Walker DNR Appointee Sought to Privatize Trout Streams

May 28, 2012 by WCMCooperative

Scott Gunderson, appointed by Scott Walker to a top position in the DNR, once pushed for legislation that would have privatized thousands of miles of Wisconsin’s waterways, including portions of every trout stream in the state. The 2004 legislation, authored by Gunderson while he was representing the 83rd District (Waukesha) in the State Assembly, redefined “navigable waters” in a way that would have denied public access to between one third and one half of Wisconsin’s public waterways.

Although strong opposition from the public and from sportsmen’s groups such as Trout Unlimited, together with the probability that it was unconstitutional, killed his navigable waters bill, Gunderson continued to push for the privatization of Wisconsin’s water resources. His next effort was more successful. In 2008 Gunderson, working in concert with industry-backed politicians in other states, blocked ratification of the Great Lakes Compact until a ground water protection provision had been removed from it. Removal of the provision was a gift to the bottled water industry, but put lakes and streams at risk of running dry from lowered water tables.

As DNR executive assistant, Gunderson became a central figure in the recently publicized “Sewergate” scandal when he worked behind the scenes to help Herr Environmental, Inc. evade serious penalties from charges of illegally dumping human urine and feces on fields near residential areas in Jefferson County in 2009. The human waste threatens to contaminate groundwater and the wells of dozens of families. Herr, whose owners are supporters and financial backers of both Walker and Gunderson, typically would have been fined $20,000-40,000 for such violations. Thanks to Gunderson’s intervention, Herr was fined the legal minimum of $4,338.

Gunderson’s long-standing advocacy of privatization, and his contempt for laws protecting public resources, no doubt were the reasons that Scott Walker appointed him as “Executive Assistant” to the like-minded (DNR Secretary) Cathy Stepp.

Things have changed since 2004. Under Walker, citizen input on environmental regulation has been greatly reduced. Act 21 neutered the Conservation Congress. Meanwhile, the power and influence of radical ideology and of out of state lobbyists has grown. As shown in the debate over the ferrous mining bill, even likely Constitutional challenges do not deter the Walker administration from pushing legislation that support his privatization schemes. Given Walker’s passion for privatization, it is not at all unlikely that Gunderson’s redefinition of navigable waters will reemerge on the Walker administration agenda.

This time around, the fisherman are likely to lose.

Walker the outdoorsman posing for cameras during the opening of the 2012 fishing season. Later that day he learned how to hold a fishing rod.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

23 Comments on “Walker DNR Appointee Sought to Privatize Trout Streams”

  1. Bea May 28, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Why are they so dead-set on privatizing public resources?

    • Hood May 29, 2012 at 10:26 am #


  2. Jen May 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Whoever can control food, water, and oil, controls the world.

  3. Todd May 29, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    Yeah, quite the outdoorsman there. Gotta love how he’s holding the rod upside down.

    • MAGRN June 24, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      We tried to let people know that not only is WI “open for business” but it is “Up for sale” as well.

  4. Mike May 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    I hold my Spinning rod like that also, easier for me to reel in.

    • R. Sieng May 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Thank you. Wonder if they’ll ever remove the snarky caption under the picture.

      • Hematite May 29, 2012 at 11:57 pm #


  5. John C. May 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    So Gunderson is after our trout streams and now we hear that the Deer Tsar considers public hunting lands to be part of the communist plot. If Walker is re-elcted and has a majority in both houses you can bet that there will be attempts to privatize hunting and fishing in Wisconsin.

  6. Tequila Mockingjay May 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    Schools? Prisons? Deer herds? Trout streams? I wonder what he’ll try to privatize next, all the libraries, maybe?

    • MAGRN June 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

      They are closing libraries here in the NW part of the state. I am not surprised. I think 2 of the 3 people that read died recently.

  7. Dave May 30, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    I’d hate to see how the little fella holds a shotgun. Could get messy. Let’s hope real fishermen and hunters see this photo and wake up. What’s next, a bluegill czar advocating private panfish ranches? Don’t fence me in!

    Seriously, with friends like this, Wisconsin outdoors-people don’t need any enemies.

  8. Dave May 30, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    P.S. — Scotty, where’s your PFD? He doesn’t know how to operate a spinning rod, but at least our boy could wear a life jacket and set a good example for safety. Apparently he didn’t get his fishing and boating merit badges. Let’s hope Mr. Integrity bought a fishing license.

    • Melody June 1, 2012 at 10:43 am #

      Dave – he didn’t finish college, he’s a quitter. How could anyone expect him to pass any tests, like merit badges require. I agree with the life jacket, we all are strongly recommended to wear one. Any way to check on the fishing license issue?

  9. ziggs May 30, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Glad his hands were out of Koch bro’s and ABC’s pockets long enough to fish a little bit. Even crooks need a break..

  10. Dan May 31, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    I’ve been vacationing in Wisconsin for forty years, I’d hate to see anything involved with its DNR taken away from the people.

    • MAGRN June 24, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

      Dan, you are too late, he has Cathy Stepp firmly in place, she allowed one of the honey dippers to spread 300% of the allowable amount of human excrement on a farmers field jeopardizing 40 wells in the vicinity. With the Wolf hunt being 4 1/2 months long day and night with bows, guns, bait, traps, and DOGS, AND right in the middle of the regular deer season, I think we are in deep doo doo, he is not listening to the experts, so expect next time you come up to be fishing in billowing clouds of soap suds. This man cares nothing for our Natural resourses nor in preserving them. They ARE for sale.

  11. Dee June 8, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    And you idiots in Wisconsin re-elected this Bozo AGAIN this past Tuesday!! Wisconsinites must be hoodwinked easily.

  12. Jeanie Johnson June 11, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    Did the Gov let the trout know about this? My husband noted that the Gov is holding the fishing reel upside down. some angler. This man just crosses boundaries in the commons each and every day.

  13. Nancy gustaf August 19, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    Let’s organize to get rid of the underlings who want to ruin our state. Complaining gets us nowhere. What are Gunderson’s credentials for his position other than driving a manure spreader? Maybe he should be the first to go?


  1. Links, 5/31/12 « naked capitalism - May 31, 2012

    […] blooper video] had a state income tax bill of zero for 2010.” “Walker DNR appointee sought to privatize trout streams.” “A secret Milwaukee County investigation that has already led to criminal charges […]

  2. Wis. DNR appointee tried to privatize trout streams | Alan Gregory’s Conservation News - June 3, 2012

    […] guy has bad vibes coming from his scalp. Read the strange tale here. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in trout, trout fishing, […]

  3. Dork Dynasty: This is Your Future Wisconsin if You Don’t Vote November 4th | Our Wisconsin, Our Wildlife - October 26, 2014

    […] he was photographed in a camouflage jacket and “fishing.” The problem is that he is holding the fishing reel upside down. Then we have this laughable video of Walker and his clueless fawn slaying DNR Secretary, Cathy […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: