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2007 BIRD CONSERVATION AWARDS

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On March 22, 2007, the US Forest Service honored outstanding achievements in bird conservation at the annual Wings Across the America awards ceremony. Joel Holtrop, Deputy Chief of the US Forest Service National Forest System, and Linda Goodman, Regional Forester from Region 6, hosted the event. They presented awards to Forest Service employees and their partners, including conservation organizations, universities, foundations, and private sector partners.

This annual international event celebrates exceptional work that helps conserve birds and their habitats across the Americas, and it recognizes the important roles that birds play in the environment as well as their value to human society. Increasingly, birds are understood as providing very important ecological, recreational, social, cultural, and economic benefits throughout the Americas. Over five billion of our magnificent birds—rare jewels such as the Kirtland’s Warbler—live in U.S. forests, grasslands, wetlands, cities and other habitats and migrate long distances across international borders. Unfortunately, bird species across the U.S. and the entire hemisphere are declining. Of the over 700 species that live in the U.S. at least part of the year, more than half are declining and over 200 are now at risk for becoming endangered—mostly due to habitat loss.

Partnerships are the most effective way to conserve birds since the work must take place across different land ownerships, and across domestic and international boundaries. The U.S. Forest Service has been fostering such partnerships for many years, through funding, by applying the expertise and hard work of Forest Service personnel, and by providing a forum for participation by local citizens, governments, and organizations. The 2007 Awards ceremony held at the 72nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference brings partners together to recognize their outstanding achievements. The four awards for 2007 are in three categories. Click on each award recipient to learn more about each one.


Research and Management Partnership Award

Birds and Burns Network: Fire Effects on Populations and Habitats of Sensitive Species of Wildlife in Ponderosa Pine Forests of the Interior West

Award Recipients -- Forest Service

  • Vicki Saab, Rocky Mountain Research Station
  • Bill Block, Rocky Mountain Research Station
  • Dave Thomas, Retired, Intermountain Region
  • John Lehmkuhl, Pacific Northwest Research Station
  • Sam Hescock, Payette National Forest
  • Bruce Higgins, Kaibab National Forest
  • Robin Russell, Rocky Mountain Research Station
  • Amy Markus, Silver Lake Ranger District, Fremont/Winema National Forest
  • Kent Woodruff, Methow Valley Ranger District, Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest

Award Recipients -- Partners

  • Craig Bienz, The Nature Conservancy
  • Scott Story, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
  • Lisa Bate, Kalispell, MT

Certificate Recipients -- Forest Service

  • Denise Pengroth, Helena National Forest
  • Eva Aragon, Retired, Gila National Forest
  • Lois Olsen, Helena National Forest
  • Jeff Thumm, Coconino National Forest
  • Jodie Canfield, Gallatin National Forest
  • James Cothrun, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
  • Pete Delgado, Gila National Forest
  • Anthony Garcia, San Juan National Forest
  • Vic Morfin, Kaibab National Forest
  • Linda Wadleigh, Southwest Region
  • Kim Mellen, Pacific Northwest Region
  • Jonathan Dudley, Rocky Mountain Research Station
  • Larry Donohoo, Boise National Forest
  • Chris Forristal, Rocky Mountain Research Station & Montana State University

Certificate Recipients -- Partners

  • Jay Rotella, Montana State University
  • Andy Hansen, Montana State University
  • Brett Dickson, Northern Arizona University
  • Barry Noon, Colorado State University
  • Kerri Vierling, University of Idaho
  • Stephanie Jentsch, University of Arizona
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Montana State University
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Colorado State University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Idaho
  • Rocky Mountain Research Station
  • Pacific Northwest Research Station
  • Payette National Forest
  • Okanogan/Wenatchee National Forest
  • Fremont/Winema National Forests
  • Boise National Forest
  • Helena National Forest
  • Black Hills National Forest
  • San Juan National Forest
  • Kaibab/Coconino National Forest
  • Gila/Apache/Sitgraves National Forest

The US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station is leading this partnership effort to examine fire effects on populations and habitats of wildlife in ponderosa pine forests in eight states across the western United States.
The US government passed the Healthy Forests Initiative in 2003 to reduce the risk of severe wildfire; prescribed fire is a commonly used management practice to reduce forest fuel loads. Results of this research allow managers
to consider ecological effects of timing and configuration in scheduling and designing prescribed burns in ponderosa pine forests. The target wildlife species are cavity-nesting birds and songbirds. Many cavity-nesting birds
depend on fi re-maintained habitats for breeding, dispersal and movements and are designated as Management Indicator Species (MIS) and Sensitive Species by state and federal agencies. Results have been used in planning
and treating burns by several Regions (1, 2, 3, 4, 6) of the National Forest System, including the Helena, Lincoln, Panhandle, San Juan National, Coconino, Payette, Fremont, and Okanagan/Wenatchee National Forests.


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Habitat Conservation Award

Cooper River Corridor

Award Recipients -- Forest Service

  • Elizabeth Crane, Cooperative Forestry, Region 8
  • Chuck Myers, Region 8
  • Tom Darden, Cooperative Forestry, Region 8

Award Recipients -- Partners

  • Elizabeth Crane, Cooperative Forestry, Region 8
  • Chuck Myers, Region 8
  • Tom Darden, Cooperative Forestry, Region 8

Certificate Recipients -- Partners

  • Bob Schowalter, South Carolina Forestry Commission
  • Joel Felder, South Carolina Forestry Commission
  • Barry Jurs, Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust
  • Will Haynie, Lowcountry Open Land Trust
  • Mark Robertson, The Nature Conservancy, South Carolina Chapter
  • Michael Prevost, The Nature Conservancy, South Carolina Chapter
  • Jason Johnson, The Conservation Fund

The US Forest Service and partners are protecting and enhancing important wetlands and associated uplands focused along the Cooper River in coastal South Carolina, which is a major waterfowl focus area of the Atlantic Joint Venture’s Waterfowl Implementation Plan. Major habitats include salt, brackish, and tidal freshwater marshes, old rice fields, tidal freshwater swamp forests, alluvial and blackwater rivers, bald cypress-tupelo gum swamp forest, bottomland hardwood forest, pine savannas, and upland pine-hard-wood forests. Migratory shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, and neotropical songbirds use these areas in great numbers. By building a comprehensive river corridor plan encompassing the intricate natural systems with aquatic environments, riparian zones, wetlands and adjacent upland forest uses, the historic Cooper River ecosystem continues to function and flourish.

Partners are protecting wetland and upland habitats in perpetuity through fee simple land purchases and conservation easements on private land. This region is a vast landscape surrounding the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge and the Francis Marion National Forest. This forest is ecologically significant: It supports 395 woodpecker clusters and 333 breeding pairs. Further, in this area is one of the highest concentrations of the federally endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Floodplain forests support the highest breeding densities of neotropical migrants of any habitat in the southeast. Also, important ecologically are 8,000 to 10,000 federally endangered wood storks. The project area, designated as a Globally Important Bird Areas by the American Bird Conservancy, also provides habitat for the federally endangered shortnose sturgeon.


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Habitat Conservation Award

South Patrol Road Restoration Partnership

Certificate Recipients -- Partners

  • Gary Sullivan, The Wetlands Initiative
  • Albert E. Pyott, The Wetlands Initiative
  • Mitch Isoe, Chicago District, US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Linda Masters, CorLands
  • Joseph Roth, CorLands
  • Richard J. Carlson, CorLands
  • Kenneth Fiske, CorLands
  • Gerald W. Adelmann, CorLands
  • Jean Sellars, Chicago District, US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Arie & Ida Crown Memorial
  • BP America, Inc.
  • Chicago Wilderness
  • Illinois Conservation Fund
  • Curtis & Edith Munson
  • Foundation Field Foundation of Illinois
  • Grand Victoria Foundation
  • Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation
  • Oberweiler Foundation
  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Searle Family Trust
  • The Conservation Fund
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick
  • Dr. Scholl Foundation
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
  • Siragusa Foundation
  • Winnetka Garden Club
  • North American Wetlands
  • Conservation Council Illinois
  • Department of Natural Resources: Conservation 2000

Award Recipients -- Forest Service

  • Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

Award Recipients -- Partners

  • The Wetlands Initiative
  • Chicago District, US Army Corps of Engineers
  • CorLands

Certificate Recipients -- Forest Service

  • William D. Glass, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
  • Eric Ulaszek, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
  • Reneé Thakali, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie
  • Lawrence R. Stritch, US Forest Service, Washington Office
  • Karl Forge, US Forest Service (formerly with Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie)

The US Forest Service Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie was established in 1996 on the former Joliet Arsenal. Approximately 98% of the lands transferred to the Forest Service were non-native habitats, altered by decades of agricultural development and Army occupation. The “tallgrass prairie” part of Midewin’s name would be achieved only after many years of difficult, innovative, and expensive work.

The 490-acre, landscape-scale South Patrol Road project, the first restoration project at Midewin, was born of a partnership among the Forest Service, The Wetlands Initiative, CorLands, and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
It provided the model for the site’s 19,000 acres of restoration envisioned in the Illinois Land Conservation Act. Today, South Patrol Road is an outstanding showcase of the complex process and the benefits of restoring native habitat. Some of the birds seen include tundra swan, sandhill crane, northern shoveler, northern pintail, American wigeon, great blue heron, great egret, American bittern, greater and lesser yellowleg, semipalmated sandpiper, Wison’s phalarope, willet, semipalmated plover, and American bittern. A focus on habitat restoration is the improvement of habitat for species of conservation concern, including the bobolink, the grasshopper
and Henslow’s sparrows, and the upland sandpiper. Midewin is recognized for its important habitat for Upland Sandpiper, Willow Flycatcher, Sedge Wren, Loggerhead Shrike, Bell’s Vireo, Grasshopper Sparrow, and Bobolink,
several of which have benefi ted from the success of the South Patrol Road project. Its success is due to the strong partnership supporting its planning, implementation and funding. In fact, more than eighty percent of the cost,
now over $1 million, has been funded by partners. In 2005, Midewin was among 48 Important Bird Areas designated in Illinois.


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International Cooperation Award

Distribution, Ecology, and Life History of the Pearly-eyed Thrasher (Margarops fuscatus): Primary nest predator and competitor for nest sites of the critically endangered Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata)

Certificate Recipients -- Forest Service

  • International Institute of Tropical Forestry
  • Caribbean National Forest

Certificate Recipients -- Partners

  • Dr. Mark Cook, South Florida Water Management District

  • Dr. Geoff Hilton, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service

  • US Geological Survey

  • Puerto Rican Department of Natural and Environmental
    Resources

  • University of Puerto Rico

  • University of California at Berkeley

  • North Carolina State University

 

Award Recipients -- Forest Service

  • Dr. Wayne J. Arendt, nternational Institute of Tropical Forestry

Award Recipients -- Partners

  • Angela I. Arendt, Field Biologist volunteer
  • Dr. Jaime Collazo, US Geological Survey, North Carolina State University
  • Dr. Steve Beissinger, University of California at Berkeley
  • Dr. Mark Cook, formerly at University of California at
    Berkeley Post-Doctoral Candidate
  • Gary A. Toranzos, University of Puerto Rico
  • Ana Trujillo, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras
  • William Beltrán, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras

The US Forest Service and partners have been working to find management
solutions to bolster recovery of the critically endangered Puerto Rican Parrot.
Palo Colorado forest found at mid elevations in the Caribbean is dominated by
the Palo Colorado, a large tree that can survive more than a thousand years.
Natural cavities in these trees provide nesting habitat for both the Puerto Rican Parrot and its competitor, the pearly eyed thrasher. Dr. Wayne Arendt has conducted research and training in wildlife research and management for almost 30 years, much of which uses the thrasher as a surrogate for the parrot to understand how factors like nest predators, competitors, botfly parasitism, and hurricanes affect nesting success and survival. Most of this work has been conducted in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, with additional research being conducted throughout many parts of Latin America. The eventual successful recovery of the Puerto Rican Parrot from research
has contributed to the pride felt by the Puerto Rican people for their only remaining endemic parrot.


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