2014 Recovery Champions

Region 1

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Chadd Smith

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

As the Engineering Equipment Operator for the Kaua'i National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Chadd Smith has worked tirelessly to effectively restore and manage wetlands on the Complex, thus greatly improving the status of endangered Hawaiian waterbirds. By increasing and effectively managing wetland acreage, populations of Hawaiian duck, Hawaiian moorhen, Hawaiian stilt, Hawaiian coot, and the Hawaiian goose (nēnē) have all shown significant population increases. Through effective communication and cooperation, his efforts have also considerably improved relationships with refuge taro farmers. The successes gained in endangered waterbird management at the Complex have been a model for and an inspiration to wetland managers across the islands.


Oregon Chub Interagency Recovery Team

Brian Bangs

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Greg Taylor

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Ann Gray

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Ron Rhew

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Jarod Jebousek

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Cat Brown

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Paul Scheerer

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Kim Garner

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Pat DeHaan

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Jock Beall

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (retired)

Chris Seal

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Les Bachelor

National Resources Conservation Service

The path to recovery for the Oregon chub would not have been successful without the leadership, professionalism, and solid science implemented by the Oregon Chub Interagency Recovery Team. The successful recovery of this small, inch-long fish in February 2015 was the result of the strong collaboration among the diverse partners represented on the recovery team. Recovery success is also due to the cooperation and stewardship of private landowners willing to have Oregon chub introduced to their properties, and to the team members that fostered the trust to create these opportunities. These collaborative partnerships are excellent examples of how the Endangered Species Act is intended to function to recover endangered species. 

Region 2

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Cyndee Watson

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

For the past 10 years, Cyndee Watson has worked collaboratively with local communities, researchers, and a wide variety of stakeholders to promote the conservation and recovery of 16 endangered karst invertebrate species. Her efforts have helped raise awareness of the importance of karst habitat and have led to the protection of several significant karst preserves. By organizing local workshops for scientists, educators, land managers, and other interested stakeholders, she has highlighted the importance of these rare and enigmatic species.


Anthony F. Amos

UTMSI-Port Aransas

Over the course of more than 30 years, Anthony Amos has served as a major contributor to our knowledge of shorebirds, sea turtles, and manatees along the Central Texas coast. Mr. Amos compiled an incredible long-term data set of bird and sea turtle observations that has proven invaluable to the recovery efforts of many species. He has worked tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate sea turtles and birds, including piping plovers, red knots, brown pelicans, and bald eagles. He is an outstanding spokesman for wildlife conservation in the Texas Coastal Bend region and his dedication to wildlife rescue has been an effective outreach and education resource for listed sea turtles and birds.

Region 3

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Necedah National Wildlife Refuge Staff

Doug Staller

Lorie Brown

Katherine Goodwin

Kara Zwickey

Richard Urbanek

Jonathan Olson

Larry Nieman

Dan Laber

Michael Monahan

Nathan Merk

Mark Pfost

Brad Strobel

The Necedah National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) staff is recognized for their invaluable efforts to promote the recovery of whooping crane, Karner blue butterfly, and Kirtland's warbler. Necedah NWR is applauded for its whooping crane captive rearing and reintroduction program, as well as its ultra-light led migration strategies that ended the 150-year absence of a migratory flock in eastern North America. Necedah NWR's initiatives in scientifically sound research have resulted in an increase of the eastern migratory population from eight to approximately 100 cranes. The staff's engagement with the Service's Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, local landowners, and other key partners on Karner blue butterfly and Kirtland's warbler conservation has led to improved methods of habitat enhancement and management that continue to provide critical benefits for rearing both species.


Mussel Coordination Team

In 2000, this interagency partnership of federal and state governments, academia, and private citizens set out to reestablish five viable Higgins eye populations within the species' historic range. After collecting and cleaning encrusted Higgins eye from zebra mussel infestation, the Mussel Coordination Team led the successful relocation of Higgins eye from Wisconsin and Illinois to the species' appropriate habitat in the Mississippi River. Working innovatively with partners, you have greatly advanced our knowledge of the Higgins eye, refined propagation methods, and generated invaluable data for the mussel conservation community. The team's continued work with academia and interagency scientists to facilitate studies of freshwater mussel ecology will benefit imperiled mussels for years to come.

Dan Kelner

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Mike Davis

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Doug Aloisi

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Nathan Eckert

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Dave Heath

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Teresa Newton

U.S. Geological Survey 

Lisie Kitchel

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Jorge Buening

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Scott Gritters

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Byron Karns

St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

Bernard Sietman

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Tony Brady

Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery

Scott Yess

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Region 4

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Southeast Region Aquatic Habitat Restoration Team

The Southeast Region Aquatic Habitat Restoration Team is recognized for their significant impact on restoring aquatic habitat for many listed, at-risk, and imperiled species in North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas. Through their many contributions, the team has provided the Service a greater means for precluding the listing of imperiled species and possibly providing an avenue for downlisting and de-listing endangered and threatened species. By working with local landowners and communities, the team has built a strong network of conservation partners who all share the mutual goal of restoring and protecting aquatic habitats and the species that call these habitats home. Thanks to the efforts of team members, public support for managing imperiled species on private lands has also grown in areas where this work is taking place.


Ralph Arwood, Ph.D.

Dr. Ralph Arwood is recognized for his significant contributions toward the recovery of federally listed species in Florida. He is honored for his dedication and initiative as a volunteer pilot, photographer, author, public speaker, and conservationist to promote public awareness for the conservation of endangered and threatened species over the past ten years. Dr. Arwood has tackled complex conservation questions and closed data gaps in some of the most remote areas of southwestern Florida. He is an outstanding contributor to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and the broader conservation community.

Region 5

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Alison Whitlock, Ph.D.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Over the past 12 years, Dr. Alison Whitlock has worked tirelessly to move recovery efforts forward on multiple fronts while working for the Service's Northeast Region. As lead biologist and one of the foremost experts on bog turtles, she helped the Service reach several significant milestones including the coordination with states to form a regional bog turtle recovery group. This collaboration led to the development of monitoring guidelines and secured funding for a range-wide database for this federally threatened species. As the first Northeast Regional White Nose Syndrome (WNS) Coordinator, she coordinated the regional responses to WNS needs and worked diligently to obtain grant funding for over 30 states across regional boundaries. Her initiative, talents, and passion for meeting the challenges posed by WNS were truly exemplary and extremely valuable to the WNS effort at a critical point in the national response to the disease.


Barry Knisley, Ph.D.

Randolph-Macon College

Dr. Barry Knisley is recognized for over two decades of monitoring and research efforts conducted to improve the status of the Puritan tiger beetle and Northeastern beach tiger beetle. Along with providing annual monitoring data, additional milestones accomplished during his tenure include conducting pre-listing status surveys, co-authoring recovery plans for both the Puritan and northeastern beach tiger beetle, conducting research that contributed to the development of a population viability analyses for both species, and conducting detailed studies on the habitat requirements of the Puritan tiger beetle with his colleagues at Randolph-Macon College. Dr. Knisley's work has filled in critical data gaps and helped reduce the risk of extinction of both species.

Region 6

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Molly Webb Kappenman, Ph.D.

Kevin Kappenman

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Dr. Molly Webb Kappenman and Kevin Kappenman are recognized for their significant contributions to the recovery of several federally-listed fish species including the pallid sturgeon, June sucker, woundfin, and bonytail. Some of the landmark findings from their research include early life temperature tolerances as reasons for low survival of several fish species in the wild; protocols for determining the spawning readiness of pallid sturgeon and increasing ovulatory success in captive populations; spawning and intensive-culture techniques for woundfin to increase hatchery production for stocking efforts to help reestablish wild populations; and, most recently, the reason for recruitment failure in pallid sturgeon in the upper Missouri River with recommendations for dam and river management.


June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program

Gene Shawcroft

Central Utah Water Conservancy District

Kerry Schwartz

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Robyn Pearson

Utah Department of Natural Resources

Larry Crist

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Henry Maddux

June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program Director

Reed Murray

U.S. Department of Interior

Mark Holden

Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission

Keith Denos

Provo River Water Users Association

Dan Potts

Outdoor Interests

Michael Mills

June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program Local Coordinator

The June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program is recognized as the lead organization working on this species' recovery. For the past 13 years, the team has worked tirelessly to improve the status of the species by partnering with local water users, recreational users, and private property owners to accomplish work related to June sucker recovery, while coordinating closely with local, state, and federal agencies throughout the species' range. The efforts of team members have filled in critical gaps in our knowledge of the species, helping to secure its long-term viability and protection. Under their leadership, the June sucker has made a remarkable comeback from extremely low numbers and is now well positioned on the path toward recovery. 

Region 7

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Ted Swem

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Mr. Theodor Swem is recognized for his leadership of recovery efforts for spectacled and Alaska-breeding Steller's eiders. As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Eider Recovery Team Leader and Endangered Species Branch Chief of the Fairbanks Field Office, he has worked tirelessly to improve the status of these species through numerous conservation actions. The long-term prognosis for Steller's eider breeding on the North Slope is much improved thanks to his leadership on issues including predator control, outreach efforts focusing on reducing shooting mortality, and the use of lead shot. Under his tenure, our knowledge of spectacled eider wintering and molting areas and habitat use is now better understood and this has allowed us to further recovery of the species by minimizing impacts associated with development activities.


Karen Oakley

U.S. Geological Survey

As Chief of the Alaska Science Center Marine & Freshwater Ecology Office, and as an active member of the Polar Bear Recovery Team, Ms. Oakley has made significant contributions to conservation of the species. She played an integral role in efforts to better understand and communicate polar bear conservation needs in the near and long term while also serving as a strong advocate for funding for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Changing Arctic Ecosystem Program, including the polar bear research program. Her tireless efforts have led to increased funding and, as a result, an enhanced understanding of polar bear biology and behavior.

Region 8


Gary D. Wallace, Ph.D.

Dr. Gary D. Wallace is recognized for his excellence in botany and conservation of numerous southern California flora. His efforts as a botanist and a research associate with Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden contributed to the conservation of many federally-listed plant taxa, especially Coachella Valley milk-vetch, Peirson's milk-vetch, ash-gray paintbrush, southern mountains wild buckwheat, willowy monardella, San Clemente Island lotus, and San Clemente Island paintbrush. With nearly five decades of experience with California flora, Dr. Wallace has made large contributions to plant systematics and nomenclature, plant and restoration ecology, and management and recovery of rare taxa. His leadership in this field and as a cooperating partner with external agencies contributes to a better science-based understanding and conservation of the California flora.

Florence LaRiviere

Beginning in the 1960s, Mrs. Florence LaRiviere and a group of concerned citizens began acting locally to advocate for the protection of the tidal marsh ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay and the recovery of its associated species. In 1972, her personal dedication was instrumental to the establishment of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the nation's first urban national wildlife refuge national wildlife refuge
A national wildlife refuge is typically a contiguous area of land and water managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  for the conservation and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans.

Learn more about national wildlife refuge
. In 1985, she cofounded and led the Citizens’ Committee to Complete the Refuge which tirelessly fought and ultimately succeeded in more than doubling the size of the refuge. Mrs. LaRiviere's pioneering efforts to establish this first ever “friends” group in support of a national wildlife refuge is a model for what a friends group can accomplish.