Mike Conlin and J.R. Black
are proposing a "Fish Management Fund," a simple but significant and novel idea.
After talking with Conlin, I think this may be an idea that should fly not only for fisheries, but should also be considered for wildlife.
Conlin said it grew out of a sort of informal think tank of what to do in response to the budget crisis. Then he and Black decided to push it.
Here's the idea from Conlin, along with contact info for both Conlin and Black.
ILLINOIS DIVISION OF FISHERIES NEEDS A FISH MANAGEMENT FUND A BOLD VISION AND STATUTE CHANGE TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE FUNDING FOR THE ILLINOIS DNR'S DIVISION OF FISHERIES AND MAINTAIN GREAT FISHING FOR THOSE WHO FOOT THE BILL...............ILLINOIS ANGLERS
Fishing in Illinois generates $3.7 Billion per year for the State's economy...but the Division of Fisheries is on the brink of extinction. Why? As general revenue declined the past decade, monies from the Wildlife and Fish Fund (where all angler fees are deposited) have been directed toward DNR programs which had not historically been funded by anglers. The result? The Division of Fisheries budget has been slashed year after year after year.
Staffing levels in the Division of Fisheries have fallen from 146 to 76......and 31 will be lost due to retirements by December 31, 2012. The remaining staff of 45 (not counting the 9 folks totally funded by a Federal EPA Asian Carp Eradication Grant) will be totally incapable of managing our state fisheries as they have the past three decades. A 70% cut in staff (45 vs 146) is simply unacceptable when anglers bring in some $15 Million/year (in angler fees and federal Sport Fish Restoration funds) and generate $3.7 Billion/year for the Illinois economy!!!!!
Do you want at least two of the three existing hatcheries to shut down? Do you want the Urban Fishing Program to cease? Do you want to go back to the early 1960's level of District Fishery Biologists and see fishing in your area lakes decline dramatically? Do you want little or no management on our precious stream and major river fisheries? Do you want to continue without a dedicated staff to manage Lake Shelbyville, Carlyle, and Rend Lakes? Is half a loaf, in terms of staff, enough for our precious one million acres of Lake Michigan? Do you want enforcement of the Fish Code to continue to decline? Do you want the decision on how angler's dollars are spent to continue to be made by the Governor's Office and a political appointee in the DNR?
If you answered "NO" to any of the above questions, here is what you need to do IMMEDIATELY:
Contact Representative Frank Mautino (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
phone: 217-782-0140) and politely inform him that you want his DNR
Sustainability Bill (soon to be introduced in the House) to include
wording to establish a special fund, THE FISH MANAGEMENT FUND
(EXPENDITURES FROM WHICH MAY ONLY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE
FISHERIES DIVISION CHIEF), to insure that monies from Fishing License
Sales and Sport Fish Restoration are spent only on what they were
intended to do......protect, enhance, and manage Illinois fish and
Also contact your state legislators (both House and Senate) and give them
the same message. Your local legislators may be found by going to
www.elections.il.gov .............at the top left of the page you may search
via either your address or zip code.
YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED NOW as Representative Mautino's DNR Sustainability Bill will likely be called this week (week of May 7, 2012) SEND THOSE E-MAILS AND MAKE THOSE CALLS AND INSURE THAT YOUR VOICE IS HEARD IN SPRINGFIELD. TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!!!
Mike Conlin e-mail: email@example.com phone: 217-971-8505
Illinois DNR Fisheries Chief (RETIRED) 1971-2009
J.R. Black e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org phone: 815-932-8341
Executive Director, Northern Illinois Anglers Association