WITU Press Release - Restore Stewardship

The Wisconsin Council of Trout Unlimited (WITU) strongly urges Wisconsin’s Legislature to restore stewardship and stream bank easement acquisition funding for the Department of Natural Resources in this year’s proposed biennial budget.


“The economic impact that anglers pump into the Wisconsin economy more than merits the restoration of this critical funding component,” said Henry Koltz, a national Trout Unlimited Trustee and Wisconsin Trout Unlimited’s immediate past-Chair.


A recent study by the American Sportfishing Association revealed that Wisconsin is the third ranked fishing destination, with over 335,000 visitors spending over $445 million each year, and total retail sales by all anglers exceeded $1.4 billion. In total, Wisconsin fishing accounts for an over $2 billion annual economic impact, supporting over 21,000 jobs creating over $665 million in salaries and wages, and resulting in over $148 million in local and state tax revenue.


WITU’s work depends in large part upon the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources acquiring stream bank easements. Steam bank easements allow anglers access to fish.  Moreover, once WDNR acquires an easement then in many locations WITU invests hundreds of thousands of non-state tax dollars performing stream restoration work which improves the land and streams, improves fishing conditions and opportunities and attracts more anglers.  Steam bank access easements do not remove property from tax rolls, does not place land in the State’s name and does not trigger payment-in-lieu-of-tax (“PILT”) expenditures.


In short, stewardship acquisition of stream bank access easements is a sound economic decision, with a clear and significant return-on-investment for Wisconsin.  WITU urges the Legislature to restore funding for stream bank easement acquisitions in the budget and to not make stream bank easement purchases subject to a moratorium.