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2002 National Wetland Award Winners Announced

March 2002

Seven outstanding wetlands educators, activists, scientists and conservationists were selected as recipients of the 2002 National Wetlands Awards for their exemplary contributions to the conservation and restoration of the nation’s wetlands. The award winners will be honored at a ceremony on May 16, 2002, at the U.S. Botanic Garden on Capitol Hill.

The National Wetlands Awards program honors exceptional individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary effort, innovation, and excellence in wetland conservation through programs or projects at the regional, state, or local level. “We look forward to honoring these outstanding individuals who inspire others with their creativity and dedication to wetland conservation. ELI’s National Wetlands Awards program helps to raise public awareness about the connection between healthy wetlands and healthy coastal ecosystems which give life to essential habitat for our nation’s recreational and commercial fish, shellfish and other living marine resources.” said Bill Hogarth, Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

This year’s winners include: Christy Foote-Smith, Massachusetts; Dr. Robert Hastings, Alabama and Louisiana; Jim King, California; Clarence Mortenson, South Dakota; Dr. William Patrick Louisiana; K. Angel Pilago, Hawaii and Jim Sweeney, Indiana.

“When wetlands disappear, essential habitats for hundreds of species of wildlife and plants also disappear. For people, wetland losses mean declines in water quality and increased flood risk,” said Steve Williams, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Program co-sponsors — the Environmental Law Institute, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and Natural Resources Conservation Service — believe that rewarding these efforts helps ensure that future generations will have quality wetlands, biological diversity, and clean water.

“Wetlands provide a vital link between our land and water resources, supplying a variety of unique physical, chemical, and biology functions,” said Dale Bosworth, Chief of the USDA Forest Service. Praising the efforts of farmers and ranchers who have voluntarily enrolled more than one million acres of wetlands under the Wetlands Reserve Program since 1992, Pearlie S. Reed, Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said, “The voluntary restoration and enhancement of wetlands has benefited critical habitat for fish and wildlife, and provided immeasurable water quality benefits to society.”

The winners were chosen by a high-level selection committee including Cindy Angelelli (Duke Energy Company), Louis Armin-Hoiland (Arcata High School, California), Connie Cahanap (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), Jack Chowning (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), Abby Friedman (National Association of Counties), Glenn Guntenspergen (Society of Wetland Scientists), Bill Haglan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Eric Hutchins (National Marine Fisheries Service), Robin Mann (Sierra Club), Leah Miller (Izaak Walton League of America), William Mitsch (Ohio State University), Raye Nilius (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Ann Redmond (Wilson Miller, Inc.), Gloria Skinner (Washington Department of Transportation), Janet Hall Schempf (Alaska Department of Fish and Game), Karen Solari (USDA Forest Service), Gene Whitaker (Farm Bill Network), and Floyd Wood (Natural Resources Conservation Service).

“I offer my congratulations to these environmental heroes and applaud their efforts to safeguard our national wetland heritage for current and future generations,” added Ben Grumbles, Deputy Assistant Administrator of Water at the Environmental Protection Agency.

For more information on the National Wetlands Awards winners or for information on the ceremony, please contact Dorigen Fried at (202) 939-3250, wetlandsawards@eli.org, or visit the National Wetlands Awards Web site at http://www.nationalwetlandsawards.org/index.htm.