For Immediate Release 11-13
Contacts: Brett Kitchen, Environmental Law Institute; 202-939-3833; firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Curtis, Department of State Lands; 503-986-5298; email@example.com
Janet Morlan's 21 years lauded for sound science and strong policy,
making Oregon a national example for wetland conservation
Washington, DC - The Environmental Law Institute on March 31 announced that Janet Morlan, state wetlands program manager for the Oregon Department of State Lands, received the 2011 National Wetlands Award for State, Tribal, and Local Program Development.
Colleagues credit Ms. Morlan's leadership in pioneering wetland assessment methods and advancing sound mitigation policies, and commend her willingness to make the extra effort to ensure that government programs are implemented effectively. When recent federal efforts to make wetland delineation standards region-specific lacked funding to train wetland consultants and federal and state officials, Ms. Morlan initiated and trained 300 government staff and wetland consultants to ensure the new standards were understood.
"Janet has tirelessly led many different teams and efforts in developing guidelines for wetland inventories and assessment methods that are widely used," said Mirth Walker, senior wetland scientist for SWCA Environmental Consultants in Portland. "She has always been accessible and I have appreciated her endeavors to build consensus amongst wetland professionals expressing differing opinions."
A recent example of Morlan's work is her involvement in the Oregon Rapid Wetlands Assessment Protocol, a valuable tool for assessing wetlands in the field. She also leads a team of six professional wetlands program staff who review approximately 350 wetland delineation reports yearly; work with local governments on preparing local wetland inventories and natural resource protection programs; work with other state and federal agencies to improve wetland conservation and protection; and help property owners identify wetlands on their land.
"Part of our work is to reach out to local governments, economic development interests and property owners to build awareness of the importance of wetlands and where they're located," said Morlan. "Preparing local wetland inventories and taking other proactive steps to get ahead of the permit process makes a lot of sense - for communities, for businesses, and for the agencies charged with protecting Oregon's natural resources."
Morlan, a Corvallis resident, has been with the Department of State Lands' wetlands program since December 1989, just after the Oregon Legislature passed the Wetlands Conservation Act. She was hired as an inventory specialist and moved into a managerial position in 1997.
"Janet is a strong advocate for Oregon's wetlands, and the state is lucky to have her," said Louise Solliday, Director of the Department of State Lands. "She's one of those rare professionals who have the ability to blend scientific rigor with a friendly communication style. It's no surprise that Janet's hard work has been recognized by the Environmental Law Institute. She very much deserves this national award for her achievements."
Morlan also is known for her many years of volunteer service with national and regional wetlands organizations. She is president-elect of the Society of Wetland Scientists Professional Certification Program. She is also a past president of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Society of Wetland Scientists, and served as chair of the international SWS education and outreach committee for many years. She also serves on the board of the Association of State Wetland Managers.
"This award recognizes many years of hard work by numerous individuals," Morlan said. "I'm grateful to receive this award on behalf of all who have worked so hard to develop a strong wetlands program in Oregon."
The National Wetlands Awards program is administered by the Environmental Law Institute and supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Forest Service, and Federal Highway Administration. A committee of wetland experts representing federal and state agencies, academia, conservation organizations and the private sector selects the award recipients.
Landon Yoder: (202) 939-3829
Environmental Law Institute
2000 L Street, NW, Suite 620
Washington, DC 20036
The Environmental Law Institute is an independent, non-profit research and educational organization based in Washington, D.C. The Institute serves the environmental profession in business, government, the private bar, public interest organizations, academia, and the press.
The Department of State Lands administers diverse natural and fiscal resources. Many of the resources generate revenue for the Common School Fund, such as state-owned rangelands and timberlands, waterway leases, estates for which no will or heirs exist, and unclaimed property. Twice a year, the agency distributes fund investment earnings to support K-12 public schools. The agency also administers Oregon's Removal-Fill Law, which requires people removing or filling certain amounts of material in waters of the state to obtain a permit.