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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards Partners in Louisiana and Maine with National Wetlands Conservation Award



July 1, 2004

Nicholas Throckmorton
, 202-208-5636


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced national winners for the National Wetlands Conservation Awards. This award program recognizes private individuals and organizations for excellence in the development, restoration and enhancement of wetlands.

"Citizen conservationists like these award winners have volunteered their time, money and energy to wetland conservation," said Service Director Steve Williams. "The President recently announced an aggressive new national goal - moving beyond a policy of "no net loss" of wetlands to achieve an overall increase of wetlands in America. Thanks in part to dedicated partners like these who work locally to conserve wetlands, the Nation will achieve this goal."

R. Madison Murphy of El Dorado, Arkansas, is this year's Individual Achievement Award winner, for his effort to reforest 500 acres of farmland at the Epps Plantation in Louisiana with native bottomland hardwoods. The reforestation benefits interior forest birds and supports the recovery of the Louisiana black bear, migratory species, and other resident wildlife. The judges were particularly impressed by the project's wildlife plan, which allows for the removal of female bears and their cubs to an area in east-central Louisiana to establish another sub-population of bears.

The national winner in the group category is the Machias River Corridor Coalition for their work protecting habitat along the Machias River in Maine. The Coalition's Machias River Corridor Project resulted in the protection of 4,283 acres of wetlands and adjacent riparian habitat, enhancing critical habitat for the Atlantic salmon, and benefiting other riparian wildlife. This project stood out because of the comprehensive effort to permanently protect the entire Machias River drainage. Over 184 miles of shoreline along the Machias River and six of its tributaries are protected through this project.

The National winners were honored at the annual Wetlands Conservation Awards ceremony today that followed the annual Duck Stamp First Day of sale event, at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. To learn more about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, please visit

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