Conserving the Nature of America

News Release

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Endangered Species Recovery Champion Awards; Two Alaskans Honored

March 26, 2010


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

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director Rowan Gould today announced the 18 recipients of the Service’s 2009 Recovery Champion award. The Recovery Champion award recognizes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and their partners for contributions to the recovery of threatened and endangered species in the United States.

“The Recovery Champion award both recognizes the exceptional conservation accomplishments of its honorees and highlights the importance of strong and diverse partnerships in species conservation,” said Gould. “Recovery Champions are helping imperiled species regain their place in the natural resources fabric of our country while focusing attention on the importance of conserving our nation’s biological heritage for future generations.”

The 2009 Recovery Champion honorees are working to benefit a range of endangered and threatened plants and animals. Benefiting species from whooping cranes to mussels, Service employees and partners such as universities, conservation agencies, and private organizations are devoting their resources to a shared mission. Habitat restoration, public awareness campaigns, and species’ monitoring programs are just a few examples of this year’s Recovery Champion honorees’ efforts.

Alaska is home to two Recovery Champion award recipients this year. Douglas Burn, of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Region 7 Marine Mammals Management program, is being honored for his work with the southwest Alaska distinct population segment of the northern sea otter; while Debbie Nigro, of the Bureau of Land Management’s Fairbanks District’s Arctic Field Office, is receiving recognition for her efforts on behalf of spectacled and Steller’s eiders.

Geoffrey L. Haskett, the Service’s Alaska Regional Director, praised these accomplishments, saying, “Science is at the heart of the Endangered Species Act, and good science is the only path to recovery for listed species. The American people are fortunate to have dedicated professionals like Douglas Burn and Debbie Nigro doing the necessary work to preserve these at-risk species in Alaska.”

For additional information, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Recovery Champion website at:

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