Award Ceremony to be held at Jim Range National Casting Call, Winners include: EPA, Patagonia, Project SHARE, LLI-University of Wisconsin-Extension Lakes
(Washington, DC) – A group of the nation’s leading authorities on aquatic conservation, the National Fish Habitat Board, will honor two exceptional organizations and two individual champions in aquatic resource conservation at the Second Annual National Fish Habitat Awards ceremony on April 27, 2009 at the Jim Range National Casting Call hosted by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association.
From nominations submitted by the hundreds of organizations that comprise the National Fish Habitat Partners Coalition, the awardees demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to fish habitat conservation, science and education. They are leading by example to help resolve the nation’s most significant fisheries problems.
For 2009, the selection committee added an additional award category, Extraordinary Action category in support of fish habitat, bringing the total number of awards to four. Also, in honor of the recently passed Jim Range, who tragically lost his battle with cancer, the selection committee has re-named the Exceptional Vision Award in Jim’s honor. The award will now be the Jim Range Conservation Vision Award. “Renaming the Award in honor of Jim, is just a small token to honor all that he has done in Washington to support fish and wildlife conservation. The Board found it fitting to rename the award and there is no better venue to honor Jim than Casting Call.” said Kelly Hepler, National Fish Habitat Board Chairman. “Jim was a true pioneer for conservation and was a true visionary when it came to fish and wildlife related issues.”
The Winners of the 2009 National Fish Habitat Awards are as follows:
Outreach and Education Award: The Lake Leaders Institute, University of Wisconsin-Extension Lakes
The goal of the Wisconsin Lake Leaders Institute is to enhance Wisconsin’s lake resources through education, leadership and citizen action. The Institute assists citizens in developing and improving both their technical and people skills, to enrich their communities and the waters within them. Participants learn in an atmosphere of openness, trust, friendship and camaraderie.
Lake Leaders Institute courses give participants the opportunity to take field trips, enjoy natural beauty, exchange and forge ideas, and develop friendships. Over 200 Lake Leaders Institute graduates have made a personal commitment to engage others in their community to ensure our water resources are preserved for future generations.
The University of Wisconsin-Extension (UWEX) Lakes is part of the College of Natural Resources at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. UWEX Lakes (education) works with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (science) and the Wisconsin Association of Lakes (citizens) to form the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership.
Lake Leaders Institute
Scientific Achievement Award: Stephen J. Jordan, Lisa M. Smith, Janet A. Nestlerode, Environmental Protection Agency – Office of Research and Development
The team of Jordan, Smith and Nestlerode, have broken new ground in quantifying the value of nursery habitats to a major fishery and ecological resource. In their research article (Cumulative Effects of Habitat Alterations on Fishery Resources: Prediction at Regional Scales) published in Ecology and Society, they have modeled how the detailed spatial extent and distribution of marsh and submerged aquatic vegetation affect blue crab recruitment at the scale of the US Gulf of Mexico, and shown how the model can be used to predict the effects of habitat alteration on the fishery. The novel modeling concepts applied to this research can be used more widely in quantitative analysis of the consequences of fish habitat loss and restoration at spatial and temporal scales.
(Cumulative Effects of Habitat Alterations on Fishery Resources: Prediction at Regional Scales) http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss1/art16/
PhD, Office of Research and Development, EPA
Jim Range Conservation Vision Award: Yvon Chouinard
Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia’s founder, started Patagonia in 1973 to meet the equipment and clothing needs of outdoor enthusiasts, primarily rock climbers, hikers and anglers. From the very beginning, Patagonia devoted time and money to the increasingly apparent national and world-wide environmental crisis. Yvon saw what was happening in the remote corners of the world: creeping pollution and deforestation, the slow, then not so slow, disappearance of fish and wildlife and decided to do something about it. Since then, Patagonia never looked back.
Yvon had the foresight and commitment to have Patagonia become a leader in giving back to natural resources to ensure their future viability and stability. In 1986, Patagonia began a program that makes it unique among corporate entities that care about fisheries habitat. Patagonia committed to donate 10% of profits each year to grass-roots environmental groups. They later upped the ante to 1% of sales, or 10% of profits, whichever was greater. Patagonia has kept to that commitment every year since, and placed a high emphasis on fishery habitat protection over the years, as evidenced by the starting of the World Trout Initiative to specifically address trout habitats and populations, the 1% For the Planet program that supports local grass-roots projects which include fishery habitat projects, and the Conservation Alliance – a program that enlists other funding sources to participate in wildlife and fisheries habitat projects.
Extraordinary Action Award: Project SHARE
Project SHARE (Salmon Habitat and River Enhancement), a 501(c)3 organization, was created in 1994 through the efforts of concerned landowners, salmon anglers, businesses and various government agencies, to establish a forum to protect and enhance Atlantic salmon habitat in the five Downeast rivers of Maine.
SHARE’s mission is to conserve and protect Atlantic salmon habitat in the Dennys, Machias, East Machias, Pleasant, and Narraguagus rivers. This is based on the premise of voluntary participation by area landowners, businesses, as well as local, state and federal government, academia, conservation organizations, research and educational interests and any other entity that will enhance the healthy functioning of these riverine ecosystems.
Since 2006, Steve Koenig – Project SHARE Executive Director has completed 22 USDA NRCS/WHIP projects that contributed $930,000 for stream habitat connectivity projects in Downeast Maine. The more impressive figure is the 19 additional WHIP (additional $1,000,000) projects currently under contract.
Combining landowner and other contributions to Project SHARE’s WHIP projects, these 41 stream restoration projects equate to nearly $2.6 million in on-the-ground conservation efforts that benefit Endangered Atlantic Salmon and other Service trust species such as brook trout and American eel.
The First Annual National Fish Habitat Awards were held on April 28, 2008 at the National Casting Call event and the winners were, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (Outreach and Education Award), The Fish and Aquatic Ecology Unit of the U.S. Forest Service & Trout Unlimited (Co-winners – Scientific Achievement Award) and Stephen Perry (Exceptional Vision Award).
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About the National Fish Habitat Action Plan
The National Fish Habitat Action Plan is the most comprehensive effort ever attempted to treat the causes of aquatic habitat decline and fix the nation’s most pressing fisheries problems. The Action Plan is a science-based investment strategy to conserve waterways and make conservation dollars stretch farther by combining federal and privately raised funds to build regional partnerships. For more information, visit www.fishhabitat.org.
About the Jim Range National Casting Call
Hosted by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, the Jim Range National Casting Call is an annual two-day event providing a unique opportunity for families, youth, the fly fishing industry and their partners to spend time on the water experiencing first-hand the benefits of collaboration in fisheries management. For more information, visit www.nationalcastingcall.com.