DNR’s new license structure, wildlife diseases main topics at East and West UPCAC meeting

The new licensing structure and wildlife disease issues were two topics of discussion at the Eastern and Western Upper Peninsula Citizen’s Advisory Councils meeting Monday night.

The group, made of shareholders, talks to the Department of Natural Resources about what sort of outdoor and recreation things they would like to see done in the U.P. and the state.

Members of both the EUPCAC and WUPCAC were concerned about where revenues from the DNR’s new license structure would go.

Some revenue would go to hiring conservation officers.

“We have some vacancies we would consider a priority to fill,” Department of Natural Resources Deputy Public Information Officer Debbie Munson Badini said.  “We’re also looking at filling vacant biologist and technician positions in the Wildlife and Fisheries Divisions, so we talked a lot about that tonight (Monday), the fact that we want to fill these positions but since we just started accruing this revenue on March 1, it’s hard to know exactly much (money) we’re going to have through this fiscal year.”

“While we’re going to be identifying priorities, some of that filling of positions won’t be happening until the fiscal year for 2015.”

Wildlife disease issues are not very prevalent in the U.P., but there are diseases in Wisconsin and the Lower Peninsula that could impact animals here.

“We’re lucky we don’t have any of those high-profile diseases in our deer herd right now,” Munson Badini said.  “Chronic Wasting Disease is in Wisconsin and it’s being found further north in Wisconsin, so that is definitely on our radar and we want to make more people aware of it, what it is, how it spreads.”

“Bovine Tuberculosis, we have a problem with that in the northern Lower Peninsula, and so there’s an interest in that also…how does that spread and how we can make sure it doesn’t end up to the deer herd in the U.P.”

Munson Badini encourages anyone interested wildlife and conservation to attend any of the UPCAC meetings.

More information on both the Eastern and Western U.P. Citizen’s Advisory Council’s can be found on the DNR’s website.