Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Wild pheasants can be seen across the Midwest and is just one species that benefit from prairie restoration. Photo courtesy of Mark Seton/Creative Commons.

Wild pheasants can be seen across the Midwest and is just one species that benefit from prairie restoration. Photo courtesy of Mark Seton/Creative Commons.

Partners Biologist Recognized by Minnesota Pheasants Forever

Alex Galt was recently presented the Wildlife Professional of the Year Award by Minnesota Pheasants Forever at their annual convention in Willmar, Minnesota. This award recognizes outstanding agency wildlife and habitat professionals that have worked hand-in-hand with Pheasants Forever for the betterment of pheasant and other wildlife populations.

“Alex is the consummate professional wildlife biologist. He has a deep passion for wildlife and natural resources, is an avid birder, photographer, and enjoys hunting and fishing,” according to Matt Christensen of Pheasants Forever. “He is highly respected by his peers and establishes trusted relationships with landowners, and others he works with. His can-do attitude, initiative, and team-player role, lead to great wildlife habitat projects for Minnesota. His social media skills also help the Morris Wetland Management District tell their wildlife story to the public.”

Alex Galt and Sheldon Myerchin both work for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. Photo by USFWS.

Alex Galt and Sheldon Myerchin both work for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. Photo by USFWS.

Galt started his career with the Service in 2007 as a Youth Conservation Corps crew leader at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and earned a B.S degree in Zoology at North Dakota State University in 2008. From there he received a Student Career Experience Program appointment at the Minnesota Private Lands Office. In 2010, he earned a M.S. degree at Fort Hays State University after working with the Service on his thesis research that looked at the effects of various wetland restorations techniques on bird communities in western Minnesota. He worked at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge from 2011 to 2013 where he coordinated the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in southeastern Iowa and western Illinois.

Galt is currently a wildlife biologist at the Morris Wetland Management District where he coordinates the Partners Program. Through this program, he provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners, government agencies and non-government organizations to restore and enhance wildlife habitat. He also plays a role in coordinating habitat restoration activities on new fee title and easement acquisitions and in implementing the Service’s easement programs. In fiscal year 2015 alone, he restored and enhanced over 1,500 acres of upland and over 200 acres of wetland habitat in west-central Minnesota. This was accomplished by leveraging $90,000 in Service funds with roughly $400,000 from partners.

“Although the acres and dollars seemed to add up this year, our accomplishments are the result of leveraging knowledge more than anything,” Galt said. “I just might spend more time in my coworker’s offices and on the phone with partners than I do alone in my own office. We make a good team. Our conversations, and occasionally respectful disagreements, have a way of strengthening our decision making. This results in many more efficiencies when it comes to putting habitat on-the-ground and when pursuing grant opportunities with our partners.”

As the name implies, leveraging resources in order to restore habitat is the foundation of the Partners Program. The program has worked cooperatively with a variety of partners to restore over 150,000 acres of habitat in Minnesota since 1987. With 11 biologists located at National Wildlife Refuges, Wetland Management Districts, and at the State Private Lands Office, the Partners Program in Minnesota contributes approximately $650,000 to on-the-ground wildlife habitat restoration projects. This is matched 3:1 by partners. These biologists are regarded as some of the leading experts on wildlife habitat restoration in Minnesota.

By Alejandro Morales
Regional Office – External Affairs

Last updated: March 3, 2016