Ruth Welch praised the awardees’ outstanding achievements in wildlife conservation. “Your commitment to natural resource work ensures that our public lands most precious living asset—its fish and wildlife resources—is sustained for the enjoyment of generations of land users. The BLM needs its natural resource professionals to demonstrate their passion and expertise that will inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”
Brandon McDonald of the BLM Utah Vernal Field Office received the “Jim Yoakum Emerging Leader Award.” This award is given in honor of Jim Yoakum, the BLM’s first wildlife biologist. Jim published the first brochure featuring wildlife on public lands and taught and mentored dozens of young biologists.
Brandon has demonstrated excellent leadership in wildlife conservation through valuable work with a variety of partners including the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, United States Forest Service, and United States Fish and Wildlife Service and by managing the White-tailed Prairie Dog/Black Footed Ferret program in his office. His diverse workload includes federally listed and sensitive fish species in the upper Colorado River Basin and mitigating impacts of energy development to important fish and wildlife species on public lands. Brandon also worked with partners to protect reptiles, amphibians, raptors, and sage-grouse.
Craig Johnson of the BLM Idaho Cottonwood Field Office received the “Linda Siebert Career Achievement Award.” This award is given in order of Linda Siebert, one of the BLM’s finest biologists. Throughout her 22-year career, Linda worked tirelessly for habitat protection and restoration. She also dedicated her career towards building bridges between people and organizations interested in public lands management.
For more than 40 years, Craig has worked for the BLM, demonstrating his passion for natural resource issues on public lands through on-the-ground project work and successful collaboration with partners. Beginning his career as dual-role biologist for both fisheries and wildlife at the
BLM’s Cottonwood Field Office in 1973, Craig has dedicated his career to recovery of federally listed Chinook and sockeye salmon and steelhead trout by focusing on small tributaries that support spawning and rearing habitat. He has also worked for the preservation of valuable wildlife, most notably the bighorn sheep, whose populations within the Cottonwood Field Office are one of the last remaining in the Salmon River watershed.