Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
INNOKO: Refuge Manager Recieves Department of the Interior 2004 Safety Award of Merit
Alaska Region, April 5, 2004
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Bill Schaff, Refuge Manager of Innoko National Wildlife Refuge, headquartered at McGrath, Alaska, has received the Department of Interior's 2004 Safety Award of Merit for his outstanding contributions to the watercraft safety program. Bill is the Region 7 Watercraft Safety Coordinator and regional representative on the Service's Watercraft Safety Working Group. Bill, along with other members of the Working Group has, has significantly improved the Motorboat Operator Certification Course, the Motorboat Operator Certification Course, refresher training and additional specialized training modules. The Working Group has improved training materials and methods, instructor standards and equipment requirements. The Working Group has recently developed the Service's watercraft safety policy.

Bill's strengths and contributions to the Working Group have resulted from his long association with boating, beginning with his family sailing in Maine. In the 1980's he operated Service boats along the Washington coast and San Juan Islands while assigned to the Nisqually NWR. The Innoko Refuge is bordered and bisected by the Yukon, Innoko and Iditarod Rivers. Fourteen motorboats, plus canoes, kayaks and inflatables, plus two airplanes on floats are assigned to the 3.85 million acre Innoko Refuge, the fifth largest in the National Wildlife Refuge System. As the region's chief watercraft safety instructor, Bill brings to the Working Group his knowledge of Alaska's dependency on safe boats and safe operators in a variety of waterways -- from the open oceans of the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas and the Gulf of Alaska with notorious weather and high energy beaches; to huge rivers and huge lakes; to numerous small ponds and sloughs, always with very cold and extremely remote water.

In Febrary 2004 Bill participated in three person instrutor team for the International Technical Assistance Program in the Philippines. He taught marine law enforcement and coastal navigation to state and federal game wardens.

Contact Info: Kristen Gilbert, 907-786-3391, Kristen_Gilbert@fws.gov
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