Suggestions Sought on Indiana Fish, Wildlife Rules
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Natural Resources Commission is seeking public suggestions as part of an ongoing comprehensive review and enhancement of fish and wildlife rules for the Department of Natural Resources.
Substantive rule change suggestions can be made through a Web-based interactive form by going to IN.gov/nrc/ and clicking on the “Submit a Suggestion” link. The introduction of the online suggestion form marks the beginning of the third stage of a four-stage process recommended last year by a steering committee composed of Natural Resources Commission chairman Bryan Poynter; DNR deputy director John Davis; Col. Mike Crider, head of the DNR Division of Law Enforcement; Sandra Jensen, NRC administrative law judge; Patrick Early, chair of the DNR Advisory Council; and John Goss, executive director of the Indiana Wildlife Federation.
The suggestion form will be available until April 1. An advisory group will review the suggestions and conduct public hearings to determine the merit of suggestions received. The advisory group will report its findings and recommendations to the NRC in late 2009. Actual proposal of substantive rule amendments are not expected to be presented to the NRC until early 2010.
The first stage of the project was to readopt all Fish and Wildlife Rules (312 IAC 9) without change to ensure the rules did not expire while the remainder of the project is in progress. The readopted rules became effective on Dec. 24, 2008.
The Stage 2 goal is to provide clarity and consistency of interpretation and to improve enforceability with only minor amendments to the rules in three segments. The NRC granted preliminary adoption Tuesday to the first segment of amendments on deer hunting and hunter education rules. Additional segments will address rules associated with wild animals (except deer), mammals and game birds (March 2009), and rules associated with reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, commercial licenses and permits (May 2009). It is hoped Stage 2 will be completed and approved by October or November.
“Our intent is to take what we have and organize it, update it, and develop a more user-friendly product that encourages people to hunt and fish rather than discourage them because they don’t understand the rules,” Poynter said. “We want to unravel any language barriers by employing public input to help point us in that direction.”
The fourth stage provides an option to work with the state legislature to enact necessary amendments to existing statutes.