Falk Applauds Governor’s Stewardship Program Plan
February 14, 2007
Joanne Haas, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk says Gov. Jim Doyle's call to reauthorize the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program as part of his 2007-09 state budget is good news for the county’s commitment of preserving land for natural resources protection and for public recreation.
“The governor’s push to continue this program means Dane County can continue to work on what the citizens told me are among their highest priorities -- protect the natural resources and provide more places to play,” Falk said. “The governor’s budget provision is especially welcome news in light of our updated Dane County Parks and Open Spaces Plan, which calls for creating two county parks and acquiring more than 8,800 acres of land.”
Established in 1989 in honor of former Govs. Warren Knowles and Gaylord Nelson, the Stewardship program has helped protect from development more than 475,000 Wisconsin acres of high-quality recreation and environmentally sensitive land. In Dane County, the fund was used in connection with the county’s Conservation Fund to purchase 294 acres in the Black Earth Creek Watershed.
“This purchase is a wonderful example of how two units of government and a non-profit organization used the Conservation Fund with Stewardship dollars to acquire this property that includes a Class 1 trout stream,” Falk said.
The property was appraised at $7 million and was purchased for $5.3 million in 2005. The Town of Middleton provided $1.2 million, Dane County’s Conservation Fund provided $2.1 million while the non-profit Natural Heritage Land Trust helped secure the $1.8 million in Stewardship funds.
The Stewardship program is due to sunset in 2010. However, under Doyle’s pending budget proposal, the bipartisan program would continue through 2020 with annual allotments of $105 million. The governor’s proposal also would allow counties to access the General Stewardship Acquisition Fund for the first time.
“This also was a great fiscal surprise for the public good in Dane County,” Falk said, adding it holds the opportunity for acquisition of additional lands for public hunting, fishing, campaign, wildlife viewing and other outdoor activities.