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Conservation Congress Follow-Up

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First of all, I'd like to thank the IDNR for re-instating this crucial program and following up on their promise to establish open lines of communication with all stakeholder groups once again.

The weekend was a phenomenal success, as it really served to allow people to network and speak freely about the issues important to conservation in Illinois.

Debates centered on many important aspects of management, funding, access, youth recruitment, legislation.....many hours of detailed and frank discussions.


Our first break-out session workshop was interrupted early into it with a surprise visit by Governor Quinn.




A very good analogy made by several people throughout the weekend was this:

The IDNR has had their feet held to the fire for a very long time.

The ball has been put squarely into the hands of constituent groups to do with as we wish.

The fire is know upon us to put up or shut up.

It was amazing to see the energy and focus among all of the 150 attendees.

Heard from so many that told us they were encouraged and re-invigorated by this event.

Granted, this was only a step in the right direction. The first of many, as there is much work to be done.




I'll post more specifics later.

Nap time.

It's been a really long weekend.

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Guest rich mc

Thanks Mike for making the trip.There must have been tons of items to discuss from many stakeholder groups. It definitely a right step in the correct direction. Were anglers well representednext to campers, canoeists, hunters etc? rich

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076.jpg?t=1256516875i hope they can prevent this from happening again.Im very sorry mike if I steal this post from you. ( If this works ) please I appologize I thought I would give another try to the picture posting. I think I did it. th_017.jpghavent seen these two fishing on the rock lately

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Yes, Rich. Anglers were represented well, but it was as mixed as anyone could possibly imagine.


I'll use a photo taken by Dale Bowman (Chicago Sun-Times) as an example.



The person sitting to my right across the aisle works in Lake County with various groups on Des Plaines River programs and projects.

The gentleman next to me on my left is with the Carlyle Lake Assoc. and Carlyle Waterfowlers.

At the end of the aisle, the woman in red represents horseback riding groups.

The man with the orange cap further back represents the Pheasants/Quails Forever groups and also belongs to the IL Trial Lawyers Association. He and I had some long discussions over the weekend regarding the Recreational Use Act changes. In front of him is Tom Palmisano from Mayor Daley's Fishing Advisory Committee.

There were Open Lands reps, Park District managers, Forest Preserve people, paddling groups, metropolitan planners....you name it, they were here.

The first day, I sat next to 2 Congressmen and we had some rather interesting discussions.


When we registered, we were asked to indicate which focus group we wished to be put into for break-out sessions.

I chose Conservation Funding. The other 2 choices were Access and Youth Recruitment.


After all of the groups were finished networking, the results were brought forth and narrowed down to common themes among them.

After that, every individual was given stickers to place on topics for prioritization.


The top 3 votes went to:


Immediately pass SB1846 and quickly implement new fees and fee increases through Administrative Rule.


Develop a Master Plan for long term funding sources through expanded partnerships.


Restore liability protection for all recreational uses, when allowed by private landowners.

(I devoted a great deal of my time there on this one and subsequently learned a great deal about it and how to go about changing it).


The IDNR will be putting together a summary of the entire weekend, from what I understand.


As for the prevention of fish kills, Eugene.

The IDNR has nothing to do with preventing them.

They are legislatively "reactive" when one does occur, then they work with the EPA from there.


As the Bald Eagle is concerned, Governor Quinn has done some remarkable work for their preservation in IL.

The purpose of the Conservation Congress was to address the urgent needs of the Department and to allow every voice to be heard and recognized.

IDNR did a very good job of that.

If their needs are not addressed and action taken quickly, the needs of the rest of us (and our natural resources) cannot and will not be addressed adequately.

That's the bottom line.

Now is the time for all of us to put up or shut up.


To me, it's all about commitment.

To be the change you want to see in the world, you don't have to be loud. You don't have to be eloquent. You don't have to be elected. You don't even have to be particularly smart or well educated. You do, however, have to be committed.

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Mike, again I apologize! I did not know I was gonna actually post pics. Thank you for the time that you have put into Conservation thru the years. I hope to continue learning from this organization & people like you. To protect what is special and important to us, so that we can share it with others and enjoy it for years to come.

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I'm simply here to organize, compile and occasionally lobby.

Its up to people like you Eugene, and everyone else that cherishes our fragile resources, to step to the plate once in a while and make a difference.

So far, the ISA has a great track record in this regard, but we need more bystanders that feel the need to convert to soldiers for the cause.

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