These cuts will eliminate an additional 162 positions for an agency that is already down 25% from its numbers in 2002. Now a coalition of environmental and conservation groups are taking him to task having identified some of the impacts:
*The agency’s ability to implement the Illinois State Wildlife Action Plan, a blueprint for protecting vanishing natural resources and keeping plants, animals, birds, fish and other organisms from becoming endangered.
*Loss of funds for the Water Supply Planning Initiative that is studying Illinois’ water resources – both surface and underground.
*DNR having enough staff to manage state parks and natural areas.
*Falling numbers of Conservation Police Officers. Eric Poertner of the Policemen’s Benevolent & Protection Association said 24 positions remain unfilled, leaving 133 officers to police about 470,000 state-owned acres, 720,000 licensed anglers and 317,000 licensed hunters. A dozen others are slated to retire soon. In 2000, 170 officers were on the job.
*The future of the Illinois State Museum system that is not supported by fees paid by hunters and anglers.