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Ducks Unlimited

From left to right: DU biologist John Lindstrom, Joe Stangel, MNDNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen, DU CEO Adam Putnam and DU conservation program manager Jon Schneider.

Joe Stangel, assistant regional wildlife manager for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR), is Ducks Unlimited’s (DU) Minnesota Conservation Partner of the Year.

Stangel is responsible for wildlife habitat management across 32 counties in southwest Minnesota, an important part of the Prairie Pothole Region landscape for nesting and migrating waterfowl. Stangel plays a prominent role in the acquisition of new public lands adjacent to existing state wildlife management areas (WMAs), such as Indian Lake, Diamond Lake, Sanborn Lake, Swan Lake, Stokman and Gilfillan.

He spearheaded work to upgrade many shallow lakes that have formed the backbone of DU’s Living Lakes Initiative, the goal of which is to enhance, restore, and protect managed shallow lakes and wetlands from central Iowa through northern Minnesota, providing high-quality aquatic food and habitat resources for migrating and breeding waterfowl.

“Joe understands partnerships and what DU can bring to the table,” said John Lindstrom, DU’s senior regional biologist in Minnesota. “He’s always thinking about ways for MNDNR and DU to move conservation forward together, accomplish shared goals, and to restore, enhance and manage wetlands, shallow lakes and prairies throughout southwest Minnesota.”

A passionate outdoorsman, Stangel hunts and fishes many of the state’s public prairies, wetlands, lakes and rivers, so he knows well their value to the wildlife and people of Minnesota. Due to the strong partnerships Stangel has forged and maintained with private landowners, DU conserved thousands of acres across the Prairie Pothole Region.

“I am humbled to receive this award,” Stangel said. “It takes agencies and partners alike to achieve lasting conservation. Ducks Unlimited is a great example of a partner who is always willing to move mountains to make projects happen, and it is much appreciated.”