Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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March 2013

Tom Melius

Celebration and Great Work Through Challenging Times

As we persevere through the seasonal changes of the last gasps of winter and the equally challenging economic climate, I’m pleased to report that the warmth of success continues, thanks to the hard and dedicated work of each of you.

One such warm spot was the recent celebration of a huge milestone -- the 110th anniversary of our National Wildlife Refuge System and the successful launch of newly redesigned websites for all 67 refuge field stations in our region. The launch of these new sites began nearly a year ago and was no small effort -- the result of teamwork and coordination between our refuge field staff and the External Affairs office.

We also celebrated with our Director, Dan Ashe, one of the many fruitful partnerships that are the cornerstone of our success.  Dan joined us for a visit to the Regional Office and capped off the trip by attending Pheasant Fest. Pheasants Forever celebrated its 30th Anniversary at this event and our collaborations have brought about conservation to literally thousands of acres of vital habitat for wildlife.

Great Lakes Days also offered us a chance to recognize more successful collaborative work going on through partnerships to enhance fish, wildlife and their habitat across this region. The impacts economically and recreationally for this key resource are tremendous and our success has continued, thanks to dedicated work by so many of our employees in the field. I have great faith in all of you to continue this work and I understand the needs we face through these still challenging times.

Surrogate species continues to draw attention both within and outside of the Fish and Wildlife Service. I remind those of you who have not already provided feedback on the Draft Guidance on Selecting Species for Design of Landscape-scale Conservation, that the deadline has been extended for comments to March 29. Your feedback is valuable to us in guiding our progress to better understand what the surrogate species approach to conservation will look like for the Region and the Service.

We’ll be working closely in the coming months with our state partners to identify surrogate species and improve upon our processes along the way with time and patience. And I’m confident our results will be high-value despite limited dollars. This is a work in progress, but one I’m excited about.

As we all press onward despite the many unknowns that have challenged us, from sequester to budget uncertainty, I couldn't be more proud of the professional work and adaptability I see constantly from people throughout the Region. I salute your effort and longstanding ability to step up to these challenges and navigate through change victoriously.

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Last updated: March 26, 2013