Austin, Texas – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has presented Pheasants Forever’s Dave Nomsen with a National Great Blue Heron Award in recognition of his wetland and waterfowl conservation work. Nomsen, who is Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Vice President of Government Affairs, received the award yesterday at the Waterfowl Working Group meeting of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies gathering in Austin, Texas.
The National Great Blue Heron Award recognizes participants whose activities with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee results in substantial benefits to waterfowl and other wetland-associated migratory bird populations of North America over a long period of time. Nomsen has been a conservation leader on a national scale for nearly two decades, with his work extending beyond pheasants, quail and other upland birds to a wide array of wildlife.
Nomsen’s influence helped shape the last three federal Farm Bills – 1996, 2002, & 2008 – and he became one of the nation’s loudest voices in support of the Conservation Reserve Program’s (CRP) wildlife legacy. CRP land in the Prairie Pothole Region of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana and North and South Dakota is some of the most productive waterfowl habitat in the world, contributing more than 2 million ducks annually. Most recently, Nomsen helped the creation of a new CRP practice called Conservation Practice 38, better known as the State Acres For wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) practice, which has allowed many states to create new wildlife and wetland conservation initiatives. And through his leadership, local Pheasants Forever chapters have restored 60,000 acres of wetlands across America.
Nomsen has also served on North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Council since 1999. His first appointment by the Secretary of the Interior under President Clinton and then subsequent re-appointments by President Bush’s administration showcased Nomsen’s ability to bridge parties in the name of conservation.
“Wetlands and waterfowl conservation have always been as near and dear to my heart as upland conservation – both are equally important, and equally connected,” said Nomsen, who points to his early work with the with South Dakota’s Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit as the source of his most important knowledge about wetlands. “While this award is quite an honor, it is ultimately reflective of the passion of the 125,000 Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever members across the country. It’s an honor to represent a group of such dedicated conservationists.”
Past recipients of the National Great Blue Heron recognition have included former Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Chairmen Jim Range, U.S. Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Delta Waterfowl Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.
Nomsen is a Clear Lake, Iowa native, where his father, Richard Nomsen, was the chief pheasant biologist for the Iowa Conservation Commission (now the Iowa Department of Natural Resources). Nomsen received a master’s in wildlife management from South Dakota State University. He has been with Pheasants Forever since 1992, where he began as Pheasants Forever’s wildlife biologist for Minnesota. He makes his home in Garfield, Minnesota, with his wife, Melanie, and his Labrador retriever, Nellie, and Springer Spaniel, Little TR.