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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Alaska’s Endangered Species Recovery Champion Award Winners

The story of endangered species conservation in the United States over the
past 40 years involves many heroes. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (Service) recognized 16 teams or individuals across the country for
their outstanding efforts to conserve and protect endangered and threatened
fish, wildlife and plants by designating them 2012 *Recovery Champions*.
Among the award winners honored for their work were two Alaskans, Brian
McCaffery and Margaret Peterson.
“Recovery Champion awards acknowledge individuals and groups who have
excelled in their efforts to protect and recover our most imperiled
species,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “They exemplify the dedication
and determination that has helped save countless animals and plants from
extinction and that continues to raise the bar in the field of endangered
species conservation.”
For over 20 years, Brian McCaffery with Yukon Delta National Wildlife
Refuge in Bethel, has played a pivotal role in Steller’s and spectacled
eider recovery, including serving as the Eider Recovery Team leader. The
team credits its success to Brian’s ability to create an atmosphere of
openness and to encourage participation.  He is the primary author of the
Spectacled Eider Recovery Plan, has helped evaluate the feasibility of
reintroducing Steller’s eiders to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and is
developing structured decision-making methods and other advanced modeling
techniques for critical management decisions.  By writing and performing
music about birds and habitat conservation, including a rap song that was
aired on local radio, Brian also communicates with audiences that the
Service might not otherwise reach.
For two decades, Dr. Margaret Petersen who worked with the U.S. Geological
Survey’s Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, until her recent retirement,
served as an expert on the recovery team for Steller’s eiders and
spectacled eiders in Alaska, consistently providing valuable insight on
their biology and ecology. Certainly the achievement for which Dr. Petersen
will be best known is her satellite telemetry research that identified the
location of the spectacled eider during the non-breeding season.  Winter
telemetry locations helped discover previously unknown concentrations of
spectacled eiders in broken sea ice in the Bering Sea.  Waterfowl
biologists have used these insights to target marine ecology studies, model
winter energetics and effects of winter weather on survival, and focus
thinking on the potential effects of impending climate change on spectacled
eiders and associated benthic communities.
The *Recovery Champion* awards began in 2002 as a one-time recognition for
Service staff members for their achievements in conserving listed species.
However, in 2007, the program was expanded to honor Service partners as
well, recognizing their essential role in the recovery of threatened and
endangered species.
For information about the 2012 Recovery Champions, please visit:
http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/recovery-champions/index.html.
America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and
ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. To
learn more about the Service’s Endangered Species program, go to
http://www.fws.gov/endangered/. For Alaska-specific Endangered Species
information visit http://alaska.fws.gov/fisheries/endangered/index.htm
*The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others
to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their
habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a
leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our
scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources,
dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more
information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit **
www.fws.gov* <http://www.fws.gov/>*. Connect with our Facebook page at **
www.facebook.com/usfws* <http://www.facebook.com/usfws>*, follow our tweets
at **www.twitter.com/usfwshq* <http://www.twitter.com/usfwshq>*, watch our
YouTube Channel at **http://www.youtube.com/usfws*<http://www.youtube.com/usfws>
* and download photos from our Flickr page at **
http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq* <http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq>

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