Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2010 North American Waterfowl Management Plan Awards!
International Canvasback Award Recipients
Seth Mott has helped to shape or facilitate every major U.S. and international initiative under NAWMP since 1999. He has done so with clarity of thought, respect and consideration of his peers, equanimity, and tact.
In 1999, Mott became the lead for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the NAWMP, helping to coordinate the work of the migratory bird and habitat Joint Ventures under the Plan. As the Service’s Branch Chief for Science and Planning in the Division of Bird Habitat Conservation from 2003 to 2010, Mott built on his Joint Venture experience and expanded his purview to national and international matters.
Mott’s leadership roles have included work on the 2004 Update of the North American Plan; the first-ever Continental Assessment of NAWMP (2005-2007); the Joint Task Group on Plan Goals and Harvest Management (2006-2007), the 2008 Workshop on the Future of Waterfowl Management; and current efforts to fundamentally revise the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Through all those major international initiatives, Mott has played a leading role.
During his tenure at the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Conservation, Mott was recognized for his skill in working effectively with people, in addition to his biological knowledge. He advanced swiftly from a biologist position to Chief of Game for the state. From 1989-99, Seth served as Assistant Joint Venture Coordinator of the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture, where he was instrumental in developing an innovative program that provided exemplary leadership among the joint ventures.
Dr. W. Alan Wentz recently retired as Chief Conservation Officer of Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU), capping a long career dedicated to wildlife conservation, most of it focused on North American waterfowl and their habitats.
As Chief Conservation Officer from 1994-2010, Wentz provided leadership to DU’s conservation efforts throughout the United States, encompassing approximately 270 staff and an annual budget (most generated by the department under his direction) of approximately $95 million.
Under Wentz’s leadership, DU conserved 3.8 million acres in the U.S. - nearly 90 percent of DU’s total acreage accomplishments since its U.S. conservation program began in 1984. Wentz provided primary leadership in international conservation collaboration with DU’s sister organizations, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico, to conserve waterfowl habitats throughout North America. He also directed the development of DU’s Conservation Vision and Priorities in 2007.
Wentz was one of the first members appointed to the North American Wetlands Conservation Council when it was established in 1990. He returned to the Council in 1996 and was an active member for the next 14 years. His wisdom, foresight and institutional memory have been invaluable in guiding the Council’s oversight of over $1 billion for continental wetland conservation and maintaining the confidence of Congress and hundreds of NAWCA partners.
National Blue-winged Teal Award Recipients
Carey Smith has been the Pacific Coast Joint Venture’s (PCJV) U.S. Coordinator since 1991. He has had an enormous impact on waterfowl and wetlands conservation nationally and locally. Smith pioneered a joint venture focusing on results through inclusive partnerships, effectively using JV funding to leverage large-scale land conservation and habitat restoration.
Smith is skilled at recognizing effective partnership strategies. By establishing coordinators in each of the PCJV’s five states, he has ensured that partners are able to regularly attend meetings to discuss funding, planning, and collaboration opportunities.
Smith has recognized time-sensitive opportunities, providing funds for critical assessments or other activities that would make or break a habitat project. His expertise and assistance with North American Wetlands Conservation Act and National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Act grants is invaluable to Pacific Coast JV partners, who have secured, restored or enhanced approximately 850,000 acres from 1991-2009, and significant acres continue to be added annually. This represents thousands of projects and nearly $1.4 billion in partner funds.
Carl Madsen is recognized as the “Father of the Private Lands Program” by many – a moniker influenced by his work ranging from the Mid-Continent Waterfowl Management Project championing waterfowl management on private lands at a large scale to work at the national level for the NAWMP. With the help of conservation groups, non-government organizations and private landowners, the project became a model for cooperative conservation and the progenitor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.
Following his work with the Partners program, Madsen moved to a position with the NAWMP, where he helped to expand the Plan’s vision to include the National Association of Conservation Districts as a partner in Plan implementation, establishing thousands of local conservation districts as partners in wetlands conservation projects.
Before retiring from the Fish and Wildlife Service, Madsen established the South Dakota Partners for Wildlife Program, where he continued to find ways to improve private land conservation in concert with profitable agriculture and innovate in matching limited local partner funds with North American Wetland Conservation Act funds to protect and restore the best of the best waterfowl habitat remaining in North America.
California Waterfowl Association
Over the past 20 years, the California Waterfowl Association has protected, restored or enhanced more than 370,000 acres of wetland, riparian, and association grassland habitats, supporting millions of resident and migrating waterfowl in California and the Pacific Flyway.
CWA was awarded its first North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant in 1997 and has since completed 22 grant projects, totaling $20.9 million in grant funds and $8.7 million in nonfederal matching funds, throughout California.
Despite only having a staff of seven habitat biologists, CWA has worked creatively with many different agencies and foundations to accomplish the goals and objectives of individual Joint Ventures and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
National Blue-winged Teal Award Recipient – Canada
Ken Ross has a long history of involvement and achievement with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Throughout his 30-year career with Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service, Ross has focused on determining abundance, distribution, population trends, and habitat associations of waterfowl breeding across Ontario. He has surveyed virtually all of Ontario's shorelines, from the Great Lakes to James and Hudson Bay to Lake of the Woods, and much of the boreal forest, collecting valuable data on breeding and migrating waterfowl.
Ross is particularly noted for his long association with scientific studies of the American black duck, for being a member of the Black Duck Joint Venture since its inception in 1989 and for co-chairing its Technical Committee from 1997-2009. In 1985, he developed experimental helicopter-based plot surveys for breeding black ducks and other early nesters. In the 1990s operational surveys began which have evolved into the current Eastern Waterfowl Survey.
Ross's survey work has helped to fill substantial gaps in understanding of the numbers and distribution of black ducks in Canada, which has directly influenced international conservation and management programs for this species.
Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust (DFWT)
Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust was established in 1993 by a group of local farmers and conservationists with an interest in conserving agricultural and wildlife resources in Delta, British Columbia.
As a non-profit organization with a mission to promote the preservation of farmland and wildlife habitat on the lower Fraser River Delta near Greater Vancouver, BC, DFWT ensures that land will continue to be available for food production and wildlife conservation well into the future by providing solutions to farmers that are compatible with their crop rotations.
DFWT has several Stewardship Programs aimed at increasing habitat and forage for wintering and migrating waterfowl in an area increasingly converted to intensive agriculture. Programs creating grassland set-asides and cover crops have provided forage for thousands of waterfowl that rely on this NAWMP priority area for wintering, staging and migrating. In the Fraser River Delta, these species and tens of thousands of wintering snow geese can often be found feeding on winter cover crops, thanks to the DFWT's innovative efforts, such as providing cost-share payments to local farmers to undertake these activities.