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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

This document is provided for archival purposes only.
Archived documents do not reflect current WDFW regulations or policy and may contain factual inaccuracies.

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November 15, 2001
Contact: Tim Waters (360)902-2262

Citizens, employees recognized during agency's annual awards ceremony

Olympia - A Douglas County landowner, a Port Orchard environmental affairs manager and an eastern Washington land conservancy group were honored this week by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for their outstanding contributions to fish and wildlife stewardship.

Also recognized during the department's annual awards ceremony on Wednesday were WDFW employees nominated by their peers for their exceptional accomplishments. Separate Director's Awards were also handed out to 11 individuals.

The awards were presented by Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission Chairman Russ Cahill, WDFW Director Jeff Koenings and WDFW Deputy Director Larry Peck.

"Washington's citizens are fortunate to have so many outstanding individuals and groups working for our state's fish and wildlife resources," WDFW Director Jeff Koenings said. "In an era when government is facing increasing demands and decreasing resources, their contributions are especially important."

The Department's Landowner of the Year award was given to Harry Hanford, a resident of the community of Bridgeport, Wash. Hanford, whose family settled in the Douglas County community in the early 1900s, was honored for his deer and game bird conservation and management efforts.

The Volunteer of the Year award went to Talmadge Dobbs of Port Orchard. An active hunter and conservationist, Dobbs serves as program manager for environmental affairs at the Naval Undersea Warfare Station at Keyport. Over the years, Dobbs has been instrumental in organizing volunteer groups to collect valuable DNA and other data on coastal deer and elk populations.

The Methow Conservancy was honored as Organization of the Year for its work in helping private landowners manage their properties to benefit natural resources. Since its inception six years ago, the non-profit group has protected about 1,500 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat and open space through conservation easements.

Among WDFW employees honored was fisheries biologist Glen Mendel, who was named Employee of the Year for his efforts in coordinating the agency's work in salmon recovery and watershed planning with Oregon and Idaho resource officials. Mendel is assigned to the Department's Eastern Washington Regional Office in Spokane.

Murray Schlenker was chosen Manager of the Year. Schlenker, a former lands manager for the agency, now serves as enforcement captain in the department's Southwest Washington Regional Office, and is held in high esteem for his many public service and employee relations successes, as well as his versatility, tenacity and perspicacity.

Two WDFW employees received the agency's annual Public Service Award. Carol Rohn, a customer service specialist in WDFW's North Puget Sound Office, and Patrick Kelly, a customer service specialist at the Department's Olympia headquarters, were honored for their work in providing the public with accurate, timely information on a variety of recreational and other issues.

Other employee winners included:

Certificate of Merit: Michele Tirhi, Terry Johnson, Teri Guydish, Tony Oppermann, Hal Beecher, Craig Burley, Dan Rawding, David Johnson, Larry Brewington, Richard Johnson, Manuel Farinas and Johnny Johnston.
Esprit de Corps Award: Tim Ward
Conservation Award: The Bald Eagle Management/Recovery Team
Innovators Award: Joy Johnson
Team Award: Washington Interactive License Database staff
Best Science Award: Ken Warheit
Steve Phelps Leadership in Science Award: Kalama Research Team
Best Paper Award: Michael Schroeder
Educator of the Year: Margaret Tudor

Besides Volunteer and Employee awards, Director's Awards were given to 11 individuals from around the state working in both the public and private arenas. Their work ranged from promoting family fishing to implementing the department's automated fishing and hunting license sales system.

Included among the recipients were Bill Hinkle, Kittitas County Commissioner; Jim Lewis, Yakima County Commissioner; Leo Bowman, Benton County Commissioner; citizen Al Adams, with the Hood Canal Regional Salmon Recovery Group; Evelyn Nelson, Cle Elum/Rosyln School District Superintendent; Tri Cities resident Ken Johanning; WDW employees Larrie Lavoy, Rena Henson, Heather Bartlett, Bruce Crawford ; and Rob Costello of the state Attorney General's Office.

In addition to the department awards the Shikar-Safari Award was presented by William Shields to Russ Mullins an enforcement officer in the department's North Puget Sound office. The award is presented annually by Safari International.

A complete list of award nominees and recipients can be found on the agency's web page.



LANDOWNER OF THE YEAR AWARD is presented to a landowner that has shown concern for fish and wildlife or fish and wildlife recreation through such activities as planting trees, shrubs, or crops specifically for wildlife; protecting unique habitat features; protecting threatened or endangered species; or improving public access.

The following individuals were nominated for the Landowner of the Year Award:

Harry Hanford (Bridgeport)
George Rowley, Jr. (Issaquah)
Jack Noble (Darrington)
Harlan & Neal McCord(Tacoma)

Harry Hanford, of Bridgeport in Douglas County, is our 2001 Landowner of the Year Award recipient. Harry Hanford has always had an interest in wildlife. Sharing his wealth of historical knowledge, he tells how his father settled in the Bridgeport area in the early 1900's.

Harry saw his first Douglas County deer in 1938. The first deer hunting season in the County occurred in 1942. For many years, the Hanfords fed deer and hundreds of game birds (mostly chukar and quail) along with their cattle, sustaining a high level of damage without complaining.

Particularly harsh winter conditions in 1996 funneled a large deer herd into the Bridgeport area. About 700 deer concentrated in the town and its outskirts. The Hanfords provided land, time and equipment to feed about 500 deer with pellets and hay provided by WDFW. Harry's son volunteered with WDFW for about two weeks as an equipment operator to clear other feed sites in Douglas County and Okanogan County. These efforts helped minimize deer damage and conflicts with local residents and orchardists.

Since 1996, North Douglas County deer numbers have increased due to conservative seasons and a series of mild winters. The Hanfords are some of the few Douglas County ranchers who feed cattle on deer winter range. This allows them to assess the impact of the deer herd during the winter bottleneck. Harry suggests youth permits for smaller bucks to help control the population. A great idea which is now seriously proposed by WDFW biologists for some eastside communities.

Harry has cooperated well with WDFW while leasing some of its land. He still shares his valuable expertise with our field personnel and lends the department equipment for habitat projects. He has always been accommodating to hunters and was one of the first Douglas County land-owner to enroll in the Feel Free to Hunt Program.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD recognizes those who have consistently volunteered time, labor, money or expertise for projects benefitting fish and wildlife or fish and wildlife recreation. Projects do not necessarily have to be WDFW sponsored. This award is intended to honor long-term achievement, but an extraordinary one-time effort may be considered.

The following individuals were nominated for the Volunteer of the Year Award:

Talmadge Dobbs (Port Orchard)
Hal Mahnke (Longview)
Jack Dolan (Medical Lake)
Jim Hamlin (Conway)

Talmadge Dobbs from Port Orchard is the 2001 Volunteer of the Year Award recipient. Tal is currently program manager for environmental affairs at Naval Station Keyport. His duties involve a range of environmental issues associated with facilities maintenance for the Naval Undersea Warfare Station at Keyport. Responsibilities include hazardous material abatement, environmental issues with construction activities, and grounds maintenance and goose control. Tal is an active hunter and conservationist who has been a leader in the Archers organization for years.

Tal has been involved with several important projects, including a cooperative project with the Makah tribe to study elk home ranges. Tal has been instrumental with his work on the Elk Mortality Study. In that project, hundreds of volunteers were enlisted for thousands of hours to capture, radio equip, release unharmed, and monitor almost 400 elk over a 4 year period. Recently Tal organized and led a large group of volunteers in repairing WDFW's Clearwater Cabin. These extensive repairs to the facility cost over $300,000 in materials but resulted in a facility which is much more usable to WDFW and cooperators.

Organization of volunteers is a formidable task. It requires great leadership abilities as well as organizational skills and a commitment to the task. Tal has done that consistently for the last 12 years in support of the agencies wildlife program. Tal knows his network of volunteers well and can deliver help when we need it on many wildlife projects because of his leadership and loyalty to the volunteers he has been involved with.

Without the volunteers which Tal organizes, much of this information would be lost because we do not have the people power or funding to collect it at all the necessary locations. Tal's volunteers have made it possible to develop a well distributed sample of DNA from coastal deer and elk populations. This check station project has been ongoing for 3 years now and will be expanded next year. It is worth thousands of dollars to WDFW.

For more than 12 years Tal has been there every year with significant contributions of time, money, labor, and his expertise for WDFW and Washington's wildlife.

ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR AWARD recognizes any organized group that has consistently made outstanding efforts on behalf of Washington's fish and wildlife resources and recreation.

The following organizations were nominated for the Organization of the Year Award:

The Methow Conservancy
Friends of the Cowlitz - Donald Glaser, President
Pierce County Planning/Land Services/Parks & Recreation - Katherine Rose and Grant Griffin

The Methow Conservancy is the recipient of the Organization of the Year Award for 2001. A committed group of volunteers founded the non-profit Methow Conservancy in 1995. The organization has since become the acknowledged regional leader in private land conservation and stewardship. The organization's ongoing mission is to help private landowners manage sustainable development and change to conserve the natural resource values that make the Methow Valley unique and such a desirable rural community.

The Conservancy has been a critical partner in WDFW's own $15 million Methow Watershed acquisition/easement project. The Conservancy routinely offers logistical support to agency staff and coordinates it easement work to complement and enhance WDFW fish and wildlife habitat protection efforts.

The Conservancy has generated an astounding list of accomplishments for a fledgling organization and represents a model for land trusts and similar conservation non-profit organizations throughout the state. To date, the Methow Conservancy has protected about 1,500 acres of critical fish and wildlife habitat and open space through conservation easements, with several thousand more easement acres currently pending.

A few of their many accomplishments for 2001 are:

  • Protection of nearly 1,500 acres from subdivision and development through conservation easements,
  • Working with people in Okanogan County to teach landowners about Canal efficiency and on-farm efficiency for water management.
  • Wrote and published a 33-page Good Neighbor Handbook, promoting practical methods for land stewardship in the Methow Valley, and
  • Developed a partnership between the USFS, Partners in Flight (an international songbird conservation organization) and WDFW to survey and prioritize the best riparian songbird habitat in the Methow Valley. The survey covered 7700 acres and resulted in 28 potential conservation easements on 4400+ acres comprising much of the best remaining riparian habitat in the Valley.



The following individuals were nominated for the Certificate of Merit Award:

Michelle Tirhi
Karol McFarlane
Tony Oppermann
Hal Beecher
Teri Guydish
Lynn Needham
Craig Burley
Murray Schlenker
Dan Rawding
Steve Manlow
David Johnson
Larry Brewington
Shelly Snyder
Sewall Young
Johnny Johnston
Theresa Powell
Jennifer Whitney
Michele Robinson
Pat Kelly
Terry Johnson/Teri Guydish
Richard Johnson/Manuel Farinas

Certificates of Merit were awarded to:

Michele Tirhi, Urban Wildlife Biologist, Wildlife Program - Region 6. Michele routinely advocates for wildlife habitat in the urban setting. Sometimes that allows her to prevent destruction of significant wildlife habitat. That was the case with a Great Blue Heron rookery on the Trout Lodge Property which was logged just prior to the nesting season this year, displacing the rookery. Michele spearheaded the effort, working with volunteers and Department staff to replace the nesting platforms in adjacent trees using the nest materials from the old rookery site. This project is just one example of Michele's going "above and beyond the call of duty".

Terry Johnson/Teri Guydish, Habitat Program, for their innovative work to allow area Habitat Biologists quick and efficient access to Priority Habitats and Species data by production a series of map notebooks customized for each area biologist. Not only does the customized notebook allow instant access to data, but it also enables the biologist to record new or revised PHS information, thereby helping to maintain an up-to-date PHS database. The efforts by these two individuals are making a significant contribution to a very important WDFW initiative, and helps in the success of our field biologists.

Tony Oppermann, Habitat Biologist, Region 4. Tony has long been a major influence in the Region 4 Habitat Program. The smooth and productive functioning of his team as a whole, despite the great challenges faced in this rapidly urbanizing region, is in large part due to his influence. Tony's dedication to the protection of our natural resources is readily apparent in the daily approach he takes to his job. He works long and hard and productively. His work ethic inspires and encourages those around to also excel.

Hal Beecher, Fisheries Research Scientist, Habitat Program. Dr. Beecher is a veteran instream-flow biologist who is leading innovative and applied research projects of fish-habitat and instream-flow issues. Hal often publishes papers in the primary scientific literature. He has also been successfully participating in instream-flow negotiations throughout the state. He has taken the lead on publishing an Instream Flow Council book on instream-flow issues. He is a good mentor and supervisor and is generous in advice. Hal is well above average as a state biologist.

Craig Burley, Program Manager, Fish Program, Region 5. Craig accepted the regional fish program manager position in March of 1999 and has taken on a huge amount of responsibility. He not only supervises the State staff but also supervises PSFMC staff who are connected with the Fish Program. Craig has established an outstanding rapport both programs and public. Craig also took a part time appointment as regional director to Region 2 for a little over 6 months. His peers and the Director's Office were very appreciative of his ability to step up to the plate, and he preformed very well in the position. Craig then stepped in and took control of the relicensing supplemental agreement sections and was able to assist the Habitat program and the Director's Office with key fishery issue resolution so an equitable agreement could be reached. Craig has gone the extra mile in every venue to promote agency values and policies. He is a very dedicated employee who continues to excel as a manager.

Dan Rawding, Biologist, Fish Program, Region 5. Dan has worked for the Fish Program for over 15 years. His expertise has been keenly developed in the steelhead arena as a sampler and biologist. Dan's expertise has grown exponentially to the point that he is often referred to as the steelhead lead biologist in the State. Dan's scientific background, knowledge and skills did not go unnoticed and in 1999 was appointed to NMFS Technical Review Team of the Lower Columbia. Dan has been instrumental in development of the Lower Columbia recovery goals and has spent more than 25% of his time on this important task to recover salmonid.

David Johnson, Biologist, Science Division, Habitat Program. David Johnson is a research scientist in the Habitat Program and has been with the Department for about 9 years. His current position is Director of the Salmon and Steelhead Habitat Inventory and Assessment Program. David is receiving the Certificate of Merit Award today for his contributions to the book entitled "Wildlife-Habitat Relationships in Oregon and Washington". David has contributed to conservation and recovery efforts for the spotted owl in Oregon. David has served as one of the two managing authors of the book that came at the end of a 5-year, million dollar effort. This book substantially updates and expands the science of habitat-species associations of vertebrates in Washington and Oregon based on the original work of Reed Brown and others. This was a monumental task to gather this amount of information since much of this information resides only in the minds of experts.

Larry Brewington, Information Technology Systems Specialist, Business Services Program, Region 2. Larry is receiving this Certificate of Merit for the excellent support he provides not only to the Region 2 staff but to all the Eastside Regional Offices. Whenever there is a network problem or just a user calling for support, Larry is always there - even on his days off. The Eastside Regions have said that if it was not for Larry they would have a lot of unhappy computer users. Great job on going above and beyond the call of duty.

Richard Johnson, Skamania Hatchery Complex Manager & Manuel Farinas, Operations Manager, Fish Program/Hatcheries. Richard and Manuel are being recognized for their work on the Vancouver Hatchery and the partnerships they have created to form the Evergreen Fisheries Park and renamed Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center. In early 1990 the water supply, which was primarily spring feed and gravity water was beginning to disappear. Richard and Manuel helped to formulate a funding plan with the Clark Public Utilities District. They were able to secure long term funding for the rearing of fish at the facility that not only continued operations but supplemented regional fish planting for youth and adult anglers. The savings to the Department amounted to $100,000 annually and the hatchery has remained open.

Richard and Manuel have worked hard to gather agreements to help fund the treatment of the water supply; construct and an educational indoor and outdoor classroom; create habitat trails with interpretative signs; incorporate a hands on partnership with students; and made arrangements with the City of Vancouver to construct their trail to highlight fisheries education, habitat and hatchery interactions.

To date over a million dollars in grants and educational additions have materialized along with partnerships that are priceless as we share our mission with the public. This is only the start of a major education facility that we can all be proud of.

Johnny Johnston, Habitat Program, Region 1. Johnny works as a career seasonal for the Fish Program as a creel checker with the Snake River Lab in SE Washington's Blue Mountains area. Southeast Washington has been very involved with Salmon/Steelhead restoration projects for some time. One problem associated with these projects has been revegetating project sites with native tree species, and having only fair survival at times. At times, it has been increasingly difficult to get vegetative material in good shape, or a cost effective manner. Johnny was hired as the Scientific Technican to develop this project. The project called for the planting of 20,000 willow whips of assorted local, native species over 2 years. With little other help, Johnny harvested, prepared, transplanted, cared for, protected and watered over 20,000 willow whips in the six months of the project. Johnny has met all the challenges and overcame them to have this outstanding success. Many of the trees planted last year in the first season of the project, are reaching 8 feet tall and producing many new ships that may be available for harvest as early as next year. Johnny you are a credit to this project and to the Department. You have far exceeded the normal expectations of your position and project. Johnny was unable to be here this afternoon. Please join me in acknowledging his award.

ESPRIT DE CORPS AWARD recognizes employees who foster team spirit and dedication. They act as a role model, have a can-do attitude, and a commitment to the improvement of the Department.

The following individuals were nominated for the Esprit de Corps Award:

Tony Oppermann
Murray Schlenker
David Johnson
Tim Ward

Tim Ward, Engineering Aide, from Business Services is the recipient of the Esprit De Corps Award for 2001. Tim has been with the Department for 27 years. Tim not only does complicated AutoCAD designs and drawings for the engineers, he is also one of the two people in the agency who does diving as needed for Department projects. Tim is always ready to help his fellow workers in anyway possible.

Tim always maintains a cheerful and optimistic attitude. He is quite an asset to the entire Department.

CONSERVATION AWARD recognizes an employee's focus on the: Enhancement, Acquisition, Development, and Protection of the State's natural resources.

The following individuals were nominated for the Conservation Award:

Kirk Lakey
Mark Downen
Jim Uehara
Bill Hopley
Sewell Young
Julie Henning<
Dan Rawding
Steve Manlow
Gary Sprague
Richard Johnson/Manuel Farinas
Bald Eagle Management/Recovery Team

The Conservation Award: Bald Eagle Management/Recovery Team: Shelly Ament, David Anderson, Jeff Bernatowicz, Eric Cummins, Fred Dobler, Lynda Hofmann, Lora Leschner, Kelly McAllister, Anita McMillan, Pat Miller, Ruth Milner, Steve Negri, Tom Owens, Elizabeth Rodrick, Greg Schirato, Jack Smith, Dick Taylor, Patricia Thompson, Michelle Tirhi, Jim Watson, Neil Wise (AAG), Max Zahn, and Steve Zender. In 1975, WDFW partially funded a master's study at the University of Washington. This work provided the first extensive aerial survey of eagle nests in Washington and served as the baseline for WDFW annual aerial surveys between 1980 and 1998. In spite of the development, we now have over 600 active territories and we believe WDFW's habitat protection efforts with private landowners have contributed significantly to the recovery of the bald eagle.

Through these efforts this group has helped monitor population through annual activity and productivity surveys; Passed the Bald Eagle Habitat Protection Law which was directed by the Department to adopt rules for protecting bald eagle habitat and work with other agencies to accomplish this goal; and established procedures for working with permitting agencies and landowners to develop bald eagle site management plans for nesting and roosting habitat.

This program has been a model for other states. In the mid to late 1980's WDFW gave presentations at several conferences. In 1991 a 5-year assessment of the program "Living with Eagles: Status Report and Recommendations" was sent to all 50 state Non-game Programs. The Wildlife Program developed standard procedures for implementing the Bald Eagle Protection Rule and periodically streamlined the site management plan process to blend with other state and local permits and reduce biologist's time.

In cooperation with private landowners, WDFW recently placed video cameras in two bald eagle nests which when linked to the agency web site will provide the public an intimate view of bald eagle s raising their young.

The Bald Eagle Habitat Protection Rule was adopted in 1986 by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.

PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD recognizes employees who perform outreach activities which bridge the gap between WDFW and the public we serve. They have demonstrated an ability to defuse potential "hot issues," and have a consistent positive attitude about the public.

The following individuals were nominated for the Public Service Award:

Rocky Spencer
Carol Rohn
Mik Mikitik
Bonnie Long
Jim Rieck
Wil Morrison
Patrick Kelly
Richard Johnson/Manuel Farinas

Public Service Award: Carol Rohn, Customer Service Specialist - Region 4. The Mill Creek office receives approximately 170,000 telephone calls annually, plus walk-in traffic. A little over 100,000 of those calls are handled by two customer service specialists. Carol is one of them. One of Carol's first tasks was to understand and synthesize information regarding the content and functioning of seven key department programs - Enforcement, Fisheries, Wildlife, Lands, Habitat, License Sales and Regulations, plus hunter education and nuisance/injured wildlife topics and issues. Plus being a hunter and angler herself, she can relate to those who ask questions and need advice. Carol uses this storehouse of knowledge to assess each situation and she adds a wonderful dose of humor to assist each customer as best she can. Every day, she greets customers with a cheerful smile, a friendly, enthusiastic salutation and excellent service. She treats phone customers the same way-she's cheerful, friendly, competent, assuring and helpful. Carol understands customer service and provides it each and every time because she knows how critical that first contact is, as well as how important positive personal contact is.

Carol's conduct as a Customer Service Specialist is exemplary and far exceeds the normal expectations of her public service position.

Public Service Award: Patrick Kelly, Customer Service Specialist, Fish Program. Pat has been with the Fish Program since 1998, moving up the ranks from Office Assistant Senior to Customer Service Specialist I. His position provides customer service support for the Fish Program dealing with both in-person and telephone contacts from the public. Pat listens to the irate and the disappointed callers with patience and understanding and provides citizens with an outlet for their feelings and frustrations. His skill in handling these difficult calls regularly restores the public's faith in the Department and the mission. Pat uses his own fishing experience to relate to the callers and for fist hand knowledge of how to fish and area. His approach is professional, yet very "down-home" and personal.

Pat is committed to provide accurate information to the public. Inaccurate information about Department regulations could place a harvester at risk for citation or be used in defense of someone who received a ticket. His careful treatment of all such questions is critical to the agency's success and to the public enjoying their fishing experience. His work contributes strongly to the credibility of the Department.

Pat's work with the public epitomizes what customer service is all about. Each day, with each telephone call, he bridges the gap between the Department and the public, and far exceeds the normal expectations for his position. The cumulative effect of his work is the equal of any higher profile and more glamourous outreach activity. Pat's a wonderful ambassador for the Department and deserves this recognition for his contribution to the Department.

INNOVATOR'S AWARD recognizes an employee who has improved efficiency, created cost savings or cost avoidance, improved service, and shown creativity, originality in assisting the Department's mission.

The following individuals were nominated for the Innovator's Award:

Steve Manlow
Joy Johnson
Brain Consentino

Innovator's Award: Joy Johnson, Facilities Planner, Business Services Program. Joy provides facility planning and program development work relating to existing Department facilities and studies development potentials for maximum utilization of agency assets. In accordance with present and future facilities planning, Joy performs comprehensive planning and research to determine the most appropriate use of existing structures and facilities; she forecasts future needs and requirements. Joy serves as project leader in the independent formulation, planning, coordination and management of major capital facilities projects and directs the develop of criteria and stands for space use and assignment, facilities design, construction, layout and preparation of data utilized as the basis of short and long range planning.

Joy has developed an outstanding working relationship with the Department of Labor and Industries. Because of this relationship, Joy has been able to secure at no cost to WDFW over $150,000 worth of office furniture. This furniture includes chairs, tables, work stations, and file cabinets. Joy has made this furniture available to all the divisions and regions, which has helped make work stations a better place to be for WDFW employees.

Joy has also been instrumental in working with other agencies within the Natural Resources Building and the staff in the 600 Capitol Building in reducing the amount of energy used. Total energy reduction in the NRB has been an amazing 40% of past usage - this is commendable.

A primary responsibility of Joy's position is to work with individual employees and management in order to provide work space. This requires a person with incredible people skills in order to end up with "happy" employees and at the same time stay within good planning standards. Joy undertakes these challenges in a very professional manner and always works toward a "win-win" conclusion.

TEAM AWARD recognizes outstanding collective effort by a group of employees or a product created by a group that results in a significant, long-term improvement in the Department's services or products.

The following individuals were nominated for the Team Award:

Kirk Lakey
WILD Department Staff
Kalama Research Team
Bald Eagle Management/Recovery Team
Field Sampling/Assessment Crew
Sharon Carr, Lauren Munday, Tammy Ward

Team Award: WILD Department Staff:Bruce Crawford, Dick Stone, Mike Keeling, Dianne Ludwig, Jim Rieck, Susan Markey, Steve Dauma, Sue Wisner, Carolyn Heath, Dao Truong-Thai, Wendy Lyon, Renuka Sivakumar, Julie Wanmer, Kim Pritchard, Lancy Locken, Debbie Rick, Linda Amaya, Sheila Judkins, Nathan Vahanian, Anita Victory, Debbie Fagerness, Craig Parse, Mary Snell, Judith Otani, Vicki Hunt, Anita Davies, Crol Rohn, Ginger Holser, Will Morrison, Particia Martell, Judy Guy, Carla Zepp, George Maddox, Larry Brewington, and Bonnie Staller, Kathy Ballinger, Wendy Bilodeau, Bob Perleberg, Lois Blanchette.

This team was nominated for their efforts to implement the Washington Interactive License Database (WILD), the agency's new, electronic system for issuing recreational hunting and fishing licenses. Many of th team members have served in a wide variety of capacities in the past, and their total knowledge of the needs and practices of the Department, the public, and the license dealers was essential in the success of this project.

The project was time-driven and carried out under close scrutiny by the Governor's Office, Legislators, Information Services Board, and WDFW clients. The pilot system was activated in WDFW offices in January 2001 and the new WILD system was successfully rolled out into production at dealer locations in March. As with any new system, and first several months included fixing some bugs. The team spent extensive time on the phone working with license dealers and customers to insure that all aspects of the system worked correctly and that customer records were in proper order. After 5 months in production, the WILD system is running smoothly and demonstrates the results of the team's hard work and dedication.

BEST SCIENCE AWARD recognizes an employee who has been published in a peer review journal, made a significant contribution to the field of fish and wildlife science, participated in "expert panels", served as a consultant to resource managers inside or outside the Department, or may have helped in the development or implementation of an innovative approach to the analysis of scientific data.

The following individuals were nominated for the Best Science Award:

David Johnson
Ken Warheit

Best Science Award: Ken Warheit. Ken is a Research Scientist I in the Wildlife Science Division within the Wildlife Program. Ken was first hired by the Department of Wildlife in 1993 and spent the first 7 years in the Habitat Program as a member of the Oil Spill Response Team. In late 1999 Ken transferred to the Wildlife Program where he initiated the development of the first conservation genetics program for wildlife in WDFW. Ken is currently in charge of the Wildlife Conservation Genetics Section and is responsible for overseeing technicians in the Genetics Lab.

Ken is the recipient of the Best Science Award for his leadership, skills, and scientific application of using DNA techniques in conservation and management of wildlife species in Washington. Although the Fish Program has long been a leader in genetic work for fish, the Wildlife Program, through Ken, has only recently begun to apply DNA genotyping methods to important conservation and management issues. Ken is solely responsible for initiating the development of the newly established Wildlife Conservation Genetics Section within the Wildlife Science Division.

As a result of Ken's work over the past 2 years, WDFW is quickly becoming a leader in wildlife conservation genetics in Washington. One of the first applications that Ken has been responsible for is the determination, through genetic markers, of the unique and seriously jeopardized population of pygmy rabbits in Washington. Just recently the U.S. Department of Interior, Director Gale Norton announced an emergency listing of the pygmy rabbit under the Endangered Species Act based on his findings.

Ken also made outstanding contributions in developing techniques to identify individual deer and elk from DNA extracted from blood and tissue collected in the field.

Along with the very important and innovative work mentioned here, Ken exemplifies one of the most important qualities of a good scientist - transferring the knowledge gained from his research through successfully publishing in peer-reviewed literature and presenting findings at scientific meetings.

STEVE PHELPS LEADERSHIP IN SCIENCE AWARD: Helping Partners understand the science of solutionsrecognizes an employee who has the ability to develop, gather, and deliver the best science into the hands of those who effect fish and wildlife with their decisions, integrated good science with stakeholder values and intergovernmental processes. They have instilled the belief that science is our greatest asset, and the integration of it is our focus. They should not only "do" the science, but "convey" the science to the public.

Steve Phelps Leadership in Science Award: Kalama Research Team - Pat Hulett, Cameron Sharpe, Chris Wageman and Howard Fuss. The Kalama Research Team (KRT) has been conducting long-term genetic research on steelhead in the Kalama River. This research has been cited as one of the best examples of genetic research to characterize differences in productivity between two divergent stocks of fish. Recently the KRT designed and implemented two new phases of research. The first phase was to develop a pilot wild origin winter-run hatchery broodstock as a precursor to the development of a wild origin summer-run hatchery broodstock. The second phase of the research was the development and rearing/release of the wild-origin hatchery summer-run broodstock.

Some important accomplishments of the KRT working in collaboration with the Kalama Hatchery Complex:

  • Developed methods of holding and successfully retaining summer run broodstock for months until spawning.
  • Developed methods of rearing and releasing wild steelhead juveniles
  • Conducted extensive research on the proportion of wild winter-run residuals in the release population relative to hatchery winter run juveniles and recently obtained additional funding for the same type of evaluation of the summer-run broodstock.
  • Provided input to several other genetic based studies throughout the state and have produced several important agency documents outlining their research to date.
  • Obtained funding from the Bonneville Power Administration to conduct a literature research on populations of west-slope cutthroat trout in response to potential listing under the ESA.
  • Collected data on spring chinook juvenile emigration from hatchery adults passed upstream.
  • Provided information, technical expertise and assisted in the development of several research proposals of the Lower Columbia River instigated by the Chief Scientist of the Fish Program.

The quality in design, data collection and team approach deserves recognition from the agency and their peers.

BEST PAPER AWARD recognizes an employee who has been published in a peer review journal, written technical reports or manuscripts for contracts and has given oral presentations of research results to technical/non-technical audiences.

Best Paper Award: Michael Schroeder. Michael is a Senior Research Scientist for upland bird within the Wildlife Science Division of the Wildlife Program. Mike independently designs, conducts, and presents research studies related to conservation and management of upland birds. He analyzes, evaluates, and interprets the results of research using statistical, and geographical computer resources.

Mike represents the Department as an authority on upland birds. He is recognized as a world leader in conservation and management of upland birds. During the past several years, Mike has completed research and published several associated articles describing ecological relationships of sage and sharp-tailed grouse in Washington. His work has contributed more to the scientific understanding of sage and sharp-tailed grouse in Washington than any other combined body of work by any other scientist. Mike's work is what makes WDFW's scientific expertise and credibility at the forefront of Fish and Wildlife Agencies throughout the state.

MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD recognizes an employee who shows consistent management results through a demonstration of thorough planning and leadership skills, has the ability to resolve long-term problems or previously unmet needs that produce a major improvement in services to the public or fish and wildlife resources within the past year. The Manager of the Year also has the ability to effectively manage human and financial resources.

The following individuals were nominated for the Manager of the Year Award:

Craig Burley
Murray Schlenker
Don Kraege
Norm Lemberg

Manager of the Year: Murray Schlenker. Murray was a casualty of the 97/98 reduction in force, along with many others, and was RIFed from the lands coordinator position in Mill Creek to the enforcement Captain slot in Vancouver. To transfer alone from a managerial job in Lands to a senior officer position in enforcement was extremely traumatic. To have a lands coordinator assume this new position was unheard of and in many circles was inappropriate. The agency made the decision based on his managerial capabilities, willingness to take this step and the fact that he already had a limited enforcement commission as a prior lands manager.

Murray looked at the challenges in front of him and the tasks were awesome. Even though he had been commissioned by the chief of enforcement, he was still required to go through full training at the State Patrol Academy to fully qualify for the position.

While at the academy Murray excelled and often times was one of the best candidates. His test scores were of a high caliber and his physical agility testing, which many others would have failed, was beyond reproach.

Murray passed the academy with flying colors which was a feat in and of itself. Support both physically and emotionally during this transition was difficult to say the least which would have broke any other applicant in a heart beat.

He accepted the Captain position in July of 1998 and was more or less on his own. Not only did Murray exceed every demand that was given him by his superiors but he established relationships with his enforcement officers. Murray has gone the extra mile in establishing a new rewarding career, works well with all other program staff, has established an outstanding relations with his sergeants and officers, provides outstanding leadership to his peers, has excelled in management decisions and product deliverables to the chief of enforcement; established a productive working relationship with the regional director; and has excelled with the public, other law enforcement agency contacts, tribes and landowner relationships.

EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR AWARD recognizes an employee who has demonstrated consistency in production and performance of work assignments, community involvement, excellence in public and department relations, strong leadership skills, serves as a role model, has made a commitment to the improvement of the Department, and has a major accomplishment within the preceding year.

The following individuals were nominated for the Employee of the Year Award:

Glen Mendel
Murray Schlenker

Employee of the Year: Glen Mendel. Glen is the District 3 biologist in Region 1. He is responsible for fish resource data collection, evaluation, planning, and implementation of the inland fish management and anadromous fish management programs for all waters within SE Washington encompassed by the Columbia, Asotin, Walla Walla, and Garfield counties, including the main stem of the Snake River. Glen is responsible for coordinating agency efforts in salmonid recovery and watershed planning with Oregon and Idaho resource agencies, National Marine Fisheries Service, Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service just to name a few.

Glen has a great work ethic, professional manner, and his work accomplishments are consistently of high quality.

Glen took on the regional lead responsibility for coordinating with Olympia Fish Program and the LEAP staff in the development and finalization of the draft fish monitoring and evaluation plan (FMEP) for the Snake River.

Glen integrated agency science into the limiting factors analysis developed for listed salmonid stocks of the Walla Walla watershed by the Washington Conservation Commission, in association with the Asotin/Snake River Lead Entity. This was a year long task resulting in a very professional document that could not have been completed without the knowledge and technical expertise that Glen brought to this project.

Glen assisted Olympia and Regional Habitat and Fish Program staff with the successful initiation of a Regional Fish Enhancement Group (RFEG) within the Snake river ESU.

Glen is seen as an exceptional person, a dedicated professional, and a patient steelhead fisherman. All of Glen's work revolves around providing good science for the management of fish stocks and the recovery of federally listed stocks. Glen is highly respected and looked to for leadership by other fisheries resource managers in the Snake River ESU.

EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR AWARDrecognizes an educator that has fostered appreciation for Washington's fish and wildlife by educating children and adults about fish and wildlife resources.

The following individuals were nominated for the Educator of the Year:

Carl Gehman
Margaret Tudor

Educator of the Year: Dr. Margaret Tudor. Margaret is Australia's gift to the Department of Fish and Wildlife and to the teachers, students, general public, and wildlife of Washington State. Margaret tirelessly led and coordinated the development of salmon recovery education and outreach products for use by WDFW staff, educators, community partners, other state agencies, and the Governor's Salmon Team. Her products were so successful that other agencies have seen the need to replicate her materials for use with broader audiences.

Margaret's list of accomplishments include: creating the NatureMapping curriculum in partnership with the University of Washington - a program which has grown from 23 teachers locally to 35,000 teachers nationally in six short years; leadership in the statewide Model Links program for public schools; establishing relationships with and communication links to under-served community groups, such as the recent Asian-Pacific Islander Initiative to protect intertidal resources, developing and implementing the technologically innovative Track-A-Caribou Internet educational package in partnership with the Wildlife Program, facilitating partnerships and designing educational activities to implement Cougars and Teaching (CAT) a program designed to enable students to collect scientifically valid data for use by Department scientists, and providing consultation and professional expertise to interagency workgroups, regional educational centers, the Gov. Salmon Team, and the Gov. Council for Environ Educ.

Margaret's warmth, humor, creativity, energy, insistence on excellence, concern for others and persistent work ethic make her a role model for all who have worked with her. She richly deserves this recognition for her many contributions to environmental education and outreach.


Larry Lavoy, Anadromous Fish Policy Coordinator.
Larrie LaVoy is a unique individual - unique in the expertise he provides and unique in the positive spirit he somehow maintains as he applied that expert talent. Larrie has been the backbone of the science application of our annual North of Falcon process. There are many who will attest to the intensity of the North of Falcon process and Larrie has invested more grueling hours into the process than any other individual in the last four to five years. If the computers crash, we replace them, but we could not replace an individual with the dedication and professionalism displayed by Larrie LaVoy.

Washington citizens have enjoyed some of the best salmon fishing in decades recently in spite of ESA listings for coho and chinook stocks. Those citizens who have participated in our North of Falcon process in recent years, and certainly all WDFW and tribal fishery managers, are very well aware of the fact that these fishing opportunities are only available because of the innovations of a few gifted individuals in applying our scientific data to solving real world fishery problems.

All the information collected from multi-million dollar agency investments in biological investigations and fishery sampling is combined into a computer model that can analyze proposals for fisheries coast-wide. This information includes coded-wire tagging data for coho and chinook stocks accumulated from years of research, as well as fishery catches and spawning escapements from our continuously operating sampling programs. This computer model is the end product of agency investments of millions of dollars spent over decades.

The complexity of these computer models is so great that their operation is understood by only one or two individuals. Although we are quite vulnerable strategically by this heavy reliance on such unique expertise of so few individuals, we are extremely fortunate to count at least one expert on our staff. We should pay honor to this individual commensurate with the value of the service they provide. Without this expertise, analyses necessary for justifying fisheries would not be provided and the benefits of fishing opportunities would not be realized.

Ken Johanning (Tri-Cities area).
For his passion and dedication in promoting family fishing and his work in organizing a project that turned a neglected slough into Washington state's first family fishing pond.

Rena Henson
Back in June, the Department received a call-to-action from a member of our Congressional Delegation, asking us to submit projects for federal funding from a new, untapped source. A log jam developed over the mechanisms for competing for this money. Our call-to-action was to submit quality projects that could withstand national scrutiny, in light of the potential controversy that could arise (and may still).

Many people dropped everything to craft applications for 21 wildlife, fish and habitat projects. But one person was responsible for coordinating ALL aspects of all projects, and for converting them into two professional documents. Each of the 21 projects was edited and graphically organized into a project proposal and an executive summary. In effect, this resulted in the production of 42 excellent publications, over a period of about two weeks! The deadline was to beat the July Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting date.

Rena Henson spent many hours patiently helping each of the 21 project authors to find appropriate photographs, fitting their text into the available space, formatting the documents and executive summaries and converting budget information into understandable tables. Many additional hours were spent working with the printer to get these publications into the proper form, so that they could be delivered to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and most importantly to selected members of our Congressional delegation. The result was an overwhelming success, which has elevated the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's image nationally as an agency that puts together the highest-quality products.

With a great deal of gratitude for going the extra mile to help us all capitalize on this once-in-a-career opportunity Rena was presented the Director's Award.

Bill Hinkle - Kittitas Co Commissioner, Jim Lewis - Yakima Co Commissioner & Leo Bowman - Benton Co Commissioner.

Al Adams
Al first started his passion and personal commitment to helping salmon over 25 years ago when he lived on Mercer Island. Al was one of the agencies first salmon cooperating in the state. More recently after Al retired from his paying job and moved from Mercer Island to Hood Canal in 1986 it gave Al more time to spend on his two passions, one recovering salmon and two doing wood carving of fish. Al has also been very instrumental in establishing many salmon recovery projects throughout Hood Canal - today with much thanks to Al Adams the Hood Canal Regional Salmon Recovery group is one of, if not the most effective and successful salmon recovery group in the state. We wanted to take time this afternoon to recognize Al for his lifetime dedication and achievement in salmon recovery.

Evelyn Nelson - Superintendent of Cle Elum/Rosalyn School District.
Starting out as a school teacher in Prosser, Evelyn Nelson has taught at all levels of K-12. Advancing in her career as an educator, she received her credentials in curriculum and administration, and held positions as a curriculum director and principal.

Now as the Superintentendent of the Cle Elum-Roslyn School district Evelyn leads a group of enthusiastic teachers and successful students. In 1997, when Evelyn came to the school district, it was suffering from severe financial problems following a levy failure. With boundless energy, Evelyn has brought the school district to its current high productivity, with two levy's passed and committed parent support.

Evelyn was instrumental in creating a partnership for the benefit of the school and the community with Trends West, a developer with plans to build a 6000 acres resort next to the school. Knowing the challenges of community change in the pristine Cascades, Evelyn worked with WDFW to develop Project CAT (Cougars and Teaching) and to anticipate and structure school learning to address those changes. Each grade level will study an aspect of cougars in their community using WDFW's NatureMapping that will inform WDFW scientists. Students will focus on answering the question, "Through a cougars perspective (CAT's eyes), how is Cle-Elum Rosslyn changing?"

Evelyn and is now coordinating Project CAT, defining roles for participating universities, and state agencies. WDFW looks forward to an enduring partnership with Evelyn and the Cle-Elum Rosslyn school district as we learn more about how cougars and people can live together.

Evelyn Nelson lives in Cle Elum with husband Mike. She has two grown daughters and is grandma to a little girl named Maggie. In her spare time Evelyn likes to run and golf.

Heather Bartlett, Anadromous Fish - Region 2.
This award is being presented to Heather for her outstanding work with salmon recovery efforts in the Upper Columbia ESU. Heather's dedication and commitment to the Upper Columbia fishery resource far exceeds the expectations of her job. Her ability to communicate complex and controversial fish biology issues to professionals and citizens has been key in obtaining public support for WDFW policy in the Upper Columbia. Through her hard work and dedication Heather has been able to put together the Steelhead Management Plan; Plan and implement a steelhead fishery in the Upper Columbia; Worked with local fishery groups to allow a trout fishery in the Methow River which has two endangered salmon species. She has also coordinated spring chinook fisheries in the Upper Columbia - which was the first season in many years. Congratulations on a job well done.

Bruce Crawford.
WDFW Point of Sale, commercial fleet, buyback

Rob Costello, Sr. Asst. Attorney General.
Rob Costello began his career with the Office of the Attorney General in the Labor and Industries Division on December 1, 1982. He transferred to the Natural Resources Division on January 1, 1986. Then Rob became Division Chief for Fish and Wildlife on January 16, 1989. In May of 1990 he was promoted to Senior Assistant Attorney General, and on September 1, 2001 Rob was appointed a Deputy Attorney General.

In 1990, Rob was praised by then Attorney General Ken Eikenberry for his handling of the Chehalis Shoalwater case in addition to his existing workload, which was substantial.

Part of that substantial workload included a victory in the 9th Circuit Court on behalf of the Department of Wildlife in a game-farming case. This case had implications beyond Washington State for protecting native wildlife. The case was particularly difficult in light of interagency controversy and the 10th Circuit Court's opinion directly contrary to the 9th Circuit's opinion. (This victory was achieved circa early 1994).

Attorney General Christine Gregoire commended Rob in 1996 for his work on the 9th Circuit Brief in US v. Washington Shellfish. She stated she was proud not only of the excellent final product, but also of the teamwork displayed.

In 1997, Rob received high praise from Terry Husseman, Deputy Director of the Department of Ecology for the work he had done for that Department on water and ESA issues.

In 1998, Attorney General Christine Gregoire paid tribute to Rob for his leadership skill, not just for his Division, but for the Office of the Attorney General related to: tribal hunting issues, the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the Endangered Species Act, and many other issues of importance to the Fish and Wildlife Commission. She further praised his demonstrated legal skill and professionalism in dealing with a number of difficult issues for the Department including mass-marking and co-management issues, Columbia River ESA issues, and sensitive transition issues for the Department itself as the Commission assumed new authority and appointed a new Director.

Rob is well known as a fine lawyer and an excellent manager. He has been a well respected leader of the Division, which likely made his promotion to Deputy Attorney General an easy decision for Chris Gregoire.