DU’s Western Region Receives Three Awards

EPA Team Leader Bill Adams, presents DU Biologist Chris Bonsignore with the Howard Orlean Excellence in Site Reuse Award

EPA Team Leader Bill Adams, presents DU Biologist Chris Bonsignore with the Howard Orlean Excellence in Site Reuse Award

Ducks Unlimited recently accepted several awards for its conservation work in the Western Region, spotlighting the organization’s commitment to preserving and protecting wetland habitat.

California’s Cullinan Ranch Restoration Project received two recognitions, the first of which came at the 12th Biennial State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference, in which Cullinan was recognized as one of six projects that showcased the value of partnership in making remarkable contributions to the health and resilience of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary.

DU played a key role in restoring 1,500 acres of Cullinan’s historic tidal marsh habitat in San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. By lowering and breaching an aging perimeter, seawater was allowed to pour through the levee and touch soil for the first time in over 100 years, creating a new wetland that has been attracting waterfowl daily.

DU also won the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) San Francisco Section 2015 Outstanding Environmental Engineering Project of the Year for Cullinan Ranch. The ASCE San Francisco Section spans from the Fresno-area to the Oregon Border and has an awards contest every year. There were 16 recipients this year from various Civil Engineering-related categories, which recognizes the commendable achievements and remarkable accomplishments of the civil engineering profession.

Up in Idaho, DU was awarded the EPA Region 10 Howard Orlean Excellence in Site Reuse Award for its work in the Coeur d’Alene Basin, particularly the Schlepp Easement. The Howard Orlean Award recognizes the collaborative partnerships and innovative approaches within the Region that protect public health, sustain healthy communities and safeguard the environment.

In 2011, after years of intense effort by many parties, EPA finished converting nearly 400 acres of agricultural property near Medimont to healthy wetland habitat. The area was made into clean feeding habitat for swans, ducks, and other wetland birds and mammals.

Fundamentally, the project was made possible by property owners Mike and Brenda Schlepp. Their care and commitment to their land, their ability to work through complex processes, and their patience and willingness to overcome challenges, helped lay the groundwork for success. Throughout the effort, the EPA worked closely with the Schlepps, as well as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited and many others.