In response to law enforcement needs, the state Game Commission has assigned seven new wildlife conservation officers to its Southwest Pennsylvania region. The new WCOs completed a 50-week training program and have statewide police authority, but their primary responsibility is to enforce the state's Game and Wildlife Code and regulations, and federal laws governing wildlife and natural resource conservation.
"Many of our veteran officers have had to cover extra districts for quite a while and are glad to have the relief the new guys will provide," said Southwest Region director Pat Anderson, in a written statement. "We can now better serve the interests of wildlife and the public with these officers entering the field."
The new WCOs are Shawn Barron (southern Somerset County), Douglas Bergman (northern Fayette County), Michael Greiner (western Greene County), Nathaniel Kimmel (northern Somerset County), Michael Papinchak (northern Westmoreland County), Christopher Reidmiller (southern Indiana County) and Michael Yeck (northern Beaver County).
In addition to enforcement duties, WCOs conduct wildlife surveys and management procedures, respond to wildlife nuisance complaints, hold conservation education programs, administer hunter education and safety programs, and recruit, train and supervise deputy wildlife conservation officers and education instructors.
Chronic wasting disease
Two Disease Management Areas have been formally established by the state Game Commission to help contain parts of Southcentral Pennsylvania where chronic wasting disease has been confirmed.
Special regulations were established Saturday in parts of Adams and York counties and Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon counties.
Within the DMAs, the removal or exportation of high risk cervid parts where abnormal prions are known to accumulate (head, spine, spleen, etc.) is prohibited, urine-based attractants are banned, intentional feeding and rehabilitation of deer is prohibited and all killed deer must be tested for CWD.
Mine acid remediation
Following a successful $14.5 million treatment program conducted by the state Department of Environmental Protection, Bennett Branch on the Clearfield-Elk counties border was stocked for the fist time Saturday with 1,000 trout. The stocking was courtesy of a local watershed association and angler's club.
The art and craftsmanship of building bamboo fly rods will be discussed Monday at a meeting of Penn's Woods West Trout Unlimited. Free, 7 p.m. Brentwood VFW, 3801 Clairton Blvd. (Route 51), Brentwood. 412-881-9934.
L.L. Bean will hold an Introduction to Fly Casting class 12:30-3:30 p.m. next Sunday, May 5, June 2, Sept. 8 and Sept. 15 at North Park Lake. Fly fishing instructor Bill Nagle will include knots and four-part, false and roll casts. $69, details and reservations at 888-552-3261.
Fly guide Leo Vensel will present a program on fishing Central Pennsylvania's Slate Run and the Pine Creek valley at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at a meeting of the Tri-County Trout Club, Fisher Hall, Burrell Lake Community Park, 201 Delberta Road, Lower Burrell. Free for TCTC members and kids under 12, $3 for nonmembers. 724-335-2679.