(Updated December 28, 2017)
Asian carp update presented
The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission received an update on Asian carp among its agenda items at the final meeting of the calendar year. The TFWC met for the first time at Lone Oaks Farm in Hardeman County near Bolivar and Middleton, which is operated by the University of Tennessee.
Frank Fiss, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Division chief, presented an update on Asian carp. Four species of Asian carp are found in Tennessee waterways which are the silver, bighead, black and grass carp.
TWRA works with other state and federal agencies to control these species, especially in the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers where there is still time to protect upstream reservoirs. Fiss said ongoing activities include planning for carp-specific sound barriers at locks, tracking the movements of carp through locks with acoustic tags and receivers, supporting the commercial harvest of carp, and monitoring the abundance of adult and juvenile carp.
Current control strategies rely heavily on commercial harvest and the installation of carp barriers at locks to reduce their impacts on aquatic resources and recreational activities. Ongoing monitoring and research will evaluate these strategies and possibly identify more effective strategies.
Dave Chanda, from the Recreational Boating Fishing Foundation (RBFF) was a guest at the meeting. His presentation included current trends and national efforts from the foundation to involve the public in fishing and boating. A special point of emphasis is to introduce youth to fishing.
Chiefs from five agency divisions brought forward a number of budget expansions so the agency can accept funds from other sources. There is no increase in of license dollars included in the expansions.
Among the projects to be funded include the removal and replacement of a pier deemed unsafe at Paris Landing State Park. TVA and Brookfield Renewable will provide grants for hatchery improvements. Another includes a 100 federal percent funding for land acquisition of 82 acres at Catoosa Wildlife Management Area located in the Upper Cumberland region. Another expansion, National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Superfund Grants, comes for habitat and hunter access projects on statewide WMAs.
Pandy English, Biodiversity assistant chief, presented the in-need of management, threatened, and endangered species list rule. The commission passed the rule in a vote.
Hardeman County Mayor Jimmy Sain was also in attendance and welcomed the TFWC to the area. Ben West, from Lone Oaks and the University of Tennessee, also welcomed the TFWC and gave a brief presentation on the Lone Oaks Farm operation.
The next TFWC meeting will be held Jan. 18-19 in Nashville.
Wiley named new CCO for Ducks Unlimited
Ducks Unlimited (DU) announced the hiring of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Executive Director Nick Wiley as its new Chief Conservation Officer.
"I am pleased to announce that Nick will be joining Ducks Unlimited's executive team as our Chief Conservation Officer," said DU CEO Dale Hall. "Nick brings a wealth of experience in wildlife management and habitat conservation, and I know he will be a great fit for DU."
Wiley is a certified wildlife biologist with more than 31 years of experience in fish and wildlife management. He is currently Executive Director of FWC and served as president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) during 2016-17. He is also the current chair of the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports.
"While I've been honored to be a part of the FWC for nearly 30 years, I'm excited to join Ducks Unlimited and look forward to leading their conservation programs," Wiley said. "I strongly support DU's conservation mission, and I'm eager to join their excellent professional team working for the largest wetlands and waterfowl organization in North America."
Reporting to DU's CEO, Wiley will serve as a strategic leader and member of DU's executive leadership team. He will also lead a national/regional department with approximately 215 employees. In addition, Wiley will oversee a conservation program operating budget of more than $100 million.
Wheatley joins Friends of Land Between the Lakes staff
Jennifer Wheatley has joined the staff of the Friends of Land Between the Lakes as Director of Outreach and Sustainability. The position will focus on "fund raising and sharing the impact of the work of the Friends of Land Between the Lakes," according to Friends Executive Director John Rufli.
Wheatley has previously worked in Communications at Land Between the Lakes and as the executive director of the Paris-Henry County Chamber of Commerce. She has served on the Board of Trustees for the Friends group for over ten years, including a term as chairperson. The Friends of Land Between the Lakes is a non-profit organization. Its mission is to work with public and private stakeholders to educate, improve, promote, conserve, and provide stewardship for the Land Between
the Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area. More information is available at www.friendsoflbl.org.
MDC reports more than 7,700 deer harvested during antlerless portion
Preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shows that deer hunters in Missouri harvested 7,728 deer during the antlerless portion of the fall firearms deer season, which ran Dec. 1-3. Top harvest counties were Callaway with 250, Macon with 212, and Pike with 205 deer checked. Last year's harvest total was 6,503.
MDC reduced the length of the antlerless portion of fall firearms deer season starting in 2016 from 12 to three days so harvest numbers prior to 2016 are not comparable to this season.
For the latest preliminary deer harvest totals by county and portion, visit MDC's website at http://on.mo.gov/1jjz7Ew.
Archery deer hunting continues through Jan. 15.
MDC encourages people to help prevent wildfires
The MDC reminds people that strong winds, low humidity, and dry conditions this time of year means extra caution is needed to avoid unexpected wildfires. According to MDC's Forestry Division, the main cause of wildfires is improper burning of debris such as leaves or brush piles. "It's been drier and warmer than usual, which means fires could get out of control very quickly," said Forestry Field Program Supervisor Ben Webster. "We want everyone to check the weather and be extremely careful if they plan to burn leaves or debris."
Each year, MDC staff work with fire departments around the state to help suppress numerous wildfires that can consume thousands of acres. MDC urges landowners, hunters, campers, and others in the outdoors to help prevent wildfires and offers the following tips.
Talk or text, just turn poachers in
Since the passage of Amendment 75, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has made it a priority to increase the amount of enforcement in every county of The Natural State. Each county has at least two officers assigned to patrol its woods and waters, and officers work together to target heavily used areas during certain times of the year. But with all these added men and women, the AGFC has only 180 wildlife officers when at full staff.
With only 180 wildlife officers to cover more than 3.4 million acres of hunting and fishing area in Arkansas, the deck may seem stacked in favor of poachers. Thanks to concerned sportsmen and sportswomen who care about Arkansas's natural resources, the AGFC continues to make a strong statement to people who try to skirt the law and ignore wildlife regulations.
Anyone who witnesses a wildlife violation is encouraged to call the AGFC via telephone at 800-482-9262 to turn the violator in.
"We make a lot of cases thanks to tips from concerned citizens," said Maj. Jason Parker with the AGFC. "Some of the contacts are even made by friends and family members of the people being reported."
The AGFC's radio room is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to receive calls about poaching. They can inform a local officer, who will get back in touch with the contact.
"We keep all sources anonymous if they wish, and we do offer rewards of up to $1,000 for information leading the arrest of some violators," Parker said.
If someone doesn't want to talk over the phone, they still can report a violation anonymously, using the AGFC's Text a Tip service. To send the anonymous tip via text message, text "AGFC," followed by the tip to TIP411 (847411). You will then receive a thank-you text acknowledging that the text has been received. CitizenObserver, the TIP411 provider, uses technology that removes all identifying information before the AGFC receives the text so that the AGFC cannot identify the sender.
Wildlife of Arkansas 2018 Student Art Contest accepting entries
The Arkansas Wildlife Federation and the Little Rock-based nonprofit organization Creative Ideas have come together to promote wildlife education through the arts in the Fifth Annual Wildlife of Arkansas Student Art Contest.
Young artists are encouraged to study and immerse themselves in Arkansas's natural surroundings, then recreate their visions from that scenery on paper or canvas. They can then submit their work to the contest for a chance at awards, certificates of recognition, money and the opportunity to display their work around the state.
The contest is open to artists from kindergarten through 12th grade. Only one entry is allowed per student and it must be completed in the 2017-18 school year. In addition to winners in each grade level, one piece will receive the "Best of Show" award, which comes with an additional cash prize.
Submissions will be accepted until Feb. 23. Visit www.arwild.org or call 501-837-0462 for more information.