Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
FWS Regional Director Wendi Weber earns top honor for contributions to wildlife conservation in the Northeast

April 17, 2018


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

FWS Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber. Credit: Kayt Jonsson/USFWS

Wendi Weber, Northeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Hadley, Mass., has received the 2018 Robert McDowell Award for Conservation Management Excellence, the highest honor awarded by the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (NEAFWA). Weber received the award at the Association’s annual conference April 16 in Burlington, Vermont.

The Robert McDowell Award was established by the NEAFWA Directors to honor career professionals who have made significant contributions to fish and wildlife conservation in the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada.

As regional director, Weber oversees FWS activities in 13 states -- from Maine to Virginia -- and the District of Columbia. She currently leads more than 800 employees at more than 130 offices, including 72 national wildlife refuges. Weber has worked for the FWS since 1998 but also has experience working for state fish and wildlife agencies in both Georgia and Florida.

“Throughout her career, [Weber] has consistently demonstrated the essential principles of collaboration and cooperation with conservation partners at all levels. She is deeply respected and appreciated by her colleagues in the state fish and wildlife agencies in the northeastern states,” said NEAFWA President James Connolly in presenting the award.

“While it’s always been true that effective conservation requires collaboration, our award winner has excelled at the difficult task of motivating and inspiring citizens, key stakeholders, elected leaders, policy makers, and colleagues in other agencies -- both state and federal,” Connolly said. “Indeed, our award winner understands that conservation today does not happen in the absence of partnerships and teamwork.”

Weber was cited specifically for her leadership in region-wide FWS and state efforts to restore Atlantic Coast habitats in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. She also was recognized for guiding FWS and state efforts to restore White River National Fish Hatchery in Vermont, which was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Irene in 2011. At the dedication ceremony to reopen White River in 2017, Vermont U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy called the effort “a story of heroics.”

Nowhere has Weber’s leadership been more evident than in the work of Northeast states to conserve the New England cottontail, Connolly said.

“Because of long-term, landscape-scale habitat alteration throughout their native range, the New England cottontail is indeed in perilous condition. With careful attention to the requirements of the Endangered Species Act with a focus on the Congressional intention of the Act -- namely conserving and restoring rare species -- [Weber] has proven the value of cooperation and collaboration in conservation.”

He added that the approach works, and success with the New England cottontail effort has proven to be a respected model. It is now used in other landscape-scale conservation efforts, such as protecting monarch butterflies.

Information contained in older news items may be outdated. These materials are made available as historical archival information only. Individual contacts have been replaced with general External Affairs office information. No other updates have been made to the information and we do not guarantee current accuracy or completeness.

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

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.