Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

October 9, 2007

Contact:  Bill Noonan 303-969-7322, x272

               Barb Perkins 303-236-4588

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Presents National Blue Heron Award

to the Colorado Division of Wildlife

 

Stephen Guertin, Acting Regional Director of the Mountain-Prairie Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will present the National Blue Heron Award to the Colorado Division of Wildlife (Division) at its Wildlife Commission Meeting scheduled for October 11 in Sterling, Colorado.

 

The prestigious National Blue Heron Award, sponsored by the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, recognizes outstanding contributions toward the conservation of waterfowl habitat.  This year, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and North Dakota Game and Fish Department received the award.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife 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 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 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 548 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.

 

- FWS -