DU Western Region Fixture Jim Well Retires After 30 Years

Mark Biddlecomb presents Jim Well with a custom decoy as a token of appreciation.

For the first time in 30 years, the Western Region Office will complete a project this Fall without the steadying hand of Jim Well, who retired in August after a storied career with Ducks Unlimited, all of it spent shaping the Pacific Flyway from Alaska to Southern California.

Well joined Ducks Unlimited in 1986 and basically formed the Western Region Office as its only employee, moving west to Sacramento from Bismark, N.D. to cover California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Hawaii as the regional engineer. His responsibilities at the time consisted of the planning, design, hiring construction contractors, managing consultants, construction management, budget management and coordination with partners on wetland habitat restoration or enhancement and associated upland habitat on private, state and federal land.

Jim didn’t just work for the Western Region Office, for a time he literally was the Western Region Office.

Well would go on to become one of the most well-known and liked conservators of the Pacific Flyway, his connections as DU’s Western Region Director of Conservation immense and his ability to bring groups together lauded across agencies.

“There really isn’t a single Ducks Unlimited project along the Pacific Flyway that doesn’t have some of Jim’s fingerprints of it,” remarked Western Region Director Mark Biddlecomb during a workplace gathering for Jim’s last day in late July. A more formal celebration took place one week later during a dinner at Granite Bay Golf Club, where contemporaries and colleagues thanked him for his longtime work.

Prior to joining Ducks Unlimited, Inc., Well was responsible for the design and construction management of Highway and heavy projects for a private contractor in the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah.  His projects included the Interstate Highway system, state highway system and county road system.