Regional Director Tom Melius. Photo by USFWS.
Last week I had a great opportunity to visit with our refuge project leaders and staff at their meeting in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The meeting brought together staff from across the region and from the regional office to share information, provide updates and network with each other. It was also nice to see Cynthia Martinez, Acting Refuge Chief join us from Headquarters. I appreciate working with her and I’m glad she was able to visit our region and interact with so many of our refuge managers.
It was also a pleasure at the meeting to present the Meritorious Service Award to a totally surprised Dale Pittman. Dale, who many of you know as our regional Heavy Equipment Coordinator, was recognized with this award –one of the Department of the Interior’s highest honors– for his vision and national leadership on equipment management and operator safety <learn more here>.
This is budget season and while we will have to wait and see how well our 2016 budget released earlier this week is received by Congress, our current budget will keep us moving forward on a number of fronts. Since we can’t do everything, it is always helpful to have priorities to focus our conservation efforts. Going forward, we will emphasize the following priorities across all programs. We will continue to:
- Focus on strategic and adaptive conservation on the ground and stay flexible in how we implement Strategic Habitat Conservation and surrogate species;
- Manage the trust species that we are charged to protect and legal mandates that we uphold;
- Keep the Great Lakes great and keep the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative strong and relevant locally;
- Work closely with our tribal and state partners, who care as much as we do about conservation;
- Share our successes and our relevance by reaching out to people where they are and helping them see the impact and value of our work; and
- Support a positive work experience for all employees so that everyone can see where they fit into our successes and feel that they can effect positive change.
Thank you again for all that you do.
Before we know it, Spring will be upon us with warmer temperatures and melting snow. It’s time to get ready for another exciting field season and to plant those milkweed seeds many of us collected last year. Learn more about how to prepare and plant them <here>.
Please enjoy this issue of Inside Region 3!
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