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The Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

March 21, 2001
Contact: Dan Sobieck, External Affairs, 303-236-7905


 The National Wildlife Refuge Association and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has named Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Manager Al Trout as the Refuge Manager of the Year. Trout was presented with the award during a ceremony held March 17 in Washington, D.C.

Trout has been the manager of Utah’s Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge since 1989, and since that time has helped the refuge re-emerge as habitat for a number of bird and mammal species after 6 years of flooding by the Great Salt Lake. From a rented office, and with no staff and little budget, Trout rallied hundreds of volunteers who raised $50,000 in cash, materials and services, and donated nearly 17,000 hours of labor to help rebuild and reopen the refuge.

In addition, Trout was instrumental in the establishment of the Friends of Bear River Refuge, which has helped construct boardwalks and overlooks on the refuge and recently committed to raising $1.5 million toward rebuilding the refuge’s education and administrative offices.

The Refuge Manager of the Year award, called the Paul Kroegel Award, is named for Paul Kroegel, the first refuge manager who, beginning in 1903, used his own boat and shotgun to keep bird poachers away from Florida’s Pelican Island, the first national wildlife refuge.

The refuge system, which celebrated its 98th birthday on March 14, is the world’s largest system of lands and waters dedicated to wildlife conservation.

Trout was presented his award during the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Washington, D.C. The National Wildlife Refuge Association annually sponsors awards for the Refuge Manager of the Year, Employee of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation joins the Refuge Association in sponsoring the Friends Group of the Year Award.

These awards are widely considered the most prestigious honors in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

"All too often the outstanding work of the men and women, employees, and volunteers of the National Wildlife Refuge System is overlooked or taken for granted," said Refuge Association board member Bill Ashe. "They make the system function, and function well. In a small way, the awards embody and symbolize the significant accomplishments of all refuge workers."

"Al is very deserving of this award," said Service Regional Director Ralph Morgenweck. "His work on the ground with members of his local community show just how much can be done for our refuges when we work together to address and overcome our problems."

Fellow Mountain-Prairie Region Employee David Jamiel, who serves as the on-site ranger-in-charge at Two Ponds NWR, a subunit of Denver’s Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR in Arvada, Colorado was named national Refuge Employee of the Year.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System

which encompasses more than 530 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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