AZGFD receives grant to battle bat-killing fungus

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) was awarded $12,440 in grant funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to help protect the state’s 28 species of bats from white-nose syndrome, a deadly fungal disease.

Funds issued by the FWS were part of $1 million in grants to 37 states to help combat the disease that has killed millions of bats in recent years nationwide. In Arizona, the funding will be used to research whether the fungus is impacting our own bat populations.

“Very little information is available on Arizona’s wintering bat populations as few bats have been found hibernating in caves,” said Angie McIntire, an AZGFD biologist and bat specialist. “The detection of the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome on cave-dwelling bats in Texas is a cause for concern for Arizona populations. These funds will help us to gather as much data as possible to better understand the winter ecology of cave myotis in Arizona.”

First discovered in New York in the winter of 2006-2007, white-nose syndrome received its name from the white fungus that was found on a bat’s muzzle and wings. White-nose syndrome has killed more than 5.7 million bats in eastern North America.

The syndrome has now spread to 33 states and five Canadian provinces and infects eight of the top 10 agricultural producing states. While the syndrome hasn’t yet been detected in Arizona, it’s critical to monitor for the disease and research its impact to better protect our 28 species of bats, which include 13 that migrate or that are active in winter, and 15 presumed to hibernate.

“In addition to wintering locations, two important summer bat roosts would be surveyed with this funding,” McIntire said. “Additional information will be obtained on two roosts used as migratory stop-overs, which will help us to better understand when cave myotis arrive and depart from these roosts under normal conditions.

For more information on Arizona’s bats, visit and search for “living with bats.”

Specialty license plates help Arizonans be generous to the tune of $9.8 million

PHOENIX – Arizona’s specialty license plates come in many different colors, but one color they have in common is green – as in dollars.

In the most recent fiscal year ending June 30, sales of these plates generated more than $9.8 million for charitable causes and public programs. In the previous fiscal year, that figure totaled just under $9.4 million.

Many long-time plates continue to see growth in their sales, and the overall figures were bolstered by the introduction of four new plates midway through the fiscal year. Those plates support the 100 Club of Arizona, Special Olympics, Grand Canyon University scholarships and preservation efforts for Historic Route 66.

“The specialty plate program is a real point of pride for Arizona and is a tremendous success,” said Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division Director Eric Jorgensen. “To see this kind of continued growth proves Arizonans are both generous and eager to support great causes.”

Specialty plates typically cost $25. Of that, $17 is committed to the benefiting organization. For more information about specialty plates including how to order, please visit or

The specialty plate program was established by state law in 1989.

New system allows qualified trucks to bypass some ADOT ports of entry

PHOENIX ‒ To help interstate commerce flow more efficiently while promoting safety, the Arizona Department of Transportation is adding a system that automatically checks the weight and registration of qualified commercial trucks without requiring them to stop as they enter the state.

“Using cutting-edge technology allows us to enforce safety requirements on trucks that enter Arizona while letting trucks that comply with our rules to continue on their way,” said Tim Lane, director of ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, which operates commercial ports of entry. “We’re eliminating friction that can be costly for both the trucking companies and the state of Arizona.”

The Drivewyze Preclear technology, similar to a system in place since 2015 near three ADOT interstate highway rest areas, uses geofencing technology and sensors embedded in the roadway to identify and check the weight, credentials and safety status of trucks that subscribe to the service as they approach seven Arizona ports of entry from California, Utah and New Mexico.

The driver’s cellphone or an electronic logging device in the truck’s cab then receives instructions. Trucks registered with Drivewyze that pass the tests may continue on their way, though like other trucks some will be selected at random for safety checks. Registered trucks that are overweight or have paperwork issues will be instructed to stop for inspection.

“If we pull over every truck, it causes unnecessary delays for drivers and companies that have complied with Arizona’s regulations,” Lane said. “This system will allow us to increase enforcement in the cases where we need to do that.”

The system is being added at these locations over the coming month:

  • Interstate 8: Yuma
  • Interstate 10: Ehrenberg near the California line, and San Simon near the New Mexico line
  • Interstate 15: St. George, just north of the Arizona-Utah line
  • Interstate 40: Topock near the California line, and Sanders near the New Mexico line
  • State Route 68 and US 93: Kingman

For the past two years, a similar system at the McGuireville Rest Area on I-17, the Canoa Ranch Rest Area on I-19 and the Sacaton Rest Area on I-10 has used sensors and cameras to determine a commercial vehicle’s approximate weight and check the status of its registration, U.S. Department of Transportation number, fuel tax assessment and carrier safety records. A sign instructs vehicles exceeding weight requirements to pull into the rest areas to be weighed and inspected.

Reducing wait times at commercial ports is among ADOT’s priorities using the Arizona Management System. Championed by Governor Doug Ducey, the system has employees continuously looking for ways to make state agencies more valuable to customers.

ADOT’s other steps in the past year to remove barriers to commercial travel include training truckers and trucking firms in Mexico on inspection requirements to reduce delays at the border without sacrificing safety.

Dove, band-tailed pigeon regulations now available online

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department has posted the 2017-2018 Arizona Dove and Band-tailed Pigeon Regulations online at

What hunters will notice right away is the new format. The color brochure is easier to read and features important hunting information, such as season dates, daily bag and possession limits, and legal requirements, at a glance. The printed version should be available at all department offices and more than 200 license dealers by mid-August.

A youth combination hunt/fish license is only $5 and includes an Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp. Hunters 18 and older who want to hunt doves and band-tailed pigeons (as well as ducks, geese, coots, snipe and common moorhens) must possess a valid Arizona hunting license, as well as an Arizona Migratory Bird Stamp for the 2017-18 season. Both can be purchased online at, or any department office or license dealer.

The dove season begins September 1 and runs through September 15. The late season is November 24 through January 7, 2018. The band-tailed pigeon season is Oct. 7-20. For more information about hunting doves or band-tailed pigeons, visit

Boating and water sports regulation and fee changes go into effect today

PHOENIX — Boating and watercraft regulation changes aimed at increasing customer service and public safety on Arizona’s waterways go into effect today, Saturday, August 5.
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission approved the amendments to the state’s Article 5 rules, which outline boating and water sports regulations and fees, at its April 7 meeting. The Governor’s Regulatory Review Council approved the proposed changes on June 6.
The changes were recommended as part of a legally required five-year review of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s administrative rules.
The following are among the changes:
  • Increases the valid timeframe for a temporary certificate from 30 to 45 days, and allows a watercraft agent to issue a temporary certificate with the sale of a used watercraft.
  • Persons will no longer be allowed to rent or lease personally registered watercraft, unless the watercraft is registered as a livery business. A placard must be affixed to the watercraft being rented or leased that displays the business name and telephone number.
  • Requires a wake surfer to wear a personal floatation device and that an operator ensures an observer is watching if a person is being towed behind the watercraft and/or surfing a wake created by the watercraft.
  • Prohibits teak surfing, which is pulling a person from a vessel’s swim platform.
  • Requires towing companies to notify the owner/lienholder that they have taken possession of a vessel within 15 days of obtaining the information from the department.
  • Makes the owner financially responsible for the towing and storage of a watercraft illegally moored.
The following fee changes also are going into effect:
  • Watercraft transfer fee to $13
  • Duplicate decal and certificate number fee to $8
  • Dealer certificate of number fee to $20
  • Establish an abandoned/unreleased watercraft application fee of $100
  • Transfer of ownership of a towed watercraft application fee to $100
This is the first time that watercraft fees have increased in more than 30 years.
For more information on boating in Arizona or to sign up for a safety course, visit