Conserving the Nature of America
Bennett named GreenGov Presidential Awards Climate Champion
White House recognizes U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientist's leadership in Hurricane Sandy recovery

September 8, 2016


David Eisenhauer

USFWS Public Affairs


Dr. Richard Bennett Credit: USFWS

Dr. Richard Bennett, regional scientist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast Region based in Hadley, Mass., has been named 2016 GreenGov Presidential Awards Climate Champion for his leadership in Hurricane Sandy recovery. Following the devastation left by the storm in 2012, Bennett led the Department of the Interior response team, overseeing $167 million in FWS project funding to help revitalize the Northeast and to protect it from future storms and sea-level rise. Bennett worked to launch more than 100 sustainability-focused projects, and led a team that developed performance metrics for climate resilience that are changing the way the federal government prepares for severe weather events.

"This is a prestigious and well-deserved honor, and an illustration of the leadership and science excellence demonstrated by Dr. Bennett," said Director Dan Ashe.  "Under Dr. Bennett's leadership, we are working with partners in communities all across the Atlantic Coast to create more resilience ecosystems that provide long-term benefits for people and for wildlife. By ensuring the rigorous application of science in our resilience investments, and developing smart metrics for those investments, Dr. Bennett is leaving a legacy that will help future generations deal more effectively with complex natural resource management challenges."   

Bennett received the award in ceremonies held Sept. 7 at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.

The GreenGov Presidential Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in the pursuit of President Obama’s federal sustainability goals. They recognize federal civilian and military personnel, agency teams, agency projects, facilities, and programs. Awardees have "contributed to the nation’s prosperity, promoted energy security, protected the interests of taxpayers, and combated climate change to safeguard the health of our environment."

Bennett began working for the Service as chief of the contaminants program at the Annapolis, Md., field office in 1989.  He then worked for the Washington, D.C., in fish and wildlife management assistance until he was selected as the deputy assistant regional director for fisheries in the Northeast Region. He subsequently served as one of two geographic assistant regional directors, working closely with all Service programs in six states, and then as the assistant regional director for migratory birds and state programs.  Bennett was the region’s deputy regional director for five years until being named regional scientist. 

As regional scientist, Bennett guides the region's efforts on topics such as strategic habitat conservation, climate change, national efforts on amphibian and reptile conservation, ocean science initiatives and science coordination across programs and agencies.

GreenGov Presidential Awards Fact Sheet

FWS Hurricane Sandy Website

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