FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2002
New Orleans, LA: In New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 6, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceís (Service) Southeast Regional Director Sam D. Hamilton presented a Regional Directorís Conservation Award to The Conservation Fund, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. Since its founding in 1985, the Fund, a nonprofit organization, has helped to safeguard wildlife habitat, greenways, and historic sites totaling over 3 million acres nationwide.
Regional Directorís Conservation Awards are given annually to people or organizations that are making extraordinary contributions to natural resources and their management in the Southeast, particularly those for which the Service has a responsibility. The award was presented during the Service's annual Southeast Project Leadersí Meeting at the Hampton Inn and Suites on Convention Center Boulevard in New Orleans.
ďAs a symbol of The Conservation Fundís value and esteem by the Fish and Wildlife Service, I am proud to present this Conservation Award,Ē said Hamilton. Accepting the award was Lawrence Selzer, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Conservation Fund.
In the Southeast Region, The Conservation Fundís contributions include furnishing money and manpower to acquire and hold properties for eventual transfer to the Service. In Louisiana, The Fund has been able to acquire more than 20,000 acres on the Serviceís behalf. In Florida, The Fund was able to purchase, on the Serviceís behalf, nearly $14 million in coastal lands to preserve sea turtle nesting habitat and to provide a necessary buffer to the nationís first national wildlife refuge. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, The Fund assisted the Service in expanding the home of the largest nesting population of leatherback sea turtles.
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 that encompasses more than 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices, and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores national significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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