News & Resolutions

Volunteer Advocate for Inland Artificial Reef Creation Selected for Governor’s Conservation Award

February 7, 2013 10:30 AM

John Walther of Thibodaux, a long-time volunteer with CCA Louisiana who has been the guiding force behind 11 unique artificial reef deployments across Louisiana’s coast, has been chosen to receive the Governor's Award – Conservationist of the Year for 2012. 

The award, a handsome statuette of a bald eagle, will be presented the evening of Saturday, February 23 at a festive banquet held in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife Federation's 74th convention February 22 - 24 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Baton Rouge.  The banquet master of ceremonies will be Dr. Rex Caffey, Director of the Center for Natural Resource Economics and Policy at Louisiana Sea Grant and LSU AgCenter.

The Governor’s Award is presented annually to the person or organization deemed to have made the most outstanding contribution toward the protection and wise use of the state's natural resources among nominees submitted by the public.  The selection for this and five other awards was made by a panel of independent judges with expertise in a wide range of conservation fields. The Governor’s State Conservation Achievement Awards program is hosted by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the awards are presented jointly with the National Wildlife Federation.

Walther also pioneered the use of recycled concrete materials in recent artificial reef projects in Louisiana, including the “Brad Vincent Reef” in Calcasieu Lake and the “Buras High School Reef” in Breton Sound completed in 2012. He has been a driving force behind the annual Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program.

One other individual, three organizations and one business will also be recognized by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation for their outstanding conservation achievements last year.  They are:

Michael Balboni of Alexandria, Forest Supervisor of Kisatchie National Forest, for managing successful conservation improvements, including the recent preservation of natural prairies in Winn Parish and a highly successful banding and protection program for endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers;

The website, created by youths Rory McCracken and Maeve McCracken of Baton Rouge to raise money for wildlife recovery efforts in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, who also published “G is for Gulf,” a wildlife education book for children;

St. Mary Parish 4-H and St. Mary Parish Black Bear Conflict Office's black bear awareness project for creating a collaborative multi-year educational and outreach initiative to youth and citizens in St. Mary Parish about the recovery efforts of the endangered black bear population;

Bayou Grace Community Services of Chauvin for mobilizing citizens both locally and nationally in volunteer projects, advocacy and education efforts to support restoration of the Barataria and Terrebonne estuaries;

Marsh Dog, LLC of Baton Rouge for establishing a business that produces high-quality dog treats made from nutria meat, which is creating a stronger demand for nutria to help reduce the negative impact of nutria on coastal marsh vegetation.

The Louisiana Wildlife Federation is a statewide conservation education and advocacy organization with more than 10,000 members and 27 affiliate groups.  Established in 1940, it is affiliated with the National Wildlife Federation and represents a broad constituency of conservationists including hunters, fishers, campers, birders, boaters, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Contact:    Rebecca Triche, 225-344-6707,  225-362-9007 (cell),

Edit made on 2/13/2013 to add "Thibodaux" as John Walther's home city.

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