The Family Water Alliance (FWA), based in Maxwell, has been presented the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s rarely given and coveted NOAA Environmental Stewardship Award for leadership in the screening of agricultural diversions to protect endangered and threatened fish species.
The award was presented on May 25th by NOAA’s Steve Edmondson, Northern California Supervisor for the NOAA Habitat Conservation Division, NOAA Fisheries Southwest Region, at the dedication ceremony for a new fish screen at Davis Ranches, located on the Sacramento River in Colusa County.
The NOAA Fisheries Environmental Stewardship Award (‘ESA Award’) acknowledges and gives recognition to pro-active, volunteer fish screening efforts (and other good acts of stewardship) in the Central Valley. It is a symbol of good faith and appreciation to private landowners who have worked with NOAA Fisheries, an environmental regulatory agency. It carries the signature of a senior NOAA official, currently the NOAA Fisheries Southwest Regional Administrator.
Previously, three different Regional Administrators signed the ESA Awards over a period of several years, including Bill Hogarth who now heads up all of NMFS. Previous award recipients included GCID and RD108 when they completed their large fish screen projects.
Edmondson said that it has been several years since we have given this award, but we felt that Family Water Alliance was the group most deserving of this award and that this event was a good time to present them the award.
He said the award was given in recognition of FWA’s liaison leadership with government agencies and agriculture to make the Sacramento River Small Diversion Fish Screen Program a success.
“This leadership allows the Family Water Alliance to create a win-win situation by recognizing the need for screening and identifying funding for the screens.”
Edmondson said, “We wouldn’t have the fish screen program without the Family Water Alliance.”
The NOAA Environmental Stewardship Award was also presented to Davis Ranches, the landowners who installed the newest fish screen, for “outstanding environmental stewardship,” and to Intake Screens, Inc., of Sacramento, which has developed a state-of-the-art, self-cleaning fish screen.
Rick Wantuck, who heads a NOAA hydraulic engineer team, specializing in fish screens, said the award to FWA recognizes “a very successful fish screen program, not only the latest success, but all of the 21 screens installed to date.”
Wantuck said one of the key factors in the success is that FWA and Intake Screens, Inc., “realized they needed each other and their relationship has made the program uniquely successful.”
He said the FWA has helped many partners to find common ground and that “this is a reason to celebrate. NOAA can certainly salute the Family Water Alliance for this accomplishment.”