ELI Recognizes 6 Wetlands Award Winners

The Environmental Law Institute has identified six 2010 National Wetlands Award winners for exceptional and innovative contributions to wetlands conservation.

"Once again, ELI is proud to have worked with a team of leading experts to choose the winners of the national wetlands awards," stated ELI President Leslie Carothers. "With our partners from six federal agencies, we look forward to an awards ceremony that showcases the remarkable contributions the winners have made to a healthy and productive environment."

These award winners have restored, researched, and protected thousands of acres of wetlands nationwide. Their examples should inspire individual citizens to act and make a difference to protect and improve these vital natural resources.

This year's award recipients are:

  • Jim Wilcox is senior project and program manager at Plumas Corporation for the Feather River Coordinated Resource Management group. Wilcox has designed and built more than 40 projects that have restored 48 miles of stream channels and 3,400 acres of meadow floodplains and wetlands.
  • William Volkert is a wildlife educator with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. He has provided more than 3,500 educational programs to 200,000 people, conducted more than 1,700 media interviews and programs, and provided training to 66 delegations of scientists from 41 countries.
  • The Laszlo Family own Granger Ranches at the O'Dell Creek Headwaters in Montana's largest watershed. They have permanently protected more than half of their 14,000-acre ranch and restored or enhanced 510 acres of wetlands and 35,000 feet of stream channel and riparian habitats.
  • Rebecca Sharitz is a senior research ecologist at the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. An expert on the ecology of southeastern floodplain forests and Carolina bays, she has been invited to serve on four National Academy of Science committees and has published more than 160 papers or chapters in the scientific literature.
  • Michael Cain is a recently retired attorney for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Cain has authored or co-authored all of Wisconsin's wetland protection laws during his more than 30 years of service. His leadership has helped slow the state's wetland loss from 1,400 acres annually in 1991 to an average of 250 acres per year currently.
  • Jan Vandersloot, who passed away in November 2009, left a legacy as the co-founder of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust and led a successful 17-year fight to protect southern California's largest unprotected coastal wetlands, some 1,700 acres.

"These winners truly embody the spirit of the National Wetland Awards Program as they inspire our collective endeavors to increase the quantity and improve the quality of our nation's aquatic resources," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Peter S. Silva. "Their extraordinary dedication to coastal and inland wetland conservation across the country evokes deep gratitude and merits the highest of praise."

The awards program is administered by the Environmental Law Institute and supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Federal Highway Administration, the USDA Forest Service, and the George and Miriam Martin Foundation.

Wetlands provide tremendous services to society, in addition to their vital functions in nature. "Wetlands play a vital role in protecting our communities from flooding, improving water quality and providing vital habitat for aquatic species. The organizations and individuals being recognized are true leaders in our collective effort to protect and restore our nation's wetlands for the benefit of all Americans," said Acting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Rowan Gould.

For more information, contact Landon Yoder at 202.939.3829 or wetlandsawards@eli.org.

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