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Marc Millers swan song email
Posted: 07 January 2015 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]
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My fellow outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists,

Now that the holidays are over and we begin to focus on the New Year ahead, I want to take one last look back over the last six years.  With the demands and urgent issues facing an agency with broad public responsibilities, scope, and hundreds of mandates, it can be easy to lose sight of all the good work that has been done.

When I first became Director in the February of 2009, there were a few things we had to correct immediately from the previous administration.  We went to work reopening the seven state parks closed by our predecessors. We also restored over $7 million in hunting and fishing license funds that were swept for ineligible purposes, a move that put federal matching funds and partnerships in jeopardy.

We also knew that the tradition of strong public participation in shaping the agency’s focus, which had withered through neglect, needed to be restored.  In the spring of 2009, we invited hundreds of constituents from all over Illinois to Springfield and convened the first Conservation Congress in six years.

During those meetings, it was obvious that you recognized how badly the IDNR had been cut financially over the previous decade.  With general revenue just half of what it once was, we were struggling to meet the basic missions entrusted to us.  That acknowledgement served as the springboard to a year-long lobbying campaign to stabilize agency finances by securing legislative support for the “DNR Sustainability Bill.”  That bill generated $30 million in new annual revenues to support Illinois state parks and other important functions of the agency.

Another recurring theme we heard from constituents during the new Conservation Congress: increasing opportunities for hunters.  So we worked hard to successfully lobby the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create a fourth waterfowl hunting zone in Illinois, a huge win after nearly 25 years of unsuccessful efforts.  We also created and expanded the Illinois Recreational Access Program that has opened up 13,000 acres of private land for recreation and provides significant opportunities for youth. Over the past six years, we have also continued efforts to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp.  Those efforts have paid off with expanded harvesting of Asian carp in the Illinois River system.  IDNR has worked to reduce risk of fish passage by working cooperatively with neighboring states and our federal partners on rapid response efforts.

We secured federal approval and $2 million in annual funding for a Coastal Management Program to protect Lake Michigan resources; re-opened a July perch fishing season in Lake Michigan, while implementing sustainable measures to protect spawning perch; and, we completed a decades-long project to clean up pollution problems at Waukegan Harbor.

We acquired more than 10,000 acres of high-quality land for hunting, fishing, bird-watching, hiking and other outdoor recreation opportunities, and oversaw the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission’s addition of 25 Land and Water Reserves and 35 Nature Preserves that protected over 18,000 acres of high quality habitat.  We’ve improved outreach in northeast Illinois by creating the Millennium Reserve; worked with local governments to cooperatively remove dangerous low-head dams to improve the health of rivers, while reducing hazards to boaters and anglers; and, jumpstarted the rebuild of the Illinois Conservation Police force by swearing in two classes of officers in the past two years, hiring many military veterans.  A third class started training just a few days ago.

The past six years have had their share of challenges, but I couldn’t be prouder of these accomplishments and many others that we have achieved together.  I want to thank you for your efforts, and urge you to continue to be stewards of conservation and outdoor recreation, and to encourage the next generation of natural resources leaders and enthusiasts.

It has been my distinct honor to serve you.  To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, life’s best prize is to work hard at work worth doing.  IDNR’s important mission, encouraging the efforts of great people, and the goal of leaving a place better than you found it, has been work worth doing for me.

Yours in conservation,

Marc Miller

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Posted: 07 January 2015 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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He at least could have appologized for ruining our deer herd . What a joke this man is . He cant be gone soon enough for me .

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Posted: 07 January 2015 07:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back there Marky.  SEE YA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Posted: 07 January 2015 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Don’t let the door hit you in the ass!

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Posted: 07 January 2015 11:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Met Marc more than a couple times. Perhaps ” The Man” had more influence on him than his heart would allow for him to act on the principles of the “right” thing to do for conservation sake at a state level. But a pinocchio on strings, if you will, waiting for the window to open for which to act. Also, he had no funds or power to work with, to implement sound conservation with the proper knowledgeable Biologists in those areas of concern. State of politics in this region is pathetic to say the least. It is my impression he was a man of great intentions with little play on the chess board for which to implement sound conservation practices with recommendations of his constituents. I have heard of those close to him that said he has wept over issues concerning the DNR. At anyrate, I am of least optimism of the next pawn to take the position. Support the national wildlife organizations such as NWTF, DU, RMEF and PF.  Educate oneself on ecosystems, pass them does for cuple years and on your own, influence the farmers that they don’t really take care of the land. If that was the case, prairie chickens would still be here and pheasants & quail wouldnt be struggling to stay off the threatened list.  Best luck to all rest of this season. Give more than you can take. Plant a tree. Make a butterfly garden for the wife. Donate some sweat to a habitat effort in your area. Take a child fishing or hunting or rabbi-tating.,they will remember, and be a better adult for it.

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Posted: 08 January 2015 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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To Paraphrase Senator Bentsen “Mr. Director you are no Teddy Roosevelt!”  No humble pie in that good bye and certainly no thank yous to the foot soldiers that did the real hard work within the budget cuts in those six years.  No mention of all the assistant directors
that bilked us in those six years that he protected.  An if he wept because he compromised his beliefs and morals for a paycheck, then shame on him for not standing up for what he believed was right. Mr. Miller was a day late and a dollar short in all that he did, except of course when he goes to cash his monthly pension check - no weeping there.

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Posted: 08 January 2015 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Andy Meador - 07 January 2015 08:25 PM

Don’t let the door hit you in the ass!

Thats what i was thinking andy!!!

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Posted: 09 January 2015 11:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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“I couldn’t be prouder of these accomplishments”.  As long as you completely ignore the deer herd in this letter to yourself, I guess you can find an accomplishment or two.  Next!

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Posted: 12 January 2015 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Treehugger - 09 January 2015 11:06 AM

“I couldn’t be prouder of these accomplishments”.  As long as you completely ignore the deer herd in this letter to yourself, I guess you can find an accomplishment or two.  Next!

.....And ignore the fact he allowed a travis lloyd to bass fish tournaments instead of doing his job.

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Posted: 20 January 2015 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Anybody know where Miller was demoted to?

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