News Release

Maine Refuge staff recognized for science excellence

April 11, 2013

Contacts:
Tylar Greene, 413-253-8329, tylar_greene@fws.gov

The Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge is one of the recipients of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Rachel Carson Awards for Scientific Excellence for 2012.

The Rachel Carson Awards are bestowed for providing key scientific support for new and innovative conservation initiatives and efforts on behalf of federal, state, and private conservation organizations. The awards are given in two categories, individual and group.

The 2012 Rachel Carson Group Award was presented to the staff at Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge, who are engaged in landscape-scale collaborative science to better protect and manage migratory seabirds in the Gulf of Maine. Many of these focal species breed nowhere else in the U.S. and threats from climate change and offshore energy development threaten the long-term viability of species such as Atlantic puffin, razorbill and Arctic terns. In addition, the coastline of Maine has been ranked as an excellent or outstanding wind resource area by the Department of Energy. By 2020, the State of Maine hopes to establish five gigawatts of wind power capacity, with a portion of that coming from large offshore wind facilities. The refuge has been collaborating with partners in gathering the data necessary to assist in guiding future offshore development, so as to reduce potential impacts to sensitive habitats and species.

"I am so proud of our team," said Refuge Manager Beth Goettel. "They work many long days and really go above and beyond to try to find answers to difficult questions. It's not easy trying to figure out where seabirds forage or how songbirds and bats migrate through the Gulf of Maine, but our biologists are always trying new techniques. Various types of tracking equipment is finally getting small and light enough to work on birds; it’s a very exciting time."

The Service’s Science Leadership and Rachel Carson Awards for Scientific Excellence were established to recognize that effective wildlife management and conservation is founded on innovative scientific inquiry and principles. As the Service faces even more complex challenges in the realms of habitat loss and climate change, the value of current scientific information is rapidly increasing. The awards are meant to recognize the outstanding efforts of the agency’s scientists and technical staff.

As a result of being recognized with the prestigious award, the refuge will receive $50,000 to advance their scientific work. The Service’s science awards are part of an ongoing effort to strengthen the agency’s use of science in guiding fish and wildlife conservation.

For more information about Science Awards winners and the Service’s commitment to scientific excellence, visit: http://www.fws.gov/science/index.html

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