GREAT BEND, Kan. – March 16, 2012 – Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2012 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 77th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference, held at the Hilton Atlanta. This year's winner in the State/Provincial Agency category is Joe Kramer, chief of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Wildlife and Fisheries Division.
"In his 34-year conservation career, Joe has made significant contributions to the future of waterfowl and wetlands in Kansas, the Central Flyway and beyond," said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt. "He has been a strong partner to Ducks Unlimited and throughout the conservation community, and we are pleased to honor him with this award."
DU's Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the restoration and conservation of North America's wetlands and other waterfowl habitat.
Kramer, of Great Bend, began his career with KDWPT in 1976 as a wildlife area technician. In just 11 years, he rose through the ranks to his current position, and has been responsible for putting together the majority of the current Wildlife and Fisheries Division staff, one of the most progressive state conservation staffs in the country. KDWPT and DU have worked together to deliver 18,000 acres of conserved wetlands across Kansas, and Kramer's partner-centric approach to conservation has made that possible.
"Joe has been a leader in fostering wetlands conservation partnerships for the good of the resource," said Scott Manley, DU director of conservation programs, who nominated Kramer for the award.
One example of these strong partnerships is McPherson Valley Wetlands, which now spans 4,500 acres in central Kansas and provides a critical anchor point for waterfowl and other migratory birds traversing the continent between their historical breeding and wintering grounds. This acquisition and restoration project was built on partnerships, including one with DU, and took nearly 20 years to fully accomplish.
"Joe personally encouraged each of 15 partners to focus on common goals and to stay engaged over the long haul, as he knew each brought important resources, expertise and funding to the table," Manley said.
Kramer's contributions to conservation reach far beyond Kansas as well. He has served on the Central Flyway Council and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee, and he is a founding board member of the Playa Lakes Joint Venture.
"By virtue of his 34 years of contributions to the wildlife conservation field and longtime support of joint ventures, local habitat partnerships and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, I can think of no more deserving person for this recognition," said Mike Carter, Playa Lakes Joint Venture coordinator.
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, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. 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.