Lawmakers want to change the makeup of state wildlife councils

Michigan

FILE – In this July 16, 2004, file photo, a gray wolf is seen at the Wildlife Science Center in Forest Lake, Minn. (AP Photo/Dawn Villella, File)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A group of Democrats in Lansing has introduced two bills that would change the composition of two wildlife advisory boards in Michigan.

The first is House Bill 5078. It would add four seats to the Michigan Wildlife Council, which is responsible for making wildlife policy recommendations to the governor, increasing its membership to 13.

Two of those seats would go to people with expertise in wildlife issues, habitat, or management from nonprofit groups focused on conservation and non-consumptive wildlife use.

Another seat would go to a person representing a Michigan tribal government. The fourth new seat would be for someone with a master’s degree in zoology, wildlife management, or a related field. All four new members would be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the state senate.

The other bill, House Bill 5079, was introduced by the same group of Democrats and would impact the Department of Natural Resources’ Wolf Management Advisory Council. That council, which advises the governor on how to handle things like wolf protection and hunting, has become more important since January when gray wolves in the Great Lakes region were taken off the Endangered Species List.

The bill would add two members to the board. It would increase the number of members representing nonprofit conservation groups from one to two and require a member with a master’s degree in zoology, wildlife management, or a related field.

The Wolf Management Advisory Council does not have a maximum number of seats, but must have enough members to meet the requirements in law.

Both bills have been referred to the State House Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation.

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