During Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Commissioners agreed to earmark money from increases in nonresident waterfowl permits and stamps for waterfowl habitat conservation on WMAs. In August, the nonresident waterfowl stamp increased to $35 from $20 and the nonresident waterfowl five-day WMA permit was increased from $10 to $25.
In other business, the Commission:
*Approved a budget increase of $534,600 for the Arkansas Administrative Statewide Information System Optimization Project. The project will move the agency’s fiscal system to AASIS to support federal billing and streamline the agency’s fiscal controls.
*Approved a minute order to remit fine money totaling over $668,200 to the Department of Education. The fine money will be used for fish and wildlife conservation education, and will be made available for use in the same counties where the money was collected.
*Approved a total budget carry forward of over $20,700,000 for various maintenance and operation projects, capital budget items, grants and deferred maintenance items.
*Agreed to donate a bridge from the Petit Jean River Wildlife Management Area to the City of Danville. The bridge was built in 1880 and is on the National Historic Registry.
*Amended the procedures for its committee meetings to include all eight commissioners on each of the agency’s committees.
*Approved a budget increase of $200,000 for legal expenses primarily relating to the U.S. Supreme Court case involving the agency’s Dave Donaldson Black River WMA timber damages.
*Approved a $17,470 budget increase in the Ecological and Engineering Services Division for the North Central Regional Maintenance Contract Coordinator’s administrative budget.
*Approved a budget increase to build a boat ramp and parking area at the Rock City Yacht Club development on the Arkansas River in Little Rock. Cost of the project is $411,000. The money will come in two installments with the first payment of $300,000 made in fiscal year 2013 and the final payment of $111,000 coming in fiscal year 2014.
*Approved a budget increase of $649,140 to complete state wildlife grant projects.
*Approved a $28,000 budget transfer for completion of stream and drainage restoration on Bayou Meto WMA.
* The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s popular Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program state tournaments may have a new home in the near future if a new range comes to fruition in Jacksonville. The commission voted to allow the AGFC director to enter into an agreement with the City of Jacksonville if the range is completed within 18 months and certain other criteria are met.
*Approved a budget increase of $30,000 to complete acquisition of about 333 acres adjoining Sheffield Nelson Dagmar WMA and the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge.
*Approved a budget increase of $79,000 for removal of duck blinds on two WMAs in northeast Arkansas.
*Approved a budget increase of $45,000 for mower replacement and road repair on Bayou Meto and Freddie Black Choctaw Island WMAs.
*Heard presentations on the state’s fur harvest and quail program.
*Approved $60,000 for continued mulching on Dave Donaldson Black River WMA.