DU recognizes Colorado conservation partner

DENVER, Colo. – July 18, 2013 – Ducks Unlimited’s Colorado staff presented the 2013 Partner of the Year award to Colorado Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) and PFW State Coordinator, Bill Noonan. A celebratory luncheon was held in Denver with representatives from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Playa Lakes Joint Venture, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Water Conservation Board and DU volunteers, including board members and the state chairman.

DU’s Partner of the Year award recognizes individuals and organizations that exhibit a strong commitment to improving Colorado’s wetland and waterfowl resources.

“Bill Noonan and the entire PFW team have made phenomenal contributions to the health and protection of Colorado’s wetlands,” said Greg Kernohan, DU manager, conservation programs – environmental water markets. “This award recognizes the tremendous commitment PFW has made and is continuing to make to address the state’s wetland and waterfowl issues.”

Along with recognizing the cumulative accomplishments of the PFW program, Noonan was honored for his significant role in supporting on-the-ground habitat delivery and administering critical financial resources.

“Colorado’s PFW program has supported many DU grants by providing matching funds and acres, as well as providing technical assistance to complete clearance requirements for federal grants free of charge,” said DU Regional Biologist Matt Reddy.
PFW is a voluntary private lands restoration and enhancement program that provides technical and financial assistance to landowners for the benefit of federal trust species. Since its inception in the late 1980s, Colorado PFW has worked with more than 1,000 landowners, positively impacting 31,000 acres of wetlands, 300 miles of rivers and 115,000 upland acres.

“Our partnership with PFW provides many opportunities for DU to support projects in areas outside our priority focus, but which are important to waterfowl and the hunters who enjoy outdoor pursuits,” Kernohan said. “In addition, PFW staff has always been flexible and they understand the challenges of delivering wetlands restoration projects in a complex water environment.”

Colorado is biologically diverse and supports habitat for breeding, migrating and wintering waterfowl and shorebirds. DU and Colorado PFW have found alignment in their shared mission and efforts to conserve wetland resources in the face of tremendous landscape-level pressures. Competing interests in limited western water supplies, rapidly growing populations and habitat conversion are just a few of the major challenges. Finding common-sense solutions to these complex ecological problems has been a trademark for both organizations.

“On behalf of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Colorado Partners for Fish and Wildlife team, I want to thank Ducks Unlimited for this wonderful honor,” Noonan said. “Ducks Unlimited has been a great partner for us since our start as a program over 25 years ago. It seems somewhat incongruous to be presented an award for work that has been so enjoyable, productive, and has been accomplished with such good friends. But I guess those things are what make this honor so meaningful to us.”

Strong collaboration between the groups can be found throughout Colorado, but it is particularly evident along the Lower South Platte River. The groups are working hand in hand with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and many other partners to balance the complicated needs of wildlife and people. Colorado PFW and DU look forward to continued success by focusing on science-based resource activities in high-priority areas.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. 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 13 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. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/DucksUnlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/DucksUnlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/DucksUnlimitedInc.