Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
PACIFIC SOUTHWEST REGION: 2014 Endangered Species Recovery Champions Announced
California-Nevada Offices , May 15, 2015
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Florence LaRiviere, San Francisco Bay, California, 2014 Recovery Champion.
Florence LaRiviere, San Francisco Bay, California, 2014 Recovery Champion. - Photo Credit: USFWS
Gary D. Wallace, Ph.D, Claremont, California, 2014 Recovery Champion.
Gary D. Wallace, Ph.D, Claremont, California, 2014 Recovery Champion. - Photo Credit: USFWS

By Pam Bierce

The story of endangered species conservation in the United States involves many heroes. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recognized 69 of these heroes for their outstanding efforts to conserve and protect endangered and threatened fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2014 Recovery Champions. Among the award winners honored for their work from the Pacific Southwest Region were two California residents, Florence LaRiviere and Dr. Gary Wallace.

"If we want to sustain the diversity and abundance of our nation's fish, wildlife and plants for future generations, we have to find places for them to coexist with humans on the landscape. That's why wildlife conservation is as much about working with people as it is about protecting animals and habitat," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. "The leaders we honor as Recovery Champions understand that crucial truth, and continue to build and strengthen partnerships with community leaders and institutions to make a real difference for imperiled wildlife."

Retired Service botanist Dr. Gary D. Wallace is recognized for his excellence in botany and conservation of numerous southern California flora. His efforts as a botanist and a research associate with Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden contributed to the conservation of many federally-listed plant taxa, especially Coachella Valley milk-vetch, Peirson's milk-vetch, ash-gray paintbrush, southern mountains wild buckwheat, willowy monardella, San Clemente Island lotus, and San Clemente Island paintbrush. With nearly five decades of experience with California flora, Dr. Wallace has made large contributions to plant systematics and nomenclature, plant and restoration ecology, and management and recovery of rare taxa.

Mrs. Florence LaRiviere is a Recovery Champion for her extensive efforts towards the protection of the tidal marsh ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay and the recovery of its associated species. In 1972, her personal dedication was instrumental to the establishment of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the nation's first urban national wildlife refuge. In 1985, she cofounded and led the Citizens’ Committee to Complete the Refuge which tirelessly fought and ultimately succeeded in more than doubling the size of the refuge. Mrs. LaRiviere's pioneering efforts to establish this first ever “friends” group in support of a national wildlife refuge is a model for what a friends group can accomplish.

“Florence and Gary are examples for all of us,” said Ren Lohoefener, Regional Director of the Pacific Southwest Region. “Their unselfish, long-term, and unflagging efforts to protect and recover threatened and endangered species serve the species, the environment, and our future. It is a pleasure to recognize Gary and Florence as champions of conservation.”

The Recovery Champion awards began in 2002 as a recognition program for Service staff members for their achievements in conserving listed species. In 2007, the program was expanded to honor Service partners, recognizing their essential role in the recovery of threatened and endangered species.

For information about the 2014 Recovery Champions, please visit http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/recovery-champions/

Pam Bierce is a public affairs officer at the Pacific Southwest Regional Office in Sacramento, California. 

2014 Endangered Species Recovery Champions
Contact Info: Pam Bierce, 916-414-6542, pamela_bierce@fws.gov
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