Relict leopard frogs not in need of federal protection

relict-leopard-frogPHOENIX — A frog species in Arizona and southern Nevada does not need federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, thanks to the multi-partner conservation efforts of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and other federal and state agencies that make up the Relict Leopard Frog Conservation Team. The Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that relict leopard frog populations are stable or increasing.

The Service was petitioned in 2002 by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance to list the relict leopard frog and designate critical habitat for it. The Service, Arizona Game and Fish and other partners were already involved in coordinated conservation efforts for the frog before the petition was filed. Those efforts include ongoing habitat management, establishment of new sites, and restoration activities, which have resulted in an overall reduction of most threats and an improvement in the species’ status.

“This shows that collaborative, on-the-ground efforts lead to conservation successes,” said Jim deVos, assistant director for Game and Fish’s Wildlife Management Division. “By taking proactive measures that preclude the need for listing a species under the Endangered Species Act, we have much more flexibility in actively managing the species so it can ultimately thrive.”

Members of the Relict Leopard Frog Conservation Team have included the Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Bureau of Reclamation, Environmental Protection Agency, Clark County (Nevada), the Southern Nevada Water Authority (including the Las Vegas Springs Preserve), the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and the University of Nevada, Reno.

The relict leopard frog is currently found in springs in southeastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona. The frog historically occupied a variety of habitats, including springs, streams, and other wetlands. Nonnative predators such as crayfish, American bullfrogs, and fish have reduced the relict leopard frog’s range.

ADOT prepared to keep highways open, safe during snow season

towplow-in-action_cropPHOENIX –– With winter and the promise of snow in the high country rapidly approaching, preparation throughout the year means the Arizona Department of Transportation is ready to keep highways open and travelers safe.

Through its certification and training programs, ADOT has 400 certified snowplow operators ready for winter storms.

Regular maintenance by ADOT Equipment Services has the agency’s 200 snowplows ready to go. Last winter, ADOT spent $2.2 million, an average of $11,000 per vehicle, to keep its snowplows in top condition.

“It’s always difficult to predict not only how severe winter weather will be but where problems will occur,” said Dallas Hammit, ADOT’s state engineer and deputy director for transportation. “With our operators trained and our snowplow fleet up and running, however, ADOT has the resources necessary to respond to snow and ice around the state.”

ADOT’s snowplows working on Interstate 40 between Williams and Flagstaff will include a second TowPlow, a steerable trailer that allows one driver in a snowplow to clear two lanes. Attached to the back of a snowplow and steered by the snowplow driver, the TowPlow allows ADOT remove snow and ice more efficiently while using less fuel, and it frees another snowplow and driver to work elsewhere.

As with any snowplow, drivers approaching a TowPlow should slow down and pass only when the operator pulls over to allow traffic to get around. Remember: The road behind a plow is the safest place to be when snow and ice are on the highway.

While ADOT is ready to keep the roads open and as safe as possible in challenging conditions, motorists can do their part by preparing for travel in winter weather.

ADOT’s “Know Snow” website at has tips that include adjusting your speed to conditions, leaving extra room between your vehicle and the one ahead, carrying plenty of food and water, and packing an emergency preparedness kit. Tips include carrying a small bag of cat litter or sand to provide traction if your vehicle becomes stuck along the roadway.

Ribbon-cutting at Willow Beach hatchery celebrates successful partnership

willow-beachWILLOW BEACH — A ribbon-cutting event on Thursday at the now functioning Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery celebrated the renewed collaborative efforts by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Mohave County that will boost economic activity and preserve trout fishing on the lower Colorado River in Mohave County for future generations.

On Wednesday, Arizona Senator John McCain continued his staunch support for the project as he watched thousands of rainbow trout pour from a stocking truck into the Colorado River below Davis Dam.

Trout stockings at the hatchery, which had ceased in 2013 due in part to a water intake system failure, support approximately 1,700 jobs and generate $75 million in economy activity along this stretch of the river.

“Significant collaborations were needed to rebuild the water intake system at the hatchery,” said AZGFD Director Larry Voyles. “We’re particularly grateful to Senator John McCain, Representative Paul Gosar and Mohave County Supervisor Hildy Angius for their ardent support in bringing trout propagation back to Willow Beach. The collective efforts of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and local stakeholders have come to fruition.”

Stockings from the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery are anticipated in early 2017. AZGFD’s commitment to anglers for great trout fishing opportunities on this area of the Colorado River is evidenced by great relations with local businesses and organizations. Ongoing stockings have been made possible by donations from local pest abatement districts.

Willow Beach NFH had been unable to rear or stock sport fish after sustaining pipeline and infrastructure damage in November 2013. After the failure, the Arizona Game and Fish Department worked collaboratively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Senator McCain, the Arizona Congressional delegation, and Mohave County to solve the problem.

In August 2014, Senator McCain toured the hatchery and was briefed on a variety of engineering plans to repair the hatchery’s damaged pipeline. Preliminary cost estimates for repairs totaled up to $9 million. Senator McCain urged USFWS to coordinate with Mohave County and AZGFD to develop an affordable and reasonable solution to move repairs forward.

In March 2015, USFWS and AZGFD finalized an agreement to begin restoring trout stocking operations at Willow Beach.

Rainbow trout eggs are anticipated to arrive at Willow Beach NFH in November 2016 to augment the 50,000 fingerlings the AZGFD provided in August. The eggs will come through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fish Hatchery System, and are expected to be of catchable size in the autumn of 2017.

Commission Appointment Recommendation Board to meet Oct. 25

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, beginning at 9 a.m., to review and select for interview applicants for the 2017 vacancy on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The meeting will be held at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix and is open to the public.

The meeting agenda is posted at

The board will meet again on Wednesday, Nov. 9, beginning at 9 a.m., to conduct interviews with the candidates who were selected at the Oct. 25 meeting. That meeting is also at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix and is open to the public. The board will select from two to five finalists at the Nov. 9 meeting and forward those names to Gov. Doug Ducey for his consideration.

Members of the Commission Appointment Recommendation Board are Susan E. Chilton (chair), W. Hays Gilstrap, Charles I. Kelly, William J. (“Jim”) Lane, and Phillip D. Townsend.

Per Arizona State Statute 17-202, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall assist the governor by interviewing, evaluating and recommending candidates for appointment to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. The Commission Appointment Recommendation Board shall recommend at least two, but no more than five, candidates to the governor. The governor must select and appoint a commissioner from the list submitted by the board.

For additional information about the Commission Appointment Recommendation Board, contact the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions at (602) 542-2449 or toll free at 1-800-253-0883 or on the web at

Bearizona may be the missing link to the Chicago Cubs success during the regular season.

bearizona-cubs02WILLIAMS — Baseball has always been a sport filled with superstitions. One of the most longstanding and widely believed superstitions has to do with the Chicago Cubs and The Curse of the Billy Goat. Some believe this so called curse is the reason the Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908, and haven’t qualified for a series since 1945.

Bearizona may be the missing link as to why the Cubs had such a successful season. Bearizona worked with Cubs manager Joe Maddon to surprise Cubs players in the pre-season with a visit from two bear cubs that were born at Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams, Ariz. this past January. These two cubs, named Cubby and Rizzo, in honor of their famous pro-athlete buddies, could very well be the reason the cubs have made it this far in the playoffs.
Bearizona’s owner Sean Casey stated “The Chicago Cubs clearly have the talent to make it happen, but the Bearizona luck that cubs Cubby and Rizzo bring can’t hurt their chances either.”

ADEQ Air Quality Control Permits Energy Fuels Resources Inc.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued Air Quality Permit Nos. 62877, 62878, and 63895 to Energy Fuels Resources (USA), Inc. for the Canyon, EZ, and Arizona 1 uranium mines on Oct. 13, 2016.

The EZ and Arizona 1 mines are located north of Grand Canyon National Park, and approximately 35 southwest of Fredonia, and the Canyon mine is located south of Grand Canyon National Park and approximately 6.5 miles southeast of Tusayan.

Visit ADEQ’s website to view the final permit documents and response to public comments by clicking this link:

I-40 closed due to multi-vehicle accident

i-40-2016-10-19-01WILLIAMS — ADOT and Kaibab Forest Service are re-routing traffic due to a multi-vehicle accident on Interstate 40 early this morning. The number of vehicles and fatalities is unknown at this time. The smoke from the Pittman Valley prescribed burn may have been a factor in the accident. Smoke from the burn has reduced visibility to near zero and may hamper rescue and clearing efforts.
Route 66 to Parks currently remains open, but it is highly recommended that you use extreme caution as the smoke is affecting visibility along the route. If you do not absolutely have to travel to Flagstaff, it is recommended that you wait to check conditions in about four-hours.

A report from our Facebook page:

Sarah Jorgensen-Weller 32 mins I40 is closed in both directions from Parks to Flagstaff due to a deadly accident. Please be careful driving through the smoke. hearing from Belmont to Williams Some guys that work with my hubby are stuck in traffic around Parks. They are stopping traffic at Belmont westbound eastbound detours off of 165 .

Christmas Nativity pageant meeting held

Producer Kerry-Lynn Moede (sitting) and Cosette Riggs (standing) explain the vision of the upcoming Christmas Pageant.

Producer Kerry-Lynn Moede (sitting) and Cosette Riggs (standing) explain the vision of the upcoming Christmas Pageant.

WILLIAMS — Organizers for the proposed Christmas Nativity pageant on December 23 held their first meeting with members of the community tonight. The meeting was held at the Babbit-Polson Community Stage where the event will be held.

Director Cosette Riggs said of the ambitious project, “This is an old-fashioned, nativity Christmas pageant. The pastors will be the narrators and the whole town can be shepherds, sheep, angels, and choir and band, and just helpers. We’re all together.

“We need angels, and shepherds and sheep. We need choir singers and we need any musicians that want to join in.

“We also need people that are just with us to be our eyes and our ears for the safety of our children, because we will have some heaters out here.

“Parents and other big people can also be angels and shepherds and it kind of helps kids and encourages them that they are not alone and they won’t be so shy.”

Cosette said that they are going to appoint a costume designer who will organize the help to create the costumes. She said they could use help to dress the participants at the pageant.
Producer Kerry-lynn Moede, operator of the Historic Yellow House, explained that the rehearsal process will be modular. Each group—eg. choir, musicians, actors—will have to rehearse on their own. The participants will then come together one or two times before the event to rehearse together.

Old Trail’s True Value Hardware has committed to building a nativity set. Other businesses are welcome to donate cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts or other similar food items and coffee, cocoa, hot cider or other drinks.

The pageant will be on December 23 at 6:30 p.m., so Cosette recommends that participants plan on warm clothing underneath the costumes. Of course people planning to come and see the show should heed the same advice.

Anyone desiring to participate in any fashion can contact producer Kerry-Lynn Moede at 602-818-6559 or by email

Kaibab National Forest to offer Christmas tree permits starting November 16

WILLIAMS —The Kaibab National Forest will sell over-the-counter and through-the-mail Christmas tree tags on a first-come, first-served basis for each of its three ranger districts beginning Nov. 16 and continuing until they are sold out.

The $15 permit will allow the holder to cut a tree of a particular species that is not more than 10 feet in height within a designated area on the Kaibab National Forest from Nov. 16 through Dec. 24. The tag is only good for a tree on the ranger district from which it was purchased and can’t be used to cut a tree on a different district unless specifically noted. No refunds will be made, even if weather conditions prevent access to cutting areas.

Individuals who purchase tags will be provided with a map showing their designated cutting area along with additional tree cutting instructions. The number of available tags and tree species, locations and hours for purchasing the permits, and contact information for each ranger district are as follows:

# of Permits Available and Tree Species Location of Designated Cutting Area Contact Information Open Days and Hours

Any Species

North Kaibab Ranger District

Note: The Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 11 for tag sales. The visitor center is located at the intersection of highways 89 and 67 in Jacob Lake and can be reached at (928) 643-7298.


Physical address:        430 S. Main St., Fredonia, AZ 86022

Mailing address:        P.O. Box 248,    Fredonia, AZ 86022

(928) 643-7395

8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. The office will also be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on two Saturdays, Nov. 26 and Dec. 3, for tag sales.

Pinon or Juniper

Tusayan Ranger District Physical address:        176 Lincoln Log Loop, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Mailing address:        P.O. Box 3088,       Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

(928) 638-2443

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Pinon or Juniper


Williams Ranger District

Note: The Williams Ranger District office will also have 100 tags available for the Tusayan Ranger District.


Physical and mailing address:                      742 S. Clover Rd., Williams, AZ 86046

(928) 635-5600

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Individuals can also purchase a Christmas tree tag through the mail by sending information to the mailing address of the ranger district they plan to visit. It is strongly advised to call the desired ranger district office in advance to ensure tags are still available and check on estimated postage or other requirements. Individuals desiring to purchase a Christmas tree tag through the mail should provide ample time for it to arrive. Expect a turnaround time of about 10 business days. Please include the following with any request for a Christmas tree tag through the mail:

  1. A self-addressed, stamped envelope with sufficient postage to cover tag, map and cutting instructions; it is strongly advised to call the desired ranger district in advance for estimated postage or other requirements.
  2. A contact phone number
  3. A check payable to USDA Forest Service

The Kaibab National Forest is also pleased to announce that all fourth graders are eligible for a free Christmas tree permit, while supplies last, through the Every Kid in a Park initiative. Every Kid in a Park is a nationwide call to action to build the next generation of conservationists.

All fourth graders are eligible to receive a fourth grade pass that allows free access to federal lands and waters across the country for a full year. In support of this initiative, the Forest Service is making available a free Christmas tree permit to every interested fourth grader with a fourth grade pass or paper voucher.

For additional information about the initiative and how to obtain a pass, visit To be eligible for a free Christmas tree permit from the Kaibab National Forest, all fourth graders must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and present their fourth grade pass or paper voucher.

Kaibab National Forest prescribed fire projects continue near Pitman Valley

WILLIAMS — Fire managers with the Williams Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest plan to continue prescribed fire operations, known as the Green Base Prescribed Fire Project, in the Pitman Valley area north of Interstate 40, east of Highway 64 and west of Parks over the next week as weather conditions allow.

Today, fire managers are completing ignitions in the 5,141-acre Parks West area, part of the larger Green Base Prescribed Fire Project, which is bounded on the west by Forest Road 74, on the north by Pipeline Road, on the east by Forest Road 76 and on the south by Historic Route 66.

Fire managers then anticipate a two-day delay in prescribed fire operations tomorrow and Thursday due to predicted winds that aren’t expected to be favorable for fire effects and potential smoke impacts.

Map showing location of the Green Base Prescribed Fire Project on the Williams Ranger District, which is broken into two smaller units – Parks West and Dry Lake. - Kaibab Forest Service photo.

Map showing location of the Green Base Prescribed Fire Project on the Williams Ranger District, which is broken into two smaller units – Parks West and Dry Lake. – Kaibab Forest Service photo.

As soon as wind and weather conditions are again favorable, fire managers plan to move to the 9,040-acre Dry Lake area, the second portion of the larger Green Base Prescribed Fire Project, to begin operations. They anticipate starting ignitions Friday, if not sooner, and continuing for several days. The Dry Lake area is bounded on the west by Highway 64, on the north by Pipeline Road, on the east by Forest Road 74, and on the south by Historic Route 66, which parallels Interstate 40 in spots.

Smoke from the prescribed fire projects near Pitman Valley is expected to be very visible from Interstate 40, Highway 64, Red Lake, Spring Valley and the Kendrick Mountain area. Kaibab National Forest fire managers are coordinating with adjacent forest managers regarding potential smoke impacts to local communities due to multiple prescribed fire projects being planned over the next week.

Last week, fire managers completed treatment of the McCracken Project, located about 6 miles south of Williams between Coleman Lake and Barney Knoll. No additional ignitions are immediately planned in this area.

Kaibab National Forest fire managers have a number of other prescribed fires planned for fall and winter on each of its three ranger districts depending on fuel moistures and weather conditions. Public notification will be provided prior to the implementation of additional projects.

Fire plays a beneficial role in maintaining the ecological stability of many landscapes, including the Kaibab National Forest. Managers use prescribed fire as a practical means to reduce risks associated with uncharacteristic wildfires that can pose significant threats to public health and safety.

Forest managers recognize that prescribed fires may create negative impacts to air quality at times. However, these efforts, which are essential to restoring forests in a fire-adapted ecosystem, can also significantly reduce the amount and limit the duration of smoke impacts associated with uncontrolled wildfire situations in the future. In order to minimize smoke impacts to businesses and residences during prescribed fires, managers closely monitor wind direction and ventilation and adjust operations accordingly.

In the interest of safety, forest visitors are reminded to obey all traffic signs and use caution when traveling in the vicinity of prescribed fires as firefighters and fire-related traffic will be present.

All prescribed fires on the Kaibab National Forest are subject to approval by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. For additional information on the Smoke Management Division and to view prescribed burn authorizations for any given day, visit

Additional fire information for the Kaibab National Forest can be obtained through the following sources: InciWeb; Kaibab National Forest Fire Information Phone Line (928) 635-8311; Text Message – text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404; Facebook and Twitter @KaibabNF.