The Future of the Stewardship Program

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program is a nationally recognized model for the protection of our critical natural resources.  Through the program land trusts and local units of government have raised more than $180,000,000 to match the state’s investment in protecting the places that make our communities special and to ensure that our children and grandchildren will have the same opportunities to enjoy our natural world. This unique public-private partnership has fueled much of the program’s success.

Stewardship helps keep our $20 billion forestry industry healthy by keeping forest land in production.  And at the same time it provides the recreational lands that are the cornerstone of our $13 billion tourism industry.  It’s no surprise that Stewardship is one of the state’s most popular programs.

On February 7, Wisconsin DNR Secretary Stepp announced a temporary hold on the grants portion of the Stewardship Program while the new DNR leadership evaluates priorities.  At the same time, Governor Walker released talking points acknowledging the value of and his committment to the program.

Gathering Waters Conservancy released a statement articulating that we look forward to working with Governor Walker and Secretary Stepp as they seek to set priorities for the program.  We are also working with the land trusts who are affected by this hold in the hopes that their long and hard work on important projects will not be permanently lost as a result of this temporary action.

Please continue to visit our website to learn more and to stay involved as we work together to ensure that the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program continues providing value to Wisconsin for years to come.