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Banding Together for Waterfowl

DU Gulf Coast Response Team

The task force dedicated to restoration solutions on the oil-spill-impacted Gulf Coast

Focusing DU on the oil spill

The DU Gulf Coast Response Team was established to focus DU response to the Gulf Coast oil spill created by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in April 2010. The size and potential damage created by the spill are unprecedented in our history. The Gulf Coast is one of DU's five highest priorities for waterfowl and habitat conservation in all of North America.

Many of the senior scientists, engineers and government relations specialists on the team have been monitoring the spill and coordinating DU's actions since the spill began. They will lead DU's response and action in all matters related to the spill. We are establishing the formal team to ensure that DU's response to this environmental catastrophe is fully coordinated in the areas of wetlands and waterfowl science, wetlands restoration and public policy.


The team has several major goals, including:

  • Fulfilling the mandate of the DU board of directors on the issue;
  • Monitoring the spill; synthesizing information and reporting on activities, responses and impacts to wetlands and waterfowl;
  • Coordinating with partners, agencies, corporations and the media;
  • Taking immediate action where appropriate to communication information, develop efforts to restore wetlands, engage in science and policy efforts and on other spill-related efforts;
  • Recommending other actions to DU senior executives as necessary;
  • Modifying the existing Gulf Coast Strategic Plan as necessary;
  • Accelerating and completing planning for restoration of Gulf Coast wetlands;
  • Conducting short- and long-term monitoring of waterfowl and habitat impacts with partners;
  • Initiating and conducting/supporting other research that might be necessary;
  • Supporting policy efforts that are necessary to prevent future occurrences; and
  • Initiating policy efforts that are necessary to secure long-term protection, enhancement and expansion of coastal marsh.

Team members and advisers

The DU Gulf Coast Response Team consists of:

  • Tom Moorman, team leader and senior scientist
  • Jerry Holden, director of conservation programs, south Mississippi Flyway
  • David Schuessler, volunteer coordination
  • Jennifer Grand, Louisiana policy director*
  • Bob Dew, manager of conservation programs, south Louisiana
  • Chad Manlove, Louisiana director of development
  • Dale James, manager of conservation planning and land protection
  • Dale Humburg, chief biologist
  • Tina Yerkes, mitigation and research coordinator
  • Bobby Massey, senior engineer
  • John Hetherwick, regional engineer, Louisiana
  • Eric Held, manager of conservation programs
  • Scott Sutherland, director of government affairs, Washington, D.C.
  • Bart James, director of public policy, Washington, D.C.
  • Tony Dolle, director of communications
  • Mike Checkett, communications biologist

The following staff will serve as senior advisers to the team:

  • Curtis Hopkins, director of southern operations, Jackson, Miss.
  • Ken Babcock, senior conservation director, Memphis, Tenn.
  • W. Alan Wentz, senior group manager, Memphis, Tenn.

The team will begin its work immediately, While initially financial resources will be limited, the team, with support from other segments of DU, will develop new financial resources to support its work. The team leader and senior advisers will call upon any resources within DU that they might need and all staff will be expected to respond in support.

Brief team bios

Thomas E. Moorman, Ph.D.; director of conservation planning, Southern Region; 25 years of experience in Gulf Coast wetlands restoration and management; research on wintering waterfowl and resident mottled ducks

Jerry Holden, M.A.; director of conservation programs, south Mississippi Flyway; 11 years of experience in remote sensing, GIS analysis and administration of conservation programs in the Gulf Coast and lower Mississippi River area

David Schuessler, B.S.; director of fundraising and volunteer relations, southern Mississippi and Central flyways; director of event and volunteer promotion; 11 years of grassroots fundraising experience; oversees grassroots fundraising programs in six states and manages national event marketing programs; represents grassroots division on Policy Team.

Jennifer Grand, M.P.A.; director of public policy, coastal Louisiana; 10 years of experience in policy, public administration and governmental affairs in Louisiana; currently leading development of an adaptive and comprehensive statewide policy plan with emphasis on coastal Louisiana

Dale Humburg, M.S.; chief biologist; more than 40 years of experience in waterfowl and wildlife management and research; former chair of the Mississippi Flyway Council Technical Section; former chief of research and science for the Missouri Department of Conservation

Bob Dew, M.S.; manager of conservation programs, south Louisiana; 18 years of experience in biological research and implementation of enhancement and restoration activities in the Gulf Coast and Lower Mississippi Valley areas.

Chad Manlove, M.S.; director of development; 12 years of experience in waterfowl conservation, research and planning, communications and development in the southern Mississippi Flyway states

Dale James, Ph.D.; manager of conservation planning and land protection; 16 years of experience in wetlands and waterfowl research and project implementation; research on redhead ducks along the lower Texas coast; currently responsible for a variety of planning and policy work, in addition to land protection

Tina Yerkes, Ph.D.; director of conservation programs; mitigation and research coordination; more than 20 years of experience in waterfowl and wetlands research and habitat issues in a variety of geographic areas across the continent; lead conservation staff for DU's wetlands mitigation business stream

Bobby Massey, B.S.; P.E.; director of contract services; more than 35 years of engineering experience in civil construction and design; licensed in 10 states; responsible for engineering staff oversight, contract compliance and budgets

John Hetherwick, B.S.; P.E.; regional engineer; 16 years of engineering and conservation program delivery experience; responsible for engineering in coastal Louisiana

Eric Held, M.P.A.; P.E.; manager of conservation programs; 13 years of engineering and conservation program delivery experience; responsible for mitigation program in the Southern Region

Scott Sutherland, B.A.; director of DU's Governmental Affairs Office; 32 years of work in public policy, including tenure on Capitol Hill, in state legislatures and on the White House staff for two presidents

Bart James, B.A.; director of public policy; more than 15 years of policy experience, including work on congressional staff and in federal agencies; DU's lead advocate on Gulf Coast restoration in Washington, D.C.

Tony Dolle, B.J.; director of communications; 35 years of experience in print, electronic and digital news, public and media relations and crisis event management

Mike Checkett, M.S.; communications biologist; more than 10 years of experience in waterfowl conservation in the southern Mississippi Flyway, and in communications with waterfowl enthusiasts and land managers via print and electronic media; served as vice-chair of the Mississippi Flyway Council Technical Section

Curtis Hopkins, Ph.D.; director of operations, Southern Region; 40 years of experience in wetland habitat management, ecology, building partnerships and fish and wildlife administration

Ken Babcock, M.S.; senior director for conservation; 43 years of experience in waterfowl management, wetland ecology and conservation administration, including current membership on the Louisiana Governor's Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation

W. Alan Wentz, Ph.D.; senior group manager for conservation and marketing; 41 years of experience in wetlands research, ecology and conservation and fish and wildlife administration; member of the North American Wetlands Conservation Council

*Italics indicate former Gulf Coast Response Team members.


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