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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Keynote Presentation at Madrean Archipelago Border Conference

Region 2, May 1, 2012
William Radke, Refuge Manager of the San Bernardino and Leslie Canyon NWRs in the southwest borderlands, assisting with research on rare gila monster lizard.
William Radke, Refuge Manager of the San Bernardino and Leslie Canyon NWRs in the southwest borderlands, assisting with research on rare gila monster lizard. - Photo Credit: n/a
Leslie Canyon NWR semi-desert desert grasslands with Castle Dome and the Chiricahua Mountains in background.
Leslie Canyon NWR semi-desert desert grasslands with Castle Dome and the Chiricahua Mountains in background. - Photo Credit: n/a

Bill Radke, Refuge Manager of the San Bernardino and Leslie Canyon NWRs in the southwest borderlands region, gave the keynote presentation at the Madrean Archipelago Conference in Tucson Arizona on May 4. With a thought-provoking and humorous style, Bill conveyed the many challenges he faces managing refuges on the border amid intensive border control and anti-narcotic law enforcement efforts, which often threaten the biological integrity of these ecosystems. He highlighted the rich biodiversity of the Sky Islands Region and outlined how as a trusted conservation leader, he has effectively worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, adjacent ranchers, the Malpai Borderlands Group, and governmental and NGO partners across the region to achieve important conservation outcomes. They include conservation of Threatened and Endangered (T&E) desert fish, reptiles, plants, and collaborative restoration of rare wetland habitats. Having grown up in the Arizona Sonoran Desert, Bill spent the past 28 years working at 11 different wildlife refuges in 5 western states. Bill speaks with unyielding confidence and passion when discussing conservation issues. Bill’s extensive experience in this area has allowed him to provide clarity to this complex conservation landscape, where he has championed and enabled interagency collaborative efforts with the US Department of Homeland Security and also through international conservation partnerships.

 

The conference was co-sponsored by the Southwest Region of the USFWS and attended by more than 300 researchers, land managers, and students. It focused on climate change, applied science and management of wetlands, exotic species, T&E species, and fire in the diverse sociopolitical context of the US-Mexico border. Strong FWS participation was evident at many levels with contributions across programs including Refuges, Desert Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC), Migratory Birds, Sonoran Joint Ventures, and Ecological Services. The technical report of the proceedings from Bill’s presentation and this conference will be available soon. This conference is one example of conservation science delivery the Desert LCC hopes to continue to lead and support.

Contact Info: Jose Viramontes, 505.248.6406, jose_viramontes@fws.gov