MEMPHIS, Tenn. - March 10, 2017 - Ducks Unlimited announced the winners of the 2017 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 82nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Spokane, Washington. This year's recipient in the local/private citizen category is Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick.

"After helping guide Jefferson County through the aftermath of Hurricane Ike as county attorney in 2008, Jeff Branick was elected county judge in 2010 in the shadow of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Since then, Judge Branick has strongly advocated using Deepwater Horizon restoration funds to restore and conserve the largest coastal marsh in Texas to benefit fish and wildlife populations and people," said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt.

Judge Branick has written numerous letters and resolutions to affirm that healthy coastal marshes play a significant role in lessening the destructive impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms and to support use of RESTORE Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act) monies for environmental restoration projects. He supports the use of the best available science to identify restoration projects that can have the most impact for fish, wildlife and people.

"I'm extremely grateful to Ducks Unlimited for this recognition. It means a lot coming from an organization that was on the ground floor in writing the Salt Bayou Watershed Restoration Plan," Branick said. "Your people attended 10 years of meetings with multiple partners, and now we're told that it's the No. 1 project in coastal Texas, so thank you."

Judge Branick believes in collaboration among diverse stakeholders to maximize conservation results across the Chenier Plain - one of the most important wintering areas for North America's waterfowl.

"Judge Branick's dedication is second to none for investing in world class lsquo;green infrastructure' by conserving wetlands that benefit waterfowl and shelter the people, homes, livelihoods, industries, ports and national defense installations in Jefferson County. He fully understands, appreciates and shares with others the interconnected nature of a healthy coastal ecosystem and our nation's economic and defense systems," Schmidt said.

Branick's devotion to wise use of restoration funds does not end at the Jefferson County line. He also supports coastal restoration efforts and collaboration within the rest of the Chenier Plain, including Louisiana.

"It is for his understanding of the role healthy wetlands play to sustain wildlife and coastal communities and industry and for his tireless efforts to represent the Texas Chenier Plain as a place worth saving - for waterfowl, people and business, that we selected Judge Branick for this award," Schmidt said.

Ducks Unlimited's Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards are presented annually in six categories to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and restoration of North America's wetlands and waterfowl. To view a complete list of the 2017 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award winners, visit

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.8 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