Wetlands Expert Wins EPA Award

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently presented the Edward T. "Red" Heinen Wetlands Award to Wetlands Scientist Jeff Lapp of Hilltown, Pa., at a joint national meeting of the agency and theU.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

The award, named after a highly respected leader from the formative years of EPA's wetlands program, was established by Dave Davis, former director of EPA's Office of Wetlands Protection. It is presented annually to the person in EPA's regional wetlands program who best exemplifies the high standards and personal dedication to wetlands protection that characterized Heinen's years with EPA. It acknowledges those people who are a source of inspiration to others in the program, and whose work and attitude best contribute to our environmental and public service goals.

Lapp, who has worked at EPA for 19 years, plays an important role in the mid-Atlantic region.

"Wetlands protection has become Jeff's passion and the entire wetlands program relies on him for his expertise, his historical knowledge and the relationships he has developed with the Army Corp of Engineers and his wetlands counterparts with state agencies," said Randy Pomponio, director of the regional Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division.

Lapp started out as an inspector working with EPA attorneys to investigate potential enforcement cases. And now he is involved with all areas of wetlands protection. He reviews and comments on public notices, participates in mountaintop mining decisions, helps draft and issue legal agreements, tracks data on wetlands and stream impacts as well as restoration, compensation and mitigation. He also collaborates with other regional scientists to develop stormwater enforcement policies. Two years ago, he was appointed to oversee the region's oceans program, which includes monitoring ocean waste disposal, preparing trend reports and providing input to the National Coastal Condition Report.

Lapp said the award is an affirmation of the hard work and dedication that everyone in the wetlands program brings to their jobs.

"I think that a belief in an ideal and dedication to improving the health of the planet has merit," Lapp said. "Receiving this award is the greatest compliment and highest honor I can think of."

EPA's mid-Atlantic region includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

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