WESPEN Online Order Form print this page
US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

BAY-DELTA FWO: Service Biologists Proud Part of Delta Smelt Star Award Team

Region 8, September 26, 2011
Jennifer Norris and Matt Nobriga won a Star Award for their ongoing work on the delta smelt biological opinion in California.
Jennifer Norris and Matt Nobriga won a Star Award for their ongoing work on the delta smelt biological opinion in California. - Photo Credit: n/a

By Steve Martarano, Bay-Delta FWO

The Bay-Delta Fish & Wildlife Office (BDFWO) in Sacramento continues to play a major role in the protection of the endangered delta smelt. BDFWO Assistant Field Supervisor Jennifer Norris and Fish Biologist Matt Nobriga recently received Star Awards from Pacific Southwest Regional Manager Ren Lohoefener for their work on the delta smelt biological opinion.

The two Bay-Delta staff members were part of a team made up of Department of Interior Solicitors Jim Monroe and Kaylee Allen, and Lenny Grimaldo and Fred Feyrer, both with the Bureau of Reclamation. During the award presentation at a Pacific Southwest Region All Hands meeting on Sept. 26, 2011, Regional staff members were addressed by Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Rowan Gould, via phone from Washington, D.C., and Bureau of Reclamation Regional Director Don Glaser.

In December 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established court-ordered criteria for managing water flows through the Delta and issued a biological opinion that determined the effects of operating the state and federal water projects were putting the delta smelt at risk of extinction. Since then, there has been a series of court challenges on various aspects of the biological opinion, and earlier this year, Norris and Nobriga both testified before U.S District Court Judge Oliver Wanger in Fresno.

“Jennifer and Matt have performed outstandingly while working under intense pressure,” said BDFWO Field Supervisor Mike Chotkowski. “I am proud of the work ethic and professionalism they bring to the office every day in challenging circumstances.”

In the memo that began the award process, Dan Castleberry, Assistant Regional Director – Fisheries, for the Pacific Southwest Region, wrote “This award recognizes (Matt, Fred, Lenny, Jen, Jim, Kaylee) for their sustained hard work – often outside of normal office hours – in the summer of 2011; responding to multiple litigation challenges related to measures needed to protect the critically endangered delta smelt and its habitat. In addition to providing timely quality products, this award recognizes the ability to work as a team while under stress.”


Contact Info: Steve Martarano, 916-930-5643, steve_martarano@fws.gov