WASHINGTON – March 16, 2012 – Ducks Unlimited has awarded one of its highest honors to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. During a North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference breakfast ceremony this morning at the Hilton Atlanta, DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt presented Salazar with a 2012 DU Wetland Conservation Achievement Award in the Senior Federal Official category. Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, accepted the award on the secretary's behalf.
"Secretary Salazar has shown tremendous leadership in conceiving and leading the America's Great Outdoors effort," Schmidt said. "With the Prairie Pothole Region as one of DU's top conservation priorities, we are especially appreciative of the secretary's recognition of the Dakota Grasslands Conservation Area as a jewel in America's conservation crown and including it in the effort."
Senior Federal Official is one of six categories of DU's Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards. These awards recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the restoration and conservation of North America's wetlands and other waterfowl habitat.
During the awards presentation, Schmidt cited Secretary Salazar's championing the effectiveness and efficiency of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and his advocacy of full funding for the program.
"As a sportsman himself, Secretary Salazar has been an advocate on behalf of hunters and anglers in the conservation agenda," Schmidt said. "He has invested in work important to sportsmen, ranging from the announcement of the State of the Birds report to the rolling out of a special federal duck stamp dedicated to restoring the national wildlife refuges along our Gulf Coast."
Secretary Salazar has also been an active leader in his role as chairman of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission. He has been an enthusiastic partner to wildlife conservation organizations, such as DU, and has worked tirelessly to consider the impacts of renewable energy on wildlife.
The secretary grew up in the San Luis Valley of south central Colorado and previously served as that state's U.S. senator and attorney general. While in Colorado, he authored and later chaired the Great Outdoors Colorado Amendment, a major land conservation program.
To view all 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award winners, please visit www.ducks.org.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres, thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.