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DU recognizes dedication of Iowa DNR biologist Bill Ohde 

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DU Biologist Eric Lindstrom (left) presents Bill Ohde, DNR Wildlife Management Biologist, with the 2008 Professional of the Year Award.

WAPELLO, Iowa, August 27, 2008 –Ducks Unlimited has named Bill Ohde its 2008 Iowa DU Professional of the Year for his outstanding dedication and commitment to waterfowl and wetlands conservation. Ohde serves as a wildlife management biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at the Odessa Wildlife Management Unit in southeast Iowa.

“DU is pleased to recognize Bill as this year’s recipient, and we commend him for the tremendous job he does to effectively manage our state wildlife areas in southeast Iowa for waterfowl and other wildlife,” said Eric Lindstrom, DU’s regional biologist for Iowa.

Ohde, a native of Iowa, received an M.S. degree in Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University. He began working with the Iowa DNR in 1980. Today, Ohde and his staff manage approximately 17,000 acres of state wildlife areas across five counties and provide technical assistance to private landowners and other agency partners. Ohde’s other duties include coordinating various interagency projects and committees, conducting wildlife surveys and overseeing waterfowl banding and wildlife disease surveillance operations for the Odessa Unit.

“I’m truly honored to receive this award. I attribute much of my success to the hard work and dedication of my staff and the strong support from our department’s administrators,” Ohde said as he accepted the award at a recent Iowa Natural Resources Commission meeting. “I have always been impressed with the work Ducks Unlimited does, including their work on the breeding grounds in Canada.”

Water level management at Lake Odessa has become a controversial issue over the past several years with local residents. DU’s director of conservation programs for Minnesota and Iowa, Ryan Heiniger, says DU supports Ohde and DNR’s efforts to actively manage water levels in the lake to optimize habitat conditions.

“We recognize the immense challenges Bill and his staff face, and the recent flood events have made management issues increasingly difficult,” Heiniger said.

Much of Iowa’s landscape was plagued by heavy rains and frequent flooding this year as cities, highways, cropland and wildlife management areas, including Lake Odessa, endured significant flood damage. “As Iowans continue the clean-up and rebuilding effort, it reminds us how important wetland and floodplain habitat can be to help reduce the severity and economic impact of flooding,” Lindstrom said.

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with more than 12 million acres conserved. 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.

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Media contact:

Becky Jones Mahlum, Bismarck, 701-355-3507 bjonesmahlum@ducks.org

Jennifer Kross, Bismarck, 701-355-3515 jkross@ducks.org

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