Michael Stroeh receives 2017 National Realty Land Legacy award
Michael Stroeh, project leader of the South Arkansas National Wildlife Refuge Complex, received the 2017 National Realty Land Legacy award on Sept. 25, 2017. The Land Legacy award is awarded to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees or volunteers outside of the Division of Realty for significant contributions to the Service’s land protection mission.
Stroeh has found creative ways to work with multiple partners to meet land protection priorities. In times of declining land acquisition dollars and staff and budget reductions, he has continued to obtain priority tracts of land for the National Wildlife Refuge System, including more than 10,000 acres a connecting Upper Ouachita NWR in Louisiana and Felsenthal NWR in Arkansas. Creating large corridors provides protected lands for bears, forest birds, and other key wildlife, as well as additional public lands for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and other outdoor activities.
Stroeh continues to work on large land exchanges with The Nature Conservancy and the State of Arkansas and is a key driver in establishing new projects in southern Arkansas. During 2016-17, he assisted Realty on eight separate projects resulting in the purchase of 1,803 acres with more in the works, while also managing approximately 104,000 acres, eleven staff members, and multiple programs across three refuges.
He manages priorities for the complex by directing his attention to the projects which will have the biggest payoff for refuge resources, and projects that will provide habitat for neotropical migratory birds, waterfowl, and other resident wildlife. He also looks for lands that would offer outstanding public opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreational activities, including hunting and fishing where compatible.
Stroeh’s passion and dedication to land protection coupled with his ability to invest in local relationships has earned him respect in the community.
He sees the value in both resource protection and public recreation. “As a manager land protection is our biggest legacy, and I enjoy working with local landowners and the Realty Division,” he said.
Stroeh’s long term vision allows him to bring non-government organizations together and look for ways to leverage partnerships in order to purchase land for the Service and transfer ownership to the Service at a later time.