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Office of the Secretary
April 19, 2007
Joan Moody 202-208-6416

Department of the Interior Honors Employees in Massachusetts As Earth Day Role Models

Photos with Secretary Kempthorne Available Upon Request

WASHINGTON –Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and Deputy Secretary Lynn Scarlett today honored eight recipients of the 2006 Department of the Interior Environmental Achievement Awards in a ceremony at the Interior Building in Washington, DC. The Secretary said the recipients are “role models for all Americans who want to celebrate Earth Day this week.”

Two of the eight national awards went to National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees in Massachusetts — one to Dr. John Portnoy, an ecologist with the Herring River Salt Marsh Restoration at Cape Cod National Seashore and one to the Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Regional Office Green Team based in Hadley, MA.

The awards convey high-level recognition to DOI employees and partners for DOI projects in the following areas: Waste/Pollution Prevention, Recycling, Green Purchasing, Environmental Management Systems, Sustainable Design/Green Building, and Alternative Fuel and Fuel Conservation in Transportation. A panel of experts from each Interior bureau recommended the awardees to their agency heads. More information on the awards can be found at http://www.doi.gov/greening/awards/env2006N.html.

John Portnoy has been a staff Ecologist with the Cape Cod National Seashore for nearly 30 years. On September 14, 2005, the Cape Cod National Seashore and the Town of Wellfleet, MA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to proceed with the restoration of the Herring River system. Signing of the MOU represented the culmination of more than twenty years of study, planning, and fundraising by Dr. John Portnoy in preparation for the restoration of the Seashore's largest salt water estuary. “John has been a determined champion of the Herring River restoration project, dedicating many years of diligent advocacy and science to the cause,” the award noted. As this project proceeds, the Department of the Interior predicts restoration of nearly 1,100 acres of marshlands involving the recovery of native salt marsh vegetation, and the return of river herring, striped bass, and shellfish.

The Northeast Regional Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also received an Environmental Achievement Award. A Green Team formed in the office made significant environmental improvements to its 72,000-square-foot facility through an exemplary Environmental Management System. Members of the 20-person team, volunteers from all major programs in the 250-employee office, serve on an advisory group and/ or the Landscaping, Energy, Recycling, or Transportation work groups. Major accomplishments to date include conducting an energy audit that resulted in electrical savings of over 230,000 kWh annually, as well as annual pollution prevention of 228,000 pounds of carbon dioxide, 960 pounds and sulfur dioxide, and 380 pounds of nitrogen oxides. The team also formed partnerships with a local university to implement a new recycling program that diverts 3,120 gallons of waste annually and makes recommendations for environmentally friendly landscaping. The accomplishments exemplify the "triple bottom line" of sustainability in that they achieve environmental, economic, and social benefits.

The complete list of the eight awardees includes:

  • Dr. John Portnoy, Ecologist - Herring River Salt Marsh Restoration, Cape Cod National Seashore, NPS.
  • Students Against Global Abuse at Herndon High School (SAGA) Partnership with MMS.
  • The California BLM Abandoned Mine Lands Team - Boston Placer Mine Sluice Tunnel Remediation Project, Red Dog, California.
  • JW Dalton Legacy Well Cleanup Project Team, National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska, BLM.
  • Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge "Green" Headquarters and Visitor Contact Station Team, Swanton, Vermont, FWS.
  • Northeast Regional Office “Green” Team Hadley, Massachusetts, FWS.
  • Doyon/ARAMARK Joint Venture, Planet EVERgreen: Protecting and Preserving "The Last Frontier," Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, NPS.
  • Yellowstone National Park Employees, Xanterra Yellowstone Employees, Montana and Wyoming Departments of Environmental Quality, and Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, Environmental Stewardship at Yellowstone National Park and the greater Yellowstone area, Wyoming.
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