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DU Announces 2011 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards

James Sutherlin State/Provincial Award Winner
Jim Sutherlin

DU CEO Dale Hall presents Jim Sutherlin with the State/Provincial Agency Award.
KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 18, 2011 – Ducks Unlimited announced today the winners of the 2011 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards at the 76th annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Kansas City, Mo. This year's recipient for the State/Provincial award is James Sutherlin of Port Arthur, Texas.

"These individuals have each had a tremendous impact on North America's waterfowl habitat," said DU CEO Dale Hall as he presented the awards. "DU proudly recognizes their contributions and hopes their personal achievements inspire others to engage in conservation."

DU's Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the restoration and conservation of North America's wetlands and waterfowl. The awards are presented in six categories. 

Sutherlin began his career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department more than 20 years ago. As Project Leader for TPWD's Upper Coast Wetlands Ecosystem Project, he is responsible for oversight and management of TPWD's Wildlife Division efforts involving habitat management, research and public use on four state-owned wildlife management areas totaling more than 32,000 acres. Additionally, Sutherlin works with private landowners to facilitate wetland management and public hunting on their lands.

"Jim demonstrates a ‘big picture' outlook related to wetlands conservation," said Todd Merendino, DU manager of conservation programs, who nominated Sutherlin for the award. "He understands that the need is larger than his TPWD responsibilities on the lands he manages, and that conservation efforts on those lands are part of the larger, landscape-level approach needed to restore and enhance wetlands within the critically important Chenier Plain complex of marshes in southeast Texas."

During the last three years, Sutherlin has worked with partners to successfully secure nearly $1 million in NAWCA grants and another $2 million from other grant sources to improve management capabilities and habitat conditions along the Texas Coast. 

"It is a distinct honor to be recognized by the world leader in wetlands conservation," Sutherlin said. "I am grateful to the entire Texas DU staff for the nomination and to TPWD for staff support and leadership. The work we do together is crucially important to improving, restoring, managing and protecting waterfowl habitat and wetlands in Texas." 

Working within one of the most heavily industrialized areas of the country, Sutherlin has taken a pro-active approach to initiate partnerships with local industry that modify their operations to reduce negative wetland impacts and actually improve wetland quality. 

"Jim's approach presents a win-win situation for industry and conservation," Merendino said. "The companies that have worked with him have had such rewarding experiences, that they now come back to TPWD seeking additional opportunities to partner on habitat restoration projects. This is truly a testament to the positive image Jim has created for TPWD and for conservation."

Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit 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.


Andi Cooper

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