National Wildlife Refuge System

2012 Realty Awards

Skaggs Island, San Pablo Bay Refuge, CA
View of Mt. San Miguel, where Richard Grimes helped conserve ecologically sensitive land for the benefit of both fish and wildlife species - and people - in the greater San Diego area
Credit: Earl S. Cryer/

Two Individuals, TPL Receive 2012 Realty Awards
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee instrumental in land acquisition for San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, an Alaska Native interpreter and a national conservation organization received the 2012 National Realty Awards.


Richard Grimes
Rudolph Dieffenbach Award winner Richard Grimes
Credit: USFWS

Rudolph Dieffenbach Award
Richard Grimes, supervisory realty specialist with the Service’s Nevada Realty Field Office, received the Rudolph Dieffenbach award for his outstanding work on land conservation as a Service Realty employee. Most recently, Grimes played a key role with The Nature Conservancy to acquire the pending $18 million, 1,905-acre Hidden Valley parcel within the San Diego Refuge, CA.  His extraordinary level of coordination and cooperation ensured that lands at risk for residential development came into the Refuge System, thereby further consolidating public land ownership in this highly urbanized area. The transaction was particularly complex in light of funding sources, including $8 million from Customs and Border Protection. His attention to detail – especially legal and legislative authority – made all the difference in securing the transaction. 


Jon Dyasuk
Land Legacy Award winner Jon Dyasuk
Credit: USFWS

Land Legacy Award

Jon Dyasuk of the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge received the Land Legacy Award for significant contributions to the Service’s operations and mission. The award is presented annually to a Service employee or volunteer who does not work in the Realty function. 


Dyasuk has been a Service interpreter since 1987. He has provided invaluable support to Alaska Region realty specialists by acting as a bridge between the Service and Native Alaska Yupik landowners, most of whom are elders and do not speak English. His contacts with the landowners and skills as a Yupik interpreter along with his understanding of Native Alaskan culture and sensitivities are primary reasons for the success of the region’s acquisition program on the Togiak Refuge.  He has contributed to the acquisition of more than 6,000 acres within Togiak Refuge, including designated Wilderness.


California clapper rail
Eric Alvarez presented the National Land Protection
Award to TPL's Will Rogers, President & CEO,
and Kathy DeCoster, VP and Director of Federal
Affairs, at the 2012 Land Trust Rally.
Video of the award presentation.
Credit: Land Trust Alliance

National Land Protection Award

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has helped conserve more than 300,000 acres within the Refuge System and in every part of the country.   The acquisitions have a market value of over $220 million.  Most recently, TPL has helped the Service conserve more than 3,000 acres at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge,  NM;  Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, which spans four states in the Connecticut River watershed,  Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge, NH, and Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, NJ,  among others. 

TPL has long been a partner of the Refuge System.  Their mission – conserving land for people – corresponds well with that of the Fish and Wildlife Service.  They have helped the Service conserve land – both for people and wildlife – at well over 50 refuges.  TPL strives to pass on cost savings to the Service, stretching federal conservation dollars.  They are strong supporters of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as other tools that benefit Refuge System conservation, including  maintaining the tax credit for conservation easement donations. 

The National Wildlife Refuge System Division of Realty has presented these awards annually since 2001.



Last updated: November 27, 2012