Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Science Program Supervisor Alan Wood received the Montana Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s Distinguished Service Award for 2020 in recognition for more than three decades protecting Montana’s fish and wildlife and their habitats.
Wood received the honor earlier this year after being nominated by several FWP peers, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The Trust for Public Land, Vital Ground Foundation, Flathead Land Trust, Flathead Lakers, Stimson Lumber Company and F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company.
Wood was recognized for his stewardship of the state’s Wildlife Mitigation Program since 1994. After a settlement with Bonneville Power Administration made FWP the administrator of a $12.5 million trust account to conserve drainages affected by the Hungry Horse and Libby dams, Wood devised a strategy to partner with others to stretch the runds and accomplish landscape-scale habitat conservation.
Over the last 20 years, $7 million of Wildlife Mitigation Trust funding has leveraged $215 million in partner funding to protect 280,000 acres in northwest Montana through conservation easements and land acquisitions. Most projects have been done with private forest and agricultural landowners to protect habitat and public access in perpetuity. The program has far exceeded the initial requirements of the BPA settlement and contributed to more than 40 percent of FWP’s total statewide conservation easement acreage. Over the next two years, another 36,000 acres of northwestern Montana forestland is planned for conservation.
“Throughout his distinguished wildlife career, Alan has always emphasized that partnerships are key and that more is accomplished when everyone works together to complete projects,” Chris Hammond, FWP wildlife biologist, and Kris Tempel, FWP habitat conservation biologist, wrote in their nomination letter.
“The landscape of Northwest Montana has tens of thousands of acres of private forestlands that have been conserved in perpetuity as working forests that provide multiple use benefits. Most all of those projects have Alan’s fingerprints on them,” Chuck Roady, vice president and general manager of F.H. Stoltze Land & Lumber Company, and Paul McKenzie, lands and resource manager at Stoltze, wrote in a nomination letter.
Wood is the only member of Montana Chapter of The Wildlife Society to receive the Biologist of the Year award twice — in 1994 and 2001. He also received the 1989 Wildlife Division Award for his work with mule deer, the 2001 FWP Director’s Award of Excellence, the 2011 Montana Wetland Stewardship Award, the 2016 Governor’s Award for Excellence in Performance, the 2016 Wildlife Division Outstanding Project Award, 2the 018 Whitefish Lake Institute Stewardship Award and the 2019 USFS Wings Across the Americas Habitat Conservation Partnership Award.
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