The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources during its Chamber-of-Commerce/Cathy Stepp Secretaryship on behalf of Scott Walker has had its share of difficulties with some of Wisconsin's Native American tribes over serious matters like wolf hunting, walleye fishing, iron mining and treaty rights, just to name a few.
So DNR staff were instructed to formally file internally all interactions with, or on behalf of the tribes according to memos I cited last year, and which, one could argue, could help the agency document itself out of its self-inflicted PR purgatory.
And in January, after sorting all the records submitted internally, the Department put together a two-page master list of "Selected Success Stories" for an agency-wide memo which I will reproduce below.
Now you can decide how much of all this record-keeping merely catalogued public-employees-just-doing-their-jobs, like "Attended 2013 State of the Tribes Address," or "Increased overall outreach and sharing of information to engage tribes and build partnerships," or "joined together with Lac du Flambeau warden forces over the busy 4th of July weekend to work boating safety on the lakes within the reservation," or "Regularly attend Voigt Intertribal Task Force meetings to provide information and updates upon request."
Or how much was worth bragging about.
But I found that the memo broke some new bureaucratic ground, because you don't always see government funding touted as successes right down to the penny.
That some record-keeping!
Here's the memo, with italics added:
Madison WI 53707-7921
Selected Success Stories
- Attended 2013 State of the Tribes Address.
New Tribal Liaison and Regional Directors met individually with each of the eleven tribes in the spring.
- Developed several new communication tools to enhance employee awareness and engagement
Created the Tribal Summer Youth Program, a new grant program to enhance relations and provide an
opportunity for tribal youth to learn about and experience conservation of natural resources.
Increased overall outreach and sharing of information to engage tribes and build partnerships.
- Fisheries & Water Program
Implemented the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative; grant funds are available to tribal entities with fish
hatcheries to enhance their fish hatchery operations and increase the capacity to raise walleye for stocking
in Wisconsin waters.
Donated 150,000 walleye fry to Red Cliff due to a shortage at their hatchery.
Continuing our commitment with the Menominee Nation (MOU) to transfer sturgeon from the lower
Wolf River to Keshena Falls area of the Wolf River in Menominee County each year for the next ten
years; continue to provide 15 sturgeon each year for the Menominee’s spring Sturgeon festival.
Worked jointly with Menominee, Oneida, Ho-Chunk and Stockbridge-Munsee on a federal grant to
provide technical advice and help restore wetland and stream area.
- Law Enforcement
Partnered with GLIFWC Chief Warden to create tribal training sessions; two-full day sessions created
specifically for DNR law enforcement with goal of educating staff on tribal cultures and history.
DNR joined together with Lac du Flambeau warden forces over the busy 4th of July weekend to work
boating safety on the lakes within the reservation.
Partner with tribal law enforcement to conduct joint firearms training, hunter’s safety courses; invite tribal
members to DNR Warden Recruit Academy; regularly invite tribal members to attend DNR warden
meetings to enhance working partnerships, build cultural understanding and to learn from each other.
For the second year, DNR Wardens worked with Menominee Tribal Wardens to assist with setting up a
volunteer Sturgeon Guard program within the reservation.
$159,669.95 in grant funds provided to our 11 tribes through the Basic Recycling Grants to Responsible
$5,000 Urban Forestry Grant to Sokaogon Mole Lake for a start-up grant for tree inventory, hazardous
tree pruning, removal and other tree management.
$3,260.65 Forest Fire Protection Grant to Lac Courte Oreilles to expand the use of local fire departments
to augment and strengthen the DNR’s overall initial fire suppression capabilities on forest fires.
Since 2010 awarded over $592,000 in recycling and forestry grants, all 11 tribes received funds.
- Wildlife Management
Partnership with Oneida Nation/UW-Extension/UW-Green Bay planting biofuel warm-season plants on tribal lands in Outagamie County.
The Bad River and Red Cliff Bands Food Distribution Programs provide volunteers to deliver ground venison that has been processed as part of DNR’s Wildlife Damage Abatement and Claims Program to families in need in Ashland County.
Working with Ho-Chunk Nation on the development of a MOU for their contribution and management/monitoring efforts for elk reintroduction into the Black River Falls area.
Continue working with the Ho-Chunk on a deer transport Memorandum of Understanding, which will clarify what tribal members can do when transporting deer.
Created First Downs for Trees program with Oneida; a unique partnership between Green Bay Packers,
WI Public Service Corp, WI DNR, US Forest Service, Oneida Nation and communities within Brown
County to plant trees to offset the Packer’s carbon footprint when they travel to away games. For every
first down at least one tree is planted within Brown County; to date over 2,000 trees have been planted.
Partner with Lac du Flambeau on timber sale planning and bid packages; identify white birch collection
areas for balsam fir bough collection.
Forestry tribal liaisons provide regular information and updates to tribal counterparts.
Invite tribes to provide input on Interim Forest Management Planning.
- Air, Waste, Remediation & Redevelopment
DNR Air Monitoring section provides on-going technical assistance to Bad River and Forest County
Potawatomi under existing MOU, including set-up and maintenance of monitoring sites, annual
performance audits, and assistance with multifunctioning equipment.
Continue to work with FCPC on technical review of Class I air quality related values and thresholds that
support protection of natural resources on tribal lands.
Worked with FCPC on Biodigester project, Potawatomi hotel expansion and a parking structure for the
hotel expansion in Milwaukee.
Working with the Bad River Band to provide information and full awareness of all DNR regulated
activity associated with the proposed Gogebic Mine site. Regular meetings being held to discuss technical
issues; other partners invited to these meetings, such as US EPA and GLIFWC.
- Voigt Intertribal Task Force
Regularly attend Voigt Intertribal Task Force meetings to provide information and updates upon request.
Lac Du Flambeau, Lac Courte Oreilles, and Red Cliff Bands have worked in partnership with the DNR
for the past five years to offer a Summer Youth Training Program. High school aged tribal students are
employed to work on various natural resource-related projects on state and tribal lands; provides them an
opportunity to mentor and learn first-hand about resource management activities.
Improving aquatic plant management consultation process; working with GLIFWC to develop protocol
well in advance of permitting issuance. With partnership of GLIFWC, sponsored several workshops for
tribal natural resources staff and tribal members.
Continue working with Oneida Nation & Brown County on removal of a series of dams on Duck Creek.
- DNR continues to work with the Ho-Chunk Nation on the Badger Army Plan, including land transfers and master planning.