If you care at all for the Illinois fishery and the way it is sustained please take some time to read this letter and then contact your representative.

ILLINOIS DIVISION OF FISHERIES NEEDS A FISH MANAGEMENT FUND
A BOLD VISION AND STATUTE CHANGE TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE FUNDING FOR
THE ILLINOIS DNR’S DIVISION OF FISHERIES AND MAINTAIN GREAT FISHING FOR
THOSE WHO FOOT THE BILL… ILLINOIS ANGLERS

Fishing in Illinois generates $3.7 Billion per year for the State’s economy,
but the Division of Fisheries is on the brink of extinction. Why? As
general revenue declined over the past decade, monies from the Wildlife
and Fish Fund (where all angler fees are deposited) have been directed
toward DNR programs which had not historically been funded by anglers.

The result? The Division of Fisheries budget has been slashed year after
year after year.

Staffing levels in the Division of Fisheries have fallen from 146 to 76, and
31 more will be lost due to retirements by December 31, 2012. The
remaining staff of 45 (not counting the 9 folks totally funded by a Federal
EPA Asian Carp Eradication Grant) will be totally incapable of managing
our state fisheries as they have the past three decades. A 70% cut in staff
(45 vs 146) is simply unacceptable when anglers bring in some $15
Million/year (in angler fees and federal Sport Fish Restoration funds) and
generate $3.7 Billion/year for the Illinois economy!
 Do you want at least two of the three existing hatcheries to shut down?
Do you want the Urban Fishing Program to cease?

Do you want to go back to the early 1960’s level of District Fishery Biologists and see fishing
in your area lakes decline dramatically?

Do you want little or no management on our precious stream and major river fisheries?

Do you want to continue without a dedicated staff to manage Lake Shelbyville,
Carlyle, and Rend Lakes?

Is half a loaf, in terms of staff, enough for our precious one million acres of Lake Michigan? Do you want enforcement
of the Fish Code to continue to decline?

Do you want the decision on how angler’s dollars are spent to continue to be made by the Governor’s Office
and a political appointee in the DNR?

If you answered “NO” to any of the above questions, here is what you
need to do IMMEDIATELY:Contact Representative Frank Mautino (e-mail: patti76th@ivnet.com
phone: 217-782-0140) and politely inform him that you want his DNR
Sustainability Bill (soon to be introduced in the House) to include
wording to establish a special fund, THE FISH MANAGEMENT FUND
(EXPENDITURES FROM WHICH MAY ONLY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE
FISHERIES DIVISION CHIEF), to insure that monies from Fishing License
Sales and the Sport Fish Restoration Act are spent only on what they were
intended to do… protect, enhance, and manage Illinois fish and
aquatic resources.

Also contact your state legislators (both House and Senate) and give them
the same message. Your local legislators may be found by going to
www.elections.il.gov . At the top left of the page, you may search via
either your address or zip code.

YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED NOW as Representative Mautino’s DNR Sustainability
Bill will likely be called this week (week of May 7, 2012). SEND THOSE E-MAILS
AND MAKE THOSE CALLS AND INSURE THAT YOUR VOICE IS HEARD IN
SPRINGFIELD. TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!!!

Sincerely,
Mike Conlin, Illinois DNR Fisheries Chief (RETIRED) 1971-2009
e-mail: mikeconlin34@royell.org , phone: 217-971-8505

J.R. Black, Executive Director, Northern Illinois Anglers Association
e-mail: jrblack9@comcast.net , phone: 815-932-8341

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