DU Mobile Apps
Banding Together for Waterfowl

Wetland Conservation Awards - Ducks Unlimited


2008 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

Federal Representative- Senator Herb Kohl

Senator Kohl represents Wisconsin, and serves on the Appropriations Committee, chairing the Agriculture Subcommittee, and serving on the Interior Subcommittee.  He has been a longtime champion of conservation funding through the Farm Bill and NAWCA.  The Senator has been a consistent supporter of WRP in Congress. When the Senate considered funding WRP, Senator Kohl successfully championed fully funding the program in Fiscal Year 2007 (allowing enrollment of 250,000 acres) for the very first time in its history. He successfully championed full funding again in FY’08. During the development of the 2007-08 Farm Bill, Senator Kohl sponsored an amendment to correct language that had been detrimental to WRP, the nation’s largest wetland restoration program. His action would restore fair and practical offers to farmers, ranchers, and landowners, restoring the credibility of WRP. Senator Kohl has also been a long term supporter of NAWCA, which provides federal matching funds for wetland conservation in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan’s priority conservation areas.

Federal Agency– Dan J. Nieman

Dan Nieman serves as Population Management Biologist for the Migratory Bird Management Section of the Canadian Wildlife Service, in Saskatoon. He began his career studying the breeding biology and habitat relationships of mallards and canvasbacks in the Peace–Athabasca Delta for his MS degree from the University of Saskatchewan.  He completed his MS degree in 1971, and from there, was hired by CWS into his current position, a position he has held for a remarkable 36 years. He exemplifies international cooperation in waterfowl management. He has initiated, conducted or assisted with waterfowl and habitat surveys throughout the continent. Dan has been instrumental in the management of the mid-continent population of greater white-fronted geese. Dan probably has contributed more to white-fronted goose management than any other individual in North America. He has engaged in cooperative waterfowl studies with Mexico since 1992. These studies have included arctic goose surveys and neck collar re-sightings, waterfowl harvest surveys, and waterfowl band reporting. Dan has played a significant role in conducting the annual May Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. Dan has served on the Saskatchewan Technical Committee for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan since 1986, and he has authored over 20 peer–reviewed papers on waterfowl and waterfowl management. 

State / Provincial – Steven V. Rockwood

Steven V. Rockwood is the statewide wetland habitat specialist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Since 1988 he has made significant and important contributions to wetlands conservation. Steve developed his wetland management skills as a hands-on manager of a wildlife management area that featured estuarine and freshwater marshes. He was promoted in 1990 to develop FWC’s largest waterfowl management area, T.M. Goodwin WMA. Steve oversaw all aspects of the 3,870-acre project’s development, including surveys, engineering design, permitting, earthwork, and writing of the management plan. Steve later oversaw the addition of a 2,400-acre parcel. Goodwin is now a model for palustrine marsh restoration. Steve also developed an outstanding waterfowl hunting program; hunters recognize the area as Florida’s best managed public waterfowl hunting area. Steve has worked tenaciously to fine-tune moist-soil management techniques to work in central Florida’s soils and subtropical climate. Steve coordinated other innovative wetland projects, illustrating his creativity, flexibility, and dedication to wetland habitat conservation. Countless wetland acres in Florida have been conserved on public and private lands as a result of Steve’s work with DU, NRCS, and other partners. From this boots-on-the ground background, Steve has developed and focused his outstanding leadership abilities through his passion for wetlands conservation. Steve also serves as chair of the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture waterfowl technical committee.

Research / Technical – Guy A. Baldassarre

Dr. Guy Baldassarre has sustained a distinguished 30 year career in academia that has enabled 34 students to complete graduate degrees and make their own significant professional contributions. Guy also has directed research that has resulted in 77 refereed publications, and he served as lead author of both editions of the book, Waterfowl Ecology and Management, the first and only complete treatise on the subject. It is widely used by teachers, students, and practicing scientists. Guy completed his Ph.D. at Texas Tech University, where he made significant contributions to waterfowl wintering ecology and management. He has mentored over 30 graduate students and hundreds of undergraduate students. Guy’s commitment to his students is reflected in his insistence for them to publish the results of their collaborative research in peer-reviewed scientific publications and popular outlets. Guy has made important contributions to our understanding of the winter ecology of several species of waterfowl wintering in Mexico, the nesting ecology and interactions of eastern North American populations of mallards and black ducks, the ecology and management of southern populations of wood ducks, and the biology of the mottled duck. He remains dedicated to development of tomorrow’s leaders in the field; his students permeate the profession, holding positions in academia, government agencies, and non-governmental conservation organizations.

Conservation/Private Citizen –Adolphus A. Busch IV

Adolphus Busch IV has been a pioneer in preserving floodplain habitats along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. He is founder and chairman of the Great Rivers Habitat Alliance (GRHA) in St. Louis. GRHA was founded in 2000 to reduce the development of the floodplain along the Missouri, Mississippi, and Illinois Rivers, especially the Confluence Flood Plain in St. Charles County. Under his leadership GRHA has consistently sought to educate the public and policy makers about the hazards of floodplain development and has raised public awareness in regards to the importance of floodplains as natural water storage areas, wildlife habitat, and productive farmland.
As a private landowner, Adolphus has demonstrated his commitment to floodplain conservation by donating a conservation easement on Belleau Farm, his farm and home in the St. Charles County floodplain. Adolphus has also been a strong voice of persuasion for other landowners to follow suit. The wetlands of St. Charles County are under serious threat of being lost forever. Adolphus recognized this threat and took it upon himself to bring about awareness, change and respect for America’s floodplains. No one has done more to protect the floodplain of St. Charles County.

Communications- Joe Albea

Joe Albea is an outdoor journalist from Winterville, NC. He is co-host of “Carolina Outdoor Journal” on UNC TV. He is also a passionate conservationist, and he has spent his life giving of his time and skills to conserve North Carolina’s outdoors. He most recently spearheaded a 7 year fight to save Pocosin Lakes NWR. This refuge has the largest concentration of waterfowl on the east coast; over 25,000 tundra swans and 80,000 snow geese winter there. The U.S. Navy picked a site within 3.5 miles of the refuge for an Outlying Landing Field (OLF). This OLF would experience 32,000 aircraft landings per year (about one every 15 minutes); it was not possible that the OLF and the birds could coexist. So Joe worked with Ducks Unlimited and a host of other organizations to wage a 7 year battle against locating the OLF in that area. He organized trips for the media and others to see the refuge’s wintering waterfowl. He contacted every elected official in the area. He kept information flowing to national and local media and allied groups. He made numerous trips to the state and national capitals to meet with interested parties. Joe would not let anyone forget the impacts of what was being proposed. For over 6 years the government forged ahead. After setbacks to the OLF in court thanks to successful lawsuits, and an increasing collection of elected officials joining the opposition, on January 22, 2008 the Navy announced it was abandoning its preferred site adjacent to the Refuge. Joe Albea sparked the effort that saved the birds of the Pocosin Lakes NWR.

About the Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards...

Each year DU is proud to recognize the achievements of individuals from the U.S., Canada or Mexico who have made exceptional contributions to wetlands and waterfowl conservation in North America. These partners, colleagues and leaders are usually individuals who have made long-term contributions to the conservation of these vital resources. However, extraordinary accomplishments over a shorter period of time are often recognized too.

The awards are the featured event during the Ducks Unlimited Breakfast at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, which is held in March of each year.

Click here for a list of previous award winners.

Previous Year's Winners

2007 Ducks Unlimited Wetland Conservation Achievment Awards

2006 Ducks Unlimited Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

2005 Ducks Unlimited Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

2004 Ducks Unlimited Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards


Free DU Decal

Receive a free DU decal when you signup for our free monthly newsletter.