Salt Lake City, Utah – During the Conservation Banquet at the 2020 Western Hunting & Conservation Expo, Mule Deer Foundation President/CEO Miles Moretti presented Casey Stemler with the organization’s prestigious President’s Award. This award is given to those individuals who have made a substantial contribution to not only the Mule Deer Foundation but to mule deer and black-tailed deer conservation. Casey has served for the last two years as the coordinator implementing the Department of the Interior’s Secretarial Order 3362 on big game winter range and migration corridors.
“It was my honor to present the 2020 MDF President’s Award to Casey Stemler for his passion and dedication to ensuring DOI Secretarial Order 3362 is being implemented effectively on the ground,” Moretti said. “Casey has a long history of working on wildlife conservation issues at the federal policy level and leading landscape habitat conservation of migratory birds. Through his leadership, more than $22 million has been directed by the DOI toward research of priority migration corridors and the conservation of key seasonal habitats. It has been a pleasure working with him on this critical issue since SO3362 was signed two years ago at the Western Hunting & Conservation Expo.”
Many mule deer populations are declining in the West and understanding where to target conservation efforts to the areas that are most important to these animals will help ensure they have the resources they need to survive. Through the leadership and support of the DOI, the 11 western states named in the SO have developed state action plans to identify priority migration corridors or winter range areas and the research and habitat restoration that are needed for their conservation.
“I am very surprised and humbled to be recognized by the Mule Deer Foundation,” commented Stemler. “We have a lot of work to do, however this conservation effort and the accomplishments we have experienced to date would not be possible without the support of Secretary Bernhardt and, most importantly, the trust and commitment shown by the 11 state fish and wildlife agency directors and their dedicated staff.”
During Hunt Expo, DOI announced an additional $3.2 million of funding to support state wildlife agency research priorities in order to get more accurate and timely data on mule deer, elk, and pronghorn movement patterns. Since the SO was signed, $6.4 million has been granted to fund state-defined priority research projects and DOI has made another $1.4 million available over two years to assist state wildlife agencies with big game movement data analysis and corridor mapping. In addition, almost $14.4 million has been matched in partnership-assisted grant funding for direct habitat conservation in support of the Order and funding has been provided for private landowner conservation efforts through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. MDF has received two grants to support mule deer migration and winter range projects in Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana and has applied for a third grant to expand work in Idaho.
“Casey’s hard work has kept migration corridors as a high priority with the state and federal agencies and wildlife conservation groups. This is one of the top issues for our organization and I was pleased to recognize him for his leadership,” concluded Moretti.
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and conserving mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of men, women and youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved in your state or become a member at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.