Why Wetlands Matter

My name is Mike Kuhr, I’m a stay at home father, a small business owner, and an active volunteer for Wisconsin Trout Unlimited.   I currently serve as the Vice Chair for the Wisconsin State Council.


Trout Unlimited is the nation’s leading coldwater conservation organization, and here in Wisconsin, we have over 5,000 members working to protect our cold water resources.  Last year, our members volunteered over 48,000 hours of their time working on 82 conservation projects, 97 education events, and running 3 veterans service programs at the VA hospitals in Milwaukee, Madison, and Green Bay.


Our members value the recreational opportunities that the woods and waters of Wisconsin offer.  We realize that these opportunities are enhanced by the ecological benefits of wetlands found throughout our state.  Many isolated wetlands are critical to the headwaters and spawning areas of our trout streams.  We appreciate seeing protections for these wetlands included in the substitute amendment to AB 547.  However, we feel the lack of mitigation and the broad definition of “urban areas” in the Assembly bill could jeopardize Wisconsin’s annual $2.2 billion dollar recreational fishing economy.  For these reasons, Wisconsin TU remains opposed to AB 547.


Yesterday, Senator Cowles introduced a substitute amendment to Senate Bill 600, a bill we remain “Neutral” on.  Wisconsin Trout Unlimited would like to thank Senator Cowles and his staff for the respect they have shown for the sporting community while crafting this amendment.  I don’t believe that either side is completely satisfied with the Senate Amendment – and that’s the true nature of compromise.


It’s important to remember that it’s not just habitat that we’re trying to protect.  We’re saving the places that create the memories.  Memories of seeing the pride in the face of the family dog as she eagerly retrieves the bird you just knocked down.  Of that time you rowed your little brother out into the bay so you could both catch so many sunfish you lost count.  Of time spent knee deep in a trout stream – because when you’re there, nothing else seems to matter.  These are the memories that high quality wetlands provide in our state.  That’s the reason our members will continue working to ensure that future generations have access to cold, clean, fishable water in Wisconsin.  Thank you.