A Shelton man was among the individuals and groups recently honored by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife during its 2015 citizen awards ceremony.
Bill Young, a Shelton resident now in his 70s, was recognized as a “volunteer of the year.” A retired fish biologist and ecologist, Young has conducted a census of wild coastal cutthroat trout spawning in Skookum Creek and other Mason County streams for more than 10 years.
“Young’s collaboration with the department on the study of in-stream water flow needs of sea-run cutthroat provides a clearer picture of the habitat requirements of this species,” Steve Boessow, a natural resource scientist with the department, said in a news release.
The Washington Trail Blazers, a club devoted to alpine fishing for public enjoyment, earned an “organization of the year” award. Thanks to the efforts of about 50 volunteers, the group stocks fish in about 120 lakes per year. Founded more than 80 years ago, Trail Blazers work crews regularly make long treks up mountain paths to create distinctive fishing opportunities, maintain trails to high lakes and monitor fish health.
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Another organization honored during this year’s ceremony was the SeaDoc Society , a program of the Karen C. Drayer Wildlife Health Center at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
Headquartered on Orcas Island, the society was recognized for its efforts to protect Washington’s saltwater habitats and wildlife. Its work includes data gathering, mapping and analysis on issues such as derelict fishing gear, marine bird population declines, orca whale disease, forage fish spawning areas and the status of tufted puffins, according to the release.
Dr. Eric Johnson, an anesthesiologist from Spokane, was “volunteer of the year” honoree, recognized for work to establish emergency response protocols for accidental human exposure to veterinary drugs department staff use to capture wildlife.
Landowner of the year was Mark Schmid of Trout Lake, honored for building relationships between hunters and private landowners, facilitating access to hunting on his land and other properties, and for his work with the department on new elk damage mitigation techniques to protect crops.
Rick Webber of Snohomish received the Terry Hoffer Memorial Firearm Safety Award. The award honors Hoffer, state Fish and Wildlife officer who was fatally wounded in 1984 by a hunter accidentally discharging his firearm. Nominated by others in the hunter education community, Webber was chosen for his commitment and teaching skills as a chief hunter education instructor. In addition to certifying more than 400 students in hunter education, Webber “trained the trainers,” certifying an additional 32 new hunter education instructors in 2014.