Midwest Region


News Release
April 1, 2010

Georgia Parham
812-334-4261 x 1203

Biologist Kraig McPeek Wins National Award For Endangered Species Work in Iowa

Kraig McPeek, former project leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Iowa Private Lands Office, is one of 18 winners of a national award recognizing achievements in endangered species recovery.  McPeek was recognized for his hugely successful efforts to recover the endangered Topeka shiner, a small fish, in Iowa’s Raccoon River watershed.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould presented the 2009 Recovery Champion Award for the Midwest at the North American Wildlife Conference in Milwaukee.  Other Midwest winners were the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin; and two Ohio conservationists working with the threatened Lake Erie watersnake.

The Recovery Champion award recognizes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and their partners for contributions to the recovery of threatened and endangered species in the United States.  

The Recovery Champion award both recognizes the exceptional conservation accomplishments of its honorees and highlights the importance of strong and diverse partnerships in species conservation, said Gould. Recovery Champions are helping imperiled species regain their place in the natural resources fabric of our country while focusing attention on the importance of conserving our nation’s biological heritage for future generations.

From 2005 to 2009, McPeek was instrumental in facilitating restoration of almost 40 off-channel oxbows habitats for the shiner.  McPeek’s design for restored habitats had almost immediate results: follow-up surveys showed young Topeka shiners where none had previously occurred.  Just as important were McPeek’s strong efforts to recruit large numbers of landowners who participated in shiner restoration efforts in Iowa’s North Raccoon River watershed.

Kraig always goes the extra mile for the resource and for the landowners who made this habitat restoration effort so successful, Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius said. Kraig and his work are making huge contributions toward improving the Topeka shiner’s status and habitat in Iowa.

McPeek grew up working and playing on a small dairy farm in northwest Illinois.  A graduate of Augustana College and Western Illinois University, he holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology and environmental sciences.  He spent 5 years working for the Army Corps of Engineers on big river ecosystem restoration projects on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, focusing on habitat modeling and benefits.

In 2003, McPeek was hired by the Service to conduct federal project reviews and endangered species consultations.  For the past 5 years, he has worked as a Private Lands Biologist and provided technical and financial support for stream, wetland and upland habitat restorations on privately owned properties throughout Illinois and Iowa.  He is currently the state coordinator in Ohio for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. 


Kraig McPeek, (second from left) receives the 2009 Recovery Champion Award from Acting Director Rowan Gould, Regional Director Tom Melius (right) and Assistant Director for Endangered Species Gary Fraser (left)


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at

Last updated: June 15, 2016