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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Honors 2003 Regional Director’s Conservation Award Winners


July 14, 2004

Elsie Davis, 404/679-7107


The Southeast Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today presented Regional Director’s Conservation Awards for 2003 to 13 of the Service’s partners in natural resource and wildlife conservation. Efforts as varied as land grants, hands-on youth practicums, festivals, and stream and ecosystem restoration were recognized by Service Regional Director Sam D. Hamilton. The awards were presented in Atlanta, Georgia.

“We honor these partners here today for their generous support and efforts,” said Hamilton. “The award is a big ‘Thank you’ for all they have done to help conserve our natural resources for the people of the Southeast.”

Receiving Conservation Awards were the following:

Antonio Rivera-Guzmán, DVM, Avian and Small Animal Veterinary Hospital: Dr. Rivera-Guzmán donates 200 to 300 hours of off-site consultation and more than 100 hours of on-site work every year for the Puerto Rican parrot recovery program in Puerto Rico.

Audubon Society of the Everglades: The Society was instrumental in starting the first of many annual Everglades Day festivals at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Palm Beach County, Florida. The Society also helped develop visitor service facilities at the refuge, including the Native-American-designed and constructed Chickee Hut.

Bob Johnson, Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles at the Toronto Zoo: Mr. Johnson has developed and implemented conservation efforts for the Puerto Rico crested toad, a federally-listed, threatened species. His leadership has resulted in the release of more than 100,000 captive tadpoles and froglets originating from 20 zoos and aquariums.

E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Inc., DuPont Land Legacy Program: The DuPont Land Legacy Program donated about 16,000 acres to The Conservation Fund, some of which will become part of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Folkston, Georgia. DuPont also retired all mineral rights to these lands and donated $100,000 for the Okefenokee Educational and Research Center.

Elinor Colbourn, Senior Trial Attorney, Department of Justice, and the Lake Apopka Investigation and Prosecution Team: Ms. Colbourn and the Lake Apopka Investigation Prosecution Team received both a Regional Director’s Conservation Award and a Regional Director’s Honor Award for their successful investigation into the Lake Apopka bird die-off in central Florida. More than a thousand protected birds died as a result of a publically funded water restoration project that allowed banned pesticides to wash into the environment and enter into the wildlife food chain. As a result of the team’s efforts, the St. Johns Water Management District must comply with the Endangered Species Act and make restitution.

Kenneth Haddad, Executive Director, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: Mr. Haddad has been influential in forging and enhancing the partnership between the Service and the Commission to work on the State’s conservation issues, especially in the Everglades and in pursuing common manatee protection standards.

Lake Worth Drainage District: The District is located along the eastern boundary of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in Palm Beach County, Florida. District staff has assisted the refuge in several ways by helping to replace a defunct water control structure, getting the refuge entrance road, a County road, resurfaced, spraying exotic vegetation in canals, and mowing refuge levees in impoundments.

Native American Fish and Wildlife Society, Southeast Region: The Society initiated planned, organized, and held summer youth practicums in natural resource conservation for Native American high school students.

Randal Zaunbrecher, farmer: Mr. Zaunbrecher has used his own labor and funds to repair pumps, drainage systems, and irrigation canals at Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge near Lake Arthur, Louisiana. Every year, he also assists refuge staff with pumping water into waterfowl impoundments so youth and senior hunters will have a special place to hunt.

Roanoke Rapids and Gaston Hydropower Settlement Team: The Team gathered information and negotiated a settlement agreement for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing of the Roanoke Rapids and Gaston Dam Hydroelectric projects that serve to restore and protect the Roanoke River ecosystem. Under the agreement, flows are managed to benefit aquatic and terrestrial habitats, including the floodplain portion of Roanoke National Wildlife Refuge in Windsor, North Carolina. It also provides restoration measured for several fish species and fish passage for the American shad and the American eel.

The Nature Conservancy of Alabama: Through partnering, the Nature Conservancy of Alabama has protected more than 80,000 acres of habitat in Alabama. The Conservancy was instrumental in establishing and acquiring the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge near West Blocton, Alabama and the Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Refuge in Fort McClellan, Alabama.

Three Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Council: The Council has assisted the Service’s Panama City, Florida, Fisheries Resource Office when it needed technical assistance to develop stream restoration design criteria and pre-project biological monitoring. The Council now serves as a central clearinghouse for stream restoration in the Florida panhandle.

William Reeves, Chief of Fisheries, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency: Mr. Reeves has served as chairperson of the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership since 2001. This partnership is comprised of 14 Southeastern states, The Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, the South Atlantic States Fishery Management Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Partnership’s success has influenced the development of a National Aquatic Habitat Plan being pursued the Service and supported by the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

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, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management 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 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.

Photos for the event click here -- for 300 dpi click on the thumbnail photo

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