Newsroom
Midwest Region

 

NEWS RELEASE
March 18, 2011

Contact: Vanessa Kauffman
703-358-2138
vanessa_kauffman@fws.gov

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Endangered Species Recovery Champion Awards

Three Midwesterners Receive Awards


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced 29 recipients of the 2010 Recovery Champion award honoring Service staff members and their partners-in-mission for conserving endangered and threatened species.  

The annual Recovery Champion award recognizes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and their partners for contributions to the recovery of threatened and endangered species in the United States.   Recognized from the Midwest for their work in 2010 were Dr. Marian Smith, Distinguished Professor of Research at Southern Illinois University; and Service employees Lucinda Ochoada and Linda Nichols.

“Recovery Champions are leaders in the conservation of endangered and threatened species of plants and animals across the United States and beyond its borders,” said Acting Director Rowan Gould. “It is a true measure of a commitment to protect our nation’s biological heritage for future generations by working to recover our imperiled species of fish and wildlife and plants and the ecosystems on which they depend.”

Dr. Smith was recognized for her leadership in accomplishing recovery actions and moving the threatened decurrent false aster toward recovery.  She has conducted extensive research on the species’ life history, artificial propagation and seed storage.  Over the past two decades, Dr. Smith has become the world’s leading authority on decurrent false aster, and has fostered partnerships among academic, government and private organizations to recover the species.

“Dr. Smith is a pioneer in plant recovery in the Midwest,” said Tom Melius, the Service’s Midwest Regional Director.  “Her expertise and dedication to plant conservation have helped all the partners make great strides toward recovering the decurrent false aster, and toward understanding other at-risk plant species.”

Ochoada and Nichols are members of the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Division in Fort Snelling, Minnesota, which coordinates federal grants to states for a variety of conservation work, including efforts to recover endangered and threatened species.  They were recognized for assisting the State of Ohio in securing a $1.8 million land acquisition grant to benefit the species.  Enough habitat was acquired through the grant that the Service achieved the recovery goals and was able to propose removal of Endangered Species Act protection for the threatened Lake Erie watersnake.

“The efforts of Lucinda Ochoada and Linda Nichols capped a 10-year effort to protect Lake Erie watersnake habitat” said Melius.  “Through their combined skill and dedication, and their ability to work with partners, essential habitat for the Lake Erie watersnake will be protected, and the future of the species assured.”

From the Mauna Loa silversword in Hawaii and Railroad Valley springfish in Nevada to the Canada lynx in Maine and rabbitsfoot mussel in the rivers of Alabama, Recovery Champions are taking action to protect these species. It is the Service employees and partners, including tribes, state conservation agencies, universities and private organizations, as well as zoos and land trusts, who are the extraordinary individuals making a difference.

This year, for the first time, an international organization, Japan’s Yamashina Institute for Ornithology, has been selected a Recovery Champion for achievements on behalf of the short-tailed albatross, a seabird that spends time in Alaska and migrates in the North Pacific.  

Restoring streams, breeding species in captivity and releasing them into their historic ranges, conducting field surveys and monitoring programs, and negotiating the complex world of Federal financial standards to administer a land acquisition grant for the Lake Erie watersnake in Ohio are among the initiatives of this year’s Recovery Champions.

For information about the 2010 recovery champions, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Champion website at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/recovery-champions/index.html.



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 http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.

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 www.fws.gov.

-FWS-


2010 Recovery Champions

Region 1
Special Agent Keith Swindle
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Honolulu, Hawaii
Newell’s shearwater

Robert Robichaux, Ph.D.
Hawaiian Silversword Foundation
Volcano, Hawaii
Mauna Loa silversword

Region 2
Bill Radke
San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge
Douglas, Arizona
Yaqui chub

Patrick Valentino
The Mexican Wolf Fund
San Francisco, California
Mexican wolf

Region 3
Marian Smith, Ph.D.
Southern Illinois University, Retired
Edwardsville, Illinois
Decurrent false aster

Linda Nichols
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Ft. Snelling, Minnesota
Lake Erie watersnake

Lucinda Ochoada
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Ft. Snelling, Minnesota
Lake Erie watersnake

Region 4
Bob Butler
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Asheville, North Carolina
Freshwater mussels

Misty Buchanan
North Carolina Natural Heritage Program
Raleigh, North Carolina
Rough-leaf loosestrife

Region 4 and Region 5
Steve Ahlstedt
U. S. Geological Survey, Retired
Norris, Tennessee
Freshwater mussels

Region 5
Mark McCollough, Ph.D.
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Orono, Maine
Canada lynx

Lindsay Webb
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department                                                                                                                    
Concord, New Hampshire
Karner blue butterfly

Heidi Holman
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department                                                                                                                    
Concord, New Hampshire
Karner blue butterfly

Steven Fuller, Ph.D.
Wildlife Management Institute
Weare, New Hampshire
Karner blue butterfly

Region 6
Group Award
Connie Mueller
Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge
Kenmare, North Dakota
Piping plover

Kirsten Brennan
Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge
Kenmare, North Dakota
Piping plover

Michael Rabenberg
Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Moffit, North Dakota
Piping plover


Region 6
Group Award (cont.)
Craig Hultberg
Audubon National Wildlife Refuge
Coleharbor, North Dakota
Piping plover

Brent Jamison
Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Medicine Lake, Montana
Piping plover

Eric Rosenquist
The Nature Conservancy
Center, North Dakota
Piping plover

Partner-in Mission
Dan Carney
Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife
Browning, Montana
Grizzly bear

Region 7
Yamashina Institute for Ornithology
Chiba , Japan
Short-tailed albatross

Neesha Stellrecht
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Fairbanks, Alaska
Steller’s eider, spectacled eider

Region 8
Sandy Vissman
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Carlsbad, California
San Clemente loggerhead shrike

Group Award, Partner-in-Mission
Virginia Sanchez
Duckwater Shoshone Tribe   
Duckwater, Nevada
Railroad Valley springfish

Group Award, Partner-in-Mission
Jerry Millett
Duckwater Shoshone Tribe   
Duckwater, Nevada
Railroad Valley springfish

Lisa George-Millet
Duckwater Shoshone Tribe   
Duckwater, Nevada
Railroad Valley springfish

Annette George
Duckwater Shoshone Tribe   
Duckwater, Nevada
Railroad Valley springfish

Michael Mace
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Escondido, California
California condor and light-footed clapper rail

 

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 www.fws.gov.

Connect with our Facebook page at facebook.com/usfwsmidwest, follow our tweets at twitter.com/usfwsmidwest, watch our YouTube Channel at youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at flickr.com/photos/usfwsmidwest.

Last updated: November 4, 2013