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GLIN==> Indiana and Wisconsin Conservationists Among Those Honored for WetlandAccomplishments by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service




----- Forwarded by Rich Greenwood/R3/FWS/DOI on 06/22/2000 08:40 AM -----
                                                                                             
                    NEWS@fws.gov                                                             
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                    ww.fws.gov              Subject:     Indiana and Wisconsin               
                                            Conservationists Among Those Honored for Wetland 
                                            Accomplishments by U.S. Fish and Wildlife        
                    06/19/2000 01:47        Service                                          
                    PM                                                                       
                                                                                             
                                                                                             



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  June 19 2000

Contact:
Steve Kufrin, USFWS, 612-713-5447
steve_kufrin@fws.gov

EA00-26

Indiana and Wisconsin Conservationists Among Those Honored for
   Wetland Accomplishments by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) selected Richard Blythe a
long-time
conservationist from Merrillville, Indiana, as a co-winner of the National
Wetlands
Conservation Award (NWCA) to the Private Sector.

Blythe, chairman of the Indiana Grand Kankakee Marsh Restoration Project,
is a co-
winner of the NWCA in the individual category for his voluntary leadership
associated with that project.  Selection was based on Blythe's role in and
support
of wetland conservation.

In addition to Blythe, the other national co-winner is Michael St. Martin
of Houma,
Louisiana.

A ceremony to honor the national individual co-winners is Friday, June 30,
in
conjunction with the First Day of Sale and signing ceremony for Adam Grimm,
who
designed the 2000-2001 Federal duck stamp.  The ceremony is in the
Smithsonian
Institute's National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C.

The Service also announced Martin Hanson of Mellen, Wisconsin, as a
regional
award winner.  Mr. Hanson is a leading advocate of the Whittlesey Creek
National
Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and will be recognized July 25 by the Service's
Great
Lakes-Big Rivers Region for his volunteer wetland conservation efforts.

The NWCA program was established by the Service in 1990 to honor
individuals
and groups or corporations for significant contributions to the
restoration,
enhancement and protection of wetlands in the United States.  The Service
presents the NWCA awards annually, on the national level and within the
Service's
geographic regions.  All national and regional recipients  receive a framed
and
matted certificate.  They also receive a framed and matted 1999-2000
Federal
Duck Stamp print painted by Grimm, 21, the Elyria, Ohio, wildlife artist
who last
November became the youngest person ever to win that federal competition.

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region
are
appreciative of the national winners and the regional winners --
respectively and
collectively -- for their many accomplishments," acknowledged Bill Hartwig,
Director of the Twin Cities' Regional Office.

"We are especially proud of the award recipients from our Region.  Not only
have
they shown a commitment to restore and protect important wetlands, they
have
admirably provided outreach to promote wetland conservation and emphasize
wetland values to the public."

Richard Blythe

Nominated by the Bloomington (Indiana) Field Office, Blythe was recognized
for his
leadership role in the Grand Kankakee Marsh project that began in 1994.
This
project, of which Blythe has served as a major catalyst, is a partnership
effort
coordinated through the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

In its entirety, the project will acquire, restore and enhance at least
26,500 acres of
wetlands and associated uplands within the Kankakee River Basin of
northwest
Indiana.  To date, the project has acquired more than 4,300 acres of
wetlands and
associated uplands, restored nearly 2,000 acres of wetlands and enhanced
more
than 3,300 acres of important habitats.

Many of the acquired habitats are within the floodplain of the Kankakee
River and
include  emergent marsh, bottomland hardwood forest, wet and mesic prairie,
sedge meadow and oak savanna.  The marsh component includes moist-soil
units
that are actively managed for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds.

The Grand Kankakee Marsh at one time spread over 500,000 acres and was
considered one of the most extensive wetland systems in North America.  In
the
late 1800s, however, the Kankakee River was channelized.  This reduced the
Indiana portion of the river from 250 to 85 miles, resulting in almost
complete
drainage and conversion to agriculture.

Under the leadership of Blythe, conservation partners have contributed more
than
$9 million to the project and the North American Wetland Conservation Act
has
awarded matching grants totaling more than $3.5 million.

Blythe was previously honored by the State of Indiana when he was named a
"Sagamore of the Wabash".  The award, presented in January 2000 by Governor
Frank O'Bannon, is the highest award presented by the state to one of its
citizens.

He also received the Upper Mississippi River/Great Lakes Joint Venture
Partnership
Award in 1996 for his dedication and commitment to wetland conservation in
northeast Indiana.

Martin Hanson

As recipient of the Regional NWCA award, Hanson was nominated by the
Ashland
Fishery Resources Office for voluntarily playing a major role in the
development of
the Whittlesey Creek NWR.  His effort opened the door to a $650,000
appropriation from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the new refuge
being
established along Lake Superior near Ashland.

While wetlands and uplands on the new refuge will be restored to protect
habitats
that sustain a diversity of fish and wildlife species, Whittlesey Creek NWR
will also
restore important coastal habitat in the local ecosystem.  This coastal
habitat is
essential for the reintroduction of coaster brook trout, one of two trout
species
native to Lake Superior.  Once the refuge's watershed is fully established,
approximately 540 acres of coastal wetlands and another 1,200 acres of
wetlands
will be protected.

One of Hanson's innovative efforts was the development of a 12-minute video
entitled "Whittlesey Creek: A Coastal Wetland Initiative."  This video was
distributed to the general public, legislators and special interest groups
to promote
the restoration and protection of the unique area.

Hanson's vision in producing the video was vital to the success of the
project,
stated his nomination.  He further displayed his leadership by working with
Congressman David Obey (DFL-WI) and informing the congressman of the need
for
adequate funding to protect this unique coastal area.

NWCA Winners

The Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region has successfully nominated a number of
partners
for the National Wetland Conservation Award.  Winners honored from this
Region
include:

1991: Ray McCormick, Vincennes, Indiana, Regional Individual Winner;
Citizens
Committee to Save the Cache River, Inc., Perks, Illinois, Regional Group
Winner.

1992: Waterfowl USA, Northwest Indiana Chapter, Griffith, Indiana, Regional
Group Winner.

1993: Minnesota Waterfowl Association, Minneapolis, National Group
Runner-up;
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Regional Group Winner.

1994: Pheasants Forever, St. Paul, National Group Winner; Wisconsin
Waterfowl
Association, Milwaukee, Regional Group Winner.

1995: Wildlife Forever, Minneapolis, National Group Winner; Northern
Indiana
Public Service Company Industries (NIPSCO), Hammond, Indiana, Regional
Group
Winner; Heartland Gobblers Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation,
Poplar
Bluff, Missouri, Regional Group Runner-up.

1996: Red Lake Nation, Red Lake, Minnesota, National Group Runner-up; Chuck
Bauer, Evansville, Indiana, Regional Individual Winner; and Dr. Roger
Strand, New
London, Minnesota, Regional Individual Runner-up.

1997: Fergus Falls Fish and Game Club, Minnesota, Regional Group Winner;
David
M. Jacobson, Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Regional Individual Winner; and Bill
Daub,
Hudson, Michigan, Regional Individual Runner-up.

1998: Iowa School for the Deaf, Council Bluffs, Iowa, National Group
Winner;
Roger and Lois Lanski, Glennie, Michigan, Regional Individual Winners.

1999: Rush Lake Improvement Association, Rush Lake, Minnesota, National
Group
Winner; The Conservation Fund, Grayslake, Illinois, National Group
Runner-up;
Kemper Lease, Evansville, Indiana, National Individual Runner-up; and
Cinergy
Corporation, Plainfield, Indiana, Regional Group Winner.

2000: Richard Blythe, Merrillville, Indiana, National Individual Co-winner;
and Martin
Hanson, Mellen, Wisconsin, Regional Individual Winner.

Anyone wishing more information on the National Wetlands Conservation Award
program should contact Steve Kufrin, Regional Private Funds Coordinator in
the
Twin Cities, at 612-713-5447.  For the hearing disabled, call the Minnesota
Relay
Service at 1-800-627-3529.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency
responsible for
conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their
habitats for
the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the
93-million-
acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 520
national
wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management
areas.
It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices
and 78
ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife
laws,
administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations,
restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife
habitat such
as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.
It also
oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of
dollars in
excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife
agencies.

For further information about programs and activities of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife
Service in the Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region, please visit our website at
http://midwest.fws.gov

                             --FWS--



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