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Fri, April 19

Nature: Public meetings scheduled on aquatic invasive species

PHOENIX - The Arizona Game and Fish Department will host a series of public meetings and a webcast to discuss draft updated regulations and a draft management plan to fight the spread of aquatic invasive species in Arizona waters.

The draft regulations, or "Director's Orders," will update the list of species considered aquatic invasives, update the list of the waters that contain them, and revise the mandatory conditions for moving boats from those waters.

"It is critical for anyone who owns or uses watercraft, or has a business reliant on watercraft, to understand the essential nature of this aquatic invasive species containment effort," said Tom McMahon, invasive species program coordinator with Game and Fish. "The spread of aquatic invasive species, such as quagga mussels and crayfish, have far-reaching impacts, both financial and ecological, that can touch virtually every resident of the state."

The public meetings will be held on the following dates:

• Tuesday, Dec. 14, 6 p.m., Phoenix, Arizona Game and Fish Department Headquarters, Quail Room, 5000 W. Carefree Highway (This meeting will also be webcast over the Internet at www.azgfd.gov/webcast).

• Wednesday, Dec. 15, 3 p.m., Page, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Headquarters Building, 691 Scenic Road.

• Thursday, Dec. 16, 6 p.m., Kingman, Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman Regional Office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road.

In particular, the meetings will discuss:

• The addition of several species (rusty crayfish, red claw crayfish, New Zealand mudsnail, giant salvinia and didymo to Director's Order #1, which currently includes quagga and zebra mussels.

• Updates to Director's Order #2 (list of contaminated waters) and Director's Order #3 (decontamination protocols).

• The draft 2011 Arizona Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan.

The draft Director's Orders and Arizona Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan are available for viewing at www.azgfd.gov/mussels.

Written comment can be submitted by e-mail to AIScomments@azgfd.gov. The deadline to submit comment is Jan. 10.

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