USFWS honors AFCEC SME with natural resources award
By Jennifer Schneider, AFCEC Environmental Directorate
/ Published May 27, 2021
USFWS honors Porteck with Regional Director’s Conservation Award
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is presenting Kevin Porteck, Air Force Civil Engineer Center natural resources subject matter expert, with a Regional Director’s Conservation Award next month for his conservation work and partnership efforts with the USFWS.
Each year, the USFWS recognizes individuals who make significant contributions to their conservation mission. This year, the South Atlantic-Gulf and Mississippi Basin regions chose Porteck for recognition.
“(The award is) for being an outstanding conservation partner resulting in on- and off-installation species recovery efforts,” said Leopoldo Miranda-Castro, USFWS regional director. “Conservation partner awards acknowledge significant contribution and willingness to work with the service toward the conservation of natural resources in the Southeast.”
Porteck is grateful for the acknowledgement.
“I’m very honored – not only for receiving the award, but also for recognition of the great partnership we have built with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the great things we are accomplishing together,” Porteck said.
The USFWS shared several reasons why Porteck was chosen for recognition.
“Kevin is receiving the award because, simply put, he is an extraordinary and outstanding conservation partner,” said Gian Basili, USFWS deputy state supervisor in Florida. “He has utilized direction from the Sikes Act to build and enhance the partnership between the Air Force and USFWS.”
One of Porteck’s most recent accomplishments was supporting reforestation efforts in Florida.
“He championed an extraordinary response to the catastrophic impacts to forest ecosystems at Tyndall Air Force Base following Hurricane Michael, to include timber salvage, site prep and planned replanting that accelerated longleaf restoration from 35 years to 4 to 5 years,” Basili said.
Porteck has also helped set the standard for Department of Defense conservation partnerships with federal and state partners, Basili said.
“He funded an innovative strategic plan in Florida to achieve military readiness through conservation partnerships,” Basili said. “This plan created a landscape-scale approach to achieving conservation objectives for the Air Force that is becoming a national model for partnerships between DoD branches and state and federal partners. It was also a foundational component of an application to designate the Northwest Florida Sentinel Landscape.”
Porteck’s efforts to conserve and enhance populations of threatened and endangered species on and adjacent to Air Force installations was cited as yet another reason.
He led efforts to enhance and facilitate the use of prescribed fire as a management tool, and championed numerous innovative conservation projects for species such as the Florida scrub-jay, Florida grasshopper sparrow, red-cockaded woodpecker, reticulated flatwoods salamander, indigo snake, gopher tortoise, several sub species of beach mice, and many other plants and animals.
“I am so pleased to see Kevin recognized by the USFWS for his extensive accomplishments,” said Jeffrey Domm, AFCEC Environmental Management director. “His unflagging efforts and our USFWS partnership will continue to have a positive and lasting impact on our warfighters, communities and environment.”