The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is composed of governmental fish and wildlife agencies in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina Okla- homa, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and the territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Southeastern Association is one of four such regional fish and wildlife associations. While the regional associations are autonomous, they work very closely with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, of which all southeastern states are also members. Only state wildlife agencies in the 15 southeastern states and territories are mem- bers of the SEAFWA.
Its objectives are to protect the right of jurisdiction of the member states over their wildlife resources on public and private lands; to carefully scrutinize state and federal wildlife legislation and regulations and to offer support or opposi- tion to legislative proposals or federal regulations in accordance with the best interests of the member states; to consult with and make recommendations to the federal wildlife and public land agencies in order that federal management programs and programs involving federal aid to member states shall be so conducted as to be in the best interests of the member states; and to serve as a clearinghouse for the exchange of ideas concerning wildlife and fisheries management, research techniques, wildlife law enforcement, hunting and outdoor safety, and information and educations programs.
The Association participates with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, other regional associations, other governmental agencies and citizens’ organizations in pursuing mutual goals benefiting fish and wildlife resources; main- tains a variety of committees consisting of fish and wildlife professionals who explore and analyze a wide range of issues and factors affecting fish and wildlife resources and makes recommendations as appropriate; sponsors cooperative fish and wildlife programs among member states and other entities to address issues of mutual interest and to benefit to fish and wildlife resources; provides effective, efficient and allied representation for member states regarding natural resource matters, particularly for issues which are beyond the capability of one agency to address or which may unduly tax the ability of individual states.
The Association’s annual meeting and conference is held every year, usually in October. The annual meeting and con- ference are on a rotational basis with each state having its turn as host. Officers are elected at a spring meeting, usually held in May, with the host state normally being that of the incoming President. These meetings promote exchanges of ideas and philosophy between administrators and the professional fish and wildlife biologists, managers, enforcement, information and education, and technical workers in related fields.
Organized March 14, 1938, at a meeting of state officials at Jacksonville, Florida, the Association has played a major role in the evolution of state, regional and national conservation affairs. Its officers and member have included many of the nation’s conservation leaders. The Clarence W. Watson Award is the most prestigious award given in the Southeast and is presented annually to the career individual who, in the opinion of the Award Committee, has made the greatest contribution to wildlife or fish conservation during the previous year or years.