A biologist with the Division of Wildlife Resources was among a handful of state employees who received a major honor from Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert recently.

On May 31, Craig Walker received a Governor’s Award for Excellence. According to the nomination letter submitted to the governor, Walker’s work to provide more access to fishing waters in Utah and his ability to draw people together to improve Utah’s fisheries were among the reasons he deserved the award.

George Sommer, president of the Utah Bass Federation and chairman of the state’s Blue Ribbon Fisheries Advisory Council, was among those lending their support to Walker.

“Craig’s ability to analyze a problem and to work within a diverse group to find a practical solution has enabled (the Blue Ribbon council) to streamline and focus our operations, and at a far faster pace than any of us thought possible,” Sommer wrote in a letter of recommendation.

Walker’s nomination letter noted that, “The impact of Craig’s work and excellent public service extends far beyond one community. Ultimately, the impacts of his work have made the state a better place for those who enjoy the outdoors. Because of Craig, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy more accessible and healthier streams, lakes and wetlands.”

Walker’s nomination letter also noted that, “While being one of the most productive individuals we have ever encountered, perhaps even more outstanding has been Craig’s ability to draw people into teams which build strong partnerships and accomplish more than they ever could on an individual basis. The teams that Craig builds are often made up (of) a diverse number of stakeholders from (government) agencies, nonprofit organizations and outstanding members of the public.

“Craig has dedicated his career to enhancing the public’s access to quality fishing opportunities,” the letter continued. “His accomplishments in this area are tremendous. These accomplishments have resulted in improved health of Utah’s aquatic ecosystems and more ways than ever for Utah’s public to get out (and) experience the fantastic fishing and water sports this great state has to offer.”

A resident of Erda, Walker has worked for the DWR for 10 years. He currently serves as the aquatic habitat coordinator and head of fisheries research for the DWR.

Walker is also the current president of the Utah Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

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