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DNR Secretary Defends Walker’s Proposed Cuts To Agency

Walker Proposed Eliminating 18 Scientist Positions In Executive Budget

Wisconsin DNR (CC-BY-ND)

DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. USFWS (CC-BY)

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp defended Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to cut the number of scientists working for the agency on Wednesday.

Walker’s proposed state budget would trim 18 staff positions.

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Stepp told the DNR Board that “science is in everything the DNR does.”

“There are scientists all throughout this building. It’s not just that we just have ‘ists,’ if you will, in the science services division of our organizational chart. It’s important that everybody knows that we’re still using science in all the decisions that we make,” said Stepp.

Stepp said she hopes some of the scientists can be transferred into other DNR units to better integrate research into the agency’s priorities.

The Wisconsin Wetlands Association became the latest conservation group to raise concerns about the possible reduction in DNR scientists earlier this week. The association said effective land and water management, including wetlands management, requires good science.