June 17, 2021
Randy Zellers Assistant Chief of Communications
LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission voted unanimously at today’s meeting to authorize the agency’s director to enter into a 10-year cooperative agreement with Arkansas State University to manage a 160-acre tract bordering Cypress Bayou WMA in White County and allow public hunting access to that property under the current regulations of the wildlife management area.
If approved by ASU’s board of directors later this summer the agreement will enable the Commission to offer public hunting access to the property as well as the ability to enhance the existing habitat for wildlife.
Garrick Dugger, AGFC assistant chief of wildlife management was enthusiastic about the opportunity to benefit both the university and the public.
“We will be able to conduct wildlife management on the property on their behalf, and the university will still maintain possession of the property and any proceeds that come from management techniques used on it,” Dugger said at Wednesday’s Commission briefing sessions. “This is a cooperative agreement in the truest sense of the word. Our staff is going to help them manage the land, and in return, the public will be able to enjoy the benefits of more access.”
Dugger credited the staff currently working on the property for taking on the additional management responsibilities involved in the agreement and complimented their willingness to come together for hunters in The Natural State.
“Nobody gets more employees in this deal, but our staff out there are always willing to step up to get more access to public land for Arkansans,” Dugger said.
This was the last official meeting of the Commission during Chairman Andrew Parker’s appointment, whose seven-year term expires June 30. The Commission unanimously elected Commissioner Bobby Martin of Springdale as chairman for the next fiscal year and chose Commissioner Bennie Westphall of Fort Smith to serve as vice-chairman.
Martin said the honor to be elected Commission chairman was bittersweet as he reflected on the legacy of former vice-chair Joe Morgan, who died in November.
“Joe wasn’t always the one who said the most, but everyone who witnessed him knows that when he did speak, it mattered the most,” Martin said. “It would have been the right thing for him to have served today. He would have served well.”
The Commissioners also took a moment to recognize former Commissioner Bill Ackerman, who served from 2001-03. Ackerman passed away at his home in Northwest Arkansas Tuesday.
A video of the meeting is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jhs0aM3g2is.
In other business, the Commission:
- Recognized Bill Bartush with the American Bird Conservancy, who announced the recent Resource Conservation Partnership Program grant awarded for conservation efforts on private land in Arkansas and Louisiana through Natural Resource Conservation Service programs. (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT)
- Recognized Cpl. Mac Davis with the Arkansas Monty Carmikle Wildlife Officer of the Year award and the SEAFWA Wildlife Officer of the Year award. (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT)
- Heard from Ben Babst, Ph.D., from the University of Arkansas at Monticello, with an update on the ongoing research on red oak dormancy and its effects on greentree reservoir management for waterfowl in Arkansas. (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT)
- Heard the first reading of corrections to 2020-21 waterfowl season dates to match federal frameworks. Duck and goose season dates will be as follows (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT):
- Duck, Coot and Merganser — Nov. 20-29, Dec. 11-23 and Dec. 26-Jan. 31
- Canada Goose — Sept. 1-30, Oct. 30-Nov. 1, Nov. 20-Dec. 3 and Dec. 5-Jan. 31
- Blue, Ross’s, Snow and White-fronted Goose — Oct. 30-Nov. 14, Nov. 20-Dec. 3 and Dec. 5-Jan. 31
- Youth and Veteran/Active Military Hunts — Dec. 4 and Feb. 5
- Light Goose Conservation Order — Oct. 2-22, Oct. 28-Nov. 19 and Feb. 5-April 25.
- Heard the first reading of the following interim fishing regulations for the recently renovated Lake Poinsett in northeast Arkansas (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT):
- Effective immediately, all sport fish species must be released immediately with the exception of catfish. Catfish daily limit is five.
- Effective Jan. 1, 2022, all sport fish species except bream and catfish must be released immediately. Bream daily limit will be 25. Catfish daily limit will be 10.
- Approved the disposal of obsolete inventory with an original value of $157,522.69 and a current net book value of $8,913.76 (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
- Approved the 2022 Fiscal Year Gas Lease Funds budget totaling $50,000 (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
- Approved the 2022 Fiscal Year Black River Restoration Fund budget totaling $1,096,500 (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
- Approved the AGFC’s 2022 Fiscal Year operating budget totalling $94,985,062 (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
- Authorized the AGFC director to execute a right-of-way easement and accept a quitclaim deed from Newton County to move an existing road on Gene Rush WMA away from Cave Creek (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
- Authorized the use of up to $250,000 in Marine Fuel Tax funds to prepare and overlay the existing overflow parking lot at Lake Dardanelle State Park’s boat launching facility. The project will be executed by Russellville Regional Economic Development Alliance and Lake Dardanelle State Park (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
- Awarded retiring wildlife officer Lt. Bobby Barger his service sidearm for 28 years of service to the AGFC (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
- Awarded retiring wildlife officer Lt. Mike Nast his service sidearm for 30 years of service to the AGFC (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
- Awarded retiring wildlife officer Cpl. Larry Williams his service sidearm for 21 years of service to the AGFC (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
- Awarded retiring Director Pat Fitts his service sidearm for 32 years of service to the AGFC (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
- Awarded outgoing Commissioner Andrew Parker his service sidearm after seven years of voluntary service to the AGFC (CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT).
A video of the meeting is available at https://www.youtube.com/user/ArkansasGameandFish.