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15
Conservation Advisory Board Conducts Work Session

The Conservation Advisory Board broke new ground as members convened for a work session on Tuesday, October 12, in Montgomery. The meeting, open to the public, allowed discussion of ways the Board could streamline their process of setting the regulations that govern hunting and fishing in Alabama. The Board will schedule as many as three more work sessions in different areas of the state before the next formal meeting. No votes are taken at the work sessions.

“The Advisory Board’s work sessions will pave the way for a better relationship with hunters, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts,” said Barnett Lawley, Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to see the Board in action, and to gain an understanding of the time and thoughtful consideration that result in decisions that affect the use of our natural resources.”

During this first work session, Board members addressed important issues such as game breeders, raising game violation fines, youth licenses, and increases in license sales and fees, and discussed the pros and cons of each issue at length. At the work sessions, the Board may invite consultants or representatives of organizations to participate in the discussions, but the sessions are not public forums open for audience comments.

The Board also discussed the times and ground rules for the formal Board meetings. The intent of the Board concerning changes in the meeting schedule is to allow more meetings and more public input. It is also their intent that no regulation will be brought up and voted on at the same meeting.

A February meeting was added to the schedule, at which time the Board will primarily consider new proposals for game and fish regulations. There will be no vote taken at that meeting, but subjects discussed will be open for public input. At the March meeting, Board members will vote on the proposals of the February meeting. Any new proposals introduced during the March meeting will then be subjected to a public comment period and voted upon in the May meeting.

By moving the timetable earlier, decisions concerning game and fish regulations will be finalized earlier, allowing more time to print WMA schedules and permits, the Official Hunting and Fishing Digest, and other pertinent material. The new procedures will ensure greater public input and will also allow the Advisory Board to have more time to make informed decisions.

The May meeting of the Conservation Advisory Board will be reserved to address issues and proposals from the other divisions of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and to vote on those proposals.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is charged with oversight and management of the state’s natural resources for the enjoyment of current and future generations. The Department consists of five Divisions: The Alabama Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. For more information, visit www.outdooralabama.com.

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