29 March 2008

Bird Species Recovery Champions Named

The national office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced the 2007 "Recovery Champions," with particular recognition for efforts to conserve birds.

"Recovery Champions are Fish and Wildlife Service employees and partners who are making significant contributions to the recovery of native endangered or threatened species."
Holly B. Freifeld, Ph.D
Vertebrate Recovery Coordinator
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Honolulu, Hawaii
Hawaiian Petrel, Laysan Duck, Mariana fruit bat, and Newell’s Shearwater

"Dr. Holly Freifeld’s Recovery Champion award is the result of her exemplary contributions to the recovery of the Newell’s shearwater, Hawaiian petrel, Laysan duck, and Mariana fruit bat. Over the years, Freifeld has brought together diverse government agencies and non-government organizations to work towards the recovery of these endangered Pacific Island species. Her leadership ability in brokering close and significant working relationships with partners outside the Service while maintaining focus on significant recovery actions embodies the skills required to show success in recovering these severely imperiled species."

John Christian
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, Minnesota
Whooping Crane

"John Christian’s Recovery Champion award is based on his dedication to the recovery of the whooping crane. His tireless efforts have brought together a diverse group of partners to create an organization that has led a reintroduction and recovery effort for the crane. This endeavor has overseen raising young whooping cranes to providing intensive flight training at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin, and through long and occasionally dangerous trips, leading the endangered birds to their wintering grounds in the Florida peninsula. These efforts have resulted in a substantial growth in the population of the species, including milestone events such as the first successful nesting and fledging of a whooping crane east of the Mississippi River in over 80 years."

Nebraska Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
Fish and Wildlife Service
Grand Island, Nebraska
Least Tern, pallid sturgeon, Piping Plover, and Whooping Crane on the central Platte River

"The Nebraska Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program has made important contributions to the recovery of whooping cranes, least terns, piping plovers, and pallid sturgeon on the central Platte River. The collective hard work of the Program has resulted in the restoration and enhancement of over 7,000 upland and wetland acres as well as nearly 50 miles of improved river habitat. Through tireless labor and extensive outreach efforts, the restoration of the central Platte has become a national model for success. The Program has brought together diverse government agencies, non-government organizations, landowners, and volunteers to work towards the recovery of several listed species as well as provided benefits to a range of native plants and animals."

Missouri River Recovery Program
Threatened and Endangered Species Section, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Yankton, South Dakota
Least Tern, pallid sturgeon, and Piping Plover on the Missouri River

The Corps, through the Missouri River office, has made exemplary contributions towards the recovery of the least tern, piping plover, pallid sturgeon, and other species of the Missouri River. The Corps is successfully implementing one of the most comprehensive and geographically challenging endangered species monitoring and recovery programs ever conceived. Monitoring of more than 2,500 miles of reservoir shoreline and hundreds of river miles involves tremendous teamwork among a diverse group of biologists, summer employees, and other stakeholders. Activities include research and monitoring, habitat restoration, nest protection, weekly surveys of bird productivity, and captive propagation efforts. Also noteworthy is the implementation of an ambitious and comprehensive outreach program that engages all Missouri River basin stakeholders."

Nora Rojek
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairbanks, Alaska
Steller’s Eider

"Since 2003, Nora Rojek has coordinated the Steller’s eider recovery project near Barrow, Alaska. In 2005, nesting was documented for the first time since 2000. Successful nests were also documented in 2006 and 2007. Under Rojek’s guidance, scientific knowledge of Steller’s eider breeding ecology has substantially advanced, and she has accomplished numerous high-priority tasks identified by the Steller’s Eider Recovery Team, including support for the Alaska SeaLife Center’s efforts to establish a captive breeding flock. Rojek’s efforts have brought together diverse government agencies, non-government organizations, and individuals to work towards the recovery of the species. It is in large part through her ability to attain this level of cooperation among all stakeholders that the Steller’s eider is coming back from the brink of extinction."

Tuula Hollmen, DVM
Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward, Alaska
Steller’s Eider

"With the support of a staff of technicians and animal husbandry experts, Dr. Tuula Hollmen is recognized for her management and leadership in Steller’s eider research and recovery projects. As manager of the Eider Program at the Alaska SeaLife Center, Hollmen has played a pivotal role in efforts to establish a captive flock of Steller’s eiders for use in future reintroduction plans. In addition, she has pioneered and collaborated on many other important eider recovery efforts, including a Reintroduction Feasibility Analysis to help determine whether to use reintroduction as a recovery tool for the species. Working with aviculturists from other regions and countries, as well as colleagues in the Service, Hollmen and staff have pioneered species-specific husbandry techniques. In 2007, the first Steller’s eider raised in captivity in North America, if not the world, was hatched at the Alaska SeaLife Center."

"The Recovery Champion award not only recognizes the exceptional conservation accomplishments of the honorees, it also provides the public with a unique opportunity to learn about endangered species conservation," said Dale Hall, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service. "These Recovery Champions are extraordinary conservationists dedicated to protecting and restoring our nation?s wildlife and ensuring that future generations of Americans enjoy the natural treasures we experience today."

Information from www.fws.gov

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