Game and Fish Fund citizen oversight

Two citizen committees conduct annual budgetary oversight of Minnesota's Game and Fish Fund, the DNR's most important fund for delivering fisheries and wildlife management as well as natural resource law enforcement.

No appointments were made in 2023 for the current term in anticipation of the committee structure being revised starting in 2025.

Nearly $100 million flows in and out of this fund each year. The revenue is primarily the product of hunting and fishing license sales, federal reimbursements and a sales tax on state lottery tickets. The Legislature must approve all Game and Fish Fund allocations, which fund DNR budget requests.

The Fisheries Oversight Committee and the Wildlife Oversight Committee review how the DNR spent funds from the Game and Fish Fund during the previous fiscal year. The Budgetary Oversight Committee, an umbrella committee composed of select members from the FOC and WOC, combines those reviews to produce an annual report and spending recommendations.

As prescribed by Minnesota Statutes, section 97A.055, subd. 4b, the DNR commissioner appoints at least 10 members to each citizen oversight committee. Those committees meet with DNR fisheries and wildlife managers and staff during the year to discuss expenditures, budgets, spending plans and other information related to the Game and Fish Fund. Those meetings culminate in a review of the committees' annual Game and Fish Fund Report.

Appointments & eligibility
  1. The commissioner appoints the committee members and the BOC Chair and sets the terms and conditions of appointment. No appointments were made for the 2024-25 terms.
  2. Eligibility:
    • The DNR is committed to appointing a diverse mix of Minnesotans who bring a variety of knowledge and interests about hunting, fishing, and trapping. Applicants must have a strong interest in monitoring the proper expenditure of funds received from licenses, permits, stamps, and related revenue sources.
    • To be eligible for appointment, an applicant must meet both of these requirements:
      • Be a Minnesota resident; and
      • Purchased a personal or commercial Minnesota hunting, fishing or trapping license since Jan. 1 of the previous calendar year or licensed their vehicle with an active critical habitat license plate.
    • Appointed members may serve up to six consecutive years. Current members interested in another term must apply again and are not guaranteed appointment to another term.
    • Seasonal and temporary employees of the Minnesota DNR Fish and Wildlife Division become eligible for appointment one year after the end of their last employment with the DNR.
    • Retired and former full-time employees of the Minnesota DNR Fish and Wildlife Division are not eligible for appointment.
    • Persons whose employment may involve administration of activities funded by the Game and Fish Fund are not eligible for appointment. Examples of such activities are land acquisition; land and water management; fisheries and wildlife management; pass-through funding for such activities; state lottery; and similar activities related to management of fish, wildlife and habitat.
  3. Appointments:
    • An application process for open seats is conducted in the fall. The open application process is a self-nomination process.
    • The commissioner appoints committee members for terms of up to two years.
    • Members appointed under an open application process are eligible to serve up to six consecutive years. A member with maximum consecutive service becomes eligible to apply again for appointment after a two-year break. Current members interested in another term must apply again and members are not guaranteed another consecutive term.
    • The BOC Chair appointment is reviewed every year and is renewable by mutual agreement of the BOC Chair and the DNR Commissioner.
    • A member may voluntarily withdraw from their term of appointment by notifying their DNR manager liaison or the DNR commissioner by email or letter. The commissioner may terminate an appointment if the member does not meet the expectations for a member in good standing, and will communicate a termination of appointment to the member by email or letter.
    • A member’s appointment is subject to review by the commissioner, notwithstanding their initial term of appointment. An oversight committee may ask the commissioner to review a member’s appointment by a vote of that committee.
    • The FOC and WOC choose their own chairs and members to serve on an umbrella Budgetary Oversight Committee (BOC).
    • Oversight members are entitled to mileage reimbursement by request, but not a per diem.
Requirements for appointees
  • Time commitment: Members of the FOC and WOC meet twice a month in the evening. Participating in the BOC adds another meeting every month. You will need to be available for those meetings and to work on assignments between meetings in order to help the group produce results.
  • Email address: This group relies on email for communication and some file-sharing. You will need an email address and you must check it on a daily basis when the group is active. A backup phone number may help the group chair and DNR manager liaison stay in touch.
  • Access to a computer: Members works together to draft a report. You will need regular access to a computer so you can contribute to the drafting.
  • Expenses: Members can request reimbursement of mileage costs for attending meetings in person. The DNR cannot offer compensation or reimbursement of other expenses.
  • Collaboration: Members are expected to demonstrate these workplace behaviors in their committees and with DNR employees.
    • Be open and honest
    • Respect others
    • Work together
    • Respect committee and departmental processes
    • Value personal and physical safety

Minnesota Statutes, section 97A.055, subd. 4b, assigned responsibilities to the three committees.

The Fisheries Oversight Committee (FOC) reviews fisheries funding and expenditures, including activities related to trout and salmon stamps and walleye stamps.

The Wildlife Oversight Committee (WOC) reviews wildlife funding and expenditures, including activities related to migratory waterfowl, pheasant, and wild turkey management and deer and big game management.

The primary task for those two committees are to review annual reports of revenue and expenditures toward outcome goals and prepare recommendations for improvement in management and use of money in the game and fish fund.

The Budgetary Oversight Committee (BOC) consists of the chairs of the Fisheries Oversight Committee and the Wildlife Oversight Committee and four additional members from each committee. Tasks for this umbrella committee are:

  • Merge the fisheries and wildlife committees’ reports into a final annual report to the commissioner and the senate and house committees with jurisdiction over natural resources.
  • Address issues that transcend the fisheries and wildlife committees.
  • Develop recommendations for a biennial budget plan and report for expenditures on game and fish activities.
Schedule and accommodations

The DNR provides manager liaisons, online and in-person meeting spaces and other support for meeting planning, logistics and communications. A DNR facilitator assists the BOC with work planning, effective meetings and group decision-making, and production of reports and other communications. DNR leaders are available for BOC meetings.

Schedule for 2024 oversight committee meetings

Committee members carry out their work in scheduled meetings and on their own time. The meeting schedule is as follows:

  • Fisheries and Wildlife Oversight committees (FOC and WOC) meet on the first and third Thursdays of the month from January to May. The meetings start at 6 p.m. and end by 8:30 or 9:00 p.m.
  • Budgetary Oversight Committee (BOC) meets the fourth Thursday of the month from January to May. BOC meetings start at 6 p.m. and end by 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. Wrap-up work on the BOC report sometimes continues into June, usually by email but with the option of holding a June meeting.


Individuals with a disability who need a reasonable accommodation to participate in oversight committees: Please contact the DNR liaison for the committee at least two weeks before the meeting, if possible.

For FOC meetings, contact [email protected] by email or call 651-259-5206 or [email protected] by email or call 651-259-5229

For WOC meetings, contact [email protected] by email or call 651-259-5175 or Kelly Straka, Wildlife Section Manager at [email protected] or 651-259-5237.

For BOC meetings, contact [email protected] by email or call 651-219-1591

2024 meetings


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2024 report target dates
DateDraft due
4/24FOC and WOC preliminary drafts
5/23FOC and WOC final drafts
6/15Completion of joint BOC report
For more information

If you have a question or comment about the oversight committees, please send an email to [email protected]. Your comment or question will be sent directly to the BOC chair.


Beth Carlson, DNR liaison to GFF oversight, DNR Operations Services Division, [email protected], 651-259-5531
Yengmy Thao, DNR liaison to GFF oversight, DNR Operations Services Division, [email protected], 651-259-5563
Kelly Straka, wildlife section manager at [email protected] or 651-259-5237
Brad Parsons, fisheries section manager at [email protected] or 651-357-4603

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