Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Endangered Species Recovery Champion Awards Announced for Pacific Southwest Region

Mar 18, 2011

March 18, 2011

Contact: Erica Szlosek (916) 978-6159

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Endangered Species
Recovery Champion Awards for Pacific Southwest Region

SACRAMENTO -- The Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced their three awardees of the agency’s 2010 Recovery Champion Award Sandy Vissman (Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office), Michael Mace (Curator of Birds at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park), and members of the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe (Virginia Sanchez, Jerry Millett, Jerry Millett) of Duckwater, Nevada.

“Recovery Champions are true leaders in the conservation of our most imperiled species,” said Ren Lohoefener, Regional Director of the Pacific Southwest Region. “Working together we are protecting our nation’s biological heritage.  We are honored to recognize their accomplishments; their many years of dedicated stewardship, strong partnership skills, and the in-depth knowledge they have provided to endangered species recovery in our region.”

Service employee Sandy Vissman was selected for her work as lead biologist with the San Clemente Loggerhead Strike Recovery Team. Under her leadership the population of this rare bird has grown, and she has forged important partnerships with conservation organizations and agencies. Implementation of the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike program is especially complicated by the remote nature of the one place where the birds are found. Vissman has overcome these obstacles and shown that results are truly achievable.

Michael Mace, curator of Birds at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is also receiving an award today for his work in helping to recover the California condor and light-footed clapper rail. His efforts have made a marked difference to these bird populations. Today there are nearly 200 condors in the wild. This would not have been possible without Mace’s strong conservation actions starting more than 30 years ago. When the survival of the condors was in question, he advocated for capturing the last wild condors to start a captive-bred population with the vision of returning these birds to the wild.   
 Our third recovery champion is the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe. They have partnered with us and an interagency team to preserve and restore habitat of two Railroad Valley springfish. Ultimately the tribe has become the fish’s biggest champions. They have worked tirelessly to restore, protect and reintroduce the fish. Key members of the tribe developed a public education program that meant they visited each tribal member’s home to talk to them about what needed to be done to recover the species.

For information about the 2010 recovery champions, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Champion website at: Photos are available on Flickr:

America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. To learn more about the Service’s Endangered Species program, go to

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit