Arizona Game and Fish Department Announce 2018 Heritage Grant Awards

Source:  Arizona Game and Fish Department release – March 19, 2018

On March 7, 2018 at the Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting held in Douglas, Arizona, the 2018 Heritage Fund Grants were announced.  Heritage Fund money comes from Arizona Lottery ticket sales and was established by voter initiative in 1990. Heritage funding goes toward conservation efforts such as protecting endangered species, educating students and the general public about wildlife and the outdoors, and creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The Heritage Fund Grant Program was established by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in 1992 as part of the overall Heritage Fund program. The grants program initially was developed as a way to promote outreach in order to enhance important partnerships and generate fresh approaches in support of the department’s mission. Since inception, the department has had the opportunity to award more than $16 million through the Heritage Fund grants program and support more than 800 projects throughout the state.

A total of $412,000 was available for the 2018 grant cycle and was awarded through a competitive application process in various categories (Environmental Education, Outdoor Education, Schoolyard Habitat, Urban Wildlife/Habitat, Public Access, and IIAPM).  This year the agency scored 54 Heritage grant proposals. Below are the grant awardees and the grant amount awarded.

Outdoor Education (OE) AZGFD scored seven proposals and the amount available is $16,000. The following five applicants are awarded a 2018 Outdoor Education Heritage Grant:

  • Pendergast Elementary School District, Copper King, for the project titled “Copper King STEAM Goes Overboard.” The award amount is $ 2,500.00.
  • Flagstaff Unified School District, Eva Marshall Magnet Elementary School, for the project titled “Marshall’s 2nd Grade Outdoor Curriculum Experience.” The award amount is $ 2,276.00.
  • Oak Creek Watershed Council, for the project titled “Oak Creek Water Quality Field Days.” The award amount is $ 2,170.00.
  • Gilbert Public Schools, Superstition Springs Elementary School, for the project titled “Second Grade Butterfly Wonderland Field Trip.” The award amount is $ 800.00.
  • Arizona Trail Association, for the project titled “Arizona Trail Wildlife CAM (Conservation and Monitoring).” The award amount is $ 2,500.00.

 Environmental Education (EE) the agency scored a total of nine proposals and the amount available is $16,000. The following four applicants are awarded a 2018 Environmental Education Heritage Grant:

  • Arizona Board of Regents on Behalf of ASU, Tempe and Polytechnic Campuses, for the project titled “Cultivating Life in the Sonoran Desert.” The award amount is $6,825.00.
  • Arizona Wildlife Federation, for the project titled “Audio Guides to the Raymond Wildlife Area and Morman Lake Arizona Watchable Wildlife Experience.” The award amount is $7,665.00.
  • Arizona State Parks, Red Rock State Park, for the project titled “Wildlife Tracking with Technology.” The award amount is $2,250.00.
  • Snowflake Unified School District, Snowflake Jr. High, for the project titled “Technology and Wildlife Collision Reduction.” The award amount is $5,000.00.

Schoolyard Habitat (SCHOOLYARD) scored a total of five proposals and the amount available is $30,000. The following four applicants are awarded a 2018 Schoolyard Heritage Grant:

  • Wickenburg Conservation Foundation, for the project titled “Outdoor Environmental Classroom.” The award amount is $1,715.00.
  • Pine Forest School, for the project titled “Cedar Forest’s Children’s Garden: Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat and Learning Wonderland.” The award amount is $10,000.00.
  • Osborn School District, for the project titled “Desert Tortoise Habitat to Facilitate Outdoor Learning at Solano Elementary School.” The award amount is $1,000.00.
  • Maine Consolidated School District, for the project titled “Northern Arizona Bat Habitat and Sanctuary.” The award amount is $1,329.00.

Urban Wildlife (URBAN) We scored a total of twenty proposals and the amount available is $100,000. The following five applicants are awarded a 2018 URBAN Heritage Grant:

  • Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival, for the project titled “Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival: Wildlife Focused Festival.” The award amount is $5,000.00.
  • City of Phoenix, Parks and Recreation, for the project titled “Papago Park All-Access Fishing Dock.” The award amount is $33,000.00.
  • Willow Bend Environmental Education Center, for the project titled “Habitat Restoration and Watchable Wildlife Enhancement at Sawmill/Willow Bend AWWE Site.” The award amount is $38,337.00.
  • Friends of Verde River Greenway, for the project titled “Verde Tour-An Addition to the Arizona Watchable Wildlife Experience Program – Phase 1.” The award amount is $14,166.00.
  • Catalina Foothills School District, for the project titled “Critter Cams for Kids.” The award amount is $4,475.00.

Public Access (ACCESS) We scored a total of four proposals and the amount available is $50,000. The following two applicants are awarded a 2018 ACCESS Heritage Grant:

  • Town of Sahuarita, for the project titled “Sahuarita Lake Public Access for Persons with Disabilities Phase 2.” The award amount is $7,705.00.
  • City of Holbrook, for the project titled “Holbrook’s Public Access to Recreation Area.” The award amount is $42,165.00.

Identification, Inventory, Acquisition, Protection and Management (IIAPM) We scored a total of nine proposals and the amount available is $200,000. The following four applicants are awarded a 2018 IIAPM Heritage Grant:

  • Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona, for the project titled “Status, Distribution, Habitat, and Stressors of the Sonoran Talussnail.” The award amount is $40,301.00
  • Phoenix Zoo, for the project titled “Monitoring Fecal Gluticosteroids and Behavior to Assist in Developing a Propagation for Release Program for the Critically Endangered Mt. Graham Red Squirrel.” The award amount is $57,804.00.
  • Arizona Board of Regents, University of Arizona, for the project titled “Soft-release Translocation Techniques to Maximize Fidelity to Release Site in Red Squirrels.” The award amount is $61,895.00.
  • Idaho Department of Fish and Game, for the project titled “Development of YY Male Technology for Eradicating Undesirable Invasive Fish Populations in Arizona.” The award amount is $40,000.00.

Letter of Support on Behalf of The Nature Conservancy

Source:  Arizona Heritage Alliance Board of Directors’ Letter of Support Sent to Arizona Game and Fish Department for the Verde River-West Clear Creek Conservation Area – November 23, 2017

Ty Gray, Director
Arizona Game and Fish Department
5000 W. Carefree Highway
Phoenix, AZ 85086-5000

Dear Director Gray:

On behalf of the Arizona Heritage Alliance Board of Directors, I am writing to voice our strong support for the Verde River – West Clear Creek Conservation Area as proposed by The Nature Conservancy in Arizona. As you know, the mission of the Alliance is to preserve and enhance Arizona’s historic, cultural, and natural heritage. The proposed partnership between your agency and the Nature Conservancy offers a unique opportunity for protecting and enhancing a significant swath of water resources, streamside forests, and wildlife habitat in the Lower Verde Valley.

We believe It is important to protect both Park Central Farm and Shield Ranch with conservation easements in order to preserve connectivity of habitat along the Verde River corridor for three miles and the confluence of the river with West Clear Creek. Protecting only one property will not achieve unified protection along both sides of the river and the West Clear Creek confluence.

Conservation easement acquisitions are an effective tool because they provide direct habitat protection and protect recreational opportunities while significantly reducing O&M costs. We also believe the use of Arizona Game and Fish Heritage Funds to facilitate this initiative is just the type of project the citizens of Arizona envisioned when voting to approve the Arizona Heritage Fund 27 years ago.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter and for your public service.

Sincerely yours,
Elizabeth T. Woodin
President

Environmental Study Ranks Arizona Second Lowest Among Western States

Source:  Joshua Bowling, The Republic/azcentral.com, October 18, 2017

It found Arizona’s access to public lands and responsible energy development need improvement.

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.