77th Annual Conference

SEAFWA 77 - 2023 Corpus Christi, Texas



The 77th Annual Conference will be hosted by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Please join us at the Omni Hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas, October 15-18, 2023. 

The Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is a forum for the exchange of ideas and critical information regarding the management and protection of fish and wildlife resources primarily in the southeast. The conference attracts over 500 representatives from state and federal agencies, citizens' organizations, universities, private wildlife research groups, fisheries and wildlife scientists, agency enforcement personnel, and other natural resource-related organizations. 

Visit the Announcements/Important Dates section for updates.

Announcements & Important Dates

Please check back for important announcements regarding the 77th Annual Conference. 

The Call for Abstracts for General Contributed Oral and Poster presentations is open! Anyone interested in submitting an abstract for the conference should complete the online form by Wednesday, June 28 at 7:00 PM (EST).

The Omni Corpus Christi Hotel is now accepting reservations! Book online by September 22 to receive the discounted SEAFWA group rate. Visit the Travel and Lodging section of this site to book now. 

Registration is now open for sponsors and exhibitors of our 77th Annual Conference! Visit the Exhibitors/Sponsors section of this site to learn more. 

Travel & Lodging Information 

The 77th Annual Conference will be held at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel (900 North Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, Texas 78401).

Overnight accommodations will be available to conference participants at a discounted group rate of $159/night + 15% tax. Reservations can be made directly by visiting the reservation link: https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/corpus-christi/meetings/seafwa-annual-conference-2023-10142023

Reservation Deadline:

The group rate will be available until the cutoff date of Friday September 22, 2023, or until the block is full, whichever occurs first.

The group rate will be honored 3 days pre- and post-conference (subject to availability; must call the hotel to inquire). 

Omni Reservations at 1-800-THE-OMNI

Federal Per Diem Room Block:

Note: A limited block of rooms are available at the prevailing federal government per diem rate by visiting this link: https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/corpus-christi/meetings/seafwa-annual-conference-2023-government-block-10142023

Schedule at-a-Glance

The following schedule of events is preliminary and subject to change (as of April 24, 2023). Please check back for updates. 


4:00 PM - 7:00 PM 

Conference Registration Desk Open

5:00 PM - 7:30 PM 

MINRC Student Welcome Orientation



7:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

Directors' Retreat (Invitation Only)

8:00 AM - 6:00 PM 

Conference Registration Desk Open

8:30 AM - 12:15 PM 

MINRC Student Workshop

8:30 AM - 5:00 PM 

Wildlife Resources Committee

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

Fisheries Resources Committee

12:00 PM - 5:00 PM 

Speaker Ready Room Open

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM 

Wetlands Wildlife Committee

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM 

MINRC State and Federal Agency Information Hour

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM 

Law Enforcement Chiefs Business Meeting

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM 

Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society

(SETWS) Executive Board Meeting

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM 

Student & Professional Meet and Greet

(All welcome to attend)

5:30 PM - 7:30 PM 

Welcome Social!



7:00 AM - 8:00 AM 

Attendee Breakfast

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM 

Directors' Breakfast (Invitation Only)

7:00 AM - 5:00 PM 

Conference Registration Desk Open

7:00 AM - 5:00 PM 

Speaker Ready Room Open

7:00 AM - 6:00 PM 

Visit with Exhibitors & Sponsors

8:30 AM - 12:00 PM 

Plenary Session

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM 

Coffee Break

11:30 AM - 4:30 PM 

Law Enforcement Field Trip

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM 

Wildlife Administrators Lunch

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM 

Student & Professional Networking Lunch (pre-registration required)

1:20 PM - 5:00 PM 

Concurrent Technical Sessions & Organized Symposia

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM 

Coffee Break

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM 

Poster Session & Exhibitor Social

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM 

Women in Wildlife Conservation Social

All welcome to attend



7:00 AM - 8:00 AM 

Directors' Breakfast (Invitation Only)

7:00 AM - 8:00 AM 

Attendee Breakfast

7:00 AM - 5:00 PM 

Conference Registration Desk Open

7:00 AM - 5:00 PM 

Speaker Ready Room Open

7:00 AM - 7:00 PM 

Visit with Exhibitors & Sponsors

8:00 AM - 12:00 PM 

Concurrent Technical Sessions & Organized Symposia

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM 

Directors’ Committee Session

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM 

Directors' Lunch (Invitation Only)

12:00 PM - 2:30 PM 

Law Enforcement Awards Luncheon

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM 

MINRC Students After-Action Meeting

(Students and Professionals)

1:00 PM - 5:00 PM 

Directors Business Meeting

1:20 PM - 5:00 PM 

Concurrent Technical Sessions & Organized Symposia

2:30 PM - 3:30 PM 

Coffee Break

6:00 PM - 7:00 PM 

Networking Reception

7:00 PM - 9:30 PM 

Awards Banquet: A Celebration of Excellence!



7:00 AM - 8:00 AM 

Attendee Breakfast

7:00 AM - 10:00 AM 

Conference Registration Desk Open

8:00 AM – 12:00 PM 

Concurrent Technical Sessions & Organized Symposia

9:00 AM - 11:00 AM 

Conference DeBrief Meeting

Current and future year hosts welcome to attend

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM 

Coffee Break



Special Symposia 

We’re pleased to announce the following organized symposia will be included in the program at the 2023 Southeast Fish & Wildlife Conference. 

Symposia marked "open" below are accepting abstracts for inclusion in the symposium through the general call for presentations. Symposia marked "invite only" below are being organized by the contact and co-organizers listed; they are not considering abstracts collected through the general call. However, you may contact them to discuss being included. 

1. A Caribbean Community of Practice to Benefit People and Fish and Wildlife Resources

Contact: Miguel Garcia-Bermudez, Fish and Wildlife Administrator, US Fish and Wildlife Service, miguel_garcia-bermudez@fws.gov

Co-organizers: Amanda Sesser, Fish and Wildlife Service; Shannon Westlake, Fish and Wildlife Service

Type: Open Symposium


Both, complex social and simplified natural scenarios characterize islands in the Caribbean region. The reduced ecological connectivity (natural or anthropogenic), the uniqueness of its endemic species, and centuries of natural resources exploitation coupled with the rich culture, have created conservation challenges that require equally complex and diversified approaches to safeguard and improve societal and natural conditions. The most common mechanisms to conserve fish and wildlife resources in this geography have been the creation of natural reserves and development of laws and regulations. However, an array of conservation successes and failures prompt the need to revisit the status and update actions to integrate lessons learned and discussing relevant and common issues and priorities—freshwater and climate change. There is great need and opportunity for working collaboratively to develop a timely interdisciplinary response to these natural and societal challenges. In this session, we will converse and explain how we are approaching this through a Caribbean Community of Practice with the overarching goal of benefitting people and natural resources.

2. Advancing Aquatic Connectivity Through Collaborations, Partnerships, and Research

Contact: Shawna Fix, Aquatic Connectivity Teams Facilitator, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP), shawna@southeastaquatics.net

Co-organizers: Kat Hoenke, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP); Todd Ewing, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP); Kimberly Meitzen, Texas State University; Stephen Curtis, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Type: Open Symposium


Aquatic habitat fragmentation has long been identified as a fisheries conservation issue in the Southeast United States due to the high prevalence of dams and road-stream crossings. Aquatic organisms depend on river and stream connectivity to forage and disperse their genetics. Watersheds with high levels of fragmentation often have lower levels of species resilience to anthropogenic and environmental stressors, i.e. flooding, drought, flow alteration, and water quality impacts. These barriers also pose a threat to human health as many of them restrict flow and cause an increase in flooding during high rain events. States across the Southeast have formed Aquatic Connectivity Teams (ACT) to collaborate on inventorying, prioritizing and removing or replacing barriers in their state. These ACTs work together to identify projects using the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP)’s Aquatic Barrier Inventory and Prioritization Tool (https://connectivity.sarpdata.com), apply for funding and educate the public and their own agencies on the importance of aquatic connectivity. The goal of this symposia is to learn from those partnerships as well as showcase aquatic organism passage research throughout the Southeast.

3. Beyond the Survey: Using Human Dimensions Data in Conservation

Contact: Jessica Feltz, Conservation Social Scientist, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Jessica.feltz@agfc.ar.gov

Co-organizers: The SEAFWA  Social Science Technical Committee

Type: Invite Only


Human Dimensions is a critical component to natural resource management and conservation efforts; and similar to biological or ecological research, human dimensions research requires a balance of the correct sampling design, methodologies, and analysis in order to best inform natural resource decision making efforts. Join the representatives of SEAFWA’s Social Science Technical Committee for an interactive discussion about the many facets of social science, such as data collection, analysis, interpretation, and integration in conservation and natural resource management.

This symposium will help attendees learn about human dimensions data applications, techniques, and opportunities for collaboration. This event will highlight examples from across the region that highlight topics such as social Science projects with a focus on methodologies beyond traditional surveys, human dimension study design considerations, quantitative social science studies, qualitative social science studies, unique or advanced analytical approaches for human dimensions data, and study participation recruitment efforts to improve response rates.

4. Climate Services and Technical Support for State Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Contact: Dolly Na-Yemeh, Climate Adaptation Specialist, South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center, dolly.na-yemeh1@ou.edu

Co-organizers: Caitlin Rottler, South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center; Marina Tomer, USGS South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center; Paul Armsworth, Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

Type: Invite Only


The Symposium on Climate Services and Technical Support for State Fish and Wildlife Agencies aims to bring together experts from government agencies, universities and other stakeholders to share knowledge, experiences, and best practices in providing climate services and technical support to state fish and wildlife agencies. In addition, the symposium will provide a platform for discussions on the latest advances in climate science, tools, and technologies that can assist state agencies in understanding and adapting to the impacts of climate change on fish and wildlife.

 The symposium will cover various topics related to climate services and technical support, including climate adaptation research, climate modeling, communication strategies, and species and habitat vulnerability assessments, including how these approaches can be incorporated into State Wildlife Action Plans. The symposium will also highlight successful case studies from across the geographic scope of the SE AFWA region that have provided climate services and technical support to inform their resource management decisions and actions.

5. Deepwater Horizon Restoration- Halftime Report

Contact: Ross Melinchuk, Executive Director, SEAFWA, rossmelinchuk@gmail.com

Co-organizers: Tim Richardson- Deepwater Horizon Consultant

Type: Invite Only


It's "halftime' in the Deepwater Horizon Restoration game! It's been 13 years since the nation’s worst environmental disaster, 11 years since the RESTORE Act passed and 9 years until the final BP oil spill penalty payment goes out. On a positive note, roughly two-thirds of the $20 billion in DW Horizon restoration funding lies ahead. On an alarming note, inflation is driving up project costs. Where has most of the coastal restoration funding gone or is planned to go?  So far, 216 grants of $5 million or more have been awarded, representing less than 13% of the more than 1,700 Deepwater Horizon grants awarded to date, but account for a whopping 89% of the $6.6 billion in total grants awarded! This Symposium will examine the following:

  • What has worked well in Deepwater Horizon restoration so far?
  • What hasn’t?
  • There are five different rollouts of RESTORE Bucket 1. Which Gulf State’s Bucket 1 path did the best?
  • Is the U.S. Treasury the agency you would put in charge of project approval in a future environmental disaster settlement?
  • Was the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) smart to partner with state and federal agencies instead of staffing up themselves in allocating the $2.5 billion criminal settlement funds?
  • Have Congress and state lawmakers underfunded natural resource agency staff handling the unprecedented surge of conservation funding?

This 1/2 day Symposium sponsored by Palacios Marine Agricultural Research (PMAR) promises to take a critical look at progress or lack thereof in maximizing this once in a lifetime opportunity. Each of the 5 Gulf States and NFWF will be given the opportunity to summarize their experience, accomplishments, and obstacles to success. Symposium outcomes will include a report to Congress, stakeholders, and state and federal partners outlining a more efficient path forward for the second half of this game.

6. Leveraging Cause and Sponsorship Marketing to Drive Agency Revenue

Contact: Spencer Griffith, Deputy Director, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, spencer.griffith@agfc.ar.gov

Type: Open Symposium


Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has developed an innovative sponsorship and cause marketing program that allows corporations to leverage the power of the connection to the agency brand, conservation and outdoor recreation in exchange for funds for agency projects. The program launched this Fiscal year and is on track to meet its goal of driving over a million dollars of new revenue to the agency. The agency has signed partners like John Deere, Fiocchi Ammunition, Pradco Outdoor Brands and is negotiations with many other private companies.

7. Research Highlights of the USDA NRCS Feral Swine Control Pilot Program (FSCP)

Contact: Mark Smith, Professor/Extension Specialist, Auburn University, mds0007@auburn.edu

Co-organizers: John M. Tomeček, Texas A&M University; Lacey Williamson, USDA NRCS; Mike Mengak, University of Georgia

Type: Invite Only


In response to the growing threat of feral swine to agriculture, native ecosystems, and human and animal health, the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program (FSCP) was established under the 2018 Farm Bill and implemented jointly by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS).  Total funding for the program was $75 million over the life of the 2018 Farm Bill split between APHIS and NRCS. NRCS obligated more than $33.9 million to local conservation partners via grants to develop feral swine control pilot projects in select portions of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. Each pilot project consisted broadly of three coordinated components including feral swine removal by APHIS, restoration efforts supported by NRCS and assistance to producers for feral swine control.  In addition to control programs, many local partners conducted monitoring and research activities to document and quantify the impacts of feral swine removal on improvements to agriculture, native systems, and human health within the context of their respective FSCP.  While all projects focused on feral swine removal, individual projects were delivered based on local needs and resource concerns.  These research and monitoring activities varied among pilot projects and included use of drones to measure and assess damage to agriculture production, monitoring of water quality in streams before and after feral swine removal, surveys of producers to determine the breadth and extent of damage, and camera surveys to examine wildlife response in the context of feral swine removal.  This symposium will showcase the research and monitoring results from select FSCP projects.

8. Southeast Conservation Lands of the Future – Collective Action Towards a Sustainable Landscape

Contact: Amanda Sesser, Fish and Wildlife Administrator, US Fish and Wildlife Service, amanda_sesser@fws.gov

Co-organizers: Rua Mordecai, Southeast Blueprint Coordinator and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Raleigh, NC; Katherine Smith, US Geological Survey Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

Type: Invite Only


The Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS) partnership is working toward a vision of connected lands and waters that support thriving fish and wildlife populations and improved quality of life for people. In support of that vision, SECAS is a highly effective collaborative initiated by SEAFWA state agencies that provides a robust partnership-based platform for agencies, organizations, and initiatives to create and implement a shared vision of the Southeast – one that will sustain natural and cultural resources, people, and communities. This half-day symposium is an important convening step of a multi-tiered approach envisioned to engage diverse sectors of the economy in implementing this landscape vision. Speakers will address questions such as: How do we engage a wide range of conservation professionals and technical experts to develop and buy into a model of collective action? How do we ensure a vitality of life for people, including underrepresented communities, while meeting the need of fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats? How can we better incorporate working lands in meeting both ecological and economic outcomes? Can we use the Southeast Conservation Blueprint for siting green energy projects that maintain a connected landscape of lands and waters? Speakers are yet to be determined.

The symposium will be moderated by students from the Minorities in Natural Resource Conservation (MINRC).

Following the presentations, a panel discussion comprised of the presenters, select SECAS Steering Committee Members and MINRC students will discuss future directions for the SECAS partnership, focusing on long-term sustainability of the southeastern landscape. This panel discussion will set the stage for continued dialogue within the partnership to guide future strategic direction, identify opportunities for voluntary, landscape-scale collaboration, and address barriers for working across organizational boundaries.

9. State Wide Forest Management and Planning

Contact: Casey Phillips, Forester, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, casey.phillips@ncwildlife.org

Co-organizers: Dr. Joe Roise, NC State University; Dr. Chris Moorman, NC State University; Gary Burger, SCDNR

Type: Open Symposium


The membership of the SEAFWA is faced with an ever-increasing demand to achieve wildlife habitat objectives in an efficient and fiscally responsible manner on the lands under their stewardship.  Alternative forest management strategies (e.g., timber harvest vs. carbon storage) have the potential to impact habitat for common focal species differently and with varying degrees of financial offsets.  The objective of this symposium would be to convey specific strategies and technologies that states are currently using to plan, evaluate, and improve forest management operations.  We would be soliciting representatives from the member states to speak on forest management and could include additional speakers if there are relevant open submissions.

10. U.S. Geological Survey Science to Support State Agency Needs for Aquatic and Fisheries Management

Contact: Suzanna Soileau, Outreach Coordinator, U.S. Geological Survey, ssoileau@usgs.gov

Co-organizers: Jenn Malpass, USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center;  Andrea Ostroff, USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center; Ryan Boyles, USGS Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

Type: Invite Only


U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists conduct cutting-edge research to provide resource managers the scientific information they need to protect, restore, and enhance our Nation’s fish and aquatic species and their habitats. This symposium will provide highlights of the breadth of USGS’s research related to fish and aquatic resources with a focus on how USGS research supports state managers. We anticipate presentations on topics such as species of conservation concern, effects of climate change, invasive species, disease, and environmental health.

Call for Abstracts now open | 05/16/2023 - 06/28/2023

The Call for Abstracts is now open and we are soliciting invited and contributed papers and posters. All abstracts must be submitted online by the deadline of June 28, 2023 at 7:00 PM (EDT). Please submit an abstract only if you plan to attend the meeting. All presenters, whether presenting in a symposium, oral, or poster session, are required to register and pay the applicable fees. Learn more and submit an abstract for consideration.

About the Scientific Program

The scientific program will consist of three types of sessions:

  • Organized Symposia – A series of integrated presentations that address aspects of a single topic or theme.
  • Contributed Oral Presentations – Individual oral presentations that are grouped into thematic sessions based on selected disciplines: Fisheries; Wildlife; Law Enforcement; Legal; and Marketing/R3/Communications.
  • Poster Presentations – 4’x4’ printed poster showcased as part of the Poster Session on Monday.

Learn more and submit an abstract for consideration.

Special Symposia Announced

We received a great response to the Call for Symposia and are pleased to announce that 10 symposia have been selected for inclusion in the program! Each symposia will comprise a number of integrated presentations that address aspects of a single topic or theme.

Symposia will be included as part of the technical program and will run concurrently with other technical sessions. All technical presentations within a special symposium, including those that have been invited, need to submit abstracts through the online call for papers portal.

Read their overviews and learn more here.

Responsibilities of Symposia Organizers

Organizers are responsible for coordinating with the Program Committee, planning their sessions, selecting instructors/presenters, moderating their sessions, and meeting all deadlines. SEAFWA does not pay registration fees, travel expenses, or honoraria for symposium organizers or presenters. All organizers and invited speakers are required to register for the conference and pay applicable fees.

Important Dates

  • Call for Abstracts for oral presentations and posters: Opens: May 16
  • Deadline to submit all abstracts (individual speakers within a symposium, general oral, and posters): June 28
  • Please submit an abstract only if you plan to attend the meeting. All presenters, whether presenting in a symposium, oral, or poster session, are required to register and pay the applicable fees.

Click here for details on peer-reviewed manuscripts

Sponsor & Exhibitor Opportunities

On behalf of the Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA), we invite you to participate as a sponsor or exhibitor! The 2023 Annual Meeting will be held October 15-18, 2023 in Corpus Christi, Texas. We hope you will be able to join us!

  1. Download the sponsor and exhibitor brochure to learn more, then
  2. Register online to participate 

About the Conference

The Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is a forum for the exchange of ideas and critical information regarding the management and protection of fish and wildlife resources primarily in the southeast. The conference attracts over 500 representatives from state and federal agencies, citizen’s organizations, universities, and private wildlife research groups, fisheries and wildlife scientists, agency enforcement personnel, and other natural resource-related organizations.

Questions About Exhibiting or Sponsoring? 

Contact Karen Forbes at (802) 865-5202 or karen@delaneymeetingevent.com.