One of the latest trending themes in the Fish in Wildlife Service is for employees to answer the question “How will you leave your legacy?”
The many answers can be found by searching the #LeaveYourLegacy across our various social media sites.
Every 3 years the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes an employee, or group of employees, for collaborating with partners to promote ecosystem sustainability while meeting the requirements for our nation’s ever changing transportation needs. This recognition is called the Environmental Stewardship Excellence Award. In order to be considered for the award, an individual or group has to be nominated, and then a panel of judges assesses the nominations and selects a winner.
This year we are excited to announce the winner is Phillip DeGarmo of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Kentucky Field Office. He was nominated by co-worker Virgil Lee Andrews, also from the Kentucky Field office, for his work on the Programmatic Consultation and Conservation Memorandum of Agreement for Effects on the Indiana Bat. This involved transportation projects within Kentucky; therefore DeGarmo collaborated with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and the Federal Highway Administration’s Kentucky Division (FHWA) to develop this program.
The program was developed to meet requirements of the Endangered Species Act related to the Indiana bat as well as complete transportation projects in Kentucky in an efficient manner. Indiana Bats have a large range throughout Kentucky, which is why collaboration among the USFWS, KYTC, and FHWA is so important to successfully complete transportation projects and ensure bat protection. Previous methods of collaboration among the partners left room for improvement and DeGarmo stepped in to do just that.
The new programmatic process ensures that ecosystem and Indiana bat habitat concerns are integrated into transportation planning and project development processes— without delaying the process. More specifically, the program actively promotes avoidance (when possible) and minimizes impacts to Indiana Bats and their habitat early in the developmental stages so that the process runs smoothly for all parties involved.
Additional opportunities such as, voluntary contributions to the Indiana Bat Conservation Fund (IBCF), which funds habitat conservation, restoration, and priority monitoring and research projects for the Indiana bat, are also available through this new process. To date, funding in the IBCF has contributed to the purchase of protected Indiana bat habitat throughout Kentucky, as well as to the installation of gates to restrict human access at critical hibernation sites.
Phillip DeGarmo’s 2013 Environmental Stewardship Excellence Award will now be part of his Legacy left with the service. Congratulations to Mr. DeGarmo, and thank you for your hard work!