Advocacy - Stewardship & Trout Stamp Fee

The budget debate is heating up and your voice will help renew the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. Please take a moment right now to write and call your elected officials. Our message is simple:

Renew the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for ten years.

If we all speak up, together we'll ensure that our best conservation program keeps working to protect Wisconsin's land and water.  We've made it easy for you: just follow the link below, type in your address and a customizable email message will be generated to your legislators.  Then, consider making a phone call to their offices (legislators will place more value on a phone call from a constituent).  Just remember to keep it short and be polite.


What if I've already written and called my elected officials?



Please reach out again! We really appreciate the support that you've already given to the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, and it's so important that your elected officials continue to hear from you.


We'll have to say it again and again:



Renew the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program for ten years because investing in public lands & public access to outdoor recreation are key to Wisconsin's economy and our way of life.




What is the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program?



Stewardship provides grants for non-profit conservation groups, cities, and the state to purchase land for conservation. Knowles-Nelson also provides funds for the public fishing easements, boat launches, trails, and campgrounds that make it possible for us to get out and enjoy wild places in Wisconsin.


Since 1989, Knowles-Nelson has been a bipartisan success story. Stewardship has proven that clean water, habitat for wildlife, and the land to support Wisconsin's way of life are things we can all agree on.



What's the threat?



If the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program is not renewed as part of the state budget being debated right now, then we'll lose Wisconsin's best source of funding for land and water conservation. Unfortunately, the Governor's proposed budget only calls for a two-year extension of the Stewardship Program, a far cry from the ten-year re-authorizations the legislature has approved in the past. To make matters worse, the legislature and the governor are at odds over nearly every item in the budget.


We need our senators, assembly representatives, and the governor to know that Wisconsinites care about protecting land and water.



Why increase the Trout Stamp Fee?



Every year, trout anglers pay an extra fee on their fishing license for a Trout Stamp, the funds from which go directly into habitat work that makes trout fishing better.  Most anglers happily support paying the fee, because they see the benefits when they're out on the water.  However, the Trout Stamp Fee has not been increased since 2006, while project costs have steadily increased.  Wisconsin TU supports a moderate increase in the fee from $10 to $15, provided it continues to be managed in a segregated account that directly funds trout stream habitat work.


We need our senators, assembly representatives, and the governor to know that we as anglers and conservationists are serious about improving trout fishing in Wisconsin.



Why should I write and call now?



The legislature is about to begin holding public hearings on the budget. This is when the state budget really begins to take shape. The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and the Trout Stamp Fee needs champions in the legislature to ensure that these program do not get lost in the noise of partisan debates about state spending.



Here at Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, we're hard at work visiting legislators, empowering our grassroots members around the state to speak up for Stewardship and our Trout Stamp, and telling anyone who will listen about the importance of Knowles-Nelson and the habitat work we do.



Together, we'll ensure that the Stewardship Program and Trout Stamp continue to work for Wisconsin's water, outdoor economy, and our way of life.



Much Respect,



Mike Kuhr

Wisconsin Trout Unlimited

Council Chair