With the news today that Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Secretary Cathy Stepp is leaving the agency to take a job in Donald Trump's EPA, we thought we'd take a look back over the high-profile issues that involved the DNR during her tenure.
2013-14: Gogebic mine
After mining regulations were relaxed, the DNR oversaw Gogebic Taconite's efforts to establish an iron mine in northern Wisconsin, but also noted that it could threaten the water supply and local health. The company ultimately withdrew its application to mine the site.
2013: MacKenzie Center
The Wisconsin Wildlife Foundation, whose leader had been critical of the DNR, lost its grant to operate the MacKenzie Environmental Center, and the DNR took it over.
2013: United Sportsmen of Wisconsin Foundation
The DNR gave $500,000 to a new foundation that helped elect Republican candidates. The foundation was supposed to encourage more people to hunt and fish but it had no record of doing so. The agency rescinded the grant.
2014-15: White-nose syndrome
The agency has tracked the emergence of a deadly disease killing bats by the thousands.
2014: Waunakee digester
The DNR fined a Waunakee manure digester after several spills.
2015-17: Reorganization and staff cuts
DNR eliminated its science bureau and cut educator positions while also planning a massive reorganization that went into effect in 2016 calling for more efficiency in state parks and wildlife management.
2015: Chronic wasting disease
The DNR has dramatically reduced monitoring of Chronic Wasting Disease, as the deadly deer disease has spread rapidly through the herd.
2015: Environmental fines
Fines for environmental violations by the DNR reached a 30-year low in 2015.
2015: Kirtland's Warbler
DNR ecologists helped revive the Wisconsin habitat for the rare Kirtland's Warbler
2015: State park naming rights
As park fees increased and tax support was withdrawn, Stepp cites naming rights to state parks as one way the DNR could raise more revenue She never followed through on that idea.
As wetland losses accelerated, the DNR's program for replacing them lagged.
2016: High-capacity wells
The DNR accepts Attorney General Brad Schimel's opinion that it could no longer consider cumulative impact of high-capacity wells, and approves permits for billions of gallons of water withdrawals from places where agency scientists said they would harm lakes, rivers and drinking water.
2016: Water pollution
A state audit said the DNR failed to follow their own policies in enforcing water pollution regulations nearly 95 percent of the time from 2005-2015. The agency later scaled back rulemaking regarding manure pollution in water.
2017: Agency breakup
Some DNR critics in the Legislature urged Gov. Scott Walker to break up the agency but Stepp objected, saying the reorganization should be given a chance to work.
2017: DNR magazine
The agency courted controversy over Walker's proposal to eliminate the popular DNR magazine. Lawmakers bucked the proposal but curtailed publication to four times a year.
The agency hires a manager to speed permit reviews for the proposed Foxconn electronics plant.
2017: State fair
The DNR withdraws its traditional presence at the Wisconsin State Fair.