

Michigan House GOP eyes Natural Resources Trust Fund for roads, dredging  The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund is a source of funding developed for the purchase and development of recreational lands. Recently, the Michigan House Republicans proposed using MNRTF for activities outside of the current scope of the funds such as road repair and dredging of harbors.  There has been a lot of response to this proposal in the news.   We believe this proposal diverts scarce public funds available for parks development and purchase and thwarts efforts for the long-term protection of Michigan’ outdoors, lakes, and rivers .  Here are two different responses to the proposal. (For those interested, there are many more op/eds available at  What do you think?

Governor calls for higher license fees for hunting, fishing  In other State government news, Governor Snyder proposed increases to hunting and fishing licenses to help raise funds for outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation programs.  The proposal is a welcome one for sporting and conservation groups.  Revenue will support, among other things, the hiring of conservation officers who’s numbers have dwindled over the years due to budget cuts.  For more on the topic, also see this article from Livingston Daily: Conservation groups OK with fee hikes.

Bill aims to restrict state’s ability to manage for biodiversity  This article highlights the latest attempt to limit the ability of our state Department of Natural Resources to acquire land and manage for biodiversity.  We believe this undermines a critical role of a state DNR and leaves no entity responsibility for the plants, animals and ecosystems that make Michigan a special place.  The DNR can manage for resource use and biodiversity goals together and in doing so residents of Michigan realize significant economic and quality of life benefits.

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