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|CRISIS: MI DNR|
|Written by Administrator|
|Wednesday, 24 October 2007 20:38|
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES FUNDING CRISIS
General Fund reductions and depletion of several of our major restricted funds (Game and Fish Protection Fund, Forest Development Fund and Park Improvement Fund) will require additional and more severe budgetary measures than have been implemented to date.
Since Fiscal Year 2005, DNR has reduced its programs by more than $20 million. These reductions were much more extensive than the list below, but to give you a few highlights, the cutbacks included:
Without the prospect of license fee adjustments to offset structural deficits in the Game and Fish Protection Fund projected at $2.5 million in Fiscal Year 2008 and $13 million in fiscal year 2009, or finding resolution to address additional deficits in the Forest Development and Park Improvement Funds, drastic reductions to programs and staff will occur. Listed below are the additional program cuts, by fund, that will be implemented beginning November 1, 2007.
Reduction of $1.05 million
Reduction of 12 staff
The Department will implement the following reductions:
Game and Fish Protection Fund
Reduction of $6.2 million
Reduction of 58 staff
Forest Development Fund
Reduction of $1 million
Reduction of 9 staff
Additional reductions are necessary if $1 million is transferred to the Michigan Department of Agriculture for conservation districts. As these reductions are implemented and affect future revenue, the need for further reductions will compound. Fiscal Year 2008 reductions will be as follows:
• Reduction in timber marking, regeneration, planning
This will negatively impact the amount of timber that is marked, regenerations efforts, oil and gas reviews, use permits and leases, recreation, planning, forest certification and fire response, which will negatively affect tourism and a $13 billion timber industry in the state.
• Elimination of natural features inventory reviews
Loss of forest certification will likely negatively impact the state’s ability to sell timber reducing state revenues.
Park Improvement Fund
Reduction of 253 staff
Infrastructure conditions continue to deteriorate. To address the structural deficit in the Park Improvement Fund, the Department will cease taking reservations in April 2008 for at least 37 state parks, which will close during Fiscal Year 2009. Reductions will be implemented in Fiscal Year 2009 as follows:
• Closure of at least 37 state parks and recreation areas and scenic sites
This reduction will affect millions of visitors annually, eliminating many opportunities for our customers to experience the outdoors through either day use or overnight stays. These closures will also negatively affect local communities who depend on the economic stimulus provided by the state parks. Visitors to our state parks contribute more than $580 million annually to Michigan.
• Closure of 8 interpretative centers
Closure of the interpretative centers will result in the loss of a critical educational opportunity to inform the public about conservation practices, stewardship, and natural resources management.
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