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April 26, 2011

State forester DeLong named "Conservationist of the Year"

STEVENS POINT, Wis. -- The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the state's largest conservation organization, has named Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry administrator Paul DeLong the federation's "Conservationist of the Year." The formal presentation of the award was made at the federation's annual meeting on April 9, in Stevens Point.

"Paul DeLong...has done an excellent job in leading Wisconsin's highly successful forestry program and assuring the sound management of Wisconsin forests for both today and for future generations," said Jack Nissen, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation president. "Wisconsin's forests are a major factor supporting Wisconsin's fish and wildlife, our papermaking and printing industries, and our highly-important tourism industry."

In accepting this honor, DeLong shared the recognition with those he works with in the Forestry Division and its partner programs: "The hard work and dedication of my colleagues here at DNR is in large measure responsible for these accomplishments and, therefore, they deserve to be co-recipients of this award. It takes a team effort to successfully accomplish our work here."

DeLong has overseen the completion of the Statewide Forestry Plan; has obtained the green certification of Wisconsin's public and private forests; has worked to maintain large blocks of forestland and minimized development in the wildland-urban interface; has explored possibilities for expanding the use of forest biomass for energy; and addressed the increasing threat of invasive species in Wisconsin's forests.

Bayer receives warden of year award

Jason Bayer, a DNR conservation warden stationed in Price County, received the "Warden of the Year" award. Bayer helped the Phillips Cub Scouts get hooked on fishing, allowed citizens to ride-along on shifts, and waded through complex game investigations in 2010. Bayer hosts an annual learn-to-hunt turkey program and added a learn-to-hunt bear program in 2009. Bayer hosted a "Get Hooked on Fishing" event for the Phillips Cub Scout troop, as well as numerous safety presentations on hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, all-terrain vehicle operation and boating.

Vetrano receives water conservationist of the year award

Dave Vetrano, a recently retired DNR fish manager for 33 years stationed at La Crosse, received the "Water Conservationist" honor. In 1983 Vetrano pioneered the idea of stocking the local trout streams with fingerlings raised from wild trout rather than hatchery fish. This resulted in a survival rate improvement of 6-1 and made many of the streams self-sustaining once again. Vetrano also developed a new system for bank stabilization. Working on flood-prone streams in the hill country of Western Wisconsin, he created what is called the "the Little Underwater Neighborhood Keepers Encompassing Rheotaxic Salmonids" or "Lunkers." The result was increased trout populations.

The Wisconsin Wildlife Federation is comprised of 160 hunting, fishing, trapping and forestry-related organization and is dedicated to conservation education and the advancement of sound conservation polices. Through its Conservation Achievement Awards, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation honors individuals, affiliates, businesses, organizations and others for their outstanding contribution to conservation and conservation products.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: George Meyer, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation Executive Director - (608)-516-5545

Last Revised: Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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