DNR to Survey the General Public on Key Issues
March 6, 2013 – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has announced that it will be taking steps to amend its program guidance process in an effort to provide the public with more opportunities to weigh in on important agency decisions.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp pointed out in a recent news release that the agency has “heard concerns about a lack of transparency and participation in some of the department’s decision-making.” Stepp hopes to alleviate these concerns through “internal program guidance that includes an opportunity for public comment.”
Katie Stenz is the public affairs coordinator with the State Bar of Wisconsin. She can be reached at email@example.com, or by phone at (608) 250-6145.
Program guidance is “formal written direction to DNR staff that explains how to approach making decisions when there are not specific details in the law.” It can take many forms, such as “operational handbooks, manual codes and written directives from managers to staff.”
The DNR typically reviews guidance measures when making decisions on various air or water quality permits and the establishment of fish and wildlife programs.
Up until now, the DNR did not routinely seek input from the public when making agency decisions. Under the new policy, drafts of the guidance documents will be available online for members of the public to review and make suggestions.
The public can submit comments on the proposed guidance measures until Friday, March 22, 2013. Once the public has chimed in the DNR will solicit the Natural Resources board for final approval.
Comments can be sent to DNRSecretary@wisconsin.gov. Read about the proposed program guidance here.