The Cooperative Conservation Award recognizes cooperative conservation achievements that involve collaborative activity among a diverse range of entities that may include Federal, State, local and tribal governments, private for profit and nonprofit institutions, other non-governmental entities, and individuals.


Reflooding of the Bahia Grande

The Bahia Grande Restoration Partnership began with several citizens, conservation groups, and government agencies meeting individually to develop strategies on how to restore the Bahia Grande after 70 years of degradation. These groups combined to form a diverse community-based partnership comprised of more than 55 participants and supporters representing local, state, and Federal agencies; conservation organizations at all levels; educational institutions; commercial and recreational fisheries; corporations and foundations; and private citizens.

The collaborative efforts of the partnership achieved a major milestone in July 2005 when a constructed pilot channel was opened that began the refilling of the tidal basin. Soon a larger channel will be opened to fill the basin to its maximum capacity so that ongoing habitat restoration, research and monitoring, and future public recreational opportunities can be achieved.

The restoration of 10,000 acres of coastal wetlands is one of the largest coastal habitat restoration projects in the United States, and draws national attention to cooperative, community-based efforts of public and private partnerships in restoring our nation’s coastal wetlands.

Additional information on Bahia Grande Project

Proposed Re-Flooding and Restoration of Bahia Grande (48 pages)

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The Cathlapotle Plankhouse Project Steering Committee provided professional and personal support to construct a modern, full-scale replica of a Chinookan-style cedar plankhouse on the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. The cooperative partnership consisted of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Chinook Tribe, Portland State University, the local Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Committee, and a corps of volunteers.

The vision to construct a plankhouse formed as part of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, commemorating the historic encounters between Lewis and Clark and the native peoples of the Columbia River as documented in the explorers' journals. Cathlapotle, located along the banks of the Columbia River, was a thriving community for thousands of years and was one of the largest towns Lewis and Clark encountered. It is also a significant intact archeological site in a diverse habitat.

The cedar plankhouse was constructed to represent homes occupied by the Chinook Tribe. This provides the Chinook Tribe with an opportunity to practice their cultural traditions and creates an opportunity for hands-on environmental and heritage education.

Cathlapotle Plankhouse Project

Lewis River – Cathlapotle Plankhouse

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

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DEEP WRECKS TEAM, Minerals Management Service

U Boat 166. Looking down on the conning tower. The boat's partially-extended radio antenna (lower right) is bent over sharply.

An initial collaboration between two federal agencies, Minerals Management Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Ocean Exploration, grew to include three private companies, two non-profit organizations, and four universities under the auspices of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program.

The joint partnership is conducting a biological and archaeological investigation of six casualties of Hitler's U-boat war in the Gulf of Mexico. The archaeological objective of the study is to ground-truth, document, positively identify, and assess the National Register status of six ships sunk during World War II, including the German submarine U-166. The biological component includes understanding how artificial reefs function on the continental shelf especially where hard bottom habitat is naturally lacking (most of the Gulf of Mexico).

The deep wrecks have significant ramifications on deepwater oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world. The results of the biological research have provided information on the viability of deepwater shipwrecks and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico as artificial reefs. These studies will further our understanding of deepwater ecosystems worldwide. Archaeologically, the study is one of the most comprehensive deepwater shipwreck investigations ever conducted.

Deep Gulf Shipwrecks of World War II: Partners for Science and History

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KEN DELANO, Bureau of Reclamation

John Day River Restoration

Ken Delano has built strong partnerships by involving a large number of entities such as private landowners, Tribes, and local, state and federal resource agencies. He has garnered extensive community support to design, implement, and facilitate a variety of watershed, stream restoration and conservation measures effectively and efficiently in the John Day Basin.

One key concept that Mr. Delano has been instrumental in developing is that state and federal regulatory agencies are partners in the process, not just a step in the process. This concept ultimately recognizes that all parties share the same conservation goals and should work together to achieve those goals.

Through his efforts, restoration projects were completed on 6,000 acres of private lands on the upper South Fork, upstream of BLM lands. Projects included removal of invasive juniper stands, noxious weed control, and reseeding of uplands, all geared toward healthier upland conditions that have and will continue to contribute to better water quantity and quality in the South Fork. On the lower South Fork, Mr. Delano used the partnership team to replace or remove six private gravel pushup dams that were limiting access and connectivity to over 120 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for listed steelhead.

Mr. Delano has set a great example of how conservation can be accomplished in a non-threatening cooperative manner resulting in great benefits to fish and wildlife resources and protecting the ranching and rural lifestyle of the John Day River Basin.

Grant Soil and Water Conservation District Fact Sheet

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ARTHUR KITCHEN, Fish and Wildlife Service

Completed project after removal of the dam

This multi-year project initiated by Arthur Kitchen in the spring of 2002 and completed in March 2005, involved the removal of a 5.6 foot high concrete irrigation dam built in the 1950's on private land owned by the Kenosha Country Club (KCC). While the KCC was open to the idea of dam removal, there was a need to maintain the impounded water elevation to provide a source of water for the 1200 GPM pumping system used to water the golf course from April to October.

Mr. Kitchen suggested a river restoration plan that replaced the dam with an in-stream pool and riffle complex using sheet-piling weirs and boulders along with bank sloping to provide fish passage and stream bank stabilization. This technique would also maintain the required water levels for the pumping system. Mr. Kitchen also worked with state resource agencies, and a local environmental group to build an effective coalition of partners to solve a local problem with broad regional benefits. The result was 25 additional miles of sport fishing opportunity to the public, 42.5 miles of increased forage fish habitat, and the stabilization of 800 linear feet of eroding stream banks and reduced sediment delivery to Lake Michigan.

In a classic case of 'win-win', the private landowner, local anglers, Lake Michigan trout and salmon stocks, and local residents within the watershed all benefited from Mr. Kitchen's diligence and effort.

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Headquarters building for Wildlife Center right along D&L Trail.

The Lehigh Gap Wildlife Refuge reclamation project, implemented by the nonprofit Wildlife Information Center in partnership with the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Commission (D&L), aims to restore a 750-acre brownfield site along the Kittatinny Ridge, a migratory corridor for raptors and songbirds.

In addition to land acquisition and funding, a refuge master site plan has been developed, which includes education and research; interpretation of the region’s industrial history, environmental degradation, and rebirth; and a 15-mile trail network linking the D&L Trail and the Appalachian Trail.

The most blighted region of the Heritage Corridor is being turned into an ecologically restored public asset for environmental education and outdoor recreation with tremendous ecotourism potential. The single greatest ecological challenge in the D&L Corridor is rapidly becoming one of its greatest ecological assets.





Wildlife Information Center, Lehigh Gap Refuge

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MACKAY MINE HILL PROJECT, Bureau of Land Management

Interpretive sign at Mackay Mine Hill

Through their combined efforts, the White Knob Historical Preservation Committee and the Mackay Mine Hill Team have preserved a valuable piece of Idaho's historic past and demonstrated innovation in the face of difficult and changing times. When it is fully implemented, the Mackay Mine Hill Project will stand as a shining example to areas throughout the Western United States struggling with how best to record, preserve, and interpret the history of westward expansion, particularly mining history.

To date, the Committee and the Team have been successful in three major areas on Mine Hill: 1) restoration of the historic Shay train trestle; 2) restoration of the ten remaining tram towers that once transported the ore to the valley; and, 3) installation of a system of interpretive signs at major points of interest on the hill. The potential educational opportunities to Idaho residents and school children and the economic benefits to the City of Mackay and Custer County are great.

The Mackay Mine Hill District: Bringing Idaho's Mining Past to Life





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BRIDGET NIELSON, Fish and Wildlife Service

Bridget Nielsen releasing native fish back into restored habitat

Bridget Nielsen's initiative and creativity have been the foundation for the creation of a successful, Service-led conservation partnership program in Nevada. This was achieved despite the rural and remote character of Nevada, a focus on private lands in a State that is more than 87 percent federally-owned, landowner concerns about listed species and Federal involvement on their lands, the limited financial resources of these landowners, and the limited numbers of conservation funding partners.

Ms. Nielsen utilized a door-to-door approach to develop partnerships and projects because a broad-based approach was ineffective in reaching sparsely settled landowners across more than 50 million acres. This approach has resulted in partnerships with a wide range of State and local agencies, conservation organizations, agricultural interest groups, and landowners. Each project has required a unique approach, and Ms. Nielsen has garnered the respect of landowners and partners alike for her ability to find ways to overcome obstacles to project development and implementation. She has also gained respect for developing alternatives for addressing species conservation needs, as well as the economic needs of the landowner.

Ms. Nielsen's dedication to collaboration has resulted in several on-the-ground partnership success stories including: the purchase of Lockes Ranch to protect 460 acres of threatened Railroad Valley springfish habitat; the purchase of Dave's Island Pasture to protect 3,300 acres of bull trout habitat; working with the Duckwater Tribe to restore all Railroad Valley springfish critical habitat on their lands and reintroduce springfish to historic habitat; and developing Nevada's first Safe Harbor Agreement with a private landowner to reintroduce endangered White River spinedace to create the second population in existence.

Thanks to these efforts, the Fish and Wildlife Service is now recognized as a valuable conservation partner in Nevada.

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Volunteers building a shelter and some curbing at one of the recently certified sites along the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.

The Partnership for the National Trails System succeeded in drawing into its affiliate membership, all of the nonprofit organizations that work to support America’s National Trails. Today these 22 organizations (with a total combined membership of over 75,000 people), plus six other national and regional groups associated with the trails, form the Partnership’s Leadership Council.

For 2005, the Partnership reports that its member organizations fostered dozens of community-based conservation projects along the trails where volunteers worked 690,000 volunteer hours, estimated at $12 million. In addition, these groups together contributed over $6.5 million to foster the trails financially. These partnership efforts, in collaboration with Federal agencies, build, protect, and maintain almost 42,000 miles of trail and trail corridor.

Throughout the National Trails System, the projects help enhance natural and cultural resources, reestablish sustainable habitats, promote responsible use by the public (such as Leave No Trace), and work collaboratively to meet both agency and organizational goals. The Partnership coordinated training to build partnership skills and established effective communications networks, conferences, workshops, and events to foster cooperative conservation across the National Trails System.

Partnership for the National Trails System

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MARC J. TAYLOR, U.S. Geological Survey

Patrick Leahy, Acting Director of USGS, Mark Limbaugh, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, and Lynn Scarlett, Acting Secretary, present the Department's Cooperative Conservation Award to Marc Taylor.

Dr. Taylor founded the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition (PRWC) in 1999. He recognized that it is possible to protect the quality and quantity of water in the basin only through a partnership using the combined effort of everyone who has an interest in the watershed. The Board of Directors of the Coalition is comprised of representatives of municipalities, industry (including water companies), religious groups, health agents, regional planning agencies, consultants, and environmental groups. His vision, leadership, and quiet persistence have led this group to be a strong, effective advocate for the environment.

Dr. Taylor has been instrumental in pulling together a partnership of National, State, and local resources to create a water-management plan, which includes scientific data collection and research. The management plan, as well as the studies conducted in the basin, will serve as models for other watershed organizations throughout the region and the nation.

Dr. Taylor's future vision for the coalition is to establish the basin as a watershed research center. The current cutting-edge research includes studies by the USGS and the Universities of Connecticut and Massachusetts. The amount and quality of the ongoing research has already attracted additional scientific interest in the basin. Dr. Taylor is encouraging involvement by researchers at other institutions.

Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition Website

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STORM RESPONSE TEAM LEADS, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Hurricane damage

The Team Leads for the Storm Response Team did a remarkable job of facilitating and integrating communications among the numerous DOI bureaus and guiding scientific and management-resource activities in the eastern United States. The Team Leads skillfully directed and coordinated the activities of the DOI community of scientists and resource managers and raised awareness among local and regional stakeholders about the many scientific capabilities of the DOI bureaus.

The Team Leads worked to ensure the seamless flow of information between DOI bureaus and State governments and other Federal agencies. Under the guidance of the Team Leads, the Storm Response Team was able to collect and preserve valuable information about the conditions, quality, and conservation of precious coastal and inland natural resources and habitats inundated by these massive storm systems.

With the threat of another active season of tropical storms and hurricanes threatening our coastal States, the Team Leads continue to work closely to coordinate activities involving a multitude of collaborators from within and outside DOI.

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Students release salmon fry into the Sheepscot River. The Maine Atlantic Salmon Conservation Partnership has supported a variety of outreach and education projects to help communities learn about salmon and their habitat.

Since its establishment in 2000, over 100 Atlantic salmon recovery projects have been implemented through the Maine Atlantic Salmon Conservation Partnership (MASCP). These projects provide protection to over 54,000 acres of riparian habitat and access to miles of historic salmon habitat. In addition, the Partnership has supported education initiatives, helped local non-government organizations with capacity building, and supported surveys and applied research needed to implement high priority acquisition and restoration activities.

Grants made through MASCP have helped promote collaboration among Federal and State agencies, industry, private landowners, local watershed councils, and conservation groups. The program has leveraged an additional $13 million in private funding for salmon conservation efforts. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Northeast Region's Gulf of Maine Coastal Program jointly administer the program in partnership with the advisory board members. The advisory board is composed of local conservation groups, private landowners, State and Federal biologists, and educators.

MASCP is also a vehicle for building partnerships and stimulating salmon recovery throughout Maine. The Partnership combines incentives to implement voluntary habitat protection and restoration projects with collaboration among state and federal agencies, non-government organizations, and local partners in a manner that exemplifies the essence of cooperative conservation. Its ability to stimulate small-scale, voluntary action by community groups, in cooperation with landowners and businesses, to support salmon recovery on private property is truly a national model.

Fish and Wildlife Service News Release about Award

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Catch cups in use during a residential sprinkler evaluation test

Dr. Kelly Kopp, indicated that at least double the amount of water is applied to turf grass than is needed. The analysis of urban landscape watering practices concluded that urban irrigators lacked simple tools to determine sprinkler system performance and easy to follow instructions to apply proper irrigation practices.

To respond to these needs, Mr. Stuver and Mr. Liljegren, Bureau of Reclamation, developed and implemented the Landscape Irrigation Simplified Program and designed the Sprinkler Performance Evaluation Catch Cups. The professors critiqued and validated the program processes and continue to promote program practices through course work, Master Gardner training, University Extension Offices, and public and professional gatherings.

The program reduces outdoor water use by a substantial percentage with no impact to existing landscapes. Citizens and professionals are embracing and implementing these water conservation techniques and are encouraging others to do the same. The conservation efforts will continue to grow as new generations expand on these efforts through the lessons learned.


Landscape Irrigation Simplified: A handbook for Landscape Irrigation Practioners

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