New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Archive News Releases 2007-2013

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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact: (505) 476-8000



FLAGSTAFF , Ariz. -- Four individuals and one conservation group from New Mexico were honored for their outstanding contributions to wildlife conservation July 10 at the annual Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies annual awards ceremony in Flagstaff , Ariz.

Retired Department of Game and Fish Deputy Director Tod Stevenson, fisheries biologist David Propst, retired State Game Commission member Peter Pino, and Jan Hayes of Sandia Mountain BearWatch received individual honors. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation received the group's Special Achievement Award.

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies represents 23 states and Canadian provinces, spanning from Alaska to Texas and Saskatchewan to Hawaii -- an area covering nearly 3.7 million square miles of some of North America 's most wild and scenic country, inhabited by more than 1,500 wildlife species. The association is a strong advocate of the rights of states and provinces to manage fish and wildlife within their borders. It promotes sound resource management and the building of partnerships to enhance wildlife conservation efforts and protect habitats in the public interest.

Awards were presented in seven categories. The New Mexico award winners were:

Professional of the Year Award

Presented to an employee of a member agency for outstanding career contributions to management, protection, or enhancement of fish and wildlife resources.

  • David Propst -- He has dedicated more than 20 years of service as a professional fisheries biologist with New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, devoted primarily to conservation of aquatic animals and habitat in the Southwest. He has conducted and contributed to significant ecological, life history, and taxonomic research in areas that are part of the Colorado River, Rio Grande , and Canadian River Systems that touch parts of seven association states. Propst's tireless dedication as a leader of the Gila trout restoration project helped achieve a historic downlisting of the species from endangered to threatened. He continues to serve instrumental roles on endangered fish recovery teams, interagency collaboratives, and conservation planning task forces. His individual and team research is widely known and well-reputed for being the stimulus and/or foundation for many fish and aquatic habitat conservation strategies.

Special Achievement Award

Recognizes actions by an individual or organization that contributes to the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and supports the organization's member agencies and principles.

  • New Mexico Wildlife Federation -- The organization's far-reaching efforts resulted in Congressional action to protect and conserve the Valle Vidal Unit of the Carson National Forest from incompatible petroleum development. The 102,000-acre area in northern New Mexico is home to a premier elk herd that provides unrivaled elk hunting and wildlife viewing. The Federation provided the leadership to form a diverse coalition of concerned citizens that produced more than 54,000 public comments to the U.S. Forest Service, all but 10 of which supported the aims of the coalition. The New Mexico Wildlife Federation, founded in 1914 by Aldo Leopold, organized grass-roots support and political strategy to achieve the Congressional decision that supports significant western wildlife and habitat resources.
Outstanding Citizen Wildlife Contributor Award

Recognizes individuals who have substantive and distinguished contributions to wildlife conservation and management that are also beneficial to association member agencies.

  • Jan Hayes -- She has been the principal voice and driving force behind Sandia Mountain BearWatch since its formation in 1994 in central New Mexico. Her public outreach programs with state, federal and private interests have helped to dramatically diminish human-bear conflicts. Her work includes presentations, books, information leaflets, fund raising and overall citizen action. Hayes has been especially effective in emphasizing the importance of bear-proofing garbage containers, and she has been a perennial force in maintaining a biological and science basis for black bear harvest management in the state.
Honorary Lifetime Membership

Presented to former member agency employees, or board or commission members whose leadership helped further the mission of the association. 

  • Tod Stevenson -- Retired long-time Deputy Director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. From his start as a hatchery worker in 1977 to his role as the Department's second-in-command, his actions, accomplishments and vision as a steward of fish and wildlife resources was always illustrated by his thoughtful, deliberate approach to conservation and law enforcement. As an active association member, he was the man behind the scenes promoting and facilitating participation by many agency professionals.
  • Peter Pino -- Former member of New Mexico's State Game Commission, appointed by Governor Bill Richardson to a four-year term in 2003 during a sweeping rejuvenation of the Commission for conservation action. As an association member and leader in the Zia Pueblo, he brought valuable Native American insight to the Commissioner's Committee and other forums in the association.


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