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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228


March 23, 2007

Contacts:          Barb Perkins, 303/236-4588
                          Valerie Fellows, 202/208-3008
                          Dave Harrelson 703/358-2361 

Rob Holm, Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery, Receives U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2006 Recovery Champion Award 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall announced the sixteen recipients of the Service’s 2006 National Recovery Champion award. The Recovery Champion award recognizes outstanding contributions of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and their partners toward efforts aimed at recovering threatened and endangered species in the United States. 

Rob Holm, Project Leader at the Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery, near Riverdale, North Dakota, was selected as one of the national winners.  Holm was recognized for his contributions to pallid sturgeon recovery.  Through Holm’s leadership and expertise, significant steps have been made in the development of propagation methods that have contributed to the knowledge of pallid sturgeons and significantly increased the chances for its recovery.   

Holm acknowledged, “There are a lot of folks out there who have worked hard behind the scenes bringing together the pieces crucial to pallid recovery, and I view this award as one we all have a share in.” 

The endangered pallid sturgeon is an ancient fish that can grow up to 6 feet long and weigh 85 pounds.  Dam construction, habitat alterations, and over-fishing are major causes of the pallid sturgeon's decline in the past 50 years. Historically, this fish was found in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and their major tributaries.  Currently, it is found only in the Missouri River, the Mississippi River downstream of the Missouri River, the lower Yellowstone River, and Atchafalaya River.  Current range-wide populations are estimated at 6,000-10,000.  

“The Recovery Champion award not only recognizes the exceptional conservation accomplishments of the honorees, it also provides the public with a unique opportunity to learn about endangered species conservation,” said Hall.  “These Recovery Champions are extraordinary conservationists dedicated to protecting and restoring our nation’s wildlife and ensuring that future generations of Americans enjoy the natural treasures we experience today.” 

The 2006 Recovery Champion honorees’ contributions to the conservation of our natural heritage benefit a broad range of endangered and threatened plants and animals.  From manatees to mussels, Service employees and their partners have been working to recover our nation’s most imperiled wildlife.  Habitat protection, public awareness campaigns, and the development of cutting-edge technology to achieve captive breeding success are just a few examples of this year’s Recovery Champion honorees’ efforts. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. 

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