RELEASE: MUCC Statement on New DNR DirectorJune 25th, 2012
MUCC Urges DNR To Continue Plans for Change
Group Welcomes New Director To Position
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 25, 2012
Contact: Erin McDonough (517) 775-9500
LANSING, MI — Today, Governor Snyder announced that Keith Creagh, former Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will become the new Director of the Department of Natural Resources, replacing Rodney Stokes who will be moving to a new position heading up the Governor’s urban parks initiatives.
“We have enjoyed working with Director Stokes and feel he did an admirable job in his tenure as the Director. He made progress in moving the DNR to address the priorities of the conservation community and we want to wish him well in his new position. At the same time, we must ensure that momentum is not lost and the commitment to change that we received from the Department is honored,” said Erin McDonough, Executive Director of MUCC. “It’s not about simply plugging in another person. The DNR has struggled to move its operations to reflect the changes needed to bring the DNR into a 21st Century conservation model and the conservation community has been steadfast in its requests for those changes.”
The Department has made a commitment to the conservation community that it will complete a strategic plan to better guide the Department forward. This plan should be created in a transparent manner and include a thorough review of the Department’s finances and budget. With the relatively small general fund monies in the DNR’s budget, it’s critical that the Department spends its budget wisely and in the best interests of Michigan’s resources and users. There must also be transparency and accountability for its use of Game and Fish Fund dollars and other restricted funds.
There is a need for a more coordinated approach to improving and managing fisheries and wildlife habitat, including forestlands, on state, federal and private lands. Part of this must include the Department taking a new look at its role in the management of those resources. In some cases, the DNR should be moving towards being the facilitators, leaders and planners, while conservation partners are the “doers.” With reduced budgets, more emphasis must be placed on partnerships and public involvement.
“We want to see efforts focused in the field not in Lansing. That’s what our members are most interested in seeing,” said McDonough. “It’s not about having a bigger DNR, it’s about having a Department that is effective in the areas that matter most.”
Transparency in all things is critical. By engaging the public in a manner that is transparent and trustworthy, relations between the DNR and the hunting and angling public will improve. At the same time, the DNR must also recognize that our approaches to managing the resources cannot be “one size fits all” across the state. The DNR must recognize the different natural resource assets, priorities and partners each region has to offer and adjust their operations to reflect these differences.
MUCC also asks that Director Creagh embrace the vital economic thrust of Michigan’s hunting, fishing trapping and outdoor recreation opportunities. Michigan’s great outdoors is an economic driver. Our public lands, fish and game populations, and outdoor heritage are tremendous assets of this state and should be treated as such.
Michigan’s outdoor heritage and our hunting, fishing and trapping traditions are vital, long-standing pieces of this state’s fabric. MUCC hopes that this heritage, tradition and pride will be reflected under Director Creagh’s leadership and that the commitments made under the Snyder Administration are fulfilled.
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Michigan United Conservation Clubs is largest statewide conservation organization in the nation. Through over 42,000 members and 260 affiliated clubs, MUCC works to accomplish its mission of Uniting Citizens to Conserve and Enhance Michigan’s Natural Resources and Protect OUR Outdoor Heritage.