Conservation NW’s Science and Conservation Director Honored by Peers

Conservation NW’s Science and Conservation Director Honored by Peers

Conservation Northwest / May 24, 2023 / Forest Field Program, Restoring Wildlife

Grand Mound, WA – Our Senior Science and Conservation Director, Dave Werntz, was recognized for his outstanding collaborative work with wildlife partners at last month’s annual Washington Chapter Wildlife Society conference. He was named this year’s winner of the Partnership Award, which recognizes an outstanding accomplishment by a person or organization for working with and establishing partnerships that otherwise would not have existed or functioned as well without their initiative and which has resulted in significant advancement of wildlife conservation.

CNW Science and Conservation Senior Director, Dave Werntz

Dave Werntz has been an effective champion for wildlife and habitat for three decades.  He began working for Conservation Northwest in 1994 and has partnered with numerous agencies and organizations over his career to promote wildlife conservation. Groups he has partnered with include the Washington Department Fish and Wildlife, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Colville Tribes, Upper Columbia United Tribes, Okanagan Nation Alliance, Calgary Zoo, B.C. and Alberta Ministry of Environment, B.C. and Alberta Trappers Associations, University of Washington, and many others.

Recent examples of Dave’s achievements include the effort to transplant Canada lynx to the southern Kettle Range on the Colville Reservation, with the second year just completed. This effort aims to transplant ten lynx a year for five years. Dave initiated this effort and finessed it forward. Dave played a similar role with WDFW and NPS in the partnership that reintroduced fisher into the Olympics and North and South Cascades, with releases starting in 2008 and continuing successfully through 2021. When you think of the diverse partners, as well as diverse challenges, these are astounding partnership-development achievements.

In all his work, Dave remains a dedicated scientist and enthusiastic conservationist. Dave stays current on the scientific literature and maintains relationships with researchers and managers. He cultivates partnerships with a wide variety of interests and responsibilities and has earned their trust. His leadership, insights, knowledge, and passion have made him a conservation leader and a passionate advocate for wildlife and biodiversity. Not all the people Dave deals with share his views or the views of his organization, but they know that Dave comes from a place of knowledge, integrity, public service, and persistence.

As one of his partners said, “Dave is a tireless and tremendously skilled collaborator and partner in the conservation of wildlife and wild places in Washington, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond. Dave’s leadership, insights, knowledge, and passion have been the hallmarks and essential building blocks for the successes and achievements of Washington’s three fisher reintroduction projects. In his position as the Science and Conservation Director for Conservation Northwest, Dave also brings the unique values and capacities of a highly respected non-profit organization to the Washington fisher conservation team, and we are grateful to call him our partner and our friend.”

Conservation Northwest is proud to have such a tireless champion for wildlife leading our work in this field. We thank our colleagues at The Wildlife Society for honoring his decades of work protecting and restoring Washington’s wildlife.

Our Science and Conservation Director, Dave Werntz, helps conduct a health screening of a sedated Canada lynx prior to its release in the Kettle Range. Photo: Colville Tribes

Dave Werntz leads our Forest Field Program with a focus on national forests and forest collaboration. He also manages numerous other conservation initiatives, including Fisher ReintroductionCanada lynx and wolverine recovery work, and representation on the state’s Wildlife Diversity Advisory Council and Washington Prescribed Fire Council.

Dave is a forest ecologist and field biologist long involved in Pacific Northwest conservation efforts. He received an M.S. in Forest Ecology and Conservation Biology from University of Washington and a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Grinnell College in Iowa. Originally from the Great Lakes region, Dave found home in the vast biologically diverse landscapes of the West. Before joining Conservation Northwest, Dave supported research on waterfowl in Alaska, northern spotted owls in the Cascades, old-growth forests in the Olympics and eastern Oregon, and large wood in the Queets Rainforest.