Arizona Long-Term Plans to be Discussed

A presentation on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s long-term “Wildlife 20/20″ plan will be among the topics at the Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting this week.

The meetings will be Dec. 7-8 at the Game and Fish Department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix (1.5 miles west of I-17). Meetings begin at 8 a.m. both days.

On Friday, the Game and Fish Department will be seeking guidance from the commission on federal travel management planning. Travel management plans affect hunting and recreational access on federal lands, including camping and retrieval of harvested game.

Friday’s agenda items also include:

- a presentation on the department’s Wildlife 20/20 long-term strategic plan,
- a request to approve several Memoranda of Understanding to aid the department’s scientific research efforts and provide opportunities to improve wildlife habitat,
- a request to approve the Notice of Final Rulemaking amending rules within Article 5, addressing boating and water sports,
- hearings on license revocations for violations of Game and Fish codes and civil assessments for the illegal taking and/or possession of wildlife (time certain at 2 p.m.),
- and, a briefing on the Mexican wolf reintroduction program will be provided, on which the commission may provide guidance.

Items on Saturday’s agenda include consideration of commission orders for pronghorn antelope, elk and population management hunts for the 2013 fall hunting season. The commission orders establish seasons and season dates, bag and possession limits, permit numbers or authorized limits, and open areas.

The commission will also be briefed on the status of the bighorn sheep population near Clifton-Morenci and discuss possible management options to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions on U.S. Highway 191. Consent agenda items will be presented as well for the commission’s approval.

The public can view the meeting any of three ways: (1) attending the meeting in person in Phoenix; (2) viewing it via video stream at any of six Game and Fish regional offices; or, (3) viewing it over the Web at www.azgfd.gov/commissioncam.

Those wishing to submit “blue slips” to present oral comment during the meeting must do so either at the Phoenix meeting or at any of the regional Game and Fish offices (Pinetop, Flagstaff, Kingman, Yuma, Tucson and Mesa). For office addresses and contact information, visit www.azgfd.gov/offices.

The Game and Fish Commission is comprised of five members (serving staggered five-year terms) appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. No more than one commissioner may be from any one county. No more than three may be from the same political party.

The commission is the policy-setting board overseeing the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Since its inception in 1929, this organizational structure has served as a buffer for the best interests of science-driven wildlife conservation during eight decades of back-and-forth political change.

For a complete meeting agenda or to learn more about the Game and Fish Commission, visit www.azgfd.gov/commission.

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