Congratulations to the Recipients of the
2006 North American Waterfowl Management Plan Awards!

In March 2007, the international Plan Committee members selected one conservation professional to receive its prestigious International Canvasback Award for 2006, and the U.S. members of the Plan Committee selected two state wildlife agencies as the 2006 recipients of the esteemed National Great Blue Heron Award:

David A. Smith

International Canvasback Award Recipient

Mr. David A. Smith
David Smith joined the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the early 1970’s and contributed in various capacities towards the conservation of wetland habitats and their associated wildlife for more than three decades. His most recent service was as the Chief of the Division of Bird Habitat Conservation (Division), from 1998 to his retirement in February 2007. David joined this office as a wetlands habitat specialist in 1991, when it was still named the North American Waterfowl and Wetlands Office. At that time, David aided the conservation community’s recognition and embracing of the goals and strategies of the then-nascent North American Waterfowl Management Plan (Plan). He also provided guidance and support to the original joint ventures, spurred the development of additional ones, and was a primary author on the first 5-year update of the Plan.

David’s tenure as Division Chief coincided with a period of significant change and growth in bird conservation; his visionary leadership kept the Service and its partnership programs at the forefront of that movement. He successfully worked to change the office’s name, reflecting its and its partners’ broader goals of incorporating the needs of all bird groups, in addition to waterfowl, into habitat conservation efforts. His involvement in the formation of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative further advanced such goals. As the Coordinator for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (Act)’s Council, David helped to manage the rapid growth of the Act’s Grants Program as its appropriations increased from $11 million to more than $40 million annually! David also helped to develop and facilitate a new grants program in the Division through the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act, expanding the funding available for migratory bird conservation to partners in both North and Latin America.

As the Plan Committee’s U.S. Co-chair, David collaborated with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts and with the waterfowl community at large. He was instrumental in helping to advance waterfowl science, support the growth of joint ventures and regional alliances, and produce the 1998 and 2004 updates to the Plan, as well as the comprehensive Continental Assessment in 2005-2006.

David Smith successfully filled many roles from one desk, and did so with deep humility, integrity, and vision, for the benefit of waterfowl and other migratory birds throughout the Western Hemisphere.

David A. Smith will receive his award at a time and place of his choosing in the near future.

National Great Blue Heron Award Recipients – United States

Colorado Division of Wildlife
The Colorado Division of Wildlife (Division) has been a steadfast leader in conserving wetland habitats throughout the state, and is being honored with a National Great Blue Heron Award in special recognition of its Colorado Wetlands Program. This program, created in 1997 and first named the “Wetlands Initiative,” began as a collaboration between the Colorado Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife and Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Ducks Unlimited, Inc., Great Outdoors Colorado, and The Nature Conservancy. Over the past 10 years, the Division has dedicated a significant level of funding and staff-time to help mature and grow the program. The Division also has been effective at expanding the program’s partnership base to include many private landowners, municipalities, and other state and federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations—together known as the Colorado Wetlands Partnership.

The Colorado Wetlands Program has been a model for innovative, cooperative conservation. Its success lies, in large part, in the Division’s leveraging of partner funds with State funds at a ratio of 4:1 to conserve and restore wetland habitats on private and public lands. As of 2005, the Division helped to leverage a total of $70 million in partner funds to support 700 projects at 500 important sites throughout the State. Partners have protected approximately 187,500 acres of wetlands and associated uplands through the acquisition of fee title or conservation easements, and have restored another 62,500 acres. More than 200 miles of streams have also been protected or restored.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife will receive its award at a time and place of its choosing in the near future.

North Dakota Game and Fish Department
North Dakota has been, and remains, one of the most important waterfowl breeding areas in North America. Successful implementation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (Plan)’s goals and strategies in this State has been due, in large part, to the significant leadership and efforts of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department (Department) from the beginning. The Department is a strong supporter of the Prairie Pothole and Northern Great Plains Joint Ventures. It also led the formation of the very successful North Dakota Action Group, a coordinating body comprised of various agencies and organizations that is committed to promoting and achieving Plan goals in the State. Since 1990, the Department has provided this group with a staff person to lead and oversee the group’s development and activities.

The Department also has been a leader and/or contributor on many projects carried out in the State with North American Wetlands Conservation Act (Act) funding. Since the early 1990’s, the Department has provided the Act’s Council with a technical staff person; recently, the Department’s Director agreed to serve on the Council and represent the Prairie Pothole Region, as his now-retired South Dakota counterpart did for many years before him. In the past 15 years, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department has contributed more than $10 million in matching partner funds on tens of Act-supported projects, resulting in the protection, restoration, or enhancement of more than 900,000 acres of waterfowl habitat. This level of support is bringing long-term, regionally significant benefits to not only waterfowl but to all other migratory birds in the State and larger Prairie Pothole Region as well.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department will receive its award in July 2007 at the joint meeting of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee and the North American Wetlands Conservation Council in Bismarck, North Dakota

National Great Blue Heron Award Recipients – Canada

Selection in progress. Stay tuned…

Last updated: November 10, 2009