Arizona Game and Fish Accepting Applications for 2018 Heritage Fund Grants

Source:  Arizona Game and Fish Department Press Release – August 11, 2017

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is accepting applications for more than $400,000 in Heritage Fund grants. The deadline to submit an application is Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017 to be eligible for grant funding, which will be available through a competitive application process in the following categories: environmental education, outdoor education, schoolyard habitat, urban wildlife/habitat, public access; and Identification, Inventory, Acquisition, Protection and Management (IIAPM).

In addition to government agencies, the department welcomes non-profit organizations to apply for a Heritage Grant as eligible applicants. This eligibility applies to any non-profit group which meets the internal revenue service definition of a 501(c) organization.

The Heritage Fund was created after voters approved an initiative in 1990 and is funded through Arizona Lottery ticket sales. 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 grant program was established by AZGFD in 1992 as part of the overall Heritage Fund program. The grants were initially developed as a way to promote outreach to enhance important partnerships and generate fresh approaches in support of the department’s mission. Since the grant program’s inception, the department has awarded more than $16 million and supported more than 800 projects throughout the state.

Applicants for this year’s grants should refer to the documents on our Heritage Grant web page for guidance on applying. The documents include the Heritage Grant application manual, the grant application form and the various “Heritage Grant Funding Window” documents, which describe eligibility information and provide specific eligibility criteria listed within each grant sub-category.

Potential grant recipients must have a project that is either located in Arizona or involves research in which the wildlife or its habitat is located in the state and meets the requirements in the funding windows.

Proposals and applications for these grants can be submitted either by e-mail to rbeck@azgfd.gov or mailed to Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn: Wildlife Grant Administrator, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086. No faxed applications will be accepted.

Applicants can submit grant applications up until the application deadline of 5 p.m. (MST)Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017.

Arizona Conservationists to be Honored at 2017 Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet

Source:  Arizona Game and Fish Press Release, July 25, 2017

The Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation, together with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, will induct five individuals into the Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame. Wildlife for Tomorrow was created in 1990 to enhance the management, protection and enjoyment of Arizona’s fish and wildlife resources. The foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works closely with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to provide additional support for projects and education activities where traditional resources are not adequate.

The Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame was developed in 1998 by the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation to honor those who have made significant contributions to Arizona’s wildlife, the welfare of its natural resources and the state’s outdoor heritage. The Foundation’s 20th Annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place during the annual Arizona Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, Aug. 19, at the Embassy Suites Scottsdale at 5001 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale.

The inductees for this year’s event include:

  • Steve Hirsch, of Phoenix, is being inducted posthumously. Steve was a prominent attorney, avid outdoorsman and the son of Bob Hirsch, a prior Hall of Fame inductee and acclaimed outdoors columnist. Steve’s passion for Arizona and its wildlife led him to serve as a director and the president of the Wildlife for Tomorrow Foundation for more than 16 years. Steve’s leadership and vision provided the driving force for Wildlife for Tomorrow as it worked closely with the department to support projects that benefited the management and enjoyment of Arizona’s fish and wildlife resources, youth educational activities and projects that made a difference to wildlife habitat in our state.
  • Larry Voyles, of Phoenix, has devoted his 43-year career to wildlife conservation and outdoor heritage, including nine years as director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. He began his career with AZGFD as a wildlife manager and in 2008 was selected as the agency’s director. He worked to modernize the department and unified the 50 states’ conservation agencies to improve wildlife conservation efforts nationwide. He is a national leader in shooting sports, recruitment and retention.
  •  Jean Wilson, of Yuma, who has served Yuma County readers for decades through her outdoors column in the Yuma Sun and has dedicated her life to encouraging families and children to appreciate the outdoors. She regularly runs clinics and classes designed to get people to enjoy fishing, hunting and archery.
  • Steve Clark, of Glendale, who is a founding member of the Arizona Elk Society and has worked tirelessly for the past 17 years to carry the organization and its mission forward. He also serves on the Arizona Livestock Recovery Board and the Arizona Natural Resources Committee, was recognized as Civilian Conservationist of the Year in 2010 by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and Conservationist of the Year in 2015 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
  • Warner Glenn, of Douglas, a fourth-generation Arizona cattle rancher who operates two ranches in Cochise County. In addition to ranching, he operates the hunting guide service established by his father – legendary hunter Marvin Glenn. In 1991, Warner Glenn was among the founders of the Malpai Borderlands Group, a conservation ranching organization that established a system of scientific-based ecosystem management on more than 1 million acres of ranch land in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

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.

Rockin’ River Ranch: Arizona’s Newest State Park

Source: Office of the Governor Doug Ducey Press Release, May 23,2017

Nestled between a leisurely stretch of the Verde River, one of the Southwest’s last free-flowing rivers, and open grasslands shaded by cottonwood trees sits the site of Arizona’s soon-to-be newest state park: Rockin’ River Ranch. The park, which is currently in the planning phase, received a $4 million appropriation in the budget recently signed by Governor Doug Ducey.

Once complete, Rockin’ River Ranch will provide visitors access to one of sdArizona’s most unique and pristine natural landscapes, as well as enhanced opportunities for outdoor recreational activities. More than one mile of riverfront will provide access for fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing; stables and hiking trails will connect visitors to Prescott National Forest; camping grounds and cabins will provide lodging for overnight guests; previously cultivated fields will lend space for community events; and did we mention the horses?

“Arizona’s state parks are known for their beauty and accessibility,” said Governor Ducey. “Rockin’ River Ranch, along the banks of the Verde River, is another impressive piece of our state’s exceptional landscape. I am looking forward to opening the park for Arizonans and visitors from around the country to enjoy.”

Currently, Arizona State Parks and Trails is taking special care to preserve the natural beauty of the ranch, and local community input is being sought on park amenities and design.

“This park will not only be an asset to Camp Verde, but all Arizona,” said Senator Sylvia Allen, LD-6. “I’m proud we were able to make this investment and help preserve this beautiful part of our state.”

“I just wanted to thank Governor Doug Ducey and State Parks Director Sue Black for their diligent work on Rockin’ River Ranch. This is a great investment for all of Arizona that will enrich our community, while preserving the Verde River’s rich heritage and natural splendor,” said Representative Bob Thorpe, LD-6. “I look forward to seeing this park come to fruition with the positive impact it will have for our citizens and our guests of Northern Arizona.”

“With Rockin’ River Ranch, generations of Arizonans and visitors to our state will be able to enjoy all the Verde River has to offer for years to come,” said Representative Brenda Barton, LD-6.

“We are working diligently, in coordination with the community, to keep the park a picturesque place for all to explore,” said Sue Black, executive director of Arizona State Parks and Trails.

Arizona’s state parks have proved to be important economic engines for rural communities, providing a quarter of a billion dollars in economic impact annually.

“From the economic development aspect, state parks are a huge asset for any rural community lucky enough to have one,” said Town of Camp Verde Mayor Charles German. “Today we feel very lucky and grateful to Governor Ducey, his team at Arizona State Parks and the legislature for choosing to invest in Rockin’ River Ranch State Park.”

“We’re happy to be able to help fund such an important development for our state,” said Rep. Noel Campbell, LD-1. “Investing in new state parks means more economic development for local communities.”

“Our job is to ensure that our state and our residents thrive,” said Senator Karen Fann, LD-1. “By investing in conservation and recreation, we can continue to provide opportunities for growth.”

Arizona State Parks not only support local economic growth, but also provide resources to invest across the state. According to Black, “The overall success of our parks system is what provided the revenue to fund Rockin’ River.”