• TPWD's Ross Melinchuk chosen by Ducks Unlimited for the 2016 Wetlands Conservation Achievement Award – State Employee.
• Melinchuk has been involved in implementation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan for more than 30 years.
• Complete list of the 2016 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award winners at www.ducks.org/wetlandawards.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – March 18, 2016 – Ducks Unlimited announced the winners of the 2016 Wetland Conservation Achievement Awards during the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Pittsburgh, Pa. This year's recipient in the state employee category is Ross Melinchuk, Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
"Throughout his career, Ross Melinchuk has been involved in the implementation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan – in Canada and the United States," said DU Chief Conservation Officer Paul Schmidt. "Because he truly understands the continental nature of waterfowl and their need for habitat from Canada through the United States and into Mexico, Ross has worked diligently for more than 30 years to ensure waterfowl find sufficient resources wherever they go."
Born on the Canadian prairies, Melinchuk had an immediate connection to waterfowl, wildlife and natural habitats. After earning two degrees in wildlife science and management, he dedicated his career to waterfowl conservation when he was selected as the Saskatchewan Environment and Renewable Resources Department's first North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP) coordinator.
Recognizing his talents for forming diverse, international partnerships, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) hired him in 1990 to serve as their first NAWMP Coordinator. He later held the same position for Ducks Unlimited, and worked in various positions within DU for 17 years.
He played a particularly important role in shepherding the expansion of AFWA's State Contributions to NAWMP/North American Wetlands Conservation Act projects in Canada program, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
"It's truly an honor to be recognized in this manner by the world's leader in waterfowl and wetlands conservation," Melinchuk said. "I firmly believe that partnerships are the key to success, particularly when it comes to wetlands conservation across North America. There is no limit to what we can do if we all work together and don't worry about who gets the credit."
Since 2009 he has been Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department overseeing their Wildlife, Coastal and Inland Fisheries Division. Last year he also co-chaired the special AFWA committee that reviewed and re-energized the state grants program.
"Ross's skill in pulling together diverse coalitions and partnerships and his ability to work productively with state agencies are unmatched. He has personally made significant and meaningful contributions to waterfowl habitat conservation as a result of his longstanding and dedicated efforts, and there is no question that he is very deserving of this recognition," Schmidt added.
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 2016 Wetland Conservation Achievement Award winners, please visit www.ducks.org/wetlandawards.
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 13.6 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.