Newsroom Midwest Region

Lisa Williams Wins USFWS Science Leadership Award!

February 11, 2014

Dr. Lisa Williams wins Science Leadership Award. Photo by Jim Hudgins/USFWS.
Dr. Lisa Williams wins Science Leadership Award. Photo by Jim Hudgins/USFWS.

By Katie Steiger-Meister and Georgia Parham

Dr. Lisa Williams, the Branch Chief of Environmental Contaminants at the East Lansing Ecological Services Field Office in Michigan, is the 2013 recipient of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Science Leadership Award.  The national award recognizes a Service employee’s outstanding practice and support of scientific activities that improve the bureau’s knowledge and management of fish and wildlife resources.

“Dr. Lisa Williams is a scientist, leader and mentor,” said Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius. “She infuses her work with a contagious passion for conservation.  We are proud she has received national distinction for her accomplishments in the environmental contaminants field.”

Dr. Williams served as the Assistant Deputy Branch Director for Wildlife Response - Houma Sector of the Deepwater Horizon Spill and as Branch Director and Deputy Branch Director for Wildlife and Environmental Assessment for the Michigan Enbridge Line 6B Pipeline Spill, the nation’s largest inland oil spill.  During those crises, Dr. Williams used ecologically, scientifically sound and acceptable practices and principles leading to effective and efficient response measures for both spills.

“Lisa stands out because she promotes science in the Service not only through her own actions, but in the actions of her staff and colleagues,” said Midwest Assistant Regional Director of Science Applications, Craig Czarnecki.  “She has a natural ability to mentor and inspire.”

Dr. Lisa Williams regularly mentors, guides and advises staff at the East Lansing Field Office, along with staff at other Ecological Services Field Offices in the Midwest Region.  She is always willing to assist in developing future biologists and ensures that Service biologists are analyzing and presenting scientific results relevant to important Service issues.  Williams regularly works one-on-one with staff in the Midwest and other regions as both mentor and coach in Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration proceedings.   Her mentoring has included providing advice on water quality permits, fish passage risk assessments, as well as advising the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Contaminants of Emerging Concern team and coaching Midwest Region biologists on writing technical documents. 

A consummate professional, Dr. Lisa Williams is an exemplary employee whose hard work, dedication, and above all else, nurturing spirit makes her the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s national science leader of the year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of the Science Advisor’s Science Awards were established to recognize that effective wildlife management and conservation is founded on innovative scientific inquiry and principles. As the Service faces increasingly complex challenges, the value of current scientific information is rapidly increasing. The awards are meant to recognize the outstanding efforts of the agency’s scientists and technical staff.  To learn more about the awards and the nomination process, please visit

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

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