U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces 2014 Endangered Species Recovery Champions
For Immediate Release
May 15, 2015
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DENVER, Colo. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today recognized individuals and teams for their exceptional efforts to conserve and protect the nation’s rarest fish, wildlife, and plants by designating them as the 2014 Recovery Champions. Among the award winners honored were The June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program, and the husband and wife team of Dr. Molly Webb Kappenman and Mr. Kevin Kappenman, both biologists at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center.
“If we want to sustain the diversity and abundance of our nation’s fish, wildlife and plants for future generations, we have to find places for them to coexist with humans on the landscape. That’s why wildlife conservation is as much about working with people as it is about protecting animals and habitat,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “The leaders we honor as Recovery Champions understand that crucial truth, and continue to build and strengthen partnerships with community leaders and institutions to make a real difference for imperiled wildlife.”
The “Partner-in-Mission Award” winner in the Mountain-Prairie Region this year was The June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program, based in Salt Lake City, Utah. This collaborative partnership includes federal, state, and local members from wildlife and natural resource management organizations, water user and conservation associations, and reclamation agencies. The program’s implementation committee collectively contributes nearly $10 million annually in cash and water benefits for the recovery of the endangered June sucker fish.
The June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program’s accomplishments include expanding spawning tributaries and critical delta nursery habitat for the endangered fish. These restorative actions have increased the number of adult June suckers spawning in the Provo River from a handful more than ten years ago, to thousands of fish today.
Additionally, the group’s efforts have removed 17 million pounds of invasive carp from Utah Lake. These actions have improved the vegetative ecosystem, which benefits all fish in the lake. The program’s outreach generates strong local support, with a recent survey showing that more than two-thirds of citizens living in the project area support their efforts.
The “Service Award” winners in the Mountain-Prairie Region this year are Dr. Molly Webb Kappenman and Mr. Kevin Kappenman, both career research fishery biologists who provide science support and technical leadership for several endangered species recovery programs, including the June Sucker Recovery Program, Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Program, and Virgin River Resource Management and Recovery Program. The husband and wife team are recognized internationally for their expertise in the management and conservation of many imperiled sturgeon species.
The Kappenmans’ contributions have led to published landmark findings, which have enhanced the knowledge of listed species’ biology and ecology, and resulted in identifying necessary steps for recovery. Some of their areas of expertise include: innovative approaches to describing the temperature tolerances of fish embryos and larvae, and how that correlates to early life mortality and low survivability in the wild; protocols for determining the spawning readiness of pallid sturgeon and, thereby, increasing ovulatory success in captive populations; as well as developing spawning and intensive-culture techniques for woundfin to increase hatchery production for stocking efforts to help reestablish wild populations. Most recently, the duo contributed to research that determined the reason for recruitment failure in pallid sturgeon in the upper Missouri River, with recommendations for dam and river management.
The Recovery Champion awards program began in 2002 as a one-time recognition for Service staff members for their achievements in conserving threatened and endangered species. However, in 2007, the program was expanded to honor Service partners as well, recognizing their essential role in the recovery of threatened and endangered species.
For information about the 2014 Recovery Champions, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/recovery-champions/
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 http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/. Connect with our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/USFWSMountainPrairie, follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/USFWSMtnPrairie, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/.
– FWS –