Sacramento: The story of endangered species conservation in the United States over the past 40 years involves many heroes. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) recognized 61 of these heroes for their outstanding efforts to conserve and protect endangered and threatened fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2012 Recovery Champions. Among the award winners honored for their work from the Service’s Pacific Southwest Region were two California residents, Mark Elvin and Brian Woodbridge, and partner-in-mission, Larry Dunsmoor from Oregon.
“Recovery Champion awards acknowledge individuals and groups who have excelled in their efforts to protect and recover our most imperiled species,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “They exemplify the dedication and determination that has helped save countless animals and plants from extinction and that continues to raise the bar in the field of endangered species conservation.”
Service employee Mark Elvin from the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office was selected for his recovery work to conserve marsh sandwort (Arenaria paludicola) and Gambel’s watercress (Nasturtium [Rorippa] gambelii), two critically endangered plants species. Acting to prevent the extinction of the marsh sandwort and Gambel’s watercress —each of which was once reduced to a single population—Elvin has worked to establish a team to identify important recovery goals and implement high priority conservation measures for these critically endangered plant species. With representatives of the academic community, State and Federal agencies, botanic gardens, other plant societies, and private citizens, Elvin has increased the number of sites where both species are blooming and producing seeds. Gambel’s watercress now occurs at two sites, and marsh sandwort occurs at five.
Larry Dunsmoor, senior aquatic biologist with the Klamath Tribes, is a Recovery Champion for his extensive efforts to conserve and recover listed species such as the C’wamm (Lost River sucker) and Kuptu (shortnose sucker). For more than 20 years, Dunsmoor has advanced the recovery of these species in the Klamath Basin through leadership in collaborative solutions to complex challenges. From his early research to his role in negotiations for the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, Dunsmoor has provided vital biologic and hydrologic information and tools to promote conservation. As a member of the technical advisory team, he supported The Nature Conservancy in restoring approximately 6,000 acres of important C’wamm and Kuptu rearing habitat. In addition, Dunsmoor helped to reduce threats to these species through the removal of the Chiloquin Dam, providing access to miles of spawning habitat and through the establishment of The Klamath Tribes’ long-term water quality monitoring program.
Brian Woodbridge of the Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office is being recognized for his work on the Northern Spotted Owl Modeling Team, Pacific Northwest. This twelve member inter-agency team created a strategy to implement the revised recovery plan for the northern spotted owl in view of its continuing decline. They developed state-of-the-art modeling tools to use in designing and evaluation habitat conservation networks—the first time such tools had been so used.
"Mark Elvin, Larry Dunsmoor, and Brian Woodbridge have shown a commitment to the recovery of these species that goes well beyond expected actions," said Ren Lohoefener, Regional Director of the Pacific Southwest Region. "Thanks to their efforts the marsh sandwort, Gambel's watercress, Lost River sucker, shortnose sucker, and the northern spotted owl have a much better chance of survival."
The Recovery Champion awards began in 2002 as a one-time recognition for Service staff members for their achievements in conserving listed species. However, in 2007, the program was expanded to honor Service partners as well, recognizing their essential role in the recovery of threatened and endangered species.
For information about the 2012 Recovery Champions, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/recovery-champions/index.html.
America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. To learn more about the Service’s Endangered Species program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.
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. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/cno. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel, and download photos from our Flickr page.