LITTLE ROCK – During today’s monthly meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Wildlife Officer First Class Joel Campora was honored for his heroism during a swift-water rescue attempt earlier this summer.
Campora died May 31 during the rescue attempt in western Arkansas. His body was recovered June 2 where flood waters from Mill Creek and the Fourche La Fave River also took the lives of Scott County Sheriff Cody Carpenter and two women.
After a video tribute of Campora’s life, he was posthumously awarded the Wildlife Officer of the Year Award from Shikar Safari and received special recognition from Lt. Gov. Mark Darr. The Greenwood Fire Department presented Campora’s wife Rebecca with the American flag that was flown during his funeral in Waldron.
In other Commission business, new boating regulations will go into effect immediately on the state’s wildlife management areas. The regulation is designed to address unsafe boating during waterfowl season by assessing points for boating violations. Major problem areas on WMAs will be marked with warning signs.
Before the new regulation, violation points were not assessed for unsafe operation of boats. Specific violations that will be addressed by the new regulation include reckless boating, moving at speeds that are considered unsafe, boating under the influence and creating hazardous wakes when passing or approaching other boats. Violation of the new regulation will result in six violation points toward revocation of a hunting license.
The Commission also:
*Approved a budget increase of $44,800 for the purchase of swift-water rescue life vests for the Enforcement Division.
*Granted a surplus 18-foot SeaArk boat and Mercury outboard motor to the Lafayette County Office of Emergency Services. The boat will be used as a dive team and rescue boat by the agency.
*Granted surplus surveillance equipment to several law enforcement agencies across the state.
*Approved several boating access improvements across Arkansas. The accesses include Pine Ridge Road at De Queen Lake in Sevier County, Palarm Creek Access in Pulaski County, White River Ranchette Access in Marion County, Big Hurricane Lake Access in White County, and Wattensaw Bayou Access in Prairie County and the Old Factory Site Access on the Little Missouri River in Pike County.
*Heard an update on the state’s turkey brood survey. The survey suggested that the turkey reproduction in 2013 was lower than in 2012.
*Approved a new regulation for primate restrictions. The guideline coincides with new state regulations that were approved by the Legislature.
*Approved funding for three new state wildlife grant projects. The projects include surveys on four frog species of conservation concern, determining distribution and abundance of two species of burrowing crayfish in southwestern Arkansas, and researching forest management techniques for bottomland hardwood forests.
*Approved a budget increase of about $1.3 million to implement a Recovery Land Acquisition Grant project to protect three endangered species and one threatened species. The federal money will go toward purchasing 1,611 acres adjacent to the Longview Saline Natural Area WMA. The AGFC is in partnership with the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission. The acreage will be incorporated into the Longview Saline Natural Area WMA.