Ty Gray Named Director of Arizona Game and Fish Department

Source:  Arizona Game and Fish Department Press Release,  June 12, 2017

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission has appointed Ty Gray as director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The appointment came in a unanimous 5-0 vote at the commission’s June 11 meeting. Gray, of Phoenix, has been with Game and Fish for 24 years and is currently the agency’s deputy director. He replaces outgoing Director Larry Voyles, who announced May 12 he would be retiring after a 43-year career with Game and Fish, the past nine as director. Gray will assume the role following a transition period.

“We’re thrilled to hire someone with Ty’s depth of experience and accomplishments,” said Commission Chairman Pat Madden. “He brings extensive experience in wildlife management, planning, budget, and executive-level administration and leadership, as well as the respect of colleagues and the public.”

1497257591321-lfo2lw0hbsn-54ca5c0ffb7d92af931a281183f76bf7Gray began his career with the department as a research biologist in 1993 and worked his way up
through the ranks. He has a unique familiarity and perspective on department issues and operations, having also served as urban fishing program specialist, a regional fish program specialist, human dimensions coordinator, field operations coordinator, fisheries branch chief, education branch chief, assistant director (Information/Education/Recreation Division), and deputy director, a position he has held since March 2013.

“This is truly a great honor,” said Gray. “The Arizona Game and Fish Department is recognized as one of the world’s leading wildlife management agencies, and I look forward to continuing our tradition of innovation and dedication to meet the conservation challenges and opportunities of the future.”

Gray will lead an agency that employs more than 600 people and is funded at more than $120 million per year, primarily from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, a federal excise tax on hunting and fishing gear, and several other sources such as the Heritage Fund (lottery proceeds), Wildlife Conservation Fund (tribal gaming revenue), watercraft licensing, OHV decals, and state wildlife grants. The agency does not receive Arizona general fund tax dollars.

“I have the utmost confidence in Ty and his ability to lead the agency into the future,” said outgoing Director Voyles. “I commend the commission for the fair and thorough process they used in interviewing, vetting, and making the challenging decision of selecting a new director from among four candidates of the highest caliber, each of whom has been a tremendous asset to this agency and to the people of Arizona.

“I congratulate Ty on being selected director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “We look forward to working closely with Director Gray to ensure the health, abundance and variety of Arizona’s wildlife.”

Gray holds a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Resource Management from the University of Nebraska.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department director is appointed by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, a five-member citizen board that sets policy and has broad oversight of the department. The director serves as the department’s chief administrative officer and is responsible for the general supervision and control of all activities, functions and employees of the department.

Arizona Conservationists: Save Our National Monuments

Source:  By William Thornton and Tom Hanagan, Special to the Arizona Daily StarJune 4, 2017 

The president’s executive order to review national monuments could recommend downsizing or abolishing monuments over 100,000 acres designated since 1996. A brief history of the Antiquities Act and case study from Ironwood Forest in our own backyard might clear up some misconceptions.

Signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt on June 8, 1906, the Antiquities Act gives the president authority to, by proclamation, create national monuments from public lands to protect significant natural, cultural or scientific features. The law was necessary after decades of looting and desecration at Native American sites such as Chaco Canyon. Roosevelt went on to designate 18 national monuments. Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest in Arizona have been upgraded to National Park status.

National Monuments are owned by the American people.  Each of Roosevelt’s successors, Democrat or BighornSheep1FromAZGF-300x200Republican, has used the Antiquities Act to protect lands in the public domain. Opponents of new national monuments have characterized the process as “arbitrary, capricious” and subject to manipulation by “tree huggers” who draw lines on a map, and before you know it, the public is “locked out” and economic activity comes to a screeching halt.

In reality a monument proposal must make a compelling case that the area contains natural or cultural features worthy of protection. For Ironwood Forest these features include: the only surviving indigenous herd of desert bighorn sheep in the Tucson area, the largest stand of desert ironwood trees, numerous archaeological sites and critical habitat for an endangered cactus.

What does monument designation mean for Ironwood Forest?

DSCN0353-585x438Monument land has benefited from thousands of hours of hands-on work by hundreds of volunteers from the Friends of Ironwood Forest, Arizona Native Plant Society, Bighorn Sheep Society, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Sierra Club and many others. Invasive buffelgrass is one of the most serious threats to our Sonoran Desert. A coordinated effort to control it is making progress, but it may not have been possible without monument designation.

Free access is available with restrictions deemed necessary to protect the resource. Hunting is permitted subject to regulation by the Arizona Department of Game and Fish. Privately owned parcels within the monument remain available for use subject to local zoning laws. When funds are available, land may be purchased from willing sellers. Land has been donated, but the BLM cannot seize or force the sale of private land.

Historically, mining and ranching have been major economic activities in the area. Grazing leases on monument land remain in force and are renewable. The Pioneer Materials quarry continues to operate.

Outdoor recreation is big business in Arizona, bringing $10.6 billion in consumer spending, $787 million in state and local tax revenue, and supporting 104,000 Arizona jobs, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. Parks and monuments are a big part of the picture.

National monuments do not belong to the president or Congress. They are our lands and heritage but will remain so only if we speak up. Comments may be submitted through monumentsforall.org or regulations.gov.  Deadline is July 10. Also, please contact Senator Flake and Senator McCain and your congressperson and respectfully request that they stand up for our monuments.

William Thornton is a second-generation native Arizonan, lifelong conservationist, and outdoor enthusiast. He serves on the board of directors of the Arizona Heritage Alliance and is vice president of Friends of Ironwood Forest. Tom Hanagan is president of Friends of Ironwood Forest.

Our View: Don’t Kill Arizona’s State Parks Board Now

Picacho Peak State Park

Applications Sought for Arizona Game and Fish Commission

Source: Arizona Game and Fish Department, September 1, 2016.  The Governor’s Office is currently accepting applications for the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. Applications must be received or postmarked no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. Applications received or postmarked after the deadline will not be considered.

Governor Doug Ducey is seeking members who are well-informed and passionate about Arizona wildlife and its long-term conservation. In accordance with Arizona law, the Game and Fish Commission is required to be politically balanced and representative of all 15 counties (i.e., no more than three commissioners may be from the same political party, and no two commissioners may be residents of the same county).

Therefore, this Commission vacancy is NOT available to registered residents of Apache, Coconino, Pima, or Yuma counties. Residents of all other counties – Cochise, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yavapai – are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Interested individuals may aazgf_logopply by clicking here: Boards and Commissions Application.

For further information about the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and its mission, visit www.azgfd.gov/commission. Individuals also may contact the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions at (602) 542-2449.