Office of External Affairs
Mountain-Prairie Region


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

January 31, 2011

Leith Edgar: 303.236.4588

Plains and Prairie Potholes Landscape Conservation Cooperative Names New Science Coordinator 

The Plains and Prairie Potholes Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) has named Michael M. Olson as the new science coordinator for the LCC.

Olson has been the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Missouri River Coordinator since October 1999. Prior to that, Olson worked with the Service as an endangered species biologist and an environmental contaminants biologist. Olson earned a Master of Science degree in entomology from North Dakota State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from St. Cloud State University. He also recently completed the Service’s Advanced Leadership Development Program.

As part of the new position, Olson will remain based in Bismarck, ND, and will serve as a primary resource benefitting the work of the Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC Steering Committee.  “Mike’s nearly two decades of scientific research and project management make him the perfect choice to help us identify information gaps and find solutions for the questions we have about landscape-level changes we are seeing across the prairies,” said the Service’s Midwest Regional Director, Tom Melius. “His experience and background make him a valuable shared asset to all the LCC partners across the plains and prairies.

Olson will work with partners within the LCC to initiate, facilitate, integrate, coordinate, and communicate scientific work addressing climate change impacts on landscape and habitat conservation. Olson will focus on Strategic Habitat Conservation implementation and administration, including biological planning, conservation design and delivery, assumption-driven research, monitoring/evaluation, and organizational performance. According to the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Regional Director, Steve Guertin, “Mike has brought together information from many different agencies, and across administrative boundaries, to help diverse interests focus on the shared resources of the Missouri River. Because of that experience, and the skill set he brings, he is the ideal person to help the LCC partners meet their conservation missions.”

The Plains and Prairie Potholes LLC is dedicated to the conservation of a landscape unparalleled in importance to a vast array of unique species, including many that are undergoing steep population declines. Geographically, the LCC includes all of North and South Dakota, portions of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming, and across the Canadian border, sections of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Work in the LCC is accomplished through a variety of governmental and nongovernmental partners, including the Prairie Pothole, Prairie Habitat, and Northern Great Plains Joint Ventures, numerous Missouri River conservation and management organizations, and more than 20 other conservation partners. The Plains and Prairie Potholes LCC provides additional science support to the conservation community, including supplying specialized expertise in landscape-scale conservation planning and design.

Melius also extended his appreciation to Dr. Pat Heglund, who worked as the interim science coordinator for the LCC. “Dr. Heglund was a critical component to the successful development of the LCC, and developed the solid scientific groundwork needed to help us move forward.”

More information on LCCs can be found here:

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