LITTLE ROCK (AGFC) – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission received a special "Order of Conservation" award at its April 21 meeting from Ducks Unlimited Canada for contributions to waterfowl habitat on an international level.
Jim Couch, president of DUC, presented the award to the Commission and stressed the importance of international partnerships in waterfowl conservation.
Many of the ducks and geese hunters pursue in Arkansas hatched in portions of Canada Since 1968, Arkansas has provided much needed funding toward projects to protect that critical waterfowl nesting habitat.
"In just the last 10 years, Arkansas has contributed more than $3 million to Canada," Couch said. "From this, DU Canada has been able to generate $12.2 million in matching funds, so you can see this is an admirable investment in conservation.
"As I travel across North America, I am fortunate to meet many individuals, committees, organizations, corporations and government agencies that are truly inspiring in the field of wetland conservation," Couch said. "The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is more than deserving of this recognition."
AGFC Director Mike Knoedl also received special recognition from Ducks Unlimited for his years of ongoing commitment to Arkansas hunters and wildlife.
Craig LeSchack, director of conservation programs for DU's southeast region and George Dunklin, DU chairman of the board, presented Knoedl with a hand-carved decoy courtesy of the wetland conservation organization.
"I don't know if we've had a director in history that's been a better example of leadership," Dunklin said. "Thank you very much for all you've done for the state of Arkansas, but more importantly for what you've done for conservation."
In other business, the Commission:
Approved a minute order authorizing the director to purchase 1,390.03 acres from The Trust for Public Land to be added to Frog Bayou Wildlife Management Area with funds not to exceed $4.6 million over the next three fiscal years.
Approved a budget transfer of $250,000 to repair and resurface 6.6 miles of Benzal Road, the primary access to portions of Trusten Holder WMA.
Recognized 43 employees with a total of 535 years of service for their commitment to the people and natural resources of Arkansas.
Approved the removal of equipment and inventory with an original value of $104,097 and a current net book value of $84.
Granted a surplus boat, motor and trailer from the Enforcement Division to Garland County Department of Emergency Management for first responders, chemical spill containment and construction site inspections on Arkansas waterways.
Granted a surplus boat, motor and trailer from the Enforcement Division to Hot Springs Village Police Department for search-and-rescue efforts, boating law enforcement and recovery of property in nine Hot Springs Village lakes.
Granted a surplus boat, motor and trailer from the Enforcement Division to Laneburg Volunteer Fire Department for water rescue operations and emergency response.
Approved a budget increase of $80,000 for Enforcement Division fleet vehicles.
Approved a budget transfer of $13,000 to develop a parking area on the Frizzell tract of Cypress Bayou WMA.
Approved a budget transfer of $7,800 to construct a footbridge on Bayou Des Arc WMA.
Approved a budget transfer of $10,000 to extend fencing around the operations compound at Steve N. Wilson Raft Creek Bottoms WMA.
Approved a budget transfer of $12,000 to replace the HVAC at the Mike Freeze Wattensaw WMA field office.
Approved a budget transfer of $14,500 to extend fencing around the operations compound at Holland Bottoms WMA.
Approved a budget transfer of $25,000 to enlarge two parking areas at boat ramps on Rex Hancock Black Swamp WMA.
Approved a budget transfer of $20,000 to construct a new boat ramp at the greentree reservoir at Galla Creek WMA.
Approved a budget transfer of $15,000 to construct a new boat ramp in the greentree reservoir at Shirey Bay Rainey Brake WMA.