MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Department of Natural Resources spent about $8.7 million on contractors to manage state lands over the last fiscal year.

The DNR sent the Legislature’s finance committee a report on Monday detailing expenses. The biggest one was $2.8 million for land maintenance, up from $2.4 million from 2017-18. The department spent $2.4 million on facility maintenance, up from $2.3 million.

The department spent about $679,400 to maintain trails, up from $568,750, and $644,360 on invasive species control, up from $339,440.

All in all, the DNR spent about $1.5 million more on land management contractors than in 2017-18.

DNR officials defended the spending by saying that the department lacked the proper equipment for the projects and state employees were either unavailable or lacked the training to accomplish the tasks.