Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
DNREC honors Ducks Unlimited volunteer and longtime
conservation professional as 2012 Wetland Warriors
HARRINGTON (July 26, 2012) – Today at the Delaware State Fair, Governor Jack Markell, DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara and U.S. EPA Region III Administrator Shawn M. Garvin honored two men for their efforts in conserving, restoring and researching Delaware wetlands, and for helping to educate the public on the importance of this vital habitat.
“Wetlands contribute to the quality of life in Delaware by providing storage for floodwaters and protecting us from coastal storms, providing habitat for wildlife species, and purifying water by removing pollutants and nutrients from runoff. Efforts to protect, restore, and better understand processes affecting wetlands are critical to enable the continuation of the economically valuable services provided by wetlands,” said Secretary O’Mara. “We are proud to recognize this year’s Wetland Warriors for their important contributions to our state.”
The Wetland Warrior Award, now in its fifth year, is presented annually to a citizen, organization, or business that has demonstrated exemplary efforts to benefit Delaware wetlands in the areas of outreach and education, monitoring and assessment, or restoration and protection. This year’s honorees have both been involved with wetland conservation for more than 25 years and each has a connection to Delaware Ducks Unlimited, a key player in wetland restoration and preservation locally as well as nationwide. Delaware Ducks Unlimited’s on-the-ground impact includes more than 15,000 acres conserved.
“Each year we look forward to acknowledging the leadership and contribution of our Delaware Wetland Warriors to wetland conservation. We appreciate all of the nominations we receive and are inspired by the nominees’ level of commitment,” said Rebecca Rothweiler, DNREC Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program.
Community volunteer honoree Clif Bakhsh of Middletown has been an active volunteer with the Delaware Ducks Unlimited Appoquinimink Chapter for more than 25 years and has served in numerous local and national roles. Currently, he sits on the Ducks Unlimited National Youth and Education Committee. Mr. Bakhsh’s dedication to preserving open space in Delaware and educating children about the benefits of wetlands make him a Wetland Warrior. Through their generous donations and fundraising for Delaware Ducks Unlimited through the years, Clif and his wife Sue have made conservation a family effort.
"Clif and Delaware's Ducks Unlimited members have quietly and humbly devoted a tremendous amount of time and effort to preserve some of Delaware's most beautiful landscapes," U.S. Senator Chris Coons said. "Clif has been a tireless advocate in Delaware and in Washington for conserving precious natural resources for tomorrow's sportsmen."
“Preserving wetlands is the single most important step in protecting the nesting, breeding, feeding and resting habitat needed to guarantee the propagation of all waterfowl species. I believe that everyone has the right to enjoy waterfowl in the manner they choose, and that it is my responsibility to help make sure that our future generations have the ability to exercise this right,” Bakhsh said.
“Knowing that my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be able to witness the fall migration of ducks and geese, see the huge flocks of Canada and snow geese feeding here in Delaware and watch the birds coming home to roost at night before resuming their Atlantic Flyways Migration, has motivated me to take an active part in Ducks Unlimited, and do whatever I can to see that waterfowl habitat here in Delaware is preserved,” Bakhsh added.
Wetland professional honoree David Carter has served DNREC as a biologist and program manager for more than 25 years. He has dedicated his career to innovative planning and funding tools to improve the management and protection of wetlands in the state. Mr. Carter has been a creative force behind the establishment of the Northern Delaware Wetland Rehabilitation Program, the Special Area Management Plan for Pea Patch Island, Delaware’s Shorebird Monitoring Program, among several other pioneering projects to protect, research, and better manage Delaware’s wetland habitats. These combined efforts have restored and protected thousands of acres of wetlands. He has also provided support to outreach and education initiatives including Thank You Delaware Bay. As an active hunter and member of Ducks Unlimited, he has created wetland habitat on his 40-acre farm as a demonstration site for others.
“It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to protect and restore our wetland resources for Delaware's citizens as part of my public service over the years,” Carter said. “But I realize that the work is far from complete in ensuring that our freshwater wetlands are protected in Delaware.”
Next year’s call for nominations will be posted in the spring on the Delaware Wetlands website, www.dnrec.delaware.gov/Admin/DelawareWetlands.
For details about past Delaware Wetland Warriors please visit: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/Admin/DelawareWetlands/Pages/WetlandWarriors.aspx
Vol. 42, No. 278