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GPRO stations Manager of Conservation Programs in Montana

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Bob Sanders
Bob Sanders, manager of conservation programs for Montana

HELENA, Mont., August 18, 2006 - Montana’s waterfowl resource will receive a new level of attention beginning this summer. Bob Sanders, manager of conservation programs in Colorado since 1996, was recently reassigned to head Ducks Unlimited’s (DU) Montana conservation program. Under Sanders direction, Colorado was the first state in the Great Plains Region to operate from a “remote” office based outside North Dakota, a trend since emulated by Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and, now, Montana.

“The diversity of wetland types throughout the state is just incredible,” Sanders said. “Everything from prairie potholes in the northeastern portion of the state to high elevation wetlands in the west, Montana has it all.”

Sanders said he is excited about the opportunities DU has in Montana to continue the great conservation work started by others such as the former 16-year manager of conservation programs for Montana, Randy Renner and the engineer for Montana, Roger Smith, both of whom operated out of the regional office in Bismarck, North Dakota.

According to Jim Ringelman, director of conservation programs for the Dakotas and Montana, the approach of stationing DU staff within states has proven to be a successful method of delivering conservation programs in high priority landscapes. “Locating conservation staff within a state allows them to become part of the local community,” Ringelman said. “They are more accessible to agency personnel, landowners and other partners, improving DU’s ability to respond to conservation opportunities. A remote staff member is able to gather information on local issues and develop projects more effectively than is possible from a regional office hundreds of miles from the project area.”

One of Sanders’ first jobs is to develop an understanding of the landscape and the many conservation partners throughout Montana. “There are a large number of excellent conservation efforts happening in Montana,” he said. “We need to examine current programs and determine where we can focus DU’s efforts to provide added value to the big picture of waterfowl conservation.”

To date, DU, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana Department of Transportation and others, has conserved 43,906 acres of waterfowl habitat in Montana.

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.

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