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Knoedl named AGFC director

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission today named almost 27-year veteran Mike Knoedl to serve as the agency’s director. Knoedl, who began his career with the AGFC in 1985, has served as the agency’s deputy director since 2011. Knoedl was selected with the support of all seven voting commissioners. He replaces Loren Hitchcock, who has announced his retirement.

“Mike is a great leader,” Commissioner Steve Cook said. “His experience leading our largest divisions will be invaluable as director. Mike will look for input and guidance from the great AGFC employees who have dedicated their lives to this agency. I expect great things from him. He’s the right person to lead us into the future.”

Knoedl began his AGFC career in 1985 as a Perry County wildlife officer. In 2008, he became chief of the Enforcement Division, a position he held until 2011.

“It’s a great honor to lead the intelligent, enthusiastic professional staff at our agency,” Knoedl said. “We are going to roll up our sleeves and go to work together as a team.”

Knoedl was chosen from three finalists for the AGFC director’s position. The Commission met with the three finalists for the director’s post late last month. Knoedl was born and raised in Pulaski County. He graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Criminal Justice Institute. He is married to the former Lisa Garlington and has four grown children.

In other business, the Commission:

*Authorized the AGFC director to enter into an agreement with The Nature Conservancy to support restoration of a 4.6 mile portion of the channelized lower Cache River. The AGFC will grant TNC $300,000 toward the cost of construction, management and monitoring of the restoration project in FY 2013. Another $500,000 may be granted over the next two fiscal years.

*Agreed to purchase the 1,954-acre Devil’s Eyebrow tract in Benton County in partnership with the Arkansas Nature Heritage Commission in fiscal year 2013. In fiscal year 2014, the AGFC will again partner with ANHC to purchase the 1,611-acre Longview Saline tract in Ashley County.

*Approved a budget increase of $165,000 for the mapping of wetland land surfaces in the Gulf Coastal Plain.

*Approved a budget increase of just $104,700 for a project to benefit the red-cockaded woodpecker.

*Approved $138,000 to repair an area where floodwaters have eroded land near the Payneway Dam on St. Francis Sunken Lands WMA.