In a special award ceremony today in Washington,
"By seeking the expertise of their western Tennessee community, the staff of the Western Tennessee Refuges have forged a strong and lasting partnership to achieve a landscape-level plan for habitat and species conservation," said Scarlett. "Their work establishes a precedent for other communities to follow and is a perfect example of Interior Secretary Gale Norton's four C's - - - communication, consultation, and cooperation, all in the service of conservation."
"West Tennessee Refuge Complex Project Leader Randy Cook and his staff have demonstrated the best of what can be achieved by a citizen-centered government focused on improving the management of natural resources," continued Scarlett.
Recognized on the award certificate were Cook; Rob Martin, West Tennessee Refuges' natural resources planner; Aaron Johnson, former West Tennessee Refuges' operations specialist. Donald Orr, supervisory wildlife biologist for the Division of Migratory Birds; and Marvin Nichols, refuge leader for Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge in Brownsville, Tennessee.
These employees, along with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Director
Gary Myers and staff, served as members of a core planning group which
spearheaded the initiative for the development of a biologically-driven
conservation planning process. This initiative is focused on the habitat
needs of fish and wildlife in west Tennessee, including 599,000 ducks
and 61,000 Canada geese. It involves a multiple species approach
including waterfowl, shorebirds, migratory landbirds, big game, reptiles
and amphibians, fish, farm wildlife, and mammals. Several
federally-listed migratory bird species will benefit including the
Also included in the west Tennessee conservation plan are assessments and recommendations for increasing compatible wildlife-related public use opportunities, including hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation. Collaborative State-federal strategies for increasing public use facilities for these activities are included.
"We are very proud of the ongoing progress that people in west Tennessee are accomplishing," said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Their vision may inspire other communities to work together to conserve their natural resources."
More than 75 representatives from many agencies and organizations shared
their talents and expertise to develop the conservation plan. Among them
were individuals from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee State
Parks, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Geological
Survey, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other included The
Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, the Reelfoot Lake Tourism Council,
the Tennessee Ornithological Society, The Anderson Tully Company, and
the Friends of West Tennessee National Wildlife Refuges. College
professors from the University of Tennessee at Martin, the University of
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