Less than a month after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners
announced that the
Cache River National Wildlife Refuge is home to the
Ivory-billed Woodpecker, the agency said today it has named the first
members of a range-wide recovery team that will craft a roadmap for the
conservation of this extraordinary bird.
At the same time, the Serviceís Southeast Regional Director Sam Hamilton,
announced the teamís leaders would have their initial meeting in Brinkley,
Arkansas, at the end of June. The team will include representatives from
state fish and wildlife agencies, conservation organizations, and
This recovery team brings together some of the best minds in ecology,
conservation biology, forestry, and ornithology, from a wide spectrum of
organizations who can contribute knowledge and resources toward this
magnificent birdís comeback, Hamilton said. We likely wonít get a second
chance to do this critical job, and we need to move effectively and
The recovery team convenes in June, and our goal is to have a completed
recovery plan by Summer 2007. The recovery effort will cover the birdís
historic range and will focus on the Big Woods corridor of Central
Arkansas, Eastern Texasí Big Thicket, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama,
Florida, southern Georgia, and the Carolinas.
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker once nested in both bottomland swamps and
adjacent pine forests throughout the Southeastern United States and Cuba.
Although activities are aimed at recovering the United Statesí population,
the recovery team plans to coordinate with Cuba and its conservation
In this country, the bird ranged from the coastal plain of North and South
Carolina, Georgia, Florida, large portions of Alabama, Mississippi and
Arkansas, Louisiana, eastern Texas, west Tennessee, and small areas of
Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Missouri. The range became smaller by the
late 1800s and the woodpecker was no longer found in Oklahoma, Missouri,
Illinois or Kentucky. Ivory-billed numbers continued to decline and by the
mid 1940s, most people believed all the birds were gone. Until now, there
had been no confirmed sighting of an Ivory-billed Woodpecker in more than
60 years. Arkansans should be proud of their conservation ethic and the
work theyíve done to restore the Cache and White River basins, and the
benefits to the woodpecker as well as waterfowl, wild turkey, deer and many
other species of wildlife, Hamilton said.
On April 28, the Interior and Agriculture Departments announced that $10.2
million would be redirected to conservation efforts benefiting this
woodpeckerís recovery. This funding is in addition to the $10 million
already committed to research and habitat protection efforts by private
sector groups and citizens.
Under the Endangered Species Act, the Service is required to establish a
recovery team to prepare a comprehensive recovery plan for the species and
to advise agencies, stakeholders, and the public on conservation actions
proposed for the species.
The recovery team led by an executive committee chaired by Sam Hamilton,
and Jon Andrew, chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System in the
Southeast Region, will oversee the efforts of the teamís three working
The first two groups are Biology and Habitat Management and Conservation.
The biology working group will focus on research, including natural history
investigations, population viability, and survey techniques. The habitat
management and conservation group will identify, inventory, and describe
current and potential habitat and provide recommendations and advice on
forest management. Dr. Ken Rosenberg from Cornell Universityís Lab of
Ornithology will lead the biology working group. Kenny Ribbeck of the
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Dr.Tom Foti with the
Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission will lead the habitat management and
conservation working group.
The third is the Corridor of Hope conservation working group, which is made
up of public and private partners who will support the recovery planning
effort and focus on land conservation in the Mississippi Delta of Arkansas.
This team will be led by David Goad, deputy director of the Arkansas Game
and Fish Commission, and Scott Simon, state director for The Nature
Conservancy in Arkansas.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national
fish hatcheries, 63 fish and wildlife management offices and 81 ecological
services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws,
administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations,
restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife
habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their
conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program,
which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on
fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.
Members of the IBW Recovery Teamís Executive Committee follow:
Sam D. Hamilton, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Director
in Atlanta, Georgia, serves as Chair. A native of Mississippi, Hamilton
oversees Fish and Wildlife Service activities in 10 southeastern states,
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The region is home to more than 125
National Wildlife Refuges, 14 national fish hatcheries, 16 ecological
services offices, and 38 law enforcement offices.
Scott Henderson, Director of Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in Little
Rock, Arkansas, has been director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
since 2003 and served as assistant director of the agency from 1987-2003.
Dr. John Fitzpatrick, Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology, is the
co-leader of the ivory-bill search effort in Arkansas. He has been the
director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and a professor of ecology and
evolutionary biology since 1995. Previously, he was executive director of
Florida's Archbold Biological Station and curator of birds at Chicago's
Field Museum of Natural History.
Dr. James Tate, Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior Gale
Norton, began his conservation career more than 30 years ago as an
associate professor at Cornell University and assistant director of the
respected Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Dr. Tate has worked
extensively on endangered species issues. For two years, he served as
advisory scientist for the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental
Laboratory on projects involving sage grouse and other environmental
issues. Dr. Tate received his doctorate in zoology from the University of
Nebraska with a thesis on the foraging behavior of woodpeckers.
John Bridgeland, president and CEO of Civic Enterprises, served as a
teaching fellow in the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of
Government at Harvard University, where he lectured on Presidential
Decision Making. Recently, Bridgeland served as Assistant to the President
of the United States and the first Director of the USA Freedom Corps. In
that role, he coordinated more than $1 billion in domestic and
international service initiatives and worked with non-profits, corporations
Brig. General Robert Crear, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has been district
engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Vicksburg District since
1998. The Vicksburg District encompasses 68,000 square miles in Arkansas,
Louisiana, and Mississippi, covering seven major river basins and 270 miles
of the Mississippi river and is one of the largest civil works districts in
Kirk Duppes, a member of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundationís
national board, will serve on this executive committee.
Nancy Delamar, The Nature Conservancy, is director of external affairs for
TNCís south central division, which includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma,
Texas and Mexico. DeLamarís responsibilities include working closely with
each program in the division, with federal and state agency directors and
with the Conservancyís worldwide government relations staff in Arlington,
Dr. Peter Roussopoulos, director of the USDA Forest Service Southern
Research Station, leads Forest Service research throughout 13 southeastern
states including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi,
and Oklahoma. He has led the station since its establishment 10 years ago.
Dr. Roussopoulos is a member of the Society of American Foresters.
Larry Wiseman, president and chief executive officer of the American Forest
Foundation (AFF), created and co-founded the Institutes for Journalism &
Natural Resources in 1995. The American Forest Foundation serves as a
working platform for partnerships among industry, the environmental and
education communities. The Foundation's three core programs include the
American Tree Farm Systemģ, Forests for Watersheds and Wildlife, and
Project Learning Tree. ģ
The leaders of the recovery teamís working groups are:
Jon Andrew, chief of the Serviceís National Wildlife Refuge System in the
Southeast, will chair the Steering Committee. He has worked on national
wildlife refuges throughout the country. He has also served as the Chief of
the Division of Migratory Bird Management in Arlington, Virginia.
Dr. Ken Rosenberg, director of conservation science at Cornell Universityís
Lab of Ornithology, will lead the Biology Working Group. He is the director
of conservation science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He has spent
many years studying foraging specialization in Amazonian rain forest
species. A widely known North American birder, Rosenberg serves as
co-captain of the Lab's World Series of Birding team, the Sapsuckers.
Kenny Ribbeck, forestry programs manager for the Louisiana Department of
Wildlife and Fisheries will co-lead the Habitat Management and Conservation
Working Group. He serves on a number of professional organizations
including the Society of American Foresters, The Wildlife Society,
Louisiana Forestry Association, and the Louisiana Wildlife Biologists
Association. Ribbeck is also forestry programs manager for the Louisiana
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Dr. Tom Foti, chief of research with the Arkansas Natural Heritage
Commission, will co-chair the Habitat Management and Conservation Working
Group. Foti supervises the Commissionís research staff and develops and
implements inventory and monitoring programs. He belongs to a number of
professional organizations including American Association for the
Advancement of Science, Ecological Society of America, Natural Areas
Association, Arkansas Academy of Science, Southeastern Association of
Biologists, Southwestern Association of Naturalists, and Society of Wetland
David Goad, deputy director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, will
share leadership of the Corridor of Hope Conservation working group. Goad
has been employed for the past 17 years with the Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission. He has worked as a wildlife management area biologist, regional
project coordinator, black bear program leader, as assistant chief for the
wildlife management division, and since February 2003, as deputy director.
Scott Simon, state director for The Nature Conservancy in Arkansas, will
co-chair the Corridor of Hope Conservation working group. He has been one
of the leaders of the ivory-bill search and conservation effort in
Arkansas. Simon has focused on working with Conservancy staff on expediting
habitat acquisition and restoration critical to the ivory-bill's continued
survival. Simon has worked in ecological fire restoration for a dozen years
and teaches courses and workshops in conservation planning, fire ecology,
prescribed fire restoration, wetland ecology, wetland restoration and