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Mon, July 22

Local wildlife officers receive awards

Two local wildlife officers are among those honored for their conservation efforts during a recent Arizona Game and Fish Department banquet.

Tom Finley, the east sector supervisor stationed in Prescott, took home the 2007 Director's Meritorious Citation.

Bill Ough, of Chino Valley, was honored with the Wildlife Manager of the Year award.

Hired as a wildlife manager in May 1991, Finley made several moves within the department before his promotion to the Region III east sector field supervisor position in 2004.

Since 1994, Finley has written more than 41 wildlife grants totaling more than $1.7 million in projects that have benefited wildlife.

These projects included 21 wildlife water catchments, redevelopments or repairs; seven dirt tank projects; three fence projects; 15 grassland or habitat projects; the purchase of an Agra Axe and other equipment for habitat work; and money for millions of gallons of water for wildlife.

"Through Tom's efforts, wildlife and its habitat will be well maintained into the future. Tom does not do anything in a small way. Tom is a leader and possesses the attributes to inspire others, the vision to see what is not readily apparent, and the skills and ability to develop and execute a plan to the desired outcome," said Duane Shroufe, director of Arizona Game and Fish. "Tom's 16 years of service with the department have been nothing less than incredible."

Finley serves or has served on a number of department and multi-agency teams. He received a Commendation for Excellence in 2003 and the Wildlife Manager of the Year award in 2004.

"Receiving this award was a very pleasant surprise," Finley said. "My family has strongly supported my career over the years, and you cannot say enough about the dedication and drive of the people in this region and department. That really makes this job a pleasure.

Ough, the wildlife manager for the Chino Valley district since 1988, has been with the Arizona Game and Fish Department for 27 years.

Ough worked to successfully maintain sportsmen access to vast areas of private land in his district, and the Mule Deer Foundation recently presented him with an award for his efforts to preserve sportsmen access.

Ough participated in numerous translocation efforts, including three turkey capture-and-release efforts along with the telemetry monitoring efforts for the releases, even though none of the transplants occurred in his district.

He also played an instrumental role in the development of a regional mentoring program that offers new wildlife managers opportunities to improve performance by working on competencies with a tenured mentor.

"Bill demonstrates the abilities, skills, and balance that define the role of wildlife manager," said Mike Senn, assistant director of field operations. "His unassuming leadership style and tremendous work ethic for the past 27 years have been outstanding and a tremendous asset to the department."

Ough responded, "I can't think of a greater award a person can receive than to be recognized by one's peers.

"This lifetime award reflects not only the department's teamwork towards its mission, but the steadfast dedication of my wife, Kay, who has unwaveringly supported me for the past 35 years."

Steve Goodman, the non-game specialist in the Kingman office, was the third employee in the Kingman region to get an award. He received a Commendation for Excellence award at the May banquet.

Goodman, who joined Game and Fish in September 2003, won his first award with the department for contributions in a number of conservation areas. His work included analyzing potential threats to raptors and bats from a wind energy proposal in Aubrey Valley, collaboration on burrowing owl monitoring and relocation, monitoring bats and raptors, leopard frog conservation, Important Bird Area designation, and desert tortoise genetic work and habitat protection.

Goodman helped lobby the Bureau of Land Management to reconsider its decision to dispose of more than 12,000 acres of land where the tortoise lives. The BLM not only removed the land from disposal, but also designated some of the most critical habitat as an Area of Critical Environment Concern, ensuring adequate habitat protection in the future.

"Steve's passion, persistence, and professionalism earned him this award," Senn said.

Other regional personnel were honored for their years of service with the department. Fisheries Program Manager Andy Clark received his 15-year pin, Habitat Program Manager Kevin Morgan received his 10-year pin, and Game Specialist Erin Riddering, Public Information Officer Zen Mocarski, and Wildlife Manager Virginia Gouldsbury all received 5-year pins.

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