Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Local Staff, Partners Honored with Recovery Champions Awards

May 20, 2016

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Paul Meyers coordinates volunteers during a move of Columbian white-tailed deer from Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, both in southwest Washington, in March 2013. Credit: Tim Jewett

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today recognized eight individuals in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii for their exceptional efforts to conserve and protect the nation’s rarest fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2015 Recovery Champions.

The people honored from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Region are Paul Meyers for his leadership in the recovery efforts for the endangered Columbian white-tailed deer, and seven members of the Kaua?i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project in Hawaii. They are Dr. André F. Raine, Marc Travers, Megan Vynne, Mike McFarlin, David Golden, Adam Elzinga and Angela Stamen, all with the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit and Hawaii’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

“Conserving our nation's imperiled species is one of the toughest challenges of our time,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “The recipients of this award have dedicated their lives to this task, and we are eternally grateful for their tenacity, dedication and passion for safeguarding hundreds of species of native wildlife and the wild places they call home.”

Added Robyn Thorson, the Pacific Regional Director: “These Recovery Champions are truly champions for conservation. They make a huge difference through their tireless efforts to conserve and protect species in the Pacific Region. We are fortunate to have them as staff and partners.”

As a wildlife biologist at the Julia Butler Hansen Refuge for Columbian White-tailed Deer, Meyers has worked to establish a new viable and secure subpopulation of the deer on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, which is a part of their historical range from which the species was once extirpated. These efforts greatly improved prospects for the species to the extent that the Service recently proposed changing its protected status from endangered to threatened. The conservation success of the Columbian white-tailed deer has been a model for and an inspiration to our partners in conservation throughout Oregon and Washington.

For more than 10 years, members of the Kaua?i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project have demonstrated their dedication, technical expertise, and willingness to forge new partnerships to achieve recovery progress for the federally threatened Newell’s shearwater and endangered Hawaiian petrel. The team has led innovative studies that have greatly improved our knowledge of seabird behavior and species distribution. Further, they have developed new monitoring methods to obtain data on seabird flight heights, concentrations of new breeding areas, and seabird interactions with man-made structures. This information has been vital in helping the Service refine seabird recovery criteria, improve population viability models for these species, and inform decision-making related to habitat conservation plans. Working cooperatively with numerous organizations and stakeholder groups, the team will continue to help these extraordinary species progress toward recovery.

The Recovery Champion awards began in 2002 as a one-time recognition for Service staff members for their achievements in conserving listed 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 all the 2015 Recovery Champions, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/recovery-champions/index.html.

Kaua'i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project

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