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DU Recognizes Conservation Partners in Minnesota

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BRAINERD, Minn., Feb. 18, 2008 – At its annual Minnesota state convention this
weekend, Ducks Unlimited (DU) recognized two conservation partners for their commitment to improve Minnesota’s wetland and waterfowl resources. The 2008 Minnesota DU conservation awards were presented to:

Ryan Heiniger presents Matt Holland with the 2008 Profession of the Year award
Senator Satveer Chaudhary and Director John Velin Receive the Partner of the Year award on behalf of LCCMR

• Matt Holland – Professional of the Year
• Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources – Partner of the Year

“The 2008 recipients have all made tremendous and distinctive contributions to wetlands and waterfowl conservation,” said Ryan Heiniger, DU director of conservation programs for Minnesota.

The Professional of the Year award was presented to Matt Holland, coordinator of the Habitat Conservation Partnership and Senior Field Director for Pheasants Forever. Since assuming the role of coordinator for Minnesota’s Habitat Conservation Partnership in 2003, Holland has played a key role in helping secure funding from the Minnesota Environment & Natural Resource Trust Fund through the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

“Nothing we do for pheasants and ducks we do alone,” Holland told DU members while accepting his award. “It takes strong leadership on the part of our lawmakers.” He said it also takes people like those in the room to call their lawmakers and ask for conservation friendly programs.

Holland also successfully led partnership efforts to submit grant proposals to the North American Wetlands Conservation Council for priority wetland and upland habitat work that benefits ducks and pheasants alike.

The Partner of the Year award was given to the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and accepted by Director John Velin and Sen. Satveer Chaudhary. The LCCMR makes recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature on how funds from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (lottery revenue) should be allocated.

“DU is a great partner in conservation,” Sen. Chaudhary said. “When we give to DU, we know it’s going to be spent in the right place.”

Grants from the LCCMR have been instrumental to helping DU launch and implement its Living Lakes Initiative in Minnesota in recent years. This includes work to restore shallow lakes, secure conservation easements and work with landowners to restore wetlands on private land through the USDA Wetlands Reserve Program.

“I want people to know how beneficial the relationship has been between DU and the state, their relationship with the LCCMR and DNR (Department of Natural Resources),” said Velin. “Most notably is the work they’ve done in shallow lakes. We’ve seen the results on the ground.”

The LCCMR is comprised of 10 legislators and seven appointed citizens. A small, but efficient staff also plays an integral role in the distribution and implementation of LCCMR funded projects. Learn about the LCCMR.

DU began the Minnesota conservation awards program in 2000 to recognize individuals, organizations and partners who contribute to DU’s goals to help keep the skies full of waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.

Media contact: Becky Jones Mahlum, 701-355-3507 bjonesmahlum@ducks.org

More on Minnesota.
Living Lakes Initiative

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