The Partners in Conservation Award is a Department of the Interior Honor Award established to recognize conservation achievements that include collaborative activity among a diverse range of entities that may include Federal, State, local and tribal governments, private for-profit and nonprofit institutions, other nongovernmental entities, and individuals. This award enables the Secretary to acknowledge in one award the contributions of both Interior and non-Interior personnel. Overall, this award recognizes outstanding conservation results that have been produced primarily because of the engagement and contributions of many partners.

Award Program
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Award Recipients

Apache Trout Habit Restoration | Advanced Invasive Species Modeling Room | Battle of the Atlantic Expedition | Bayhorse Mining District Partnership | Casting Light Upon the Waters | Coast Salish | Colorado River Interim Guidelines | Flower Garden Banks Long-Term Monitoring | Giacomini Wetlands Restoration | Glenn Harkleroad | John W. Keys III Partnership | "Making Friends" Guidbook | Milford Flat Fire Restoration
 Missouri River Bank Stabilization | Operation Migration | Outdoor Recreation Business Plan Guidebook | Potomac River Gorge Partnership | Protection of Aquifer Resources in Oklahoma | Rappahannock Land Protection Partnership | Rat Island Restoration | Sheldon Sankey | SW Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership | Three Mountain Alliance Watershed | Weaverville Community Forest | West Eugene Wetlands Partnership | West Virginia Watershed Network

 

Giacomini Wetlands Restoration (California)

In October 2008, the Tomales Bay community celebrated the return of tidewater to a 550-acre former dairy ranch. Located at the head of the bay, the ranch was leveed in the 1940s, causing the loss of over half of the tidal wetlands. Working together, numerous organizations and individuals planned and implemented the successful design and restoration of more than 50 percent of the vegetated intertidal wetlands to Tomales Bay, and as much as 12 percent of the outer coastal wetlands along the central California coast.

Nominated by the National Park Service

Citation   Partners   Award Picture   Project Pictures   News Release   (top)

"Making Friends" Guidebook (developed by the National Park Service Midwest Region)

Staff from the National Park Service planned, developed, wrote, and published this new guidebook for working with partners and launched a training program based on it. The guide will be used to build capacity within the Service to develop and nurture cooperative relationships with "Friends Groups" and other park partners.

Nominated by the National Park Service

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Potomac River Gorge Partnership (Maryland and Virginia)

The Nature Conservancy is recognized for significant contributions to conservation of natural resources in the Potomac River Gorge, helping the National Park Service to protect rare species and natural communities in the corridor. A joint planning effort has led to the success of this long-term partnership which has identified high priority natural resources and their ecological health and has addressed threats to their survival.

Nominated by the National Park Service

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Three Mountain Alliance Watershed Partnership (Hawaii)

The Three Mountain Alliance watershed partnership on the island of Hawai'i was formed in 2008, when members of the 'Ola'a Kilauea Partnership, based on their 14 year success in partnering, expanded watershed protection and management to over one million acres across the volcanoes of Mauna Loa, Kilauea, and Hualalai. This is the largest cooperative land management effort in the State. The partnership fights invasive species and works to protect native species across land ownership boundaries.

Nominated by the National Park Service

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Operation Migration (United States and Canada)

Operation Migration is a founding member of the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, a coalition of nine public and private agencies that were organized to reintroduce a self-sustaining population of Whooping cranes (Grus Americana) into their historic range in eastern North America. Since 2001, eight generations of Whooping cranes have been taught to migrate in an effort designed to develop a self-sustaining population of the endangered species. 

Nominated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Rappahannock Land Protection Partnership (Virginia)

This partnership began with the 1996 establishment of the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge to protect natural, cultural, and historic resources along Virginia's Rappahannock River, one of the most important tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. The partnership has protected over 8,000 acres as part of the Refuge and another 1,320 acres in a conservation easement.

Nominated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Rat Island Restoration (Alaska)

The largest island rat eradication in the United States is being achieved through this cooperative project which strives to restore biological diversity to a 6,681-acre island in the remote regions of the Aleutian Islands archipelago. The Norway rat, an introduced predator, had changed the island's biological community composition. As a result of this successful conservation partnership, Rat Island will again provide a habitat in which native fish and wildlife species can thrive.

Nominated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Southwest Alaska Salmon Habitat Partnership (Alaska)

This diverse group of more than 70 partners has been working since 2001 to preserve, protect, and restore salmon habitat, watersheds, and cultural and national heritage resources in southwest Alaska. The Partnership has conserved, through acquisition and easement, approximately 94,000 acres of high value habitat in 71 tracts throughout southwest Alaska. Their most recent success was a permanent conservation agreement protecting 21,000 acres of the Agulowak River and surrounding watershed inside Wood-Tikchik State Park. 

Nominated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Apache Trout Habitat Restoration (Arizona)

Apache Trout (Salmo apache) is federally listed as a threatened species. Its native, historic range is exclusively within the White Mountains of Arizona, with over half of that range located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. During the fall of 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with the White Mountain Apache Tribe to use logs thinned from a ponderosa pine stand to improve Apache Trout habitat within Firebox Creek. 

Nominated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs

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Casting Light Upon the Waters (Wisconsin)

The Casting Light Upon the Waters – Joint Assessment Steering Committee and its tribal, State, Federal and non-governmental partners have moved Wisconsin's walleye fishery from the focus of violence and conflict to one of national renown as one of the country's best managed fishery resources. A joint assessment of the fishery resource has served as a vital resource for educating the public about the health of the fishery and for informing management decisions. An annual Partners Fishing Event strengthens co-management relationships.

Nominated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Citation   Partners   Award Picture   Project Pictures   News Release   (top)

Sheldon Sankey (Oklahoma)

Mr. Sankey has established an outreach program for Oklahoma Bureau of Indian Affairs that has promoted partnerships to encourage stewardship of the land. Through 22 events, his efforts engaged over 6,000 children in learning about protecting the land. He partnered with the School for the Deaf in Sulphur, Oklahoma, and the U.S. Forest Service to have Smokey the Bear use sign language to teach the children how to prevent fires.

Nominated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Citation   Award Picture   Project Pictures   News Release   (top)

Bayhorse Mining District Cooperative Conservation Partnership (Idaho)

Abandoned mine land sites on public lands where people recreate can pose hazards. The Bureau of Land Management and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation have joined forces to conduct extensive remediation of mining-related hazards and environmentally-damaged areas in the Bayhorse Mining District. Since 2001, the partnership has investigated 30 abandoned mine sites on public lands in the area, found 48 dangerous open mine workings, and closed 30. These efforts make this District much safer for outdoor recreation activities.

Nominated by the Bureau of Land Management

Citation   Partners   Award Picture   Project Pictures   News Release   (top)

Glenn Harkleroad (Oregon)

Mr. Harkleroad serves as a role model for fostering numerous successful public-private partnerships to accomplish on-the-ground restoration and enhancement projects. He has worked with the Coquille Indian Tribe to protect and enhance a culturally significant resource, partnered with county government and local landowners to fight noxious weeds in the region, and developed a collaborative relationship with a watershed council and private landowner to restore a degraded stream channel.

Nominated by the Bureau of Land Management

Citation   Award Picture   Project Pictures   News Release   (top)

Milford Flat Fire Restoration Project (Utah)

Once the fire that burned more than 350,000 acres was controlled, Federal and State agencies came together under the umbrella of the Utah Partners for Conservation and Development to form a collaborative group effort for restoration. Their task, to design and implement stabilization and restoration actions for the entire burned area, regardless of land ownership, was successful because all the partners were involved in the planning process.

Nominated by the Bureau of Land Management

Citation   Partners   Award Picture   Project Pictures   News Release   (top)

Weaverville Community Forest (California)

Since 2005, the Trinity County Resource Conservation District has been working with the Bureau of Land Management to implement the Weaverville Community Forest Stewardship Project on over 1000 acres of public lands adjacent to the town of Weaverville in northern California. They have taken a large tract of public land that once received little attention and transformed it into an actively managed area that is now revered by the local community and recognized as a model of stewardship.

Nominated by the Bureau of Land Management

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West Eugene Wetlands Partnership (Oregon)

This nationally recognized partnership has collaborated since 1994 to achieve substantial wetlands protection and sound urban development in Oregon's second largest metropolitan area. Through one of its organizations, the Willamette Resources and Educational Network, the partnership has offered environmental education programs to a broad range of audiences, serving more than 22,000 children and adults.

Nominated by the Bureau of Land Management

Citation   Partners   Award Picture   Project Pictures   News Release   (top)

Battle of the Atlantic Expedition (North Carolina coast)

The expedition is an exceptional collaboration among Federal, State, and academic entities to strengthen research efforts and to document historically significant shipwreck sites associated with World War II losses off the North Carolina coast. The partnership is dedicated to raising awareness of the war that was fought so close to the American coastline and to preserving our Nation's maritime history. 

Nominated by the Minerals Management Service

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Flower Garden Banks Long-Term Monitoring (Texas and Louisiana coast)

Through a partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, involving the private sector and academic scientists, the Minerals Management Service has monitored the Flower Garden Banks in the Gulf of Mexico, the northernmost coral reefs in the western hemisphere for many years. The reefs continue to be among the healthiest in the world, due in part to careful management and monitoring by this scientific team. This partnership highlights Interior's oceans role and is an excellent example of cross-jurisdictional resource management between Interior and Commerce.

Nominated by the Minerals Management Service

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West Virginia Watershed Network (West Virginia)

An informal association of State and Federal agencies, and nonprofit groups, the West Virginia Watershed Network supports collaborative efforts to empower local residents to be stewards of their watersheds. The group seeks to coordinate the operations of existing water related programs and activities in West Virginia to better achieve shared watershed management objectives. An annual Watershed Celebration Day, promoted by the partnership, recognizes accomplishments of watershed groups across the State.

Nominated by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

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Colorado River Interim Guidelines (multi-state)

The Colorado River provides water for more than 23 million people and two million acres of irrigated land in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. In the midst of the worst drought in over a century, a huge collaborative effort involving the Colorado River Basin states, Mexico, numerous Federal, state and local agencies, tribes, nongovernmental groups and private citizens resulted in the December 2007 adoption of new, interim operational guidelines for managing the Colorado River. The agreement secured a future of cooperation in the Colorado River Basin for the next two decades.

Nominated by the Bureau of Reclamation

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John W. Keys III Partnership Program (Pacific Northwest)

With an ever changing workforce in the Pacific Northwest, Reclamation has worked to ensure that its new employees swiftly gain a full understanding of the challenges faced by irrigation district managers. This training program was developed by Reclamation, the Oregon Water Resources Congress, and several Oregon and Idaho irrigation districts to enhance Reclamation employees' understanding of the operation of an irrigation district. The irrigation districts in turn gain a better understanding of Reclamation. Overall, the program is working to break down barriers and foster better working relationships between Reclamation and the districts.

Nominated by the Bureau of Reclamation

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Missouri River Bank Stabilization (South Dakota)

The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System provides water to a three-state area. This diverse partnership developed a plan to protect the system's infrastructure while stabilizing and enhancing the bank of the Missouri River within a reach designated as a National Recreational River. The collaborative effort resulted in a highly successful design which called for construction of a vegetative stone toe revetment, a bank protection system with hydraulically rough and environmentally desirable properties.

Nominated by the Bureau of Reclamation

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Outdoor Recreation Business Plan Guidebook Team (Utah)

A Federal and State partnership team developed an innovative approach for streamlining and simplifying the business plan process for outdoor recreation areas. The guidebook is adaptable for concession operations, state, city, and county park systems and word of its usefulness has spread nationwide. The guide serves as a tool for recreation professionals to use in developing financially-sound alternatives for management and development.

Nominated by the Bureau of Reclamation

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Protection of Aquifer Resources in Oklahoma (Oklahoma)

The Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer underlies about 500 square miles of south-central Oklahoma and is an important source of water for the cities of Ada and Sulphur. Oklahoma's comprehensive water plan includes an artificial aquifer recharge strategy. A champion of water conservation, Mr. Harold Wingard graciously cooperated with Federal, State, and tribal governments to implement a recharge demonstration project on his land. This partnership works to protect valuable aquifer resources and to improve water resource conditions in Oklahoma.

Nominated by the Bureau of Reclamation

Citation   Partners   Award Picture   Project Pictures   News Release   (top)

Advanced Invasive Species Modeling Room (Colorado)

Scientists at the USGS Fort Collins Science Center recognized an urgent need to develop new capabilities in ecological forecasting of harmful invasive species. They leveraged the resources of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Colorado State University to create a “war room” where scientists and partners can use advanced technology to better document, map and predict the spread of invasive plants, animals and diseases. As a result, new partnerships have formed across the Nation to provide rapid response to harmful invaders.

Nominated by the U.S. Geological Survey

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Coast Salish (Washington)

In 2008, USGS formed a new partnership with the Coast Salish Nation to study water quality and to help restore near shore marine resources across the Salish Sea, Puget Sound, and Georgia Basin. The USGS scientists participated with Canoe Families and skippers to design and conduct a water-quality study as part of the annual Coast Salish Tribal Journey. The study spanned international borders, cultures, science disciplines and interest groups. In its first year, the effort generated more than 42,000 water-quality data points along 570 miles of ancestral waterways.

Nominated by the U.S. Geological Survey

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