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Appalachian Conservation Heroes Retiring

This year we say goodbye to a number of individuals who were instrumental in the development and growth of landscape conservation in the Appalachians.

For decades, they have been conservation heroes that have improved terrestrial and aquatic environments in the Appalachians for many wildlife and people. We are thankful for their commitment to Appalachian conservation and indebted to them for sharing their expertise and passion with us.

Bill Reeves: Bill Reeves was another vital Steering Committee member for years and the Chief of Biodiversity with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) where he administered the state wildlife grant, ESA Section 6 and wildlife diversity programs. He was instrumental in sharing the Cooperative’s science, resources, and tools to partners throughout the state of Tennessee. He helped to put on one of our first science delivery workshops with TWRA and its partners, demonstrating the need behind working at a landscape scale to better plan and manage and how Appalachian LCC derived tools and resources can enhance collaboration between federal, state, and local entities and aid conservation planning efforts that transcend state lines. In his over 40 years of experience, Reeves held positions of Chief of Fisheries (TWRA), Assistant Chief of Fisheries, Community Lakes Supervisor, and District Fisheries Biologist (Alabama Game and Fish Division). Reeves is a Certified Fisheries Scientist and served as the President of the Alabama Fisheries Association, Chairman of the Mississippi Interstate Resources Association (MICRA), co-founder and co-chair of the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP), and member of the core team for the National Fish Habitat Initiative.

Roberta Hylton: Roberta, the Supervisory Fish and Wildlife Biologist out of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Virginia Ecological Services Office, was a key voice of conservation and partnerships in the Tennessee River Basin. She helped to spearhead the Conservation Strategy for the Upper Tennessee River Basin, which is designed to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service better integrate its efforts internally and with local partners in identifying aquatic species conservation objectives for 36 imperiled freshwater fish and mussel species as well as recommending a management approach for conserving and recovering prioritized species and locations across the basin. Roberta’s conservation career spanned 40 years, with 23 out of the Southwestern Virginia field office. “I have loved this job and have appreciated the chance to work with so many other great folks in the Upper Tennessee River Basin, the Southern Appalachians, and across the nation.”

Patricia Morrison: During her tenure as the wildlife biologist for the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Patricia Morrison worked tirelessly to secure partnerships and funding to advance the recovery of imperiled mussel species including pink mucket, clubshell, orange-foot pimpleback, spectaclecase, purple cat's paw pearlymussel, northern riffleshell, fanshell, ring pink, white wartyback, and sheepnose. Her work led to significant conservation milestones including the establishment of new mussel populations and advances in propagation techniques such as the first ever in-vitro propagation of orange-foot pimpleback. These efforts greatly reduced extinction likelihood by addressing population decline and population fragmentation for these species.

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