2024 Wisconsin Conservation Congress Spring Hearing

Every spring the Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) holds a Spring Hearing, an opportunity for all residents to voice their opinions on conservation and natural resource issues.  This year there will be in-person events on April 8, and an opportunity to vote online if you can’t attend the in-person event. 

The annual survey allows you to weigh in on important state issues and show public support for things that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) could ultimately influence or change here in Wisconsin. If you aren’t familiar with the WCC, it is a state-funded group focused on collecting input from Wisconsinites that serves as an advisory partner to the Natural Resource Board, the governing body of the DNR. 

Why is it Important? Wisconsin lawmakers, the DNR, and the media look at the overall results of the Spring Hearing survey. The results provide a gauge of public opinion that agencies can turn to and which the legislature leverages when drafting bills and when voting throughout the year. 

A great example comes from the environmental analysis of the Line 5 pipeline. In it, the DNR referred to the WCC vote showing concern for the pipeline as one indication of the public’s thoughts on this issue.


Give Your Input: You can vote in person on April 8, starting at 6:00 PM. There are hearings in every county in Wisconsin.

The online survey is open from Wednesday, April 10th at 12 noon through Saturday, April 13th at 12 noon. 

Allow about 45 minutes to take the full survey and read the questions fully. We have developed several resources to help everyone, including a voter reference guide (below) to help save you time and highlight the critical questions.


Share with others! It’s important that you make your voice heard in this survey. Encourage your family and friends to participate as well. We want the survey responses to be inclusive of all natural resource users. Anyone old enough to read the questions is encouraged to participate. (Multiple family members per household may respond.)


Click here to take the survey (we recommend using our voter guide below) 

2024 Voting Guide




8.  Do you support allowing hunters who quarter their deer in the field to leave non-edible parts at the site of harvest?


Deer gut piles are already a major source of lead poisoning for birds of prey and other scavenging mammals. Leaving more of the deer carcass in the field only increases the lead exposure to birds and mammals that would likely feed on these remaining deer parts. The concern here is the additional lead on the landscape, which is highly lethal. 

28. Do you support DNR including information on lead alternatives and the impact that lead ammunition and fishing tackle have on our ecosystems and public health in hunter education courses and hunting and fishing regulation materials?


As responsible stewards of the land, it is our responsibility to reduce lead in the environment to ensure a diverse and viable wildlife population for future generations.


Lost tackle directly impacts populations of loons, swans, eagles, and osprey. In the last 27 years, Northern Wisconsin's Common Loon population has decreased by 22%.


A recent study that sampled 1200 eagles in thirty-eight states, including Wisconsin, found nearly half of all bald and golden eagles suffer from chronic lead poisoning.

29. Would you support eliminating lead, statewide, from firearm ammunition used for hunting by 2030?


30. Do you support DNR using their resources and working with the Bluebird Restoration Association of Wisconsin to expand nesting box monitors and to help educate the public about the impact of pesticides on grassland bird populations?


The Department of Natural resources estimates that there has been a 30% drop in breeding birds since 1970. 


There are a number of factors for this, but pesticides, insecticides, and rodicides are contributing factors, as well as outdoor cats and clear windows. 


The more we can do to educate the public about the declining bird populations and things we can do to help, the better chance we have of slowing this decline.

31. Do you support the DNR and other conservation groups creating an awareness campaign focused on the adverse impact outdoor cats have on Wisconsin's wild bird populations?


32. Would you support the WCC and legislature creating a new statute that prohibits the use of wake boat ballast systems on Wisconsin's lakes and rivers?


These boats create hazardous wakes that create a safety hazard to others using the lake; damage the environment; and erode the shoreline. Particularly concerning is the churning of the lakebed, destruction of aquatic plants & spawning beds, transportation of invasive species, and swamping of loon nests. 

33. Should the Legislature, the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Health develop and enact protective limitations on PFAS compounds for acute and chronic toxicity in surface water, wildlife health, groundwater, fish consumption, and human health?


PFAS are dubbed “forever chemicals” because they’re very difficult to break down, and, what’s more, are carcinogenic, interfere with our hormone systems, and have made their way into Wisconsin’s waterways and drinking water.

34. Do you support the elimination of the use of herbicide, 2,4D in aquatic ecosystems in the state of Wisconsin?


2,4D is a weed killer (used to kill things like dandelions), but can contaminate the air, water, and soil near here it’s applied and can unintentionally harm other plants and species. 

42. Would you support regulations by DNR to require that all ballast systems used in boats shall have a reasonable practical means of inspecting the system to confirm that no water is retained in the system (tanks, piping, valves, etc.)?


These boats create hazardous wakes that create a safety hazard to others using the lake; damage the environment; and erode the shoreline. Particularly concerning is the churning of the lakebed, destruction of aquatic plants & spawning beds, transportation of invasive species, and swamping of loon nests. 

43. Would you support the WCC and legislature modifying existing statutes to prohibit generation of intentionally magnified wakes for wake surfing through the use of ballast, design features, operational procedures or any other means on lakes smaller than 1500 acres and less than 20 feet deep and maintain a distance from shore and other lake users of 700 feet?


48. Do you support a ban on the shining of wildlife in the state of Wisconsin from Sept 15th thru December 31st?


Hunting at night with dogs, ATVs, and snowmobiles raises public safety concerns, is highly disruptive to people who live in rural areas, and contributes to a greater likelihood of illegal poaching activities


View the full questionnaire