The commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has appointed 11 Minnesotans to three-year terms on citizen oversight committees that monitor the agency’s fish and wildlife spending.
The appointees are responsible for reviewing the DNR’s annual Game and Fish Fund report in detail and, following discussions with agency leaders and others, prepare reports on their findings.
Appointed to the Wildlife Oversight Committee are Garry Hooghkirk, Duluth; Amanda Leabo, Fergus Falls; Mark Popovich, Welch; John Schnedler, Richfield; and Martha Taggett, Golden Valley.
Appointed to the Fisheries Oversight Committee are Karl Anderson, Greenbush; Jess Edberg, Ely; Nicole Hertel, Shoreview; Benjamin Kohn, Hudson; Mark Owens, Austin; and Craig Pagel, Duluth.
The new appointees join other members whose terms are continuing. The committees will resume work after the mid-December publication of the DNR’s Game and Fish Fund report for fiscal year 2017.
“We look forward to working with these citizens,” said Dave Schad, DNR deputy commissioner. “The appointments continue our commitment to share detailed budget information, bring new participants into the oversight process and ensure revenue generated by hunting and fishing license sales is used appropriately.”
The Fisheries and Wildlife oversight committees continue a citizen oversight function first created in 1994. Sixty people applied for oversight committee positions this time. Factors in choosing the new appointees included geographic distribution, demographic diversity and a mix of interests.
In the weeks ahead, committee chairs and four members will be selected by each committee to serve on an umbrella Budgetary Oversight Committee chaired by another appointee, John Lenczewski. The committee will develop an overall report on expenditures for game and fish activities. Those recommendations will be delivered to the DNR commissioner and legislative committees with jurisdiction over natural resources financing for further consideration.
Minnesota’s Game and Fish Fund is the fiscal foundation for much of the state’s core natural resource management functions. About $110 million a year is deposited into this fund from hunting and fishing license sales, a sales tax on lottery tickets, and other sources of revenue including a reimbursement based on a federal excise tax on certain hunting, fishing and boating equipment.
Past DNR Game and Fish Fund expenditure reports and citizen oversight committee reports are also available at mndnr.gov/gamefishoversight.