Governor Scott Walker announced the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative today. The initiative, developed by the Department of Natural Resources, will dramatically increase the number of walleye in Wisconsin by expanding production at state, private, and tribal fish hatcheries.
"Fishing is such an important part of Wisconsin's sporting heritage, and demand for walleye continues to increase," Governor Walker said. "With this historic investment, we are making long-term improvements to Wisconsin's lakes and our state's fishing and tourism industries. I thank Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) and Representative Dan LeMahieu (R-Cascade) for their work on this issue."
The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative includes the following:
· $8.2 million in existing unencumbered bonding authority to expand hatchery capacities.
· $1.8 million for operating costs over the biennium.
· $2 million over the biennium for a competitive grant program for private organizations to expand walleye production and to cover operational costs.
· $160,000 in one-time funds for the UW Extension to continue their work with private aquaculture through the end of Fiscal Year 2014.
· $500,000 annually beginning in Fiscal Year 2015 to contract with organizations to acquire additional walleye fingerlings.
· $250,000 annually to expand the summer Tribal Youth Program. The program is a state-tribal partnership giving high school-aged tribal youth the opportunity to work on natural resource-related projects.
Under this initiative, production is estimated to increase from 60,000--120,000 large walleye fingerlings to well over 500,000 by 2016.