Wildlife Conservation Commission Hears Goals for Department WMAs
A progress report on planning and upgrading for wildlife management areas was a highlight of the regular April meeting of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission on Monday in Oklahoma City.
Bill Dinkines, Chief of Wildlife for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, updated Commissioners on Wildlife Division goals within the agency’s strategic plan. He said management plans are near completion for all of the 86 WMAs, almost 1.4 million acres. The plans specify habitat and infrastructure needs at each of those areas.
A 2019 survey shows that license holders prefer ODWC spend 65 percent of WMA-targeted funds on improving fish and wildlife habitat, and 35 percent for improving the area infrastructure. When asked about infrastructure improvements, license holders ranked roads, signage, camping areas and shooting areas in order of priority.
Dinkines presented examples of recent improvements at many WMAs, including new or renovated shooting ranges at six areas and shooting range projects underway at 17 more areas.
Also, Commissioners learned about new efforts to recognize diversity among hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. Kelly Adams, Communications Section Supervisor, said these efforts began out of ODWC’s strategic planning goal to welcome all Oklahomans into the outdoors.
To reach out to diverse populations, ODWC has recently developed partnerships with many local and national groups including OKC Latina, Cherokee Nation, National Wild Turkey Federation, National Wildlife Federation, and others.
In other business, Commissioners:
- Welcomed Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who introduced himself as the new state Secretary of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage.
- Heard an update on the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation from Executive Director Rick Grundman, which included plans for the first Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Hall of Fame induction event, scheduled for Oct. 29 and sponsored by the Foundation.
- Director J.D. Strong reported on ODWC’s activities in various divisions since the previous meeting. He said the Outdoor Oklahoma Adventures raffle program has seen a successful response from people wanting to enter raffles for various prizes including guided hunts, fishing trips and ODWC outings.
- Authorized the Director to pursue the purchase of two parcels totaling 860 acres in Harmon and Haskell counties that are adjacent to or surrounded by current WMA property.
Go online to https://youtu.be/pcIKCqOrVQk to view a video recording of the meeting. The next regular Commission meeting is set for 9 a.m. May 3, 2021, at the John D. Groendyke Wildlife Conservation Building, 1801 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City.