More than 4,000 permit-tags remain for 2018 spring javelina hunts

PHOENIX — Arizona hunters who were unsuccessful in the recent 2018 spring draw still have an opportunity to receive a hunt permit-tag for javelina.

As of Tuesday, 1,691 leftover hunt permit-tags were available for general hunts that begin Feb. 23. There also were 1,432 hunt permit-tags for archery-only hunts that begin Jan. 1; 1,239 hunt permit-tags for handgun, archery and muzzleloader (HAM) hunts that get underway Feb. 9; and 99 hunt permit-tags for youth-only hunts that start Jan. 26. Only 15 hunt permit-tags were left over for Challenged Hunter Access/Mobility Permit (CHAMP) hunts that begin Jan. 26.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has posted a list of leftover hunt permit-tags on its website at www.azgfd.com/Hunting/Draw/. Hunters can apply on a first come, first served basis one of two ways: Fill out a paper application and bring it to any department office statewide, at which time a hunt permit-tag will be issued, or mail the completed application to: Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn.: Draw/First Come, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086. Allow 10 to 15 business days to receive a hunt permit-tag by mail.

For more information, including license and hunt permit-tag requirements, legal methods of take, and bag limits, view the “2018 Spring Turkey, Javelina, Bison, Bear and Raptor Capture Hunt Draw Information” booklet online, or call (602) 942-3000.

Deadline to apply for shooting range development grants is January 15

PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department is accepting applications for up to $100,000 in annual grant funding from nonprofit organizations and government agencies that are committed to the development and improvement of public shooting ranges.

Application packets can be downloaded at https://www.azgfd.com/Shooting/RangeGrants. All completed application packets must be received or postmarked by January 15, 2018. Grants will be awarded through a competitive application process.

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission created the Shooting Range Development Program in 1996 to foster the development and improvement of shooting ranges and to support their maintenance and operation. Through the program, the commission encourages hunters to become more proficient with firearms, promotes safe hunting and shooting practices, provides Arizona residents with safe recreational shooting (including archery) areas, and supports law enforcement training.

“This grant program is an investment in groups that are committed to carrying out the important mission of passing down our recreational shooting heritage to the next generation,” said Matthew Schwartzkopf, the department’s statewide shooting range administrator. “This is a great opportunity to make a difference.”

Grant funds are used to reimburse eligible project expenditures up to 50 percent of the total cost. Grants can be matched with cash, donated labor and materials, and other secured funding.

Projects for development, redevelopment, relocation, noise abatement, improvements and purchases of capital equipment must have an expected useful life of five years or more. The acceptance of a grant requires that the range be made available for the department’s Hunter Education Program activities, hunter recruitment efforts, and activities that support the Archery in the Schools Program and Scholastic Clay Target Program.

There is no cost to Arizona taxpayers for this grant program. Game and Fish does not receive any of the state’s general tax funds and operates under a user-pay, public-benefit model. The grant program is an investment in the continuance of wildlife conservation efforts and outdoors recreation participation in Arizona. To learn more about how hunters, anglers, shooters and boaters fund wildlife conservation, visit www.azgfd.gov/h_f/federal-aid-cycle.shtml.

For more information about the grant program, or application materials, contact Schwartzkopf at (623) 236-7395.

North Kaibab Ranger District scheduled to close due to construction

FREDONIA – All services at the North Kaibab Ranger District office will be closed on Tuesday, December 12 and Wednesday, December 13 due to the construction of a pedestrian boardwalk and hazardous tree removal of the large Elm directly west of the main building.

Services are scheduled to resume on Thursday, December 14 Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Regular office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

ADEQ Study Confirms Public School Drinking Water Below Established Testing Levels

PHOENIX – Arizona’s public school drinking water systems were below established testing levels for lead contamination, according to just-completed Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) testing. The study used a more conservative standard for examining potential lead contamination than is established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The testing, which began in January due to nationwide concern stemming from the situation in Flint, Mich., found that 96 percent of all public school district water fixtures screened for lead were within conservative screening levels. State agencies and partners are actively working to address the fixtures with elevated levels – many of which were from non-drinking water sources.

“ADEQ is proud to stand with the many people, including our partners at the public school districts, who helped complete this proactive screening program in record time,” said Trevor Baggiore, Director, ADEQ Water Quality Division. “Protecting public health, especially the health of our children, is a primary part of our mission,” added Baggiore.

The data is presented in Arizona’s Public School Drinking Water Lead Screening Program report (PDF), which details the collaboration with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), the Arizona School Facilities Board (SFB), and the Arizona Department of Education (ADE), and support from numerous county health and municipal partners and public school district superintendents.

Arizona is the only state that has successfully completed a proactive, comprehensive and voluntary screening program for lead in public school district drinking water and completed it within six months’ time. Report screening results represent:

  • 16,125 total samples
  • 14,782 fixtures
  • 11,585 buildings
  • 1,427 schools
  • 180 public school districts

The School Facilities Board is actively working with public school districts to replace the small number of fixtures with confirmed elevated lead levels. ADEQ is coordinating with these schools to sample and verify that fixture replacements solve the elevated lead levels in drinking water.

“As the SFB continues the program through completion of corrective action, we’d like to thank ADEQ for identifying those school buildings with elevated lead levels. It is through great partnerships such as this, that State resources, coupled with community support, can be leveraged to ensure safe learning environments where Arizona children thrive,” said Paul Bakalis, Executive Director of the Arizona School Facilities Board.

About The Arizona Public School Drinking Water Lead Screening Program

To ensure overall success and maximum reach for the screening program, ADEQ and its partners designed the proactive program to best work with and support public school districts’ participation. School faculty and staff were given all the necessary tools and resources to communicate, conduct, track, and provide the screening program information to parents and students at no cost.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) technical guidance specifies 20 parts lead per billion parts water (ppb) as the action level for screening lead in schools. ADEQ chose a more conservative screening level, 15 ppb, which effectively detected an additional 124 fixtures that would have been missed using EPA’s 20 ppb level.

Game and Fish Commission opposes proposed initiative to ban hunting of wild cats

PHOENIX – At its regular December meeting, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission passed a motion in opposition to a proposed ballot initiative that would ban the hunting of mountain lions and bobcats and restrict management of the state’s wild cats by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The proposed initiative has not yet qualified for the ballot, but the Commission regularly takes positions on federal and state legislation with potential impact on the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) and the management of Arizona wildlife. The Commission voted 4-0 “in opposition to the initiative related to wild cats, and to affirm that the department has all the tools necessary to manage our state’s wildlife.”

“I like to describe it as ballot box wildlife management versus scientific management of wildlife,” said Commissioner Kurt Davis, of Phoenix. “This is very dangerous for the ability of our wildlife professionals, our scientists, to effectively manage all the forms of wildlife in the state. It removes management tools that are used by the department and I think that’s a very dangerous path to go down.”

The proposed measure, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), also seeks to protect “lynx,” a species not found in Arizona, and two endangered species already under federal protection, jaguars and ocelots. None of these animals can be legally hunted in Arizona.

For more information on how the Arizona Game and Fish Department manages the state’s large cats, visit: https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/mountainlionsinarizona/

Elk poaching near Flagstaff investigated

FLAGSTAFF – The Arizona Game and Fish Department is investigating the poaching of a bull elk, which occurred the evening of December 3. The bull was found north of Route 66 off Rain Valley Road on the east side of Flagstaff near Picture Canyon.

The elk was shot and left to waste in Game Management Unit 11M, where no elk season was going on at the time. Investigating officers believe the elk was shot from a vehicle on Rain Valley Road.

“We are hoping residents in the area remember seeing a vehicle or hearing a gunshot near sundown on December 3 and can provide vehicle or suspect descriptions,” said Game and Fish Wildlife Officer Colby Walton. “We believe someone knows about this poaching and we would like them to come forward with information.”

Anyone with information about the case can call the Department’s Operation Game Thief Hotline toll-free at (800) 352-0700 or use the online form at www.azgfd.gov/ogt. Callers should provide case number 17-004775 and may remain anonymous upon request, and all identities will be kept confidential.

A reward of up to $1,500 is being offered in this case for information leading to the arrest of the violator(s).

Young hunters wanted for Pintail Slough Junior Waterfowl Camp

KINGMAN — Young hunters who want to learn all about waterfowl hunting are invited to attend the annual Pintail Slough Junior Waterfowl Camp, sponsored by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

The camp will take place January 6-7 (hunters check in January 5) at Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. The deadline to register is December 22. The event is limited to 18 hunters between ages 12 and 17 (each must be accompanied by an adult). No prior experience is necessary.

All young hunters will learn how to identify, hunt and clean waterfowl before putting those skills to use in the Pintail Slough duck blinds.

“If you aren’t getting out, you’re missing out,” said AJ Lander, wildlife manager. “This is just a great opportunity for parents to get outside with their kids and enjoy the outdoors.”

To request an application, contact Elise Theel at etheel@azgfd.gov, or call the department’s regional office in Kingman at (928) 692-7700. A refundable $40 registration fee is required. All participants will be chosen through a random draw and will be notified by e-mail or telephone.

Public Comments sought for Grand Canyon park AZPDES Permit renewal.

PHOENIX – The National Park Service applied for a AZPDES permit renewal for the proposed discharge of up to 0.75 million gallons per day (mgd) of treated domestic wastewater from the South Rim WWTP to Bright Angel Wash in the Colorado-Grand Canyon River Basin in Township 31N, Range 2E, Section 26, in Coconino County, Arizona.

The facility is a federally owned treatment works that receives domestic wastewater from residential and commercial sources in the Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim Village, various visitor facilities, resident staff housing and lodging. Sludge is treated by aerobic digestion and drying beds, then transported by truck to off-site storage lagoons.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Water Quality Division welcomes comments on the AZPDES Permit renewal for Grand Canyon National Park- South Rim WWTP through December 30.

You can review public notices and related documents here.

Comment today on ADOT’s Tentative Long-Range Transportation Plan

The public and agencies across the state have until December 21 to comment on the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Tentative Long-Range Transportation Plan.

The plan, which is updated every five years, outlines strategies for meeting the state’s highway and bridge needs over the next 25 years. The CiviComment online tool, which is available on the project website, allows users to comment on the full report or comment on individual pages pulled from the document. The direct link to CiviComment is whatmovesyouarizona.civicomment.org.

ADOT spent the past two years drafting this update to the Long-Range Transportation Plan, which looks through 2040. The project team conducted stakeholder outreach, gathered extensive public comment across the state and worked through months of technical analysis.

During the 25-year period of this draft plan, about $923 million in annual highway capital funding will be available from state and federal sources. On average, the Phoenix and Tucson regions are expected to receive $512 million annually. Of that, $223 million comes from voter-approved regional programs in those two metropolitan areas dedicated largely to highway expansion. ADOT’s Recommended Investment Choice calls for all of the remaining annual average of $411 million to go toward preserving and modernizing highways in Greater Arizona.

The recommendation outlined in the Tentative Long-Range Transportation Plan is in line with public and stakeholder outreach, in which most participants listed preservation, safety and modernization projects as their highest priorities for Greater Arizona.

The Long-Range Transportation Plan is expected to be finalized in early 2018.

Comments can also be sent to:

ADOT Project Information Line: 1.855.712.8530
Mail:

Long-Range Transportation Plan
c/o ADOT Communications
1655 W. Jackson St., Mail Drop 126F
Phoenix, AZ 85007