Arizona Game and Fish Commission announces recipients of this year’s Commission Awards

Award recipients will be honored at annual banquet on Jan. 22

 

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Commission selected 17 recipients of the 2021 Commission Awards at its Sept. 24 meeting in Greer, Ariz. The award winners will be honored at the annual Commission Awards Banquet on Jan. 22, 2022, at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix.

The Commission Awards recognize Arizonans who have contributed significantly to the conservation of the state’s wildlife, its outdoor heritage, and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

This year’s recipients are:

  • Award of Excellence – Bullhead City Manager Toby Cotter and Commissioner Lisa A. Atkins​​​​​​​
  • Youth Conservationist of the Year – Noah Carrillo
  • Media of the Year – Brian Kae and Tom Fergus, Fox 10 Phoenix KSAZ-TV
  • Conservation Organization of the Year – South Eastern Arizona Sportsmen Club
  • Conservationist of the Year – John Koleszar
  • Natural Resource Professional of the Year – Sid Slone
  • Volunteer of the Year – Al Sue​​​​​​​
  • Educator of the Year – Gregory Brooks
  • Mentor of the Year – Catherine Thompson​​​​​​​
  • Advocate of the Year (two nominations) – Senator Sine Kerr and Chuck Podolack
  • Business Partner of the Year – Discover Gila County
  • Buck Appleby Hunter Education Instructor of the Year – Jessica Manuel
  • Wildlife Habitat Steward of the Year – Ian Tomlinson
  • North American Model Commissioners Award – Ben Avechuco

For more information about the Commission Awards and a link to the banquet ticket order form, visit https://www.azgfd.com/agency/commission/awards/.

The first Commission Awards event was held in January 1991. Since then, more than 400 people have been recognized for their dedicated work toward securing Arizona’s wildlife for generations to come.

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — Goldwater Lake, located just south of downtown Prescott, has experienced a fish die-off similar to recent fish kills at three smaller lakes in the Prescott National Forest — Mingus, Granite Basin and Horsethief Basin.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) advises anglers and other members of the public not to collect or consume fish they find that appear to be dead or dying. Currently, only rainbow trout have been affected at Goldwater Lake.

Goldwater, though larger than the other three lakes, is also susceptible to low dissolved oxygen. These low dissolved oxygen conditions can stress aquatic organisms and, if low enough, cause mortality. Run-off from recent rains have made matters worse by introducing new sediments and stirring up existing sediments on the bottom of the lakes which depletes oxygen.

AZGFD believes that this situation is naturally occurring and will subside as temperatures decrease and the aquatic vegetation becomes dormant.

The department is working closely with the City of Prescott to investigate the situation and remove dead fish.

For more information, contact Matt Chmiel, Regional Aquatic Wildlife Program Manager, at (928) 692-7700 or mchmiel@azgfd.gov.

 

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, beginning at 9 a.m., to review and select for interview applicants for the 2022 vacancy on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

The meeting will be held at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Quail Room, in Phoenix and is open to the public. However, please note that the ability of the public to attend the meeting in person is subject to change in the event Covid-related restrictions on public events are modified prior to the meeting.

Members of the public can also call in to listen to the meeting. The call-in (listen only) number is 404-397-1516, access code 280 046 234##.

Those wishing to speak to the Board during the “Call to the Public” agenda item may do so at the meeting by filling out a blue speaker card, or by phone using the public comment dial-in number 602-962-9500.

See meeting agenda.

The board will meet again on Tuesday, Nov. 9, beginning at 9 a.m., to conduct interviews with the candidates who are selected for interview at the Oct. 19 meeting. That meeting is also at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Quail Room, in Phoenix and is open to the public. At the Nov. 9 meeting, the board will select from two to five finalists and forward those names to Gov. Doug Ducey for his consideration.

Members of the Commission Appointment Recommendation Board are Susan E. Chilton (chair), Charles Ireland Kelly, Edward P. Madden, Phillip D. Townsend, and Richard B. Williams.

Per Arizona State Statute 17-202, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall assist the governor by interviewing, evaluating and recommending candidates for appointment to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall recommend at least two, but no more than five, candidates to the governor. The governor must select and appoint a commissioner from the list submitted by the board.

For additional information about the Commission Appointment Recommendation Board, contact the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions at (602) 542-2449 or toll free at 1-800-253-0883 or on the web at www.azgovernor.gov.

For more information on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, visit www.azgfd.gov/commission.

Older photo of Granite Basin Lake

PRESCOTT, Ariz. — Three lakes in the Prescott National Forest — Mingus, Granite Basin and Horsethief Basin — have recently experienced fish die-offs. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) advises anglers and other members of the public not to collect or consume fish they find that appear to be dead or dying.

The three lakes are small bodies of water that are susceptible to low dissolved oxygen levels due to increased vegetation growth during the warm summer months. During the day, aquatic plants increase oxygen levels within the lakes during photosynthesis, but during the night plants consume oxygen, lowering its availability to the fish. These low dissolved oxygen conditions can stress aquatic organisms and, if low enough, cause mortality. Run-off from recent rains has made matters worse by introducing new sediments and stirring up existing sediments on the bottom of the lakes which also depletes oxygen.

AZGFD believes that this situation is naturally occurring and will subside as temperatures decrease and the aquatic vegetation becomes dormant.

The U.S. Forest Service issued an advisory to the public on Sept. 25 against swimming or wading in these lakes at this time. AZGFD and the Forest Service are continuing to monitor and investigate the situation.

​​​​​​​For more information contact Andy Clark, Statewide Sportfish Program Manager, at (623) 236-7707 or aclark@azgfd.gov.

Arizona Game and Fish Department and private landowner win awards from Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

PHOENIX — ​​​​​The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) won two awards, and southern Arizona rancher Ian Tomlinson and his Vera Earl Ranch won one at the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) annual awards ceremony in Providence, Rhode Island, on Sept. 13. The awards recognize individuals and organizations for their dedication to advancing fish and wildlife conservation.

Arizonans won the following awards:

Boone and Crockett Club Award

AZGFD’s Fair Chase Committee was the recipient of this year’s Boone and Crockett Club Award, which honors an agency and team leader for outstanding achievement in promoting and encouraging outdoor ethics.

In 2015, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission adopted a policy related to “fair chase,” a term that applies to hunting as the “ethical, sportsmanlike, and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over the game animals.” AZGFD subsequently convened an ad hoc fair chase committee, and out of the committee’s deliberations sprang the idea for a social media campaign to “popularize” the concept of fair chase – called the #IamFairChase Campaign. While AZGFD primarily ran the campaign, it was the public members of the committee who were its “thought leaders.”

Stephen Kellert Award

AZGFD’s Public Affairs and Marketing Teams were the recipients of the Stephen Kellert Award, which honors individual or group efforts for outstanding service in advancing connections between humans and the natural world to all peoples in a diverse and inclusive manner.

The teams were recognized for their combined efforts in several areas:

  • Developing and implementing the agency’s “Conserve and Protect” campaign, which introduces the agency and its mission to a broader audience.
  • Shifting the agency outreach culture to be more proactive.
  • Increasing Spanish-language media outreach that strives to reach a diverse audience and engage nontraditional customers with opportunities to connect with wildlife and enjoy the outdoors.
  • Establishing its Diversity Communications Work Group, which seeks to create a meaningful, sustainable culture shift driven by ongoing internal conversations and actions.

Private Lands Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Award

Southern Arizona rancher Ian Tomlinson and the Vera Earl Ranch were the recipients of the Private Lands Fish and Wildlife Stewardship Award for their proactive conservation and environmental practices and for continuing to exhibit outstanding stewardship of fish and wildlife resources.

Mr. Tomlinson applies a strong conservation ethic in concert with the ranch business model. He and the Vera Earl Ranch work to promote a healthy ecosystem for all species and are currently working on a climate plan that will make the ranch more resilient in the future. He is highly involved with the local conservation districts and community and embodies good stewardship in all aspects.

About AFWA

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies represents North America’s fish and wildlife agencies to advance sound, science-based management and conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats in the public interest.

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) anticipates offering up to $1,500,000 in grant funding through the federal Clean Vessel Act for various boating facility improvements.

This federal program has a focus on public boating facilities specifically intended to accommodate sewage associated with boating activities. Funding for the grant is provided by federal taxes on the sale of equipment related to fishing and boating, and on motorboat fuel. Under this program, anglers and boaters who pay these fees and taxes directly benefit from the grant funding. These funds are allocated annually back to each state to support and develop facilities used by these same anglers and boaters.

Agencies, marinas and individuals eligible for the grant funds are those with legal ownership or control of public boating facilities on any Arizona public waterway where pumpouts, pumpout boats, dump stations or floating restrooms are common or needed.

Grant funds are awarded through a competitive application process, and applications are reviewed and rated on the basis of department priorities, project feasibility, and overall merit as they relate to the current needs of the boating public. Actual federal funds available will vary depending on the number of applications received. Multiple grant awards are anticipated. No state funding is currently available through these programs.

Grant applications must be received at AZGFD’s Phoenix headquarters no later than 5 p.m. (MST) on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.

The FY 2022 grant application form and the FY 2022 grant application manual, which includes more information on eligibility, scoring criteria and how to apply for the grants, will be posted soon at the department’s boating facilities web page at www.azgfd.gov/boatingfacilities.

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is updating its 10-year conservation plan — the Arizona Wildlife Conservation Strategy (AWCS) — and is sharing the core elements of the new strategy based on public input to date.

The department will host three virtual meetings in September to discuss enhancements to the AWCS and obtain feedback from the public. The meeting dates and times are:

  • Monday, Sept. 20, 7-8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21, noon to 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 22, 7-8 p.m.

To attend a meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone, visit https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/938773205. Those who haven’t previously used the GoToMeeting app can download it from that link. Alternatively, people can dial in by phone at 1-669-224-3412, access code 938-773-205.

Each meeting will include information on proposed changes to the Strategy, including designation of Conservation Opportunity Areas, a Conservation Analysis Tool and Data Warehouse, and a new way for the public to engage with the Strategy online, followed by a Q&A session. The same content will be covered in all three meetings.

The AWCS encourages collaboration with partners to make focused strategic investments in the management, conservation, and mitigation of areas that will have the greatest benefit for wildlife using the best available science.

Because everyone in Arizona is integral to the success of the AWCS revision, understanding mutual interests and needs, sharing data and information (where feasible), and developing collaborative implementation strategies will maximize the plan’s effectiveness and the collective efforts to conserve Arizona’s fish and wildlife resources.

Developing the AWCS included a statewide survey, focus groups, and meetings with partner organizations. Following the public meetings, AZGFD will distribute another statewide survey for the public to share perspectives on the AWCS, which is slated to be completed in 2022.

For more information on the AWCS, including survey results, summaries of focus group discussions, and a link to the 2012-2022 Arizona State Wildlife Action Plan, visit https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/actionplan/.

Portal account needed to access draw results; automated phone service ends

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is accepting applications for 2022 hunt permit-tags issued through the draw process for spring turkey, javelina, bison, bear and raptor capture.

To apply, click here or visit www.azgfd.gov and click on “Apply for a Draw.” For an overview of the application service, including license requirements, applying for bonus points and payment information, see Page 8 of the “2022 Spring Turkey, Javelina, Bison, Bear and Raptor Capture Hunt Draw Information” booklet.

The booklet is posted online at www.azgfd.gov/hunting/draw. Printed versions soon will be available at all license dealers statewide.

The deadline for the department to receive all applications is 11:59 p.m. (Arizona time) Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.

In the meantime:

  • Applicants must possess a valid Arizona hunting license (or combination hunt and fish license) to apply online for a hunt permit-tag. That license must be valid on the last day of the online application period (Oct. 12). Licenses are available online, and at any AZGFD office or license dealers statewide. Note: When purchasing an Arizona hunting (or combination hunt and fish) license online, the license number will appear at the bottom of the customer’s receipt. Don’t throw it away! That license number will be required as part of the draw application process.
  • Know your Department ID or Customer ID. This is a must to submit an application. There are three ways to locate a Department ID or Customer ID: Log into your AZGFD portal account, and click on “View Details” under “My AZGFD Dashboard;” check your hunting or combination hunt and fish license if it was purchased online; or call AZGFD at 602-942-3000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Check your AZGFD portal account. This is the perfect time to review your personal data, including your application history and total bonus points (bonus, loyalty, hunter education). If something seems amiss, call AZGFD at 602-942-3000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Open an AZGFD portal account. AZGFD portal accounts now are the sole source for finding out draw results and viewing bonus points. Customers are encouraged to create a portal account at accounts.azgfd.com/Account/Register, as family account features are now available, and complete the required fields. Draw results no longer will be provided through the automated phone system. Customers still have the option of finding out their draw results by waiting for hunt permit-tags to be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Plan to purchase PointGuard. This allows hunters to surrender their hunt permit-tag(s) for any reason without losing their bonus points. A portal account is no longer required to purchase PointGuard. Information: www.azgfd.gov/pointguard.

For more information, check out “What You Need to Know,” a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Draw/.

PHOENIX — The deadline to submit nominations for the 2021 Arizona Game and Fish Commission Awards is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept.. 8, 2021. The awards recognize Arizonans who have contributed significantly to the conservation of the state’s wildlife, its outdoor heritage, and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

There are 12 award categories (see list below). Nominations may include individuals, organizations, clubs, foundations or government agencies. Arizona Game and Fish Department employees are not eligible for nomination.

To submit a nomination, download and complete a nomination form and return by email to sbernal@azgfd.gov or by hand delivery to Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Shay Bernal, Director’s Office, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85028.

The commission will select the 2021 Commission Award recipients at its Sept. 24, 2021 meeting. The awards will be presented at the annual Arizona Game and Fish Commission Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort, 11111 N. 7th Street, Phoenix, Arizona 85020.

  • Download a Nomination Form

2021 AWARD CATEGORIES

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE:
Any individual, group, organization, club, foundation, or agency that has excelled in efforts to benefit wildlife, wildlife habitats, or programs of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

YOUTH CONSERVATIONIST OF THE YEAR:
Any individual, 18 years of age or younger, who has excelled in efforts to benefit wildlife and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

MEDIA OF THE YEAR:
Any media source (radio, television, magazine, newsletter, or periodical) that has published articles or materials beneficial to public interest about wildlife or wildlife-related topics and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

CONSERVATION ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR:
Any organization, group, foundation, or agency that has excelled in efforts to enhance the welfare of wildlife, wildlife-related recreation, and the mission of the Game and Fish Department.

CONSERVATIONIST OF THE YEAR:
Any individual, not associated with a professional agency, who has excelled in efforts to enhance, conserve, and manage wildlife or their habitats.

NATURAL RESOURCE PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR:
Any individual who through a professional agency affiliation has excelled in efforts to enhance, conserve, and manage wildlife or their habitats.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR:
Any individual who, as a registered volunteer with the Department, has excelled in efforts to support and benefit the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR:
Any individual whose educational activities have advanced and supported the welfare of wildlife, wildlife-related recreation, or the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

MENTOR OF THE YEAR:
Any individual who has acted in the role of a mentor and whose efforts have resulted in the promotion and support of future wildlife conservation efforts and the development of future wildlife conservation leaders in Arizona.

ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR (Two Nominations):
Any individual that has engaged in political advocacy for the betterment of wildlife conservation and in the support of the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

BUSINESS PARTNER OF THE YEAR:
Any business partner that actively promotes the Arizona Game and Fish Department through innovative approaches, community involvement and a customer service focus that benefits the citizens of Arizona and supports Game and Fish’s mission of wildlife conservation.

BUCK APPLEBY HUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD:
Any hunter education instructor who actively participates in hunter education activities and demonstrates the highest level of customer service, dedication and professionalism during these activities. Award category recently approved by the AZGFD Commission in honor of Buck Appleby, a long-time hunter education instructor who passed away in 2010.

Past Award Recipients, 1991-2020

Application deadline is Sept. 16

PHOENIX — The Governor’s Office is now accepting applications from residents in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties who are interested in serving on the state’s Game and Fish Commission.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is responsible for the conservation and protection of more than 800 species of wildlife in Arizona. The Department is also responsible for efforts that range from wildlife habitat improvement projects to mentored hunt camps, family campouts, fishing clinics, and other activities designed to get people involved with the outdoor recreational activities that Arizona has to offer.

The Game and Fish Commission establishes policy for the management, preservation and harvest of wildlife, and makes rules and regulations for managing, conserving and protecting wildlife and fisheries resources, as well as for safe and regulated watercraft and off-highway vehicle operations, serving in an advisory role to the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Because the commission is structured to ensure representation from across Arizona, the current opening needs to be filled by a resident of Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal or Yuma counties. Applicants may be of any political party affiliation or independent, but must not have changed party registration within the past two years in order to be eligible.

Applicants who are knowledgeable and passionate about Arizona’s diverse wildlife are encouraged to apply by 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16.

Individuals interested in applying or learning more can click HERE.

For more information about the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and its mission, please click HERE. Individuals also may contact the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions at (602) 542-2449.

 

 

Pleasant Harbor July_Sept 2016