Utah's new seven-member wildlife board has officially been seated. Appointments were announced early Tuesday by the Department of Natural Resources.
New members are:- Rick Danvir, a biologist with Deseret Land and Livestock. He is from the Northern Region and was appointed to a two-year term.
- Brenda Freeman, an insurance agent from the Roy area. She is also from the Northern Region and was appointed to a two-year term.
- J. Collin Allan, a community leader from the Spanish Fork area. He is from the Central Region and was appointed to a six-year term.
- Connie Brooks, who is vice president of Barnes Bullets, an ammunition business in American Fork. She is from the Central Region and was appointed to a four-year term.
- Ray Heaton, a rancher from Alton, Kane County, and a member of the wildlife advisory council. From the Southeastern Region, he was appointed to a six-year term.
- Curtis Dastrup, a rancher from Duchesne County. He has a degree in wildlife management and was a former employee with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. He is from the Northeastern Region and was appointed to a six-year term.
- Dr. Max Morgan from Price. He is the only person carried over from the two previous wildlife boards. He is from the Southern Region and was appointed to a four-year term.
A new law introduced at the last legislative session eliminated the two wildlife boards - the Board of Big Game Control, responsible for making decisions on big game hunts, such as deer and elk, and the Utah Wildlife Board, which was responsible for all other wildlife matters - and put into place a single seven-member board.
A committee reviewed nominations and then submitted a list to Gov. Mike Leavitt. The governor's office released the list Tuesday through the DNR.
"Through these appointments we are building a wildlife board that will gather information from diverse interest groups, weigh the competing interests and reach fair and well-balanced conclusions.
"The objectives of many groups must be guarded, including those of hunters, farmers, environmentalists and non-consumptive users. I am confident in the commitment and decision-making skills of these appointees to address these diverse interests," Gov. Leavitt said.
Over the next 30 days, members will be "brought up to speed" on wildlife issues. One of its first duties will be to tackle one of the state's most controversial wildlife topics - the cougar hunt.
According to Bob Valentine, director of the DWR, board members will meet at the end of August and will hold their first official meeting Sept. 2 to set season dates and limits on waterfowl, cougar and upland, as well as rule for fur-bearing animals.
"I am excited to see this committee in place. I think it brings together the nucleus of an effective wildlife board and I look forward to working with it," he added.
Valentine will serve as secretary to the board but will have no voting power. Under the old system, the director had voting rights with the Big Game Board but was an advisor to the Wildlife Board.
In recent years, there has been some problems develop between the two boards, primarily in the area of cougar and bear.