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Eric S. Johnson named 2019 National Wildlife Refuge System Employee of the Year

Washington, D.C. — The National Wildlife Refuge Association has named Eric S. Johnson as our 2019 National Wildlife Refuge System Employee of the Year. Mr. Johnson is an Administrative Forester at the Central Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge Complex (NWRC) in Arkansas and has created first of their kind habitat management plans that will be used as a blueprint throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System.

“Mr. Johnson goes above and beyond to provide the Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge Complex with valuable knowledge and technical experience to assist with conservation concerns,” said Geoffrey Haskett, President of the National Wildlife Refuge Association. “His dedication and commitment of personal time has not gone unnoticed by the wildlife that depends upon the Refuge Complex and those who value the National Wildlife Refuge System.”

Within the Arkansas NWRC, Eric is charged with both restoring and managing over 90,000 acres of forested habitat for waterfowl and migratory birds in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. This role has led him to develop the first ever, Spatial Habitat Management Plan (SHMP) in the National Wildlife Refuge System. The SHMP includes details for all five of the refuges in the Arkansas NWRC (Bald Knob, Big Lake, Cache River, Holla Bend, and Wapanocca NWRs) and will serve as a standard for Refuge System SHMPs.

According to his peers, Mr. Johnson is a standard by which other foresters and refuge employees in the Southeast Region are measured. From his family farming background, high academic achievement, consistent exceptional annual performance reviews, outstanding work products, and leadership roles in the forestry profession, Eric demonstrates a commitment to wildlife conservation that far exceeds professional standards and goes to the very core of his nature as a human being.

Mr. Johnson’s professional, technical skills and knowledge of the forestry profession has been instrumental to not only all the Arkansas NWRC has been able to accomplish, but for the future conservation goals the National Wildlife Refuge System will accomplish. As the 2019 Refuge System Employee of the Year, we thank him for his personal commitment and passion for wildlife habitat conservation. For these reasons, we are proud to present this award to the very deserving, Eric Johnson.

Mr. Johnson’s award will be presented on February 27, 2019, at the National Wildlife Refuge Association’s Annual Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.


Kristen Berry, National Wildlife Refuge Association, (410) 599-3542

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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