Oregon Biologists Recognized for Relationship-Based Conservation

IWJV Board Chairman Jeff McCreary and IWJV Coordinator Dave Smith present Craig Foster and Marty St. Louis with Conservation Partner Awards at IWJV's Fall Board Meeting.


Over the past 16 years, Craig Foster and Marty St. Louis with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) have built a successful history of collaborating with key conservation partners on a diverse array of habitat enhancement projects in Oregon. The IWJV is thrilled to present the 2015 Conservation Partner Award to these individuals for their outstanding contributions. 

The Conservation Partner Award recognizes exemplary achievements for an IWJV-sponsored project or initiative, and/or those that have played an instrumental role in advancing strategic, landscape-scale habitat conservation. Craig and Marty’s extensive experience with diverse stakeholders on natural resource issues in Lake County, a key IWJV priority area within the larger Southern Oregon-Northeastern California (SONEC) landscape, helps bring invaluable partners to the table.

Craig and Marty are skilled in establishing productive relationships with private landowners, state and federal agencies, and non-profit organizations. This foundation of trust and credibility has played a significant positive role in the successful on-the-ground delivery of initiatives such as the Sage Grouse Initiative, IWJV’s Working Wet Meadows Initiative and the Oregon Mule Deer Initiative.

Examples of their leadership in conservation include cooperation with livestock producers to remove invasive junipers on over 23,000 acres of prime sage grouse habitat in Lake County, and the recent collaborations with Oregon Public Broadcasting Service to produce a documentary film that raises public awareness on the waterbird values of Summer Lake Wildlife Management Area.

Other noteworthy work includes their integral work in providing technical expertise to Ducks Unlimited (DU) and partners to secure four North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) Standard Grants in Lake County. The partnership leveraged $4,000,000 in NAWCA funds with $6,040,217 in non-federal match. These grants resulted in the restoration and enhancement of over 19,000 acres of public and private wetland and upland habitat in a key focus area within SONEC.

“Craig and Marty have played a vital role in the Lake County conservation success story,” said Chris Colson, DU. “They have lived and worked in Lake County for many decades and they have used this experience to educate newer partners on the biological, social and economic issues impacting natural resource conservation in this working lands environment.”

The foundation of trust and credibility that they have built has been a key factor in the overall success of long-standing conservation throughout SONEC.