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January 18, 2008

DNR efforts recognized by S.C. Wildlife Federation

The South Carolina Wildlife Federation held its 43rd Annual Conservation Awards banquet Jan. 12 in Greenville on the Furman University campus.

Fifteen individuals and organizations that have played a major part in conserving South Carolina’s natural habitats as well as two scholarship winners were recognized. Two of those individuals are longtime S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employees, and the DNR efforts on wildlife habitat restoration initiative were recognized.

Hank Stallworth of St. Matthews was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement in Conservation Award. Because of his many years of service, he has numerous achievements in protecting the water and wildlife resources of this great state. Stallworth’s ability to bring diverse groups together to address complex issues and work toward solutions has been one of his greatest strengths. One example is the effort he led in 2003 serving as staff to the Water Law Review Committee appointed by Gov. Mark Sanford. Stallworth became chief of staff in 2006. In this position, Stallworth has overseen the reorganization of the agency into four regions, streamlining and making more effective the agency’s staff and their work. For his persistent and successful efforts, Stallworth was awarded the 2007 S.C. Wildlife Federation Lifetime Achievement Award in Conservation.

Ed Duncan of Wadmalaw Island was recognized with the Water Conservation Award. Duncan is director of environmental programs for DNR and has earned a reputation as one of the state’s top environmental leaders. Through Duncan’s efforts in the re-licensing of major hydroelectric projects in South Carolina and North Carolina, significant measures were taken during 2007 to protect natural resources, vital fish and wildlife habitats, fish and wildlife species, riparian corridors, water quality, public use opportunities and other aspects of quality of life associated with major lakes and reservoirs in both states. Duncan’s involvement in numerous Federal Energy Regulatory Commission re-licensing discussions will, or already has lead to final negotiations or settlement agreements increasing protected lands and/or additions to lands available for public use. Duncan’s extraordinary contributions and accomplishments benefiting the environment of South Carolina and furthering the quality of life for our citizens deem him worthy of receiving the 2007 S.C. Wildlife Federation’s Water Conservation Award.

Work on the Indian Creek Wildlife Habitat Restoration Initiative in Newberry County was recognized with the Wildlife Conservation Award. Since October 2004, when representatives from DNR, U.S. Forest Service and federal Natural Resources Conservation Service met, much activity has occurred to implement the Indian Creek Wildlife Habitat Restoration Initiative. This initiative is a cooperative partnership comprised of numerous agencies and conservation organizations as well as private landowners whose property is within the established Initiative boundaries. Private lands and National Forest lands within the project boundary total approximately 16,000 acres. The primary objective of the Initiative is to restore and improve habitat for species that depend on grasslands and similar habitats. Judy Barnes, DNR wildlife biologist, accepted the award on behalf of the agency.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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