Wildlife News

Wildlife pros honored

DWR presents yearly awards

West Jordan — Eighteen Division of Wildlife Resources employees were honored recently for their work to protect and conserve Utah's wildlife.

Rick Larson
DWR Director Jim Karpowitz (L) greets Rick Larson before presenting Larson with the 2010 Employee of the Year Award.

Photo by Parker Jones

Seventeen of the employees received their honors at the division's Annual Awards Banquet. (One employee was not able to attend.)

The banquet was held May 5 at Gardner Village in West Jordan.

Three awards from DWR Director Jim Karpowitz were among the awards presented that night.

Employee of the Year

If you fish or hunt in Utah—especially in the northeastern part of the state—you might want to thank Rick Larson for some of the experiences you've had.

A veteran biologist with the DWR, Larson did fisheries management survey work on the Green River and in the Uinta Mountains in the 1980s. That survey work has helped make both of those areas the great fishing spots they are today.

Hunters have benefited from Larson's work too. He was a key player in the Book Cliffs Initiative. The initiative will help wildlife in this eastern Utah area for generations to come. "Your efforts to finalize the Book Cliffs Initiative and secure other important properties have conserved thousands of acres of wildlife habitat in perpetuity and will provide hunting opportunities for generations to come," Karpowitz said as he presented Larson with the division's Employee of the Year award.

Larson's accomplishments also extend beyond the Uinta Basin. For example, he's worked with the Utah Reclamation, Mitigation and Conservation Commission for years to conserve land, provide sportsmen access to that land, improve fishing and restore native species throughout the state.

"Perhaps most important are [your] efforts to mentor the next generation of division leaders," Karpowitz said at the banquet. "Your willingness to teach by example and provide opportunities for your employees to grow is helping to ensure that the agency, and the state's wildlife resources, have a bright future."

A resident of Salt Lake City, Larson serves as the agency's Wildlife Section chief.

Director's Leadership Award

If you've fished in Utah—or anywhere in the West—you know that fishing regulations can sometimes be a bit complicated.

Removing that complication has been one of Roger Wilson's main goals.

"As the sport fish coordinator, you've enthusiastically risen to the challenge to simplify Utah's fishing regulations," Karpowitz said as he presented Wilson with the Director's Leadership Award.

Karpowitz said Wilson has been instrumental in changing several fishing regulations. The changes have made the regulations easier for anglers to understand while giving fish the protection they need. "While I can't possibly list them all, the highlights include trophy regulations for cutthroat trout in the state's major waters and consistent regulations [for] walleye and perch [across Utah]," Karpowitz said.

He said he also appreciated the willingness Wilson and his staff have to meet with anglers and gather input about possible fishing regulation changes in the state.

A resident of Coalville, Wilson serves as the agency's cold water sport fisheries coordinator.

Director's Outstanding Service Award

His experience as a big game biologist and his ability to interact and work with hunters are among the reasons Anis Aoude received the Director's Outstanding Service Award.

The revision and completion of statewide management plans for all of Utah's big game species are among his recent accomplishments. At the direction of the Utah Wildlife Board, he also developed a creative new season hunt strategy. That strategy might be implemented for Utah's 2011 big game seasons.

Karpowitz also recognized the assistance Aoude provided the state's mule deer and elk committees as they formulated ideas for Utah's statewide deer and elk management plans. "Your ability to help these groups understand the ins and outs involved with managing wildlife populations greatly benefited both committees," Karpowitz said.

A resident of South Jordan, Aoude serves as the agency's big game coordinator.

Additional Director's Office awards

Karpowitz also presented Stan Beckstrom with the 2010 Kevin Conway Habitat Conservation Award. Beckstrom is the Blue Ribbon fisheries biologist in the DWR's Southern Region.

Director's Partnership awards were also presented to Rep. Evan J. Vickers and legislative fiscal analyst Ivan Djambov.

Section awards

The following were honored by DWR sections as their outstanding employee for 2010:

Administration – Dean Mitchell, Conservation Outreach Section chief

Administrative Services – Eric Hyatt, federal aid coordinator

Aquatic – Craig Walker, aquatic habitat coordinator

Conservation Outreach – Amy Canning, technical writer

Fish Culture – Gordon Nelson, supervisor of the Mammoth Creek State Fish Hatchery

Habitat – Eric Anderson, water rights specialist

Law Enforcement – Herm Rackl, manager of the Lee Kay Public Shooting Range

Wildlife – Jason Robinson, sage-grouse project leader

Region awards

The following were honored as the DWR's outstanding regional employees for 2010:

Central – Katie Copple, volunteer services coordinator

Northeastern – Roger Schneidervin, aquatic manager

Northern – Justina Parsons-Bernstein, director of the Great Salt Lake Nature Center

Southeastern – Daniel Eddington, assistant habitat manager

Southern – Melinda Bennion, native aquatic species biologist

Utah Wildlife Board awards

Rick Woodard, chair of the Utah Wildlife Board, also presented two awards from the board.

Doug Sakaguchi, Central Region habitat biologist for the DWR, received the board's DWR Professional of the Year award. Jim Carter, president of the Strawberry Anglers Association, received the board's Conservation Individual.

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