The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management selected the Mule Deer Foundation to receive the prestigious Joint Conservation Partner Award, honoring MDF’s years of service and commitment.
MDF CEO Miles Moretti, COO Eric Tycksen and Board Member C.J. Buck accepted the award at the North American Wildlife & Natural Resources Conference, the annual gathering of professionals from state, federal, provincial and tribal wildlife management agencies, and key conservation organizations.
“Thank you for this recognition on behalf of our members, staff and partners,” said Moretti, who then challenged the biologist, land managers and other agency personnel in the crowd “to rethink your priorities in this time of tight budgets and focus on species in need, like mule deer,” that are important to the license buying hunters who provide the majority of conservation funding in North America.
Presenting the award, Chief of BLM’s Fish & Wildlife Conservation Division, Dwight Fielder, said, “The Mule Deer Foundation is at the heart of a network of committed organizations and resourceful individuals focused on mitigating threats the mule deer population across its range, and helping this species adapt to changing environmental conditions and new landscape realities.”
He and Anne Zimmerman, Forest Service Director of Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air and Rare Plants, recognized MDF’s financial and volunteer labor contributions that helped with vegetation management, water development, fencing, prescribed burns and other projects.
They said, “Since 1988, the Mule Deer Foundation has worked closely with agency partners and private landowners, contributing much needed financial capital and countless hours of volunteer labor to conserve more than 500,000 acres of important mule deer and black-tailed deer habitat across the west. MDF volunteers are instrumental in expanding agency operational capacity by providing supplemental labor to help with habitat improvement projects…or helping catch fawns in support of research projects.”
They said they also “appreciate and recognize MDF’s active membership and support of partnership efforts, such as Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Mule Deer Working Group. MDF provided important funding for the Mule Deer Habitat Mapping Project and many other publications now available to the agencies to aid in mule deer conservation planning and implementation.”
Through the efforts of the agencies and partners like Mule Deer Foundation, wildlife professionals are working to reverse the trend of mule deer, “the only big game species in North America on the decline” said Fielder.