OLYMPIA, Wash. – Dec. 12, 2011 – Ducks Unlimited received President Obama's prestigious Coastal America Partnership Award on Dec. 10 for its pivotal role in the highly successful Nisqually Estuary Restoration Project. As part of the Nisqually Estuary Restoration Team, DU spearheaded a large portion of the project, from securing significant funding to designing and constructing much of the restoration itself.
The Coastal America Partnership Award was presented to DU and 16 other Nisqually Estuary Restoration Team members during a ceremony at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in Olympia. More than 60 people were on hand for the presentation, including Coastal America Director Virginia K. Tippie; Cynthia Iyall, tribal chair, Nisqually Tribal Council; and Jean Takekawa, Nisqually NWR refuge manager. James W. Kurth, chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, presented the award, and Chuck Lobdell, manager, conservation programs at DU's Pacific Northwest Office, accepted for the DU team.
"The Nisqually Restoration Project is a shining example of teamwork and dedication," said Lobdell. "We used the most up-to-date science, current technologies and the best human ingenuity to reconnect tidal habitat to the Puget Sound tides. It was a privilege to work with all of the partners involved in this historic project, and now the Nisqually Estuary is well on its way to being healthy habitat for waterfowl, fish and other wildlife, which will benefit generations to come."
Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar applauded the Nisqually Estuary Restoration Team in a recent letter of recognition.
"Through your collaborative team of tribes, wildlife refuges, federal and state agencies, local governments and nonprofit partners, an outstanding environmental victory was achieved for the Pacific Northwest," said Salazar. Reps. Norm Dicks (WA-6) and Adam Smith (WA-9) also provided letters of appreciation to the team.
Spanning 15 years, the project has impacted more than 900 acres of tidal habitat in the Nisqually Delta. It's the largest estuary restoration project in the Pacific Northwest and is considered crucial to the recovery of endangered Chinook salmon in the Nisqually watershed.
The Coastal America Awards Program recognizes outstanding efforts and excellence in leadership for protecting, preserving and restoring the nation's coastal resources and ecosystems. The only environmental accolade of its kind to be presented by the president of the United States, the award distinguishes outstanding collaborative, multi-agency and multi-stakeholder efforts that leverage and combine resources to accomplish coastal restoration, preservation, protection and educational projects.
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.