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					U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service                      Fall 2010

Fish & Wildlife News

                        Restoring the Gulf / 8
                        Faces of the Spill / 14
what’s inside

                                    Departments   From the Director / 1                     Around the Service / 19
                                                  News / 3                                  Our People / 22
                                                  Conservation in Action / 7                Transitions / 22
                                                                                            Honors / 22
                                                  Field Journal / 18
                                                                                            In Memoriam / 24

                                       Features                               Restoring the Gulf / 8
                                                                              Bird by bird, egg by egg,
                                                                              Service employees and partners
                                                                              rise to the occasion
                                                                              By Chris Tollefson, Photo by Catherine J. Hibbard

                                                                              Faces of the Spill / 14
                                                                              Some of the many Service employees
                                                                              who went above and beyond
                                                                              the call of duty
                                                                              Photo by Catherine J. Hibbard

                                                  It’s been gratifying and humbling
                                                  to witness, on a daily basis,
                                                  the dedication and self-sacrifice
                                                  that our people displayed
                                                  in the face of one of the worst
                                                  environmental disasters
                                                  in our nation’s history.
                                                  Rowan Gould, Acting Fish and Wildlife Service Director

On the cover: An oiled gannet is
cleaned at the Theodore Oiled
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Photo: Colin White, Petty Officer
3rd Class / U.S. Coast Guard.
                                                                                                    from the director

                  Our Finest Hour
                  The past six months have been some of the most
                  difficult in our nation’s history, as we bore witness to   Our roots here run deep,
                  and struggled to contend with the slowly unfolding
                  ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the    and we are in this
                  BP oil spill. And yet, I can truly say of the men and
                  women of the Fish and Wildlife Service during this         for the long haul.
                  period what Winston Churchill once said of those who
                  defended Britain during another seemingly hopeless         We will not rest
Rowan Gould,
                  time in history — “never was so much owed by so
                  many to so few.”                                           until the Gulf is returned
Acting Director
                  I was privileged to spend several months in the Gulf,
                                                                             to what it was before the
                  helping to coordinate the Department of the Interior’s
                  response to the spill, and I have never seen such
                                                                             Deepwater Horizon rig
                  dedication and sacrifice than that exhibited on a daily
                  basis by Service people.
                                                                             exploded and sank.
                  The accounts, some of which you will read about in         Of course, our work is far from finished. It will
                  this issue of Fish and Wildlife News, are legion. From     take years for the Gulf to recover from this spill,
                  the men and women who slept for weeks on barges            and we are only now in the initial stages of the
                  and left, day after day, on grueling search and rescue     Natural Resource Damage Assessment and
                  missions for oiled birds and other wildlife, to those      Restoration process. The enormous task of restoring
                  who spent countless hours in the darkness searching        ecosystems and habitat across the Gulf will fall on
                  for and marking sea turtle nests to try and save an        our shoulders, along with those of our federal,
                  entire season’s worth of hatchlings, to those who          state and conservation partners.
                  donned tyvek suits in 95-degree heat to clean up oiled
                  beaches — the effort and sacrifice displayed by            But as I have continued to remind people, the Fish
                  countless Service employees has been nothing short         and Wildlife Service has been part of the fabric of Gulf
                  of awe-inspiring.                                          Coast communities for generations. Our roots here
                                                                             run deep, and we are in this for the long haul. We will
                  Nearly 2,000 Service employees — approximately             not rest until the Gulf is returned to what it was
                  25 percent of our workforce — spent time working           before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank.
                  on the spill. That represents a staggering
                  commitment to the Gulf on the part of this agency,         You have my deep gratitude and respect.
                  and I would like to commend and thank all of those         Let’s continue the good work together and leave a
                  who worked equally long hours at their home                lasting legacy in the Gulf for future generations.
                  stations, meeting our essential commitments while
                  their colleagues deployed to the Gulf.

                                                                                                      Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 1

The State of the Birds 2010 Report Focuses on Climate Change
The State of the Birds 2010 Report   differently. Some bird species

                                                                                                                                                     B eTH S TA R R
on Climate Change is the nation’s    will adapt and succeed, others
first comprehensive assessment       will struggle—and some will
of the vulnerability of United       disappear.
States bird species to climate
change. The report shows climate     Oceanic birds are among
change will have an increasingly     the most vulnerable species
disruptive effect on bird species    because they raise fewer young
in all habitats.                     each year and face challenges
                                     from a rapidly changing marine
Scientists scored each of more       ecosystem. They nest on islands
than 800 bird species based on       likely to be flooded as sea levels
six factors indicating sensitivity   rise. All 67 oceanic bird species,
to climate change, including         including petrels and albatrosses,
migratory behaviors, dependence      are among the most vulnerable
on specific habitats, ability        birds in the United States to
to disperse, degree of               climate change.
specialization on limited
resources, reproductive potential,   Hawaiian birds, including
and habitat-related exposure.        endangered species such as the       Refuge manager Tracy Ammerman chats with a Laysan
Species were categorized as                             --
                                     Puaiohi and ’Akiapola ’au already    albatross at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.
showing High Vulnerability           face multiple threats and are
(vulnerable on four or more          increasingly challenged by           nighthawk, and northern pintail      as the actions outlined in each
attributes), Medium Vulnerability    mosquito-borne diseases and          that are likely to become species    State’s Wildlife Action Plan will
(vulnerable on two or three          invasive species as climate          of conservation concern as a         be important tools as the climate
attributes), or Low Vulnerability    change alters their native           result of climate change.            change issue is addressed. When
(vulnerable on fewer than two        habitats.                                                                 conservationists can detect
attributes).                                                              The report also offers solutions     problems early enough, they may
                                     Birds in coastal, arctic/alpine,     that illustrate how, by working      be able to prevent extinction.
The resulting analysis indicates     and grassland habitats, as well      together, organizations
which birds are most vulnerable      as those on Caribbean and other      and individuals can have a           Secretary Salazar released
and in need of conservation          Pacific Islands show intermediate    positive impact on birds in the      the first State of the Birds
attention. By addressing climate     levels of vulnerability; most        United States. Specifically, the     Report for the United States
change and following the actions     birds in aridlands, wetlands,        report indicates the way lands       in March of 2009. That initial
outlined in the State of the Birds   and forests show relatively low      are managed can mitigate             report was created by an
2010 Report on Climate Change,       vulnerability to climate change.     impacts of climate change and        unprecedented partnership
organizations, agencies, and                                              help birds adapt to the changing     through a subcommittee
individuals can combine their        For species already of               conditions.                          of the North American Bird
efforts and help ensure future       conservation concern such as                                              Conservation Initiative. It showed
generations will enjoy the birds     the golden-cheeked warbler,          This 2010 report also outlines       birds such as northern bobwhite
we are working to protect today.     whooping crane, and spectacled       conservation actions that will be    and marbled nurrelet suffer from
                                     eider, the added vulnerability to    important as biological planning     habitat loss, shifting migration
Key Findings                         climate change may hasten            and design of large-scale            patterns due to climate change,
Birds in every terrestrial and       declines or prevent recovery         conservation efforts take            and other environmental
aquatic habitat will be affected     altogether.                          place. The Migratory Bird            stresses. More than 75 percent
by climate change, although                                               Joint Ventures, Landscape            of birds that nest only in deserts,
individual species in each           The report identified common bird    Conservation Cooperatives, and       shrub-scrub, and chaparral are
habitat will likely respond          species such as the American         public/private partnerships for      declining, primarily because of
                                     oystercatcher, common                the conservation of birds, as well   rampant and poorly planned
                                                                                                               urban growth.

2 / Fish & Wildlife News Fall 2010

The report highlighted examples      Service, Partners Celebrate 553rd National Wildlife Refuge
where habitat restoration and
conservation have reversed           In October, the Service and its
previous declines, offering          partners dedicated Cherry Valley
hope it is not too late to           National Wildlife Refuge as
take action to save declining        America’s 553rd National Wildlife
bird populations. The report         Refuge. The refuge will conserve
showed birds can be indicators of    nationally significant wildlife areas,
the health of our environment and    including habitat for threatened
called attention to the collective   and endangered species and a
efforts needed to ensure healthy     major corridor for migratory birds
populations of birds and a healthy   and bats. Located only 75 miles
environment for people.              from New York City and 100 miles
                                     from Philadelphia, the refuge
Both reports were produced           represents a new opportunity
through a partnership among          to connect more than three million
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife           citizens with the outdoors.
Service, U.S. Geological Survey
(USGS), state fish and wildlife      The refuge was officially
agencies, and bird conservation      established on October 18, 2010,
organizations along with a           when the Service acquired 185
working group of the U.S.            acres of land within the refuge
                                                                              Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
North American Bird                  boundary from Mary and Dominick
Conservation Initiative (NABCI).     Sorrenti of Sorrenti’s Cherry Valley
The partnership includes             Vineyards. The Sorrentis hosted          December 2008. The approved           of this refuge, people living in
American Bird Conservancy,           the dedication, which included           boundary for the refuge               Monroe County for generations
Association of Fish and Wildlife     U.S. Congressman Paul e.                 encompasses more than 20,000          to come will have the opportunity
Agencies, Cornell Lab of             Kanjorski (PA-11th), and                 acres in Monroe and Northampton       to experience an untouched
Ornithology, National Audubon        representatives from The Nature          counties. The first 185-acre parcel   environment that will continue
Society, National Fish and           Conservancy, Friends of Cherry           of land was purchased from the        to remain preserved for years
Wildlife Foundation, North           Valley and other members of the          Sorrentis with congressionally-       to come.”
American Bird Conservation           citizen-led Cherry Valley National       appropriated Land and Water
Initiative, The Nature               Wildlife Refuge Partnership.             Conservation Fund monies.            “Cherry Valley is an important part
Conservancy, U.S. Fish and                                                                                         of The Nature Conservancy’s work
Wildlife Service, U.S.D.A. Forest    “Cherry Valley is a model for the        Local citizens, with assistance      to protect Pennsylvania’s special
Service, and USGS. The working       President’s America’s Great              from The Nature Conservancy,         places, for people and for nature,”
group of the U.S. North American     Outdoors Initiative,” said Acting        created a partnership to protect     said Pennsylvania Chapter
Bird Conservation Initiative         Director Rowan Gould. “It is an          Cherry Valley in 2001. At the urging executive Director Bill Kunze.
remains strong and committed         example of how private citizens          of the partnership, Congressmen      “This refuge will help protect
to working together on future        and local communities can                Kanjorski and Charles W. Dent        working farms and a portion of
reports.                             safeguard the places they care           (PA-15th) co-sponsored the Cherry the Appalachian Trail, as well as
                                     about. The Service is pleased            Valley National Wildlife Refuge      habitat for rare species.”
                                     to be part of the citizen-led            Study Act, which passed in 2006.
Alicia King, Migratory Birds,        partnership that helped create           This study led to the decision to    To learn more about the
Region 9                             this refuge, and we look forward         approve the refuge.                  Cherry Valley National Wildlife
                                     to working with our new neighbors                                             Refuge, visit <
                                     to protect additional lands as           “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife          cherryvalley>. For more
                                     part of the refuge.”                     Service, The Nature Conservancy, information about America’s
                                                                              and many others have long been       Great Outdoors Initiative,
                                     The Service has been working with        key pieces of this initiative and    go to <
                                     the partnership and local citizens       have been instrumental in            americasgreatoutdoors/
                                     to identify property to purchase for     establishing the refuge,” said       index.cfm>.
                                     the refuge since it was approved in      Congressman Kanjorski. “Because

                                                                                                                      Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 3

United States Highlights Service Priorities at the 15th Conference of the Parties in Doha, Qatar
The U.S. was one of 175 member       undercover investigation of                                          to the species, including climate     Trade in CITES-listed coral
countries in attendance at the       unlawful international trafficking                                   change. Conference highlights         specimens: As a result of U.S.
Convention on International Trade    in sea turtle parts and products.                                    include:                              and european Union submissions,
in endangered Species of Wild                                                                                                                   the CoP adopted decisions
Fauna and Flora (commonly            Service priorities were soon                                         Asian big cats: The Parties           facilitating the uniform reporting
referred to as CITeS). During the    highlighted as the U.S. agreed                                       agreed to retain language calling     of coral specimens in trade and
15th Meeting of the Conference       with the Secretariat that Parties                                    on countries with tiger captive       improving the effectiveness of
of the Parties (CoP15), U.S.         should recognize the actual and                                      breeding operations to limit          coral listings.
Delegates convened to discuss        potential impacts of climate                                         breeding only to levels supportive
negotiations and positions in        change on CITeS implementation,                                      of the conservation of wild tigers.   The Service invested in advanced
Doha, Qatar. This marked the first   and further reiterated climate                                                                             communication efforts for CoP15.
time that CITeS met in the Middle    change within the CITeS context                                      Elephants: Proposals from             It established a new website
east and the State of Qatar          should be limited to science-                                        Tanzania and Zambia to downlist       <> to report
invested substantial financial       based decision-making, such as                                       their African elephant populations    on the session from a U.S.
resources to host the meeting.       when making non-detriment                                            to Appendix II and allow one-off      perspective. The website
                                     findings and listing decisions.                                      sales of ivory stockpiles were        generated more than a million
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service                                                                        rejected. The United States           hits in March. During the
and the U.S. Department of           The United States was                                                expressed strong opposition           conference, the website provided
Justice were awarded the Animal      disappointed its proposal to                                         to any renewed ivory trade.           real-time updates on actions
Welfare Institute’s prestigious      protect polar bears from                                             The United States also played         taking place during the
Clark R. Bavin Law enforcement       international trade was not                                          a key role in moving forward          conference, using social media
Award at a reception sponsored       accepted, but promised to                                            efforts to monitor illegal killing    tools including daily blogs, twitter
by the Species Survival Network      continue work with other                                             of elephants, and to strengthen       (USFWSInternatl) and an RSS
for their successful, six-year       countries to highlight threats                                       illegal ivory trade controls and      feed. The Service plans to make
                                                                                                          implementation of the African         this website a permanent source
                                                                                                          elephant action plan.                 of CITeS-related information for
Tom Strickland, head of the CITES U.S. delegation,                                                                                              the general public, interested
at Al Jazeera English TV Studio in Doha, Qatar.                                                           Budget: The U.S. delegation           parties, and the news media.
                                                                                                          identified increased enforcement
                                                                          CH RISTI Ne eUS TIS / US FW S

                                                                                                          capacity as a budgetary priority      The Service also participated
                                                                                                          and strongly advocated for a          in press conferences, a live
                                                                                                          modest budget increase for the        interview with Al Jazeera
                                                                                                          CITeS Secretariat to allow for the    television, and a media
                                                                                                          addition of a second permanent        roundtable hosted by the U.S.
                                                                                                          enforcement officer.                  Ambassador to Qatar. More
                                                                                                                                                than 440 media stories were
                                                                                                          Asian snake trade: The U.S.           generated, many featuring the
                                                                                                          co-sponsored with China a             information shared by the
                                                                                                          document to begin actions to          Service. While the Service’s
                                                                                                          address the Asian snake trade,        species proposals were not
                                                                                                          possibly the largest under-           adopted, it provided valuable
                                                                                                          regulated terrestrial wildlife        leadership in international
                                                                                                          trade in the world. The proposal,     conservation, and is already
                                                                                                          agreed by consensus, is to            beginning preparations for
                                                                                                          convene an international              CoP16 which will be hosted by
                                                                                                          workshop to examine the snake         Thailand in 2013.
                                                                                                          conservation, trade management,
                                                                                                          and enforcement issues.
                                                                                                                                                Christine Eustis, Deputy Assistant
                                                                                                                                                Director, External Affairs,
                                          The Devils Hole pupfish.                                                                               Washington, DC

4 / Fish & Wildlife News Fall 2010

                                                                                                                  Affairs, Minerals Management
                                                                                                                  Service, environmental Protection
                                                                                                                  Agency, National Oceanic and
                                                                                                                  Atmospheric Administration, U.S.
                                                                                                                  Forest Service and the Natural
                                                                                                                  Resources Conservation Service.
Field of rough blazing-star
(Liatris aspera) in Wisconsin                                                                                     Across the country, LCC
                                                                                                                  partnerships are already
                                                                                                                  identifying priority species and
The Right Conservation in the Right Places:                                  adaptive conservation strategies     habitats within their respective
                                                                             and actions that anticipate          geographies and launching
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives                                          changes in habitat and the           projects that will inform
Four years ago, through a               by land, water, wildlife and         abundance and distribution of        conservation decisions and
cooperative effort culminating in       cultural resource managers and       species.                             actions on the ground. each
the 2006 National ecological            interested public and private                                             LCC is guided by a steering
Assessment Team Report, the U.S.        organizations within a               With an initial federal investment   committee composed of
Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)         geographically defined area.         of $25 million in this fiscal year   executive and management level
and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)       LCCs support biological planning,    and other funding sources, the       representatives from partner
outlined a unifying adaptive            conservation design, prioritizing    Service and U.S. Geological          organizations, which will provide
resource management approach            and coordinating research, and       Survey (USGS) are forming nine       management direction.
for conservation at landscape           designing species inventory and      LCCs across the country. Those
scales—the entire range of a            monitoring programs—key steps        “first generation” cooperatives      Ashe says he expects most if not
priority species or suite of species.   of SHC. They also have a role in     include the Arctic, Great            all FY 2010 LCCs will have staff in
                                        helping partners identify common     Northern, Great Plains, North        place (including LCC coordinators
Known as strategic habitat              goals and priorities to target the   Atlantic, South Atlantic, Pacific    and science coordinators) and
conservation or SHC, it is an           right science in the right places    Islands, Plains and Potholes,        governance details ironed out
adaptive resource management            for efficient and effective          Gulf Coastal Plains and              by the end of the year. Though it
approach that focuses on                conservation.                        Ozarks, and California regions.      may take a few years for the LCC
planning, designing, implementing,                                           Most incorporate parts of            network to be fully functional in
and evaluating habitat                  “By functioning as network of        several states.                      terms of science capability and
conservation on the landscape.          interdependent units rather                                               connectivity, Ashe says LCCs
SHC helps resource managers             than independent entities, LCC       Interior’s FY 2011 budget request    will begin providing scientific
deal with high levels of uncertainty    partnerships can accomplish a        includes $3.8 million to establish   support to resource managers
and respond to a range of large-        conservation mission no single       three more LCCs, and the FWS         immediately, and that capacity
scale conservation challenges,          agency or organization can           is requesting $8 million in direct   will grow through 2011 and 2012.
such as habitat fragmentation,          accomplish alone,” says FWS          appropriations for climate
invasive species, water scarcity        Deputy Director Dan Ashe.            change planning and science          Thinking Big
and energy development—                                                      aimed at adaptive management.        LCCs not only represent a
all of which are compounded by    LCCs along with Climate Science            Ashe says the eventual goal is       more networked approach to
accelerating climate change.      Centers form the cornerstones of           to create a national network of      conservation, but they also signal
                                  the Interior Department’s climate          21 cooperatives by 2012.             a new way of doing business.
Now the SHC approach is           change strategy. each has a
expanding to a new level through  distinct science and resource-             The level of partnership             Ashe says that during the past
a national network of applied     management role but also shares            engagement and commitment is         century, the conservation
conservation science partnerships complementary capacities and               encouraging. In addition to the      business model largely focused
called Landscape Conservation     capabilities. LCC scientists, using        Service, DOI’s Bureau of             on protection, restoration and
Cooperatives or LCCs. LCC         advanced computer models and               Reclamation, Bureau of Land          management. “Along with
partnerships inform integrated    predictive data regional Climate           Management, and National Park        states and other partners,
resource management actions       Science Centers, will forecast             Service are providing base           we’ve had great success
addressing climate change and     how climate change could alter             funding and support to establish     with that approach, but the
other stressors within and across regional ecosystems decades                LCCs in various regions. Other       unprecedented pace and scale
landscapes. They are true         from now. That, in turn, will help         key DOI and federal partners         of climate change and other
cooperatives, formed and directed resource managers determine                include the Bureau of Indian         landscape-scale stressors >>

                                                                                                                    Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 5

Conservation, continued from page 5
                                      LCCs can transform and build on the work
have changed the game,” he
says. “Our conservation target—
                                      conservation partners are doing right now. The
once as simple as protecting and
managing parts and pieces—is
                                      key difference is that our decisions will be tied to
now as complex as sustaining          something bigger than what is in our own backyard.
systems and functions, species
and populations at global scales.”    Deputy Director Dan Ashe

Ashe says LCCs embrace the
idea that protection, restoration     the region’s breeding ducks by as     planning to establish an
and management are not ends           much as 69 percent, according to      Intermountain West
unto themselves. These                the Wildlife Management Institute     Regional Climate
activities, as well as applied        report, “Season’s end: Global         Change Hub.
science, are a means to a larger      Warming’s Threat to Hunting
outcome—landscapes capable            and Fishing.”                         “LCCs add value to
of sustaining abundant, diverse                                             what we alread have,”
and healthy populations of fish,      Lloyd Jones, project leader for       Jones says. “They
wildlife and plants.                  Audubon National Wildlife Refuge      can ramp up our
                                      Complex in North Dakota, says         level of
“LCCs can transform and build on      the Plains and Prairie Potholes       understanding
the work conservation partners        LCC will leverage existing science    and scientific
are doing right now,” he says.        capacity and partnerships to help     knowledge and
“The key difference is that           conserve native wetlands and          help connect these
our decisions will be tied to         grasslands in the region. Jones       efforts with the ultimate
something bigger than what is         says the area has many strong         goal of conserving wetland and
in our own backyard.”                 conservation partnerships,            grassland resources.”
                                      including three migratory bird
Value Added                           Joint Ventures and four Fish          Jones says refuge managers and
That’s precisely what’s happening     Habitat Partnerships. existing        field staff have an important role
in the Prairie Pothole Region of      Service science and strategic         to play by providing essential
the northern Great Plains, where      conservation planning capacity        feedback that will improve the
the FWS Midwest and Mountain-         includes the Habitat and              LCC’s ability to model and predict
Prairie Regions are working with      Population evaluation Team            how landscapes and species will
partners to establish the Plains      (HAPeT) offices in Fergus Falls,      respond to a changing climate.
and Prairie Potholes LCC.             MN, and Bismarck, ND, the
                                      Fish and Wildlife Conservation        “We already have the manpower
According to the U.S. Global          Offices, the Fish Technology and      and expertise on the landscape
Change Research Program,              Fish Health centers, and many         to provide research and data
climate change effects in the         national wildlife refuges, national   through vehicles such as surveys
region, combined with other           fish hatcheries and ecological        and wildlife population counts
human-induced stresses such as        services field offices.               that can be integrated into
cropland conversion and energy                                              additional science and research
development, are likely to further    The region also has a solid history   done under LCCs,” he says. “It’s
increase the vulnerability of         of collaboration with USGS,           pretty exciting to think about how
ecosystems to pests, invasive         which operates the Northern           far we can go.”
species and loss of native            Prairie Wildlife Research
species. As a result, the region      Center and the South Dakota           For more information on LCCs,
could lose up to 90 percent of its    State University Cooperative          visit<
wetlands, reducing the number of      Research Unit and is                  lcc.html>.

                                                                            David Eisenhauer, Public Affairs,
                                                                            Washington, DC

6 / Fish & Wildlife News Fall 2010
                                                                                                      conservation in action

Service Enters Unique                                                                                managers in habitat management
                                                                                                     planning. This informtion on WHSRN
                                                                                                     sites will also benefit Manomet in its
Partnership for Climate Change                                                                       quest to protect shorebird habitat on a
                                                                                                     hemispheric scale. Ideally, the tested
The impact on northeast shorebirds                                                                   vulnerability assessment framework will
                                                                                                     be used at WHSRN sites across the board,
                                                                                                     whether on refuges or not.
by Marci Caplis
                                                                                                     “We have to plan ahead for climate change
                                                                                                     if we want to protect both habitat and

W    orking once again at the forefront of
     climate change issues, the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service has entered a unique
                                              coast or on tidally influenced waters
                                              subject to the effects of sea level rise.
                                              Ten of these refuges, including Edwin B.
                                                                                                     trust species,” said Stolley. “The Service
                                                                                                     is doing important work in the field of
                                                                                                     climate change adaptation and mitigation,
partnership with the Manomet Center for       Forsythe NWR in New Jersey and                         and this project will give managers a tool
Conservation Sciences to study climate        Chincoteague NWR in Virginia, are so                   to use in planning for shorebird habitat
change and its affects on shorebirds in the   important to shorebirds they have been                 conservation.” In addition to looking at sea
northeast region.                             designated a Western Hemisphere                        level rise, Stolley’s assessment will factor
                                              Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN)                      in other climate change impacts such as
It is estimated more than half of all bird    Sites of Regional, Hemispheric or                      changes in temperature, precipitation,
species are likely to be affected by          International Importance. Nationwide,                  fire regimes, and the availability of water.
changing water regimes associated with        40 refuges have attained a WHSRN                       All are elements that will help FWS and
climate change. Shorebirds in particular      site designation.                                      refuges in long term habitat planning.
have some of the greatest potential for
being impacted. As their name implies,        In an effort to combine the study of                   To start, Stolley will be traveling to
most shorebirds use low-lying areas along     climate change and its impacts on                      different refuges to assess current climate
the coast for habitat. They feed in           shorebirds, FWS wildlife biologist and                 change work and needs from Service
mudflats and along the water’s edge for       park ranger Dorie Stolley has joined                   personnel, and will be focusing on refuges
bivalves, worms, insect larvae, and other     forces with the Manomet Center to study                hosting two particular shorebird species,
invertebrates. Many shorebirds also nest      climate change on FWS/WHSRN sites.                     the red knot and American oystercatcher.
on barrier islands, in marshes or in other    Stolley will design and test an assessment             Red knots, which have suffered a
low-lying coastal areas. Sea level rise       framework enabling refuge managers to                  catastrophic population decline in recent
caused by climate change has the potential    measure the vulnerability of their sites to            years, use coastal sites vulnerable to
to devastate shorebird habitat and            climate change and consider what options               sea level rise during migration, and
populations throughout the northeast.         are available to best maintain shorebird               nest in Arctic habitats that may also be
                                              habitat. Having worked on refuges for                  impacted by climate change. American
Of the 72 national wildlife refuges in the    ten years, Stolley hopes this project will             oystercatchers, already declining as a
northeast region, 48 are situated along the   provide sound science to assist refuge                 result of coastal development and
                                                                                                     increasing predation, nest and raise
                                                                                                     their young on barrier islands, coastal
                                                                                            USF WS

Red knot                                                                                             beaches and mudflats, all extremely
                                                                                                     vulnerable to sea level rise.

                                                                                                     This partnership was approved through an
                                                                                                     Intergovernmental Personnel Act mobility
                                                                                                     agreement, and involved approval from
                                                                                                     the regional directorate and Department
                                                                                                     of Interior.

                                                                                                     To find out more about FWS and Manomet
                                                                                                     projects in climate change, please visit
                                                                                                     or <>.

                                                                                                     Marci Caplis, Deputy Assistant Regional
                                                                                                     Director, Northeast Region

                                                                                                                   Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 7
                                                                                                                               Catherine J.
                                                                                                                               takes a GPS
                                                                                                                              reading for a
                                                                                                                               gull carcass
                                                                                                                                on Gaillard

                                                        Service veterinarian
                                                       Dr. Sharon K. Taylor
                                                         and Aransas NWR
                                                refuge manager Dan Alonso
                                                   release of brown pelicans
                                                   into the wild—the largest
                                                          of 10 bird releases.

A child
loggerhead turtles that
hatched just before a relocation.
                                                                          TAMI He IL eMA NN / D O I

                                                                                                         Bird by bird,
                                                                                                         egg by egg,
                                                                                                         Service employees
                                                                                                         and partners
                                                                                                         rise to the
                                                                    CATHeRI Ne J. HI B BA RD / U SF WS

                                                                                                         By Chris Tollefson
A Service employee walks along a boom and
8 / Fish &wildlife in Dennis Pass, Louisiana.
surveys Wildlife News Fall 2010
P eL IC A N R eLeA S e: R O B eR T B R A ZZeL L / U. S . C O A S T G U A R D

                                                                               From the moment oil started flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, Fish and Wildlife Service                Employees cleaned tar balls off beaches
                                                                               employees began working to protect and restore the Gulf Coast’s fragile ecosystem.                    and worked long hours behind the
                                                                                                                                                                                     scenes hunched over laptops in Incident
                                                                               Now that the leak has been plugged, the Service’s work is just beginning.
                                                                                                                                                                                     Command Centers; surveyed bird colonies
G U L L C A R C A S S : MIC H A eL A S S eNMA C H eR / U S F W S

                                                                                                                                                                                     and habitats by plane, helicopter, boat and

                                                                               J  ust this once, James Harris figured that
                                                                                  he could get away with going to work
                                                                               in his pajamas. Of course, since he’d had
                                                                                                                              Harris’ incredible story is just one of
                                                                                                                              many. In responding to the BP oil spill,
                                                                                                                              Service employees from across the nation
                                                                                                                                                                                     on foot; rescued oiled birds and brought
                                                                                                                                                                                     them in for cleaning; saved baby sea
                                                                                                                                                                                     turtles who might otherwise have died;
                                                                               major surgery less than a week before,         approached their work with uncommon                    and volunteered for second, and third,
                                                                               the fact that Harris was out of uniform        dedication, working long hours in searing              and fourth deployments.
                                                                               was the least of his worries.                  heat and humidity for weeks on end.
                                                                                                                                                                                     Most important, the Service’s men and
                                                                               But Harris, senior wildlife biologist          Many Hands Make Light(er) Work                         women integrated smoothly into the
                                                                               deployed to Venice, Louisiana as part of       Nearly 2,000 employees — approximately                 largest and most complex Incident
                                                                               the Fish and Wildlife Service’s response       25 percent of the Service’s workforce —                Command Structure ever assembled
                                                                               to the Gulf oil spill, was adamant that        have worked on the spill since the                     outside of a war zone.
                                                                               nothing was going to keep him away at          Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and
                                                                               this time of crisis.                           sank on the night of April 19, causing                 “It’s been gratifying and humbling to
                                                                                                                              a leak that would eventually spill more                witness, on a daily basis, the dedication
                                                                                                  For weeks, he had           than 200 million gallons of oil into                   and self-sacrifice that our people
                                                                                                  spent 14-hour days as       the Gulf and contaminate more than                     displayed in the face of one of the worst
                                                                                                  part of a team that would   600 miles of shoreline.                                environmental disasters in our nation’s
                                                                                                  go out in boats daily                                                              history,” said Gould.
                                                                                                  to check on boom and        “The Gulf Coast supports some of the
                                                                                                  search for oiled wildlife   richest and most abundant wildlife                     The work performed by the Service and
                                                                                                  at Breton and Delta         resources in the world. From the                       its federal and state partners has been
                                                                                                  National Wildlife           beginning, it’s been imperative for us to              critical to the response effort. To date,
                                                                                                  Refuges. One night,         do everything we can to help restore its               state and federal wildlife teams have
                                                                               James Harris after working a typical           vital ecosystems — not only for future                 captured alive more than 2,000 oiled
                                                                               14-hour shift, he started having severe        generations, but for the communities and               birds. More than half of those birds
                                                                               abdominal pain and by the next morning         people who depend on these resources                   have been cleaned, rehabilitated and
                                                                               he could barely walk. A co-worker drove        for their livelihood,” said Acting Service             released back into the wild. In addition,
                                                                               him two hours to a hospital in Lacombe,        Director Rowan Gould.                                  roughly 5,800 visibly oiled dead birds
                                                                               where doctors removed his appendix.                                                                   have been collected.
                                                                               The doctor told him that in two more days,     Gould, who himself deployed full-time
                                                                               his appendix would have ruptured.              to the Gulf for more than two months                   “The spill took place at a time of year that,
                                                                                                                              to coordinate the Service’s response,                  biologically speaking, was perhaps the
                                                                               The day after his surgery, Harris was          said the response of employees from                    worst possible. Colonial nesting birds
                                                                               working on response issues on the phone.       across the nation has been overwhelming.               ringed the coastline; thousands of them >>
                                                                               Six days after his surgery, he reported
                                                                               back to work at his home office in
                                                                               Lacombe, where the Southeast Louisiana
                                                                               Refuge Complex is headquartered. But
                                                                               he showed up for work in his pajamas.
                                                                                                                              These men and women made huge sacrifices,
                                                                               “When I came back to work, the scars
                                                                                                                              both in terms of the work piling up in their home
                                                                               were still healing and I couldn’t wear         offices while they were deployed and the loss
                                                                               regular pants with a belt, so I came to
                                                                               work in my pajamas,” he recalled. “I           of time with their families. Their dedication
                                                                               figured that was the only time my project
                                                                               leader would let me get away with that, so     was incredible, and their unflagging efforts in
                                                                               I took advantage of that.” Two weeks after
                                                                               his surgery, Harris was back in a boat in      the face of a job that sometimes seemed almost
                                                                               Venice working directly on the spill.
                                                                                                                              insurmountable helped me keep on going
                                                                                                                              through the tough times.
                                                                                                                              Kimberly Trust, Nongame Migratory Bird Coordinator, Alaska Region

                                                                                                                                                                                                   Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 9
Gulf, continued from page 9                                                      despite the challenges of an environmental
                                                                                 disaster of a size and scope none of us had
either still sitting on eggs or caring for                                       ever experienced or imagined.”
newly hatched juveniles,” notes Jewel
Bennett.                                                                         Sea Turtle Nests at Risk                                                              National Sea Turtle Recovery
                                                                                 The spill also occurred at the worst                                                  Coordinator Sandy MacPherson briefs
Bennett, the Alaska Region’s Branch                                              possible time for nesting sea turtles.                                                Asssistant Secretary of the Interior
Chief for Conservation Planning, spent a
                                                                                                                                                                       for Fish and Wildlife and Parks
total of 6 weeks deployed as the                                                 With oil threatening to wipe out an entire                                            Tom Strickland on the sea turtle nest
Operations Chief for the Wildlife Branch                                         season’s worth of hatchlings from some                                                relocation effort at a nest site near
in the Houma Sector. Based in the                                                 of the world’s most threatened sea turtle                                            Panama City, Fla.
Incident Command Center, she supported                                           populations, an audacious plan was born
field operations related to wildlife                                             to relocate thousands of hatchlings to

                                                                                                                                        TOM M AC K eNZIe / U S F W S
reconnaissance and recovery.                                                     Florida’s East Coast.

Bennett said she was surprised by                                                Sandy MacPherson, the Service’s National
how familiar the challenges were                                                 Sea Turtle Recovery Coordinator, worked
to those working in Alaska’s remote                                              extensively with rehabbers, NOAA, her
areas — difficult access, operations that                                        colleagues in the Service and the states
were frequently disrupted by the whims of                                        to find, mark and excavate hundreds
weather, and the challenge of maintaining                                        of sea turtle nests from beaches across
reliable communication. Most of all, she                                         the Alabama and Florida panhandle.
saw the value of having professional                                             The eggs were transported to the
wildlife biologists on the ground.                                               Kennedy Space Center in Florida in
                                                                                 custom cases on climate-controlled trucks
“The decisions of which areas to boom,                                           donated by operational partner FedEx,
or even which oiled birds to attempt to                                          where they were incubated until the
capture, were complex and required                                               hatchlings could be released into the
high levels of biological expertise,”                                            waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
she said. “It was sometimes an all but
overwhelming job, but the incredible                                             MacPherson also worked with turtle                                                    Felix Lopez, Environmental
Service personnel on site continually                                            biologists to formulate protocols for                                                 Contaminants Specialist, briefs response
found ways to do the nearly impossible                                           dealing with adult turtles oiled in the                                               crew at Grand Isle prior to to search for
                                                                                                                                                                       oiled birds.

A Gentle Journey: Relocating sea turtle nests
                                                                                 Sea turtle nest transfer from Alabama
Eggs being placed into a cooler for                                              to Florida. SE Regional Director Cindy                                                Dave Moody and Ron Langdon
transport to their new location.                                                 Dohner (second from left) looks on.                                                   transport eggs from St. Vincent NWR.
                                             JeNNI F eR STRI CKL AND / U SF WS

                                                                                                                               BO NNI e STRAWSeR / USFWS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   SHAWN NAG Le / NPS
The Service’s men and women integrated
smoothly into the largest and most complex
Incident Command Structure ever assembled
outside of a war zone.
marine environment, as well as those

                                                                G A R Y P eeP L eS / U S F W S
coming ashore to nest. The pressure was
intense, as the unrelenting glare of the
media, elected officials and the Unified
Command settled on the small team of
biologists. She found herself working
around the clock for several weeks during
the run-up to the relocation effort.

“The way we were able to pull this
operation together in a matter of
weeks — to bring so many biologists and
logistics experts together to develop a
strategy and protocols, to find and mark
the nests and to actually begin relocating
thousands of eggs, has been amazing.
Everyone was so eager to help. This has
really proven to be a model partnership
among multiple federal and state agencies,
conservation groups and the private
sector,” MacPherson said.

Fortunately, the Service was able to
suspend those translocations after the leak
was plugged and it became apparent the
turtle hatchlings were no longer in danger.
In all, nearly 15,000 sea turtle hatchlings
                                                                                                 Shorebird study coordinator Mark Capone addresses the Natural Resource Damage
were incubated and released — a success
                                                                                                 Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) planning team.
rate far in excess of what biologists
expected — giving biologists hope that as
adults, some will find their way back to the
Gulf Coast beaches where they were laid
to reproduce again. >>

(Left) University of Florida students Natalie Williams and Brail Stephens place
eggs in new location. (Right) Bon Secour refuge biologist Jackie Isaacs, Mountain
Longleaf deputy refuge manager Eva Kristofik and interns prepare nest.                                                                                               Sea turtle that hatched before relocation.
                                               J eNN IFe R STRICKLA ND / U SFWS

                                                                                                                                        BO NNI e STRAWSeR / U SFWS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  U SFWS
Spill, continued from page 11

                                                                      B O NNIe S TR AW S eR / U S F W S
                                             Amanda Hill, Service
Juggling Twin Duties: Family and Work          Fisheries Biologist,
Many Service employees who volunteered        holds an oiled brown
to work on the BP oil spill response left          pelican rescued
their families behind to do so. Tera                 from the Gulf.
Baird took part of her family along —
the baby boy with which she was six
months pregnant when she volunteered
to work in the Mobile Incident Command
Center in late June and early July.

Baird, a biologist in the Charleston Field
Office who works with the Coastal
Program, discussed the deployment with
her husband Morgan, who manages a
historic site for the state of South
Carolina, and he agreed to take care of
their daughter Adeline, then 13 months
old. Her superiors recommended an
11-day deployment instead of the standard
14 because of her pregnancy. But once she
was in Mobile, she barely had time to
think about her condition.

“You really just don’t have time to be
tired. You’re just in the zone, responding
to so much. I would be at the Wildlife
Operations Room in Daphne at 6 a.m.
most mornings to give a briefing, then
spend the morning in Daphne, then drive
over to the Mobile Incident Command,
about an hour away, and sometimes work             Dedicated to his
till 8 at night,” she said. “Now when I          work, Bon Secour
returned, I was exhausted. That’s when        maintenance worker
I really felt it.”                            Jerry Dunn (right),
                                                     a 20-plus-year
Baird is now back in Charleston after            Service employee,
giving birth to her son River Keeler           checks the shoreline
Baird on October 4. Looking back on her         with Mike Canada,
experience, she said she’s glad she went,    zone officer for North
and would volunteer again if needed when         Carolina refuges.
her maternity leave ends.

“Just because I’m pregnant and have
a young family, that doesn’t mean I
shouldn’t serve,” Baird said. “Everybody
who has been to the Gulf has family or
some kind of commitments outside the
Service. I didn’t really think I was doing
anything exceptional.”

Others would beg to differ.

Kimberly Trust, Alaska Region’s
Nongame Migratory Bird Coordinator,
spent more than 90 days deployed to the

12 / Fish & Wildlife News Fall 2010
Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill, serving           “For me, the Fish and Wildlife Service            their unflagging efforts in the face of
in the Natural Resource Damage                      people who responded to the spill,                a job that sometimes seemed almost
Assessment Program as both the Deputy               particularly those who volunteered for            insurmountable helped me keep on going
Case Coordinator for the Department of              multiple deployments, were real                   through the tough times. I’ve never been
the Interior and the Operations Chief for           inspirations,” she said. “These men and           prouder to be part of the U.S. Fish and
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Bird           women made huge sacrifices, both in               Wildlife Service family.”
Technical Working Group. Trust, who was             terms of the work piling up in their home
singled out by her Regional Office for her          offices while they were deployed and
own dedication, said she was constantly             the loss of time with their families.             Chris Tollefson, Chief of Communications,
energized by the exceptional dedication of          Their dedication was incredible, and              Washington, DC, with contributions from
so many volunteers.                                                                                   Regional Public Affairs Offices

  The Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Process: Restoring the Gulf at No Cost to Taxpayers
  even as they worked to contain the                extent of the injuries, but we believe that in    The trustees will attempt to reach a
  BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill and respond        all likelihood, they will affect fish, wildlife   settlement with the responsible parties
  to its impacts on wildlife and natural            and plant resources in the Gulf, and possibly     for the cost of the restoration, for the
  resources, the Service and its partners           in other areas across the country, for years      loss of the use of the land or resources
  were laying the foundations for returning         or more likely decades to come.”                  to the general public, and for the
  the Gulf to its pre-spill condition through the                                                     money the trustees spent to assess the
  Natural Resource Damage Assessment and            Dohner noted that the Trustees have               damages. If a negotiated settlement
  Restoration (NRDAR) Program. From the             established 13 technical working groups           cannot be reached, the trustees can
  time that the spill was finally capped, those     to assess impacts of the spill on broad           take the responsible parties to court.
  efforts have accelerated.                         resource categories, including natural            Most cases are settled out of court.
                                                    resources, human use of impacted natural
  Federal and state partners with natural           resources, and cultural sites. each group         When a settlement is reached, a
  resource trust management have initiated          is developing studies to assess injuries          restoration plan is developed with public
  the NRDAR process to assess natural               pertaining to its resource area, taking into      input that specifies the actions necessary
  resource injuries caused by the spill and to      account both impacts from the oil spill and       to restore the injured resources. These
  identify appropriate restoration actions. To      from response actions. In addition to these       actions can be carried out on the lands
  guide this process through the preliminary        studies, the trustees are reviewing and           where the contamination occurred or at
  stages, the trustees have formed a                incorporating the vast amount of monitoring       an alternate site which, when restored,
  Trustee Steering Committee to facilitate          data on the Gulf of Mexico to better              provides a suitable replacement for the
  cooperation and coordination among the            understand and assess injuries that may           injured or lost resources. Sometimes
  participating state and federal agencies.         potentially result from the oil spill.            the responsible party donates land to be
  The committee includes representatives                                                              restored and protected. The process is
  from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi,               The NRDAR process underway in the                 nimble enough to accomplish restoration
  Alabama, Florida, the Department of               BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill is built           projects even before the full assessment
  Commerce, and the Department of the               upon many of the lessons learned from             is completed, provided those projects
  Interior. Because they have jurisdiction          the 1989 exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, and        prevent additional or ongoing injury, are
  over natural resources in the area, the           is authorized by the 1990 Oil Pollution Act,      reasonable, and approved by the trustees.
  Departments of Defense and Agriculture            enacted in the wake of that spill.
  along with affected tribes in the Gulf have                                                         The trustees will monitor the restoration
  also been invited to participate.                 For example, trustees are posting                 projects to assure they continue to be
                                                    study plans on the internet to increase           properly operated and to ensure the
  “The scope and magnitude of natural               transparency; conducting frequent calls           long-term success of the restoration.
  resource injuries and other impacts               with study plan leaders, lead scientists          For more information about the
  resulting from the spill are extraordinary        and others to assist in developing a              Natural Resource Damage Assessment
  and still not fully known,” said Cindy            broad, integrated ecosystem perspective;          and Restoration Program and the oil spill,
  Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional          and reviewing the myriad restoration              go to: <> and
  Director and the Department of the                possibilities in the Gulf to ensure injury        <>.
  Interior’s authorized official on the Trustee     assessment studies are providing relevant
  Council. “We don’t know at this time the          data related to these possibilities.

                                                                                                                   Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 13
                 faces of the spill
                                Hundreds of Service employees served multiple tours in the Gulf,
                                     working long hours under extremely difficult conditions.
                             Like those in our lead story, the following employees were nominated
                            by their regional offices for their performance in oil spill recovery efforts.

                                               Arnold and her team did an outstanding            devastating and overwhelming and the
Steven Alexander                               job of setting up the initial surveys             role we play as individuals seems tiny in
                        Steven Alexander       and organizing transitions for the                comparison; but I would have to honestly
                        responded quickly      next deployment.                                  say that yes, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
                        to the call for                                                          Service team is making a major
                        assistance when                                                          contribution in preventing and minimizing
                        the spill began. He
                                               Jim Behrmann                                      injury to our trust resources (including
                        worked as the                                   Jim Behrmann             migratory birds and National Wildlife
                        Operations Section                              deployed as a            Refuge lands), in rescuing oiled birds,
                        Chief in Houma,                                 Departmental             and in assessing the damage in a way
                        and was responsible                             Industrial Hygienist     that will inform any future compensation
                        for developing the                              monitoring               and restoration.”
efficient and effective wildlife recovery                               employees for
and response efforts that were executed in                              possible exposure
that area. He worked with the state of                                  to chemical              Jack Bohannan
Louisiana, U.S. Coast Guard, and BP to                                  contaminants.                                    As manager of the
ensure that the mission was accomplished                                Behrmann visited                                 Breton and Delta
while keeping employees safe. Alexander        every major operational site south of New                                 National Wildlife
was the Service’s representative to the        Orleans and conducted scientific                                          Refuges Jack
Environmental Unit. He was responsible         monitoring of employees. His efforts                                      Bohannon has been
for ensuring that the strategies used to       provided a much clearer picture of actual                                 on the front line of
prevent oiling of beaches and marshes,         exposures to employees, as well as the                                    the spill since it
and efforts to remove oil from these same      strategies needed to mitigate potential                                   started. His spill
areas did not do more harm than good.          exposure. He was involved in the recovery                                 experience, however,
                                               of oiled birds, assisting in the identification                           started almost 30
                                               and collection of evidence that would later       days prior to the BP rig explosion, when
Allison Arnold                                 be used by law enforcement. Behrmann              work crews damaged a pipeline on the
                       Allison Arnold          also monitored Service law enforcement            refuge. Bohannan had just finished that
                       served on a team        personnel as they processed evidence and          cleanup when the BP spill started. Since
                       conducting the first    provided them with valuable information           then, his work with both BP and Coast
                       surveys in Texas        to reduce risks. In addition, he provided         Guard officials has been invaluable in
                       designed to look for,   a comprehensive Industrial Hygiene                protecting the refuge and southwest
                       identify, document,     review of aviation operations, confirming         Louisiana’s natural resources. When
                       and seize dead or       the effectiveness of current aviation             Bohannan wasn’t working long hours on
                       live bird that had      protocols in controlling chemical                 the spill, he provided support for Secretary
                       been affected by oil.   exposure to employees.                            of the Interior Ken Salazar and Louisiana
                       Arnold, a biologist                                                       Gov. Bobby Jindal during their visits.
with the Southwest Region’s Ecological                                                           Through media interviews, he helped the
Services Field Office in Austin, TX, began
                                               Catherine Berg                                    public understand the impact of the spill—
each day before dawn identifying the                                  Catherine Berg,            often one of the few people able to give
transect to be surveyed that day, She and                             with the Anchorage         firsthand accounts of the spill’s impacts
her team surveyed two kilometers of the                               Fish & Wildlife            because of his boat captain skills.
beach on Galveston Island as many as                                  Field Office, was one
three times each day. “The cross-section                              of the first Alaska
of people involved in this effort was                                 Region employees to        Angela Burwell
astounding. So many agencies, consultants,                            deploy to the Gulf.        Angela Burwell coordinated
divisions, states and partners had to come                            Berg spent more            transformation of the agency’s finance
together in very short order to make all of                           than 60 days there.        and budget tracking system into a
this work. And it did work,” said Arnold,                             When asked about           Unified Command, DOI Finance Section
noting that the public was very interested     her role and that of the Service she said:        that included the National Park Service
and worried, but very supportive.              “Well, the whole event is so hugely               (NPS) Sensitive Lands Program and

14 / Fish & Wildlife News Fall 2010
NRDAR and Wildlife Recovery branches.
Her duties as the DOI Finance Section
                                                 Glenn Constant                                  Charlie Hebert
Chief /Leader, she was responsible for           Glenn Constant, who works in the Baton                                   Charlie Hebert
all financial, administrative, and cost          Rouge Fishery Resource Office, was on                                    deployed to the Gulf
analysis associated with the Branch,             the scene from the moment the oil rig                                    three times, serving
and for supervising members of the               exploded and sank. He immediately began                                  as the Deputy
finance/administration section. Burwell’s        assessing the situation, and transitioned                                Wildlife Branch
work, with little guidance or help,              his Fisheries staff from their regular work                              Chief in Houma.
was outstanding—from creating the                into support and reconnaissance for the                                  Hebert, oil spill
organizational structure, establishing           Houma Incident Command. Early on,                                        coordinator in the
the reporting and chain-of-command               Constant’s leadership and GIS experience                                 Pacific Northwest
procedures with DOI Financial Section,           was invaluable. Despite his tireless efforts,                            Regional Office in
to assigning work and overseeing                 he continued to work on the team daily.         Portland, provided crucial support and
performance and to fostering teamwork.           Constant is the primary author of the Gulf      coordination in collecting oiled and dead
                                                 Sturgeon assessment and recovery plan           wildlife, and rehabilitating when possible.
                                                 that BP has agreed to fund.                     Hebert and his team initially organized
Tracy Bush                                                                                       the incident command structure and
For nearly five months, responders from                                                          established six field stations for collecting
the Service and many other agencies
                                                 Shane Del Grosso
                                                                                                 oiled animals, an air support unit and a
were deployed to the Gulf Coast with a           Shane Del Grosso has worked numerous            rehabilitation facility. On his second tour,
bewildering combination of computer              wildfires and natural and man-made              Hebert helped prepare Wildlife Operations
software and hardware. These new                 disasters throughout his career, including      for hurricane conditions, relocating one of
responders needed quick and reliable             the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, the        the Oiled Wildlife Rehabailitation Centers
access to important data and networks.           Red River Flood of 2008, and a supporting       out of the hurricane impact zone. During
And for that, they needed experienced IT         role in the 9-11 response. According to         his third deployment, Hebert planned
support. Tracy Bush, an IT specialist in the     Del Grosso, the oil spill was exceptional       efforts to maintain an appropriate level of
Daphne, Ala. Field Office, deployed four         because of its complexity and the sheer         support for Wildlife Operations after the
times to the spill response, both in Houma       volume of resources an adequate response        well was capped. In all of his deployments,
and Mobile. With a smile on her face,            required. Del Grosso pulled in personnel        Hebert worked long hours at a breakneck
Bush somehow managed to keep hundreds            from every natural resource agency he           pace, earning the respect of many.
of laptops operational and connected.            could muster and introduced the principles
Because of the constant moves of various         of the Incident Command System. He
command centers, she had to tear down            attributes success to the tenacity of the       Roxanna Hinzman
and reinstall entire offices of equipment,       responders, and credits his teams for                                  Roxanna Hinzman,
sometimes more than once a day. For              their adaptability, saying that “very little                           working from the
more than four months, day and night,            could be accomplished ‘by the book.’” The                              Regional Office in
she provided technical support, often            environmental and personnel metrics he                                 Atlanta as chief of
when she was home and not deployed.              created indicated whether his staff were                               division planning
                                                 approaching unsafe working conditions                                  and permitting,
                                                 or that sensitive areas were not being                                 realized quickly that
                                                 adequately surveyed, or both.                                          the BP oil spill was
Chris Cline                                                                                                             going to be major.
                        As an environmental                                                                             She went to work,
                                                 Steve Gard
                                                                                                 putting experienced people in charge and
                        biologist in the Utah                           Steve Gard is            organizing the logistics to support an
                        Ecological Services                             recognized for his       effective and ongoing Service response. It
                        Field Office, Chris                             instant willingness      was with Hinzman’s skills that the Service
                        Cline was a key                                 and ability to           was able to put together the many teams
                        asset given his                                 mobilize resources       needed in the spill recovery efforts, and
                        extensive experience                            to support the           she saw to it that Service staff had the
                        in the arena of                                 Service’s response       resources they needed to do the job.
                        “spills and kills” and                          to the oil spill. Gard
the Natural Resource Damage Assessment                                  quickly realized
process. Cline went above and beyond the                                the gravity of the       Charlotte Kucera
call of duty, serving three tours in the Gulf.   situation and provided staff, resources and     Charlotte Kucera spent approximately
Cline performed bird recovery surveys            his own time at a moment’s notice, while        two weeks living on a barge and scouring
and helping develop and standardize the          maintaining operations at his field station.    southern Louisiana beaches by foot and
data collection methods that future teams        He then accepted a two-month detail as          by boat for Service trust species. Kucera,
would use in the NRDA case development           the Acting Project Leader for MS Sandhill       a biologist with the Southwest Region’s
process. She then served as Deputy               Crane NWR Complex. The oil spill                Ecological Services Field Office in Austin,
NRDA Coordinator in Daphne, Ala.,                affected two refuges within the Complex,        TX, spent long days on the water reporting
where she was instrumental in the design         and most staff were needed to address           oiled beaches and recovering both live
of a new database to meet the required           these impacts and the Service’s response.       and dead birds. Teams typically surveyed
parameters for damage assessment                 Gard oversaw the efforts and provided           for approximately eight hours, with all
studies and data collection. Finally,            law enforcement assistance and technical        boats expected back by 2 pm. Although
as the Operations Manager, Cline                 advise to reduce the oil’s impact on            the mission was the same each day, the
coordinated the damage assessment                refuge resources.
studies efforts, managing input and
ensuring stakeholder support.
                                                                                                              Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 15
challenges were not, and contending            unique work-related hazards like heat           media interviews. Ultimately, Palmer
with everything from stormy weather to         stress, weather, animals (sting rays, oyster    became responsible for the safety of all
communications dead zones meant that           shells, insects, vehicle safety, and food       ground crew members and the assuring
6 am safety briefings and radio call-ins       safety issues.                                  ground crews were collecting data in
every hour were mandatory. “Even though                                                        accordance with the standards set by the
the conditions could be challenging,           Steve Mierzykowski                              NRDAR team.
getting to work as a part of a team to
achieve a common goal was extremely                                    During two one-
rewarding,” said Kucera.                                               month deployments,      Beth Pattinson
                                                                       Senior Fish and                                 The Chief of Permits
                                                                       Wildlife Biologist                              for Region 7’s
Ken Litzenberger                                                       Steve Mierzykowski                              Migratory Bird
                        It is hard to                                  of the Maine                                    Management
                        understand how Ken                             Field Office                                    Program, Beth
                        Litzenberger,                                  worked a variety                                Pattinson, spent 74
                        project leader for                             of assignments as                               consecutive days
                        the Southeast                                  part of the Service’s                           Gulf at Houma. She
                        Louisiana Refuges,     response to the Gulf oil spill. Steve                                   was originally called
                        was able to maintain   Mierzykowski of the Maine Field Office                                  in by the Region 4
                        any sense of           served as a boat coordinator out of             permit program to help set up the
                        normalcy from the      Venice, La. He recovered oiled birds both       rehabilitation effort for all five Gulf states.
                        time the oil spill     nearshore (Bayou Terre aux Boeufs out           That task quickly evolved, however, and
started in April. Just as Litzenberger and     of Delacroix) and offshore (80 miles south      Pattinson found herself convincing the
his refuge staff were finishing their          of Mobile in the Gulf). Mierzykowski            IC that oiled wildlife could not simply be
response to a pipeline break and oil spill     coordinated boat transportation for             transported in the back of U-Haul trailers.
at Delta National Wildlife Refuge,             biologists doing wildlife search and            She then created and coordinated a
the BP spill began. He and his staff did       recovery as well as boats for news media        complex program to provide safe and
an incredible job protecting the refuge        out of Venice. This was not an easy task,       appropriate transportation of oiled wildlife
and its natural resources. In addition,        due to the fact that boat operators were        from capture sites to the rehabilitation
Litzenberger provided critical information     mostly local people using their own vessels,    centers. Before the program was
and support to both response and NRDAR         while others were contract boat operators       implemented, approximately five birds
efforts, and interacted with local parish,     who transported staff and supplies.             per day were treated in Louisiana, soon
state and federal officials regarding the      Mierzykowski arranged for transportation        jumping to almost 100 a day. “I went from
construction of a sacrificial berm. He also    of oiled birds to the nearby stabilization      being a permit manager to a fleet manager
hosted orientation tours for workers, state    and recovery centers. He also collected         overnight,” Beth said. “I made a pledge to
and federal officials, Congressional           data and prepared daily reports of              myself that, on my watch, no oiled wildlife
members and staff, and media.                  the work. Without his exceptional               or their rescuer was going to be stranded
                                               organizational skills and attention to          on a beach or dock somewhere for lack of
Robert McGinn                                  detail, operations would have been much         transport. It was the hardest job I’ve ever
                                               less effective.                                 loved,” she concludes.
                       Robert McGinn
                       served two tours in
                       the Gulf. His first     Alison Palmer                                   Jereme Phillips
                       tour was as an                                 Alison Palmer                                    Bon Secour derives
                       Industrial Hygienist                           answered the call                                from the French
                       for DOI at the                                 when a request                                   phrase meaning
                       Houma Command                                  came for volunteers.                             “safe harbor,” but
                       Center. McGinn                                 Expecting to be                                  Bon Secour NWR
                       worked with OSHA,                              a ground crew                                    was anything but a
                       EPA, and BP to                                 member, she instead                              safe harbor in the oil
establish sampling protocols, conducted                               was designated                                   spill, as the refuge’s
evaluations for catching oiled birds,                                 a ground crew                                    five miles of coastal
evaluated worker air quality at the Fort                              leader by the                                    beaches were hit
Jackson Bird Rehabilitation Facility,          Wildlife Operations supervisor, despite         hard by the oil. Refuge manager Jereme
addressed NPS concerns regarding               having no prior Incident Command                Phillips was significantly involved in the
snorkeling and wading in contaminated          experience. She gladly accepted the             protection of the natural beach and marsh
waters, and determined potential               challenge. Palmer was instrumental in           habitats of Bon Secour. He initiated berm
respiratory exposure issues for the Bureau     establishing operating procedures at the        development on refuge beaches, boom
of Ocean Energy Management. In his             ground level, from ordering supplies to         deployment on coastal marshes, and
second tour as a Safety Officer for Grand      ensuring map production was completed           extensive sea turtle survey work. Phillips
Isle, La. operations, McGinn worked with       for ground survey crews, to assigning crew      is particularly pleased with the protection
employees capturing birds, and then            members and survey areas. She conducted         of the Refuge’s Little Lagoon, which, at
shifted into Natural Resource Damage           briefings, completed paperwork for daily        eight miles in width, belies its name. He
Assessment. He kept Service staff safe by      logs, payroll, and even worked the hotline,     and his staff worked long hours cleaning
helping them understand the region’s           taking calls from incident command              the beach of tar balls and emulsified oil,
                                               dispatch. As part of the outreach effort,       and rescuing oiled wildlife—including sea
                                               she was selected to be a spokesperson for       turtles that use the refuge as habitat.

16 / Fish & Wildlife News Fall 2010
Stephen Ricks                                    Sharon Taylor                                    Anthony Velasco
Stephen Ricks, a field supervisor in the                                  Dr. Sharon K.                                   Tony Velasco
Mississippi ES Field Office, was first                                    Taylor,                                         deployed four times,
deployed as a liaison/reports officer for                                 Environmental                                   totaling three
the Director. He streamlined processes                                    Contaminants                                    months of service.
that kept information flowing among                                       Division Chief and                              An ecologist and
leadership and responders. Ricks helped                                   wildlife veterinarian                           environmental
identify training needs for incoming                                      from Carlsbad,                                  contaminants
personnel—leading to the predeployment                                    Calif., volunteered                             specialist for the
academy. Ricks also coordinated with                                      for deployment.                                 southeast region,
outside agencies to provide critical                                      For eight weeks, she                            Velasco worked as
Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique           served as the FWS Wildlife Veterinarian          the Deputy Wildlife Branch Director for
(SCAT) training for Service responders           Coordinator for the entire Gulf Spill.           the Mobile Sector, playing a key role in
serving on SCAT Teams, an area which the         During this time, she was also assigned          standing up the sector and developing
Service had very little experience. During       to be the Recovered Oiled Bird Release           operational protocols. In a few short
a second deployment, Ricks reviewed the          Coordinator. In that role, she coordinated       weeks, Velasco and his team worked long
Wildlife Operations Branch identifying           permits, health certificates, release            hours to secure additional responders and
and reducing excess resources.                   locations, logistics, and aircrafts for          to deploy boom around properties and
                                                 wildlife transport. Through her efforts,         sensitive coastal habitats. Beginning with
Greg Soulliere                                   approximately 400 recovered oiled pelicans       just four people, Sector Mobile grew
                                                 and other migratory birds and wildlife           significantly to meet the needs in its area
                        Taking advantage of      were released back to the wild and out           of responsibility—an area covering more
                        his experience in        of the oil’s trajectory. On June 6th, after      than 300 linear miles. Due to his strong
                        bird identification      successfully releasing birds in Florida, the     leadership, knowledge of natural resources
                        and wetland ecology,     return flight she was on had an engine fire.     and ability to work well with others, he was
                        the Service asked        The plane had to make an emergency               able to develop an efficient and effective
                        Joint Venture            forced landing. Thankfully, all five people      response effort for the Service in the
                        Science Coordinator      on board, including Dr. Taylor were safe.        Mobile sector. “This is what I do. This is
                        Greg Soulliere to        Despite this experience, she insisted on         what I have trained for, and this is where I
                        serve on the Oil-spill   continuing her responsibilities as the           find relevance in my work with the Fish
                        Air Operations Unit      FWS veterinarian to fly with the birds to        and Wildlife Service, and my contributions
in New Orleans. “Air-ops” consisted of four      releases. Dr. Taylor was also the Louisiana      to conservation,” said Velasco.
helicopter crews with one pilot and two          Incident Command Law Enforcement
biologist-observers each, plus emergency         Liaison and oversaw the Wildlife Morgue.
fire personnel in charge of communications       This role was key for potential
                                                                                                  Peggy Whittaker
and safety for each helicopter. Soulliere        enforcement and NRDAR evaluations.                                        Peggy Whittaker, a
was assigned to a helicopter crew and                                                                                      program analyst
worked long hours recording oil locations,                                                                                 with Ecological
bird concentrations and locations where          Peter Tuttle                                                              Services in the
boom had washed into marsh, making                                        As a Contaminants                                Atlanta Field Office,
it invisible to boat crews tending to the                                 Biologist in the                                 has been involved
thousands of miles of absorbent material.                                 Daphne, Ala. Field                               with this incident
Soulliere and his team entered and                                        Office, Peter Tuttle                             almost since day
analyzed observation data, creating a daily                               was one of the first                             one. Although many
report that included aerial photos taken                                  people called up                                 have made great
at each “encounter.” This important                                       when the spill          personal sacrifices, Whittaker has gone
information was used to shape decision-                                   response began.         above and beyond. It is estimated that she
making for numerous aspects of the                                        He was quick to         has been deployed longer than any other
overall spill response.                                                   realize the spill       Service employee. Unflagging in her
                                                 would be part of a major NRDAR effort            efforts, she saw to it that the Service is
                                                 for the DOI. Tuttle quickly organized and        reimbursed for all of its expenditures.
                                                 directed Regional personnel to begin             Whittaker has responsibility for tracking,
                                                 collecting the pre-assessment data               documenting and ensuring the legitimacy
                                                 important for establishing conditions            of expenditures; documenting costs; and
                                                 before the oil began affecting DOI Trust         preparing billing related to both the
                                                 Resources. Tuttle coordinated a a cohesive       response and NRDAR activities.
                                                 data-gathering effort with other federal         These activities alone could total $80 to
                                                 agencies and the states. Due to his efforts,     $100 million dollars.
                                                 the NRDAR trustees have a solid basis for
                                                 establishing injury to natural resources
                                                 throughout the Gulf. His work is far from
                                                 finished. Tuttle will play a key role in the
                                                 NRDAR process as the trustees develop
                                                 and implement restoration plans.

                                                                                                               Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 17
                                         field journal

                                         Saving a California Family Business                                                         the meadow and lowering the water
                                                                                                                                     table. The successful bidder would do
                                                                                                                                     high value conservation and water quality
                                         A Contractor Credits Recovery Act Funding                                                   work in an effort to regain the mountain
                                                                                                                                     meadow habitat and improve water
                                         by Kim Betton                                                                               quality downstream. Joiner desperately
                                                                                                                                     needed the job.

                                                                                                                                     “This was the type of job I’ve always

                                                                                                                                     wanted. I’d been waiting for a job like this
                                                                                                                                     for 10 years,” Joiner says. “Generally we
                                                                                                                                     are bidding against one to two other firms.
                                                                                                                                     But this year due to the lack of work, we
                                                                                                                                     were up against 60 firms, some of them
                                                                                                                                     extremely large — compared to a small
                                                                                                                                     family owned business like us,” he said.
                                                                                                                                     “Fortunately the bid’s requirements
                                                                                                                                     included price, qualifications and
                                                                                                                                     experience. We were lucky enough to
                                                                                                                                     be successful in all areas and received
                                                                                                                                     the contract.”

                                                                                                                                     The project site is located 35 miles from
                                                                                                                                     Joiner’s hometown of Lookout. He was
                                                                                                                                     proud to get up each morning to travel
                                                                                                                                     the distance to work with his father, the
                                                                                                                                     company’s co-owner.
                                         (Left) Rick Poore and Joiner Construction owner Craig Joiner (at right) were awarded
                                         a Recovery Act restoration contract. (Right) For the first time in many years, water        “The Big Bear Flat Project was a stream
                                         is flowing in this remnant stream channel of Bear Creek as a result of an innovative        restoration project,” said Joiner. “We went
                                         “pond and plug” technique.                                                                  in and raised the water table back up to
                                                                                                                                     the surface so it became a wetland again.”

                                         J  oiner Construction of Lookout,
                                            California was on the brink of closing
                                         for good. The company’s owner, Craig
                                                                                      At that point the struggling
                                                                                      entrepreneur’s only alternative was to
                                                                                      turn to plan B—shut down his family
                                                                                                                                     Joiner notes that while the project
                                                                                                                                     certainly enhanced the environment and
                                                                                                                                     wildlife, the work also provided an
                                         Joiner, felt first-hand the hardships of     owned business of nearly 20 years and          economic boost in the Lookout area.
                                         the nation’s economy when the work           find another means of earning a living.        “The local community benefited from this
                                         contracts stopped coming in.                                                                project because we were actually the main
                                                                                      But one day an opportunity surfaced.           contractor that did the dirt moving and the
                                         For several months he spent some long        He learned about the chance to bid on a        land form construction. It also involved
                                         days—no work and no pay. His worries         $170,000 Recovery Act contract through         two additional companies for tree removal
                                         began to focus on the expenses of everyday   the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.            and we all purchased fuel from the local
                                         life; food for family, keeping a roof over                                                  gas companies. So for our small area the
                                         their heads, utilities, and trying to        The contract called for a restoration          stimulus funding was spread around and
                                         determine how Joiner Construction            project at Bear Creek which originates in      ultimately benefited quite a few people.”
                                         was going to remain a business.              the highlands of Northeastern California
                                                                                      and flows to its confluence with Fall River    “It was a great sense of relief to receive
                                         “The population around here amounts to       in Shasta County.                              this award,” Joiner says. “This Recovery
                                         two people per mile and opportunities to                                                    Act contract was our saving grace.”
                                         find work are very small—we needed to        The creek once streamed freely across
                                         survive,” says Joiner. “Our company has      Big Bear Flat—a 400-acre wet-meadow
                                         one to two employees and usually has an      habitat. Over time, nature and land            Kim Betton, Public Affairs, Washington, DC
                                         annual gross income of about $300,000.       management practices changed its course
                                         That’s up to three or four projects          and the stream carved a wide gully across
                                         annually. So with no jobs slated for this    the face of the floodplain, severely eroding
                                         year, we were worried we wouldn’t have
                                         any work at all.”

                                         18 / Fish & Wildlife News Fall 2010
                                                                                                             around the service


                                                                                                                                                        MA R A K OeNIG / U S F W S
Unveiling the Stories

It’s a crisp calm autumn morning
and I’m gathering program
materials for a class of inner-city
first graders. They’re eagerly
awaiting a morning field trip
to Minnesota Valley National
Wildlife Refuge. It’s the first for
this school year. The lesson plan
calls for a look at the scientific
study of changes in nature-
phenology. In preparation for
the field trip I went into their
classroom with myriad of items
signifying change; snowpants,
colored leaves, umbrella,
nuts, picture of a snowflake,
sunglasses, model of emerging
green grass. The students had to      A new generation of birders, students focus on geese at Minnesota Valley NWR.
categorize these items into three
groups: plant, animal, or weather.
                                      n human activities that change         The result of all this interest     activity guides, and papers
Once this was done we
                                      the atmosphere’s composition           is that we are bombarded by         available and possibly more on
reorganized the items into
                                      (e.g. through burning fossil           information on climate change.      the way, but the problem is most
seasons according to when they
                                      fuels) and the land surface            Much of it is because of our        are written for middle- and
would be used or seen.
                                      (e.g. deforestation, reforestation,    profound connection to              high-school levels. Is the subject
                                      urbanization, desertification, etc.)   technology. Our newest              of climate change just too
Change is inevitable and people
                                                                             generation is demonstrating         complex for elementary student
have been studying the changes
                                      Scientists are recording               for us the impact of having         comprehension? I’m always
in nature for centuries. It is how
                                      and tracking changes in the            developed under the digital wave.   amazed at what information
our ancestors were able to
                                      environment at an astounding           These youth have grown up           children ages 6–12 can
gather and hunt for food and
                                      rate. They are researching the         with digital technologies fully     comprehend.
keep track of time. Today, the
                                      widespread melting of glaciers,        integrated into their lives.
change that has everyone
                                      the increased frequency of                                                 Stories have been used
talking is climate change. The
                                      extreme weather events, and            Many students are using new         throughout the world to convey
environmental Protection Agency
                                      changes in rain and snowfall           media and technologies to create    messages of culture, values, and
defines climate change as “any
                                      patterns. Still, there are people      new things in new ways, learn       traditions. Nature provides stories
significant change in measures
                                      who question the reality of            new things in new ways, and         everyday about the coming and
of climate (such as temperature,
                                      climate change. Is it happening?       communicate in new ways with        goings of plants and animals.
precipitation, or wind) lasting
                                      How can we stop it? What is            new people—behaviors that           everyday people of all ages can
for an extended period and may
                                      going to happen? Who and               have become hardwired in their      actively observe nature and learn
result from:
                                      what is responsible? These             ways of thinking and operating in   about the seasonal changes of
                                      are just a few of the many             the world.                          the ecosystem around them.
n natural factors, such as
                                      questions the Service, along                                               This fact provides a perfect
changes in the sun’s intensity
                                      with numerous other agencies           As an educator, the question in     solution to the question of how
                                      and non-profit organizations           my mind is how do I teach this      to teach elementary students
n natural processes within the
                                      are trying to answer.                  topic to students without leaving   about climate change. Once
climate system, such as changes
                                                                             a “doom and gloom” image?           students have learned about how
in ocean circulation;
                                                                             While doing research I concluded    to observe nature they have >>
                                                                             there are several curriculums,

                                                                                                                  Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 19
around the service

Unveiling, continued from page 9

the opportunity to submit their
                                       northeast                             Natural Resources and Division
                                                                             of Forestry); and the Nature
                                                                                                                  and northern goshawk. The
                                                                                                                  threatened Cheat Mountain
                                                                             Conservancy among many               salamander and recently
findings to research. The USA
                                       Strategic Habitat                     others. The relationship with        de-listed Virginia northern flying
National Phenology Network,
                                       Conservation at Work                  the West Virginia Highlands          squirrel also rely heavily on
<>, brings
                                       With a new emphasis on looking        Conservancy, an NGO which            the mixed spruce forests for
together citizen scientists,
                                       at natural resources to view          facilitates seed collection and      their survival. These wildlife
government agencies, non-profit
                                       conservation on a regional scale,     propagation for the working          populations are limited and in
groups, educators and students
                                       Strategic Habitat Conservation        groups restoration planting          many cases considered fragile
of all ages to monitor the impacts
                                       (SHC) and the resulting               efforts has been critical. In all,   due to the fragmented and
of climate change on plants and
                                       development of Landscape              more than 26 partners have been      limited nature of the current
animals in the United States
                                       Conservation Cooperatives within      involved in the actions to date.     spruce ecosystem.
through phenology—the timing
                                       the Fish and Wildlife Service,
of different stages in the lifecycle
                                       are becoming common terms in          Red spruce and balsam fir are        The working group has been
of a plant.
                                       the conservation community.           components of the relict montane     practicing Strategic Habitat
                                       However the functional aspects        forest community in West             Conservation in West Virginia
While preparing for the first
                                       of SHC are familiar to most           Virginia. This plant community       since its inception. Utilizing the
graders, I make sure nature is
                                       biologists and land managers. In      has been severely degraded and       scientific expertise of several
ready to unveil her stories.
                                       West Virginia, staff at the Canaan    in some cases entirely removed       state and federal agencies along
Today, students will record the
                                       Valley NWR, along with multiple       from the landscape following         with capabilities provided by
phenological events they observe
                                       partners, have been developing        years of exploitive logging          NGO’s, universities and private
during a hike on the the refuge
                                       an SHC approach to high               operations, wildfires and mining     organizations, specific resource
and discover how scientists use
                                       elevation forest conservation for     operations. The spruce forest        goals have been applied over
phenology to track the impact of
                                       several years. It began as a local    in West Virginia provides unique     broad political and geographic
changes on the behavior of plants
                                       effort to restore conifer forest on   habitat for a wide variety of        boundaries. The recent elevation
and animals. They can take this
                                       refuge and TNC lands. However         wildlife species typical of more     of SHC collaborative work by
knowledge and record their daily
                                       with the completion of the Forest     northern areas such as the fisher,   the Service has reinforced the
observations in the classroom
                                       Service’s Monongahela National        snowshoe hare, saw whet owl          group’s activities and could
throughout the school year. This
                                       Forest Plan in 2006 and the West
winter, they will come out again
                                       Virginia DNR Wildlife Action Plan,
to observe and learn about
                                       new emphasis was placed on

                                                                                                                                                       US FW S
changes animals perform to                                                    Canaan Valley NWR
                                       spruce forest management and
survive the bitter cold of a
                                       restoration throughout the state.
Minnesota winter.
                                       The following year, a High
Mara Koenig, Visitor Services
Specialist, Midwest Region             elevation Forest Conservation
                                       Working Group was established
                                       representing a large collaborative
                                       effort for the restoration and
                                       conservation of the red spruce-
                                       northern hardwood and wetland
                                       ecosystem in West Virginia.
                                       Supported by the U.S. Department
                                       of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife
                                       Service (West Virginia Field
                                       Office and Canaan Valley
                                       National Wildlife Refuge);
                                       U.S. Department of Agriculture
                                       Forest Service (Monongahela
                                       National Forest, Northern
                                       Research Station, Natural
                                       Resources Conservation Service);
                                       State of West Virginia (Division of

20 / Fish & Wildlife News Fall 2010
                                                                                                                  around the service

help expand and coalesce
efforts throughout the
                                      The strength of the working group
                                      lies in the number and diversity      mountain-prairie
Appalachian Geographic Area           of its partners—unified under a
Land Conservation Cooperative,        common vision and identified          Rocky Mountain Arsenal:                Health Department to complete a
established to protect, restore       goals. Cross agency and               A Vision Fulfilled                     comprehensive environmental
and enhance forest and wetland        cross public-private sector                                                  cleanupl. All fieldwork came in
habitat for priority species of       communication is critical to          In October, Secretary of the           under budget and a year ahead
concern regionally.                   achieve successful landscape          Interior Ken Salazar joined the        of schedule. The total cost
                                      scale conservation projects.          Fish and Wildlife Service and          is $2.1 billion.
A regional approach is essential      It also provides flexibility in       representatives from the U.S.
to address fragmentation              planning annual projects and          Army and Shell Oil Co. to mark the     “The Army is proud to have
and habitat corridor creation/        securing funding sources to           end of all major environmental         completed its mission at the
restoration in order to create a      aid restoration efforts.              cleanup work at Rocky Mountain         Arsenal by transitioning land that
more resilient forest community.                                            Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge       was once used to protect and
A more intact and healthy forest      Ultimately, the strength of the       outside of Denver. The completion      preserve our freedom into one of
community is one better adapted       group will be measured by its         of cleanup work enabled the            the largest urban national wildlife
to buffer impacts from climate        ability to manage, protect and        Army to formally transfer 2,500        refuges in the country,” said Hew
change and will improve habitat       restore the mixed red spruce          acres of land to the Service,          Wolfe, deputy assistant secretary
for the many wildlife and plant       and balsam fir forest community       bringing the refuge to its planned     of the Army for environment,
species identified in State,          in the southern Appalachians          size of more than 15,000 acres.        safety and occupational health.
Federal and NGO plans as              of West Virginia. However, this                                              Together, we have created a
species of conservation concern       working group stands also as a        The final significant land transfer    conservation asset for countless
in the central Appalachians.          functional model of a Landscape       makes the site one of America’s        generations to enjoy.”
                                      Conservation Cooperative              premier urban wildlife refuges
To date the group has planted         working albeit on a smaller scale.    and a high-profile, dynamic            “Rocky Mountain Arsenal and
more than 100,000 red spruce and      Integration into the Appalachian      resource located in the heart of       urban refuges like it play a crucial
balsam fir trees helping to restore   LCC and the development of a          the rapidly-growing metropolitan       role in our efforts to involve the
over 800 acres on federal, private    landscape scale conservation          Denver region. The site provides       American people in nature and
and TNC lands in West Virginia.       plan for the high elevation forests   sanctuary for more than 330            the outdoors. We are immensely
Other restoration activities          of the central Appalachians           species of wildlife, including         proud to have played a role in
include hardwood harvesting to        would be the ultimate next            bison, deer, coyotes, bald eagles,     transforming this site into an
increase spruce dominance             step for the working group to         and burrowing owls.                    oasis for wildlife and wildlife-
through planned silvicultural         achieve truly landscape scale                                                associated recreation along the
release operations. An estimated      conservation projects, and we         “With the successful completion        Front Range,” said Dan Ashe, the
nearly 5000 acres have been           hope to be there soon.                of the vision to create a premier      Service’s Deputy Director.
targeted for spruce release and                                             urban national wildlife refuge,
up to 200 acres for restoration       Ken Sturm, Wildlife Biologist,        a new chapter now begins,”             The Arsenal, approximately 10
planting are being planned            Northeast Region                      Secretary Salazar said. “I             miles northeast of downtown
for 2010–2011 in the Monongahela                                            commend the hard work by so            Denver, is one of the largest
National Forest. The group                                                  many partners that led to this         environmental cleanup sites in
has secured over $74,000 in                                                 great achievement. This vital          the country. In 1942, RMA was
grant funding and over                                                      natural resource will provide          built to manufacture chemical
$28,000 in in-kind services to                                              a permanent safe haven for             weapons to be used in World War
complete restoration projects                                               wildlife and offer many                II as a war deterrent.
on the ground.                                                              opportunities for people from all
                                                                            walks of life, especially our youth,   The Refuge was formally
                                                                            to connect with nature in a great      established in April 2004 and
                                                                            urban park.”                           doubled in size in 2007 with
                                                                                                                   another land transfer from the
                                                                            For more than a decade, the            Army to the Service.
                                                                            Army, Shell and the Service have
                                                                            worked with ePA, the Colorado          Hugh Vickery, Senior Public
                                                                            Department of Public Health and        Affairs Specialist, Department
                                                                            the environment and Tri-County         of the Interior

                                                                                                                    Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 21
our people

                                        Following another stint in Alaska,                                                                        Zeeger de
transitions                             he went to the Sacramento
                                        Field Office, where he worked
                                                                                honors                                                            Wilde, of
                                        on wetlands protection and                                                                                Delaware,
                        Dave                                                    Northeast                                                         was selected
                                        environmental contaminants issues
                                        in the San Francisco Bay area. This                                                                       as the
                        counts                                                                          Annette
                                        was followed by work in Federal                                                                           Volunteer
                        himself                                                                         Scherer,
                                        Activities in the Washington,                                                                             of the Year
                        lucky. “From                                                                    senior
                                        DC office, where he focused on                                                                            for his
                        the time                                                                        endangered
                                        wetlands delineation, mitigation                                                 unwavering support and
                        I was a                                                                         species
                                        banking and a variety of other                                                   commitment to the Chesapeake
                        sophomore                                                                       biologist
                                        wetlands policy matters.                                                         Marshlands National Wildlife
                        in college,                                                                     at the New
                                                                                                                         Refuge Complex in Maryland and
                        I got to do                                                                     Jersey Field
                                        While in Washington, Densmore was                                                Virginia. Over the last 20 years, de
                        biology work.                                                                   Office in
                                        detailed to the Senate Committee on                                              Wilde has volunteered more than
I never did anything else.”                                                                             Pleasantville,
                                        environment and Public Works and                                                 12,000 hours on several refuges
                                                                                was recently selected to receive
                                        assisted drafting a Clean Water                                                  near his home and at more than 200
After 28 years with the U.S. Fish                                               this year’s Women and Wildlife
                                        Act reauthorization bill before                                                  refuges across the country that he
and Wildlife Service, the past                                                  Leadership Award by the Conserve
                                        returning to Federal Activities as                                               was visiting while traveling. Drawing
13 years as project leader at the                                               Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.
                                        branch chief.                                                                    extensively on his background in
Pennsylvania Field Office in State                                              She was honored for “her exemplary
                                                                                                                         horticulture, he is leaving a lasting
College, Densmore recently retired                                              service to wildlife science and
                                        In 1996, while in the midst of a                                                 mark by helping create butterfly
to Annapolis, Maryland, with his                                                natural resource protection.”
                                        federal furlough, Densmore was                                                   gardens showcasing native plants.
wife, LeAnn Myhre, and their
                                        struck by the story of a National                                                According to refuge staff, de Wilde
sailboat “Curlew.”                                                              Martin Miller, the region’s chief
                                        Park Service project leader in                                                   is a cornerstone of the volunteer
                                                                                of endangered species, lauded
                                        northern Michigan who continued                                                  program and a role model for
Densmore’s journey to Pennsylvania,                                             Scherer’s tireless work on behalf of
                                        to work despite orders not to—                                                   volunteers nationwide.
and now on to Maryland, began in                                                wildlife, including her dedication to
                                        because he felt responsible for a
southern California where he was                                                threatened piping plover recovery,
                                        national historic site and the public                                            Most recently de Wilde redesigned
born and raised. After an Army                                                  beach nourishment projects
                                        he served. Determined to return                                                  the Butterfly and Beneficial Insect
tour in Alaska, he stayed to earn a                                             benefiting both plovers and the
                                        to the field, Densmore jumped                                                    Garden at Blackwater National
bachelor’s degree in biology at the                                             threatened seabeach amaranth,
                                        when the Pennsylvania Field Office                                               Wildlife Refuge’s visitor center,
University of Alaska Fairbanks.                                                 and work on developing innovative
                                        project leader job opened, dusted                                                adding, removing, and transplanting
                                                                                habitat enhancement projects.
                                        six years of work in the Washington                                              native vegetation that attracts a
While working for the U.S. Forest                                               Scherer was instrumental in
                                        office off his shoes, and took on a                                              variety of butterflies, bees and
Service in Alaska, Densmore                                                     conservation measures on behalf
                                        new challenge.                                                                   other pollinating insects. He was
earned a master’s degree in plant                                               of the red knot, now a candidate
                                                                                                                         also instrumental in developing and
ecology at North Carolina State                                                 for endangered Species Act
                                        As the supervisor responsible                                                    maintaining the Bayscape Butterfly
University in Raleigh. He worked                                                protection. She has been a leader in
                                        for both Pennsylvania and West                                                   Garden at eastern Neck refuge.
for the university and the Alaska                                               endangered Indiana bat recovery in
                                        Virginia, Densmore was especially
Department of Fish and Game before                                              the Northeast and was instrumental
                                        alarmed by the effects of more                                                   Born and raised in Holland, de Wilde
taking a temporary job in 1981 at the                                           in starting the Northeast Bat
                                        than a century of coal mining on                                                 grew up amidst the Nazi occupation
Service’s Arctic National Wildlife                                              Working Group. Her contributions,
                                        Appalachia, and advocated strongly                                               during World War II. After the
Refuge, headquartered in Fairbanks.                                             according to Miller, produce
                                        for more effective regulation                                                    war he studied horticulture and
The following year he went to                                                   benefits that extend far beyond
                                        of mountaintop mining. He took                                                   arboriculture. In 1953 he immigrated
work for the ecological Services                                                New Jersey, including counseling
                                        great pride in his later work with a                                             to Canada and then to the Maryland
field office down the hall. Much                                                and mentoring other wildlife
                                        planning team to establish Cherry                                                area in 1968, where he eventually
of his early work centered on the                                               biologists in the Service and other
                                        Valley National Wildlife Refuge with                                             became a U.S. citizen and started
effects of oil development in the                                               organizations.
                                        a boundary that will make it the                                                 his own landscape business.
Alaska arctic.
                                        largest refuge in Pennsylvania.
Densmore left Alaska for Puerto
                                        “I saw public service as a way to
Rico and the Virgin Islands. There
                                        express my child-of-the-sixties
he searched for plants previously
                                        idealism,” Densmore said of his
placed on the endangered species
                                        career. “By working for the Fish and
candidate list without much
                                        Wildlife Service, I was channeling
supporting field documentation. As
                                        my interest in biology into serving
a result of his work, about a dozen
                                        humanity through conservation
plant species were eventually listed
                                        of the natural world and all of its
as threatened or endangered.

22 / Fish & Wildlife News Fall 2010
                                                                                                                                        our people

The National Wildlife Refuge                                     Bill Wilen        Bill Wilen became the Project           migratory birds. Sharp has been the
Association and National                                         is listed         Leader of the National Wetlands         Service’s Flyway Representative to
Fish and Wildlife Foundation                                     in the just       Inventory in 1979 and held that         the Central Flyway since 1990 and
selected recipients of the 2010                                  published         position until becoming Director of     he was recognized for his extensive
Refuge System Awards. These                                      Federal           the National Wetlands Inventory         work with migratory bird monitoring
annual awards recognize refuge                                   Geographic        Center in April 2002. He is currently   programs and for working
conservation professionals,                                      Data              the Senior Wetland Scientist at the     collaboratively with the Central
volunteers and Friends groups                                    Committee         Center’s Washington office. He          Flyway on myriad and oftentimes
exemplifying outstanding                                         (FGDC) 2009       also chairs the FGDC’s Wetlands         controversial issues. Sharp was
dedication and passion for wildlife                              Annual            Subcommittee, which under his           also recognized for his work on
conservation in advancement.                                     Report            leadership has produced the FGDC’s      the Mitchell bill, which ultimately
                                         as the “ National Spatial Data            Wetlands Classification System and      resulted in the North American
Headquarters                             Infrastructure Champion,” and was         Wetlands Mapping Standard.              Wetlands Conservation Act.
                                         recognized during the November                                                    Additionally, Sharp recently worked
                        For his          Committee meeting. Along with                                     At the          on the Supplemental environmental
                        tireless         a photograph and biography, the                                   Service         Impact Statement for the hunting
                        leadership,      report had this to say about Bill:                                Regulations     of migratory birds, which will be
                        extraordinary                                                                      Committee       used to guide harvest management
                        vision, and      “Champions are leaders. They                                      meeting         years into the future. Paul Schmidt,
                        persistence      take charge, lead by example, see                                 in early        Assistant Director for Migratory
                        in the           beyond mere trends, and overcome                                  February        Birds, presented the award to Sharp
                        development      distractions and obstacles to                                     in Denver,      and the venue provided many of
                        of Partners in   perform the task at hand. They                                    Colorado,       Sharp’s colleagues to congratulate
                        Flight, Paul     uphold their convictions as they                                  Dave Sharp      him for receiving this honor the
                        R. Schmidt       welcome opposing views. As natural                                received        second-highest award that an
received the Champion of Bird            visionaries, champions often see          the Meritorious Service Award           individual may receive from the
Conservation Award at the                possibilities long before they are        for accomplishments attained            Department of Interior.
Partners in Flight 20th Anniversary      visible to others. each year, the         during his 32 years of working with
Celebration held at the 75th Annual      FGDC recognizes as a champion
North American Wildlife and Natural      one who has taken a strong
Resources Conference. Partners           leadership role in the development
in Flight/Companerous en Vunelo/         of the National Spatial Data                Celebrating Wildlife
Partenaires d’envol is a cooperative     Infrastructure (NSDI). This year’s
effort involving partnerships among      honoree is Bill Wilen.

                                                                                                                                                             US FW S
Federal, State and local government
agencies, philanthropic foundations,     Mr. Wilen’s leadership is well
professional organizations,              recognized within the geospatial
conservation groups, industry,           community, as are his exemplary
academic communities, and private        efforts to advance the management
individuals—all working together         and preservation of wetlands.
for the conservation of birds and        Secretary of the Interior Ken
their habitats.                          Salazar’s announcement of the
                                         adoption of the Wetlands Mapping
                                         Standard in August 2009 came
                                         about largely as a result of the
                                         tireless commitment, leadership,
                                         and dedication to the development
                                         of this standard by Mr. Wilen. It is in
                                         recognition of his trusted leadership
                                         within the NSDI community that
                                         Mr. Wilen is recognized as this             engdangered Species Day, the third Friday of May, brings young
                                         year’s NSDI Champion.”                      and old together to learn about the importance of protecting
                                                                                     endangered species and everyday actions that people can
                                                                                     take to help protect our nation’s disappearing wildlife and last
                                                                                     remaining open space. Local parks, wildlife refuges, zoos,
                                                                                     aquariums, botanical gardens, libraries, schools and community
                                                                                     centers partcipate in celebrating wildlife.

                                                                                                                            Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 23
tribute to                                                                          IN MEMORIAM

   our colleagues                                           We always feel a sense of loss when one of our colleagues is no longer
                                                            with us. The hard work of all Service employees is felt in every corner of every
                                                            region. In 2010, in addition to Service Director Sam Hamilton, our conservation
                                                            community lost seven other individuals. Their combined service totaled
                                                            more than 200 years of dedication and experience. Because of this,
                                                            we dedicate this section to the memory of those former employees whose
                                                            positive impact will be felt for years to come.

            God must have                                                                                       “The Interior Department
                                                                                                                 family has suffered a
                                                                                                                 great loss with the passing of
             had a natural                                                                                       Sam Hamilton. Sam was a
                                                                                                                 friend, a visionary, and a

                                                                                                                 professional whose years of
                                                                                                                 service and passionate
                                                                                                                 dedication to his work have

               emergency                                                                                         left an indelible mark on the
                                                                                                                 lands and wildlife we cherish.
                                                                                                                 His forward-thinking
                in heaven.                                                                                       approach to conservation—
                                                                                                                 including his view that we
                                                                                                                 must think beyond boundaries
                     John Frampton, speaking at former
                                                                                                                 at the landscape-scal—will
               Service Sam Hamilton’s memorial service
                                                                                                                 continue to shape our nation’s
                        at the Department of the Interior
                                                                                                                 stewardship for years to
                                                                                                                 come. My heart goes out to
                                                                                                                 Sam’s family, friends, and
                                                                                                                 colleagues as we remember a
                                                                                                                 remarkable leader and a
                                                            Service Director Sam Hamilton (at left) and          compassionate, wise, and
                                                            Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, using the    eternally optimistic man.”
                                                            audio devices at a wildlife exhibit.                 Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar

24 / Fish & Wildlife News Fall 2010
Joseph Henry Kutkuhn                                                              Dr. Calvin J. Lensink, a 30-year
Kutkuhn retired after a 34-year career with the                                   career employee of the Service,
Service. Noted for his work in fisheries management,                              was instrumental in the
he twice received the Interior’s meritorious and                                  creation of Alaska’s National
distinguished service award.                                                      Wildlife Refuges. Lensink was
                                                                                  notable for his work on the
                                                                                  history of the Alaska sea otter
                      Harvey Nelson was a devoted
                      wetlands and wildlife manager.
                      “Because I was interested in
                      the wetlands program, and
                      migratory birds, waterfowl
                      particularly, I decided that, by
                      golly, if I could get a job at the                          James “Jim” W. Salyer had
                      Fish and Wildlife Service, that                             a 43-year Service career
                      was what I was going to do,                                 as a biologist working
                      and so I did,’’ said the 42-year                            on migratory water fowl
                      career Service employee.                                    (ducks and geese) and their
                                                                                  aquatic habitats.

                      Dr. Robert E. Putz
                      Putz joined the Service in 1960
                      and has served as director
                      of the Leetown National
                      Fisheries Center and Alaska
                      Regional Director for the U.S.
                      Fish and Wildlife Service in
                      Alaska. He’s been honored            25 Years of Service Together
                      with numerous awards for             Ray Bentley and co-pilot Dave Pitkin were returning from Newport, Oregon,
                      his scientific papers and            after a day spent flying over estuaries along the Oregon coast for the
                      distinguished service.               Service’s annual mid-winter waterfowl survey when their plane went down.
                                                           Every winter, select teams of Service pilot-biologists and observers take to
                                                           the skies to survey North America’s waterfowl during January in one of the
How wonderful it is                                        oldest wildlife surveys, dating back to the 1930s.

that nobody need
wait a single moment
before starting to
improve the world.
Anne Frank

                                                           Dave Pitkin                       Ray Bentley

                                                                                                          Fall 2010 Fish & Wildlife News / 25
                                                                                                                STANDARD PReSORT
                                                                                                                POSTAGe AND FeeS
USFWS-Public Affairs                                                                                                 PAID
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service                                                                                U.S. DePARTMeNT OF THe
4401 N. Fairfax Drive                                                                                               PeRMIT G-77
Room 330
Arlington, VA 22203

parting shots
                                                                                         Kudos. James Hautman, an artist from
                                                                                         Chaska, Minnesota, has been named the
                                                                                         winner of the 2010 Federal Duck Stamp
                                                                                         Art Contest. The announcement was made
                                                                                         at the David Brower Center in Berkeley,
                                                                                         Calif., during the annual competition
                                                                                         hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
                                                                                         Service. Hautman has previously won
                                                                                         the Duck Stamp three times, in 1989, 1994
                                                                                         and 1998. Hautman’s acrylic painting of
                                                                                         a pair of white-fronted geese will be made
                                                                                         into the 2011–2012 Federal Duck Stamp,
                                                                                         which will go on sale in late June 2011.

                                                                                         The Service produces the Federal Duck
                                                                                         Stamp, which sells for $15 and raises
                                                                                         about $25 million each year to provide
                                                                                         critical funds for acquiring and protecting
                                                                                         wildlife habitat for the National Wildlife
                                                                                         Refuge System. For more information
                                                                                         on the Federal Duck Stamp Program,
                                                                                         including where to purchase stamps,
                                                                                         visit <>.

Fish & Wildlife News                        Submit articles and photographs to:          Deadline for future issues:
Editor: Tamara Ward                         Tamara Ward                                  Spring Issue 2011, by: January 1
                                            U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
                                            4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 323                Coming soon:
                                            Arlington, VA 22203                          Winter 2011: Law Enforcement
                                            703/358 2512                                 Special Issue
                                            Fax: 703/358 1930

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