Secretary Salazar Presents Fort Collins Science Center Employees with Partners in Conservation Award

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today presented a Partners in Conservation Award to scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey Fort Collins Science Center in Colorado who created a “war room” where partner agencies and universities can use advanced technology to better document, map and predict the spread of harmful invasive plants, animals and diseases.

USGS employees Tracy Holcombe, Catherine Jarnevich, and Thomas J. Stohlgren shared one of 26 national awards to individuals and organizations presented at a ceremony at Interior headquarters in Washington, D.C.. The Partners in Conservation Awards honor “those who achieve natural resource goals in collaboration and partnership with others.”

“The Partners in Conservation Awards demonstrate that our greatest conservation legacies often emerge when stakeholders, agencies, and citizens from a wide range of backgrounds come together to address shared challenges,” the Secretary said. “In this case, astute USGS employees 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 an advanced modeling room. As a result, new partnerships have formed across the nation to provide rapid response to damaging invaders ranging from the Zebra mussel to cheatgrass. ”

As just one example, citizen scientists, federal agencies, states, counties and tribes combined their data on the distribution of tamarisk (salt cedar) in the western United States. Through the modeling room, they were able to create a map of tamarisk distribution for the Bureau of Reclamation to estimate expensive water losses in the West.

The 26 Partners in Conservation Awards recognize conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of a total of 600 individuals and organizations including landowners; citizens' groups; private sector and nongovernmental organizations; and federal, state, local, and/or tribal governments.

“These awards recognize the dedicated efforts of thousands of individuals from all walks of life, from across our nation– and from across our borders with Canada and Mexico,” Salazar noted. “They celebrate partnerships that conserve and restore our nation's treasured landscapes and watersheds, partnerships that engage Native American communities, and partnerships that engage youth.”

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