Walter Rabon named new Deputy Commissioner of DNR
Walter Rabon was named the new Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources by Commissioner Mark Williams and joined the Commissioner’s office staff on February 9th. Rabon, a Rockdale County native, has served the department for 22 years. Hired in 1993 as a Conservation Ranger, he most recently has served the department as a Major in the Law Enforcement Division. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Brenau University and a Master’s degree from Columbus State University. Rabon and his wife have three sons and reside in Mansfield, in Jasper County.
THE NEXT DNR BOARD MEETINGS WILL BE HELD ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2014 IN THE DNR BOARD ROOM:
· COMMITTEE MEETINGS WILL BEGIN AT 9:00 A.M.
· BOARD MEETING WILL BEGIN IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE COMMITTEE MEETINGS
Recently, Rangers in Region V-Albany responded to a request for assistance from the Sheriff’s Office in Henry County, Alabama with a search for a downed aircraft in or near Lake Walter F. George/Chattahoochee River. Search locations were developed using flight path information and cell phone data. The entire search area totaled approximately 20 miles of water. The search continued for nine days before the aircraft and two victims were located approximately four miles south of the Lake Walter F. George Lock & Dam on the Chattahoochee River. LED Aviation assisted in the search.
GA DNR Rangers from Region III-Thomson and Region IV-Macon responded to a call on October 9th from officials in Pelham, Alabama to assist in the search for a diver who had been missing for a few days in a 27-acre rock quarry. The Alabama officials were aware that GA DNR Law Enforcement has side scan and sector scan sonar to effectively search wider areas and in deeper water. Once the Rangers arrived and sector scan was deployed, they were able to make a quick recovery of the victim and bring closure to a grieving family.
On October 10th, Rangers from Region VII-Brunswick responded to a boating incident in which a 22-year-old male dove from a boat as it was approaching Wassau Island, near Tybee in Chatham County. The water in the area was only approximately a foot deep and the subject broke his neck and was pronounced dead on the scene. The investigation is ongoing but it appears that alcohol was not a factor.
On October 10th, Region II-Gainesville Rangers responded to an incident at Clarks Bridge Boat Ramp. Upon arrival the Rangers discovered that a male subject jumped off the dock to attempt to retrieve his boat that was drifting away. He then tried to swim back to the dock but went under and did not resurface. Rangers, using side scan and sector scan sonar, along with Hall County divers, searched the immediate area around the dock until dark without success and resumed the search the following morning. The next morning, the 60-year-old subject was recovered approximately 70 feet from the dock. CIRT is continuing the investigation.
Staff participated on a cruise onboard the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography R/V Savannah to conduct research on black gill syndrome, which is affecting shrimp in the South Atlantic region. Samples of live white shrimp, sediment and water were collected. Participants included staff from the three marine resource agencies in NC, SC, and GA, representatives from the University System (UGA – MAREX, UGA – Sea Grant, SC Sea Grant, UGA – SKIO, Mercer, Savannah State, and Troy Universities), media and shrimp fishermen.
Rayonier, Inc. - Jesup Plant donated 14 steel bulk container frames to the artificial reef project. These frames were deployed at the Joe’s Cut Inshore Artificial Reef site (31° 55.910'N / 80° 59.279'W) in Chatham County. This inshore reef was first established in the late 1980’s with PVC/concrete fish aggregating devices (FAD). While productive for many years, the FADs have been covered with sediment. The addition of the aforementioned frames is an effort to revitalize this reef site through a partnership with the Savannah Sportfishing Club.
Oct 14 - Bryan Tucker and Rachel Black attended the grand opening of the Camp Lawton museum at Magnolia Springs Park.
Dave Crass, Bill Hover, and Stephanie Cherry-Farmer completed a preliminary preservation needs assessment of the Torrey-West Mansion on Ossabaw Island last week.
Oct 8 - TAX and NR Staff made a site visit to Rome to see 4 potential tax credit projects in downtown Rome and one potential NR Nomination/tax credit project (Euharlee Kindergarten) in Rockmart.
Last week began the first of 3 Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow (CLfT) workshops to be held at Charlie Elliot this year. CLfT is designed to expose students and/or agency staff to the sport of hunting. Last week’s agency workshop was a huge success with 17 staff attending from 8 different states.
Firearms season opens statewide on Saturday! Go Hunt Georgia!
Weekend for Wildlife Corporate registration is officially open. Visit the new website here! Trips will fill up fast!
The Marjorie Kahn Popper Boating Access Area on the Ocmulgee River below Lake Jackson in Jasper County was recently re-opened. Installation of canoe and kayak steps and a ramp are complete, improving access to the river. The area provides great opportunity for fishing, kayaking and canoeing!
Oct 2 - Hardman Farm, Georgia’s newest state historic site, opened in Sautee Nacoochee in White County. Visitors can tour the furnished main house and a dairy barn. The site is open for guided tours Thursdays through Sundays until November 9. From November 14 until December 30, it will be open Fridays through Sundays. The site will then close for the season until March 2015.
Oct 10 - 12 - PRHSD staff participated in the Georgia RV and Camper Show at the North Atlanta Trade Center.
Oct 14 – 16 - PRHSD staff participated in the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie
Burn team members in northern resource region attended annual burn-team refresher training at Red Top Mountain.
Construction of 13 camper cabins at Fort Yargo are well underway and should be ready to open by spring.
In a follow-up to the opening of the Magnolia Springs History Center last week, over 100 people attended including two great-grandsons of a Union prisoner at Camp Lawton from Iowa who happened to be there retracing his Civil War travels.
Many fall events and activities are taking place throughout the system including Halloween hay rides, campfires, spooky stories, haunted trails, and guided leaf watch hikes. Thirty-two people attended the first Ghosts and Legends of Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation last Friday night. These walking tours are held each Friday in October.