By Published On: June 1, 2019

Intermountain West Joint Venture Presents Conservation Award

Recently retired from a 42-year career in fish and wildlife management, Virgil Moore was presented the John E. Nagel Award at the IWJV Management Board meeting in Lander, WY, on April 10, 2019. Virgil has made significant contributions to the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) by serving on its Management Board from 2008 until his retirement from Idaho Department of Fish and Game in early 2019. He served as Vice Chair of the Management Board from 2011 to 2013 and was a long-standing, active member of the Communications Committee. Virgil guided the IWJV in developing a working partnership with the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) and investigating a potential partnership with the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) to unify fish and wildlife conservation efforts connected by water. Virgil also led Idaho bird conservation partners in signing a memorandum of understanding creating unified support for the Idaho Bird Conservation Partnership.

Throughout his tenure, Virgil was a leader in the range-wide conservation of Greater Sage-grouse by serving as Co-Chair on Idaho Governor Butch Otter’s Sage-grouse Task Force (2012) to develop recommendations for the Governor’s Alternative for the federal land management plan amendment to conserve the birds in Idaho. He also chaired the WAFWA Sage Grouse (now Sagebrush) Executive Oversight Committee (EOC) beginning in 2013. His leadership as EOC Chair helped guided members (state and federal) through the contentious plan amendment process that resulted in a not-warranted decision in 2015. Virgil led the evolution of the EOC from a sage grouse focus to a broader sagebrush ecosystem emphasis that encompasses more than 350 wildlife species. He also served as the Idaho representative on the Western Governors’ Association Sage Grouse Task Force. Virgil helped shepherd bird conservation efforts through WAFWA planning, funding, and outreach processes resulting in effective on-the-ground conservation such as the Greater Sage-grouse planning and Lesser Prairie-Chicken mitigation programs.

Virgil established himself as a widely recognized fish and wildlife conservation leader through his role as a state agency director (both for Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife), as a leader in WAFWA, and as President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA). Under his leadership, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game received the IWJV’s Conservation Partner Award in 2013. The Department was recognized for leadership in bird conservation by restoring Columbian sharp-tailed grouse habitat through the Conservation Reserve Program–State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement program, supporting and leveraging the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Sage Grouse Initiative to build capacity in implementing sage grouse habitat restoration, and leading implementation of science-based bird conservation.

Virgil’s long-term and unwavering commitment to conservation places him in an elite category of wildlife professionals and deserving of the IWJV’s John E. Nagel Award for exemplifying the spirit of the IWJV and efforts to conserve habitat through building public and private partnerships.Virgil’s enthusiasm for fish and wildlife conservation is contagious and his tremendous commitment to conservation is evidenced by support of the Blue Ribbon Panel which developed a proposal for sustaining all of America’s diverse fish and wildlife, leadership of the state fish and game agencies as AFWA President, and assisting in the development and support of a congressional effort that introduced legislation to create the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act which, if passed, would provide $1.3 billion annually to the states for fish and wildlife conservatio