Alaska Region ● P.O. Box 21668 ● Juneau, Alaska 99802-1668
Contact:  Carol Tocco Immediate Release
Date: June 16, 2000
(907) 586-7032

Three Alaskans Receive NOAA Environmental Hero Awards

John Gauvin, director of the Groundfish Forum Inc., Tuck Donnelly, founder of Northwest Food Strategies, and Kelly Wolk, Director of the Alaska Youth Restoration Corps have been named Environmental Heros by NOAA Fisheries. Gauvin and Donnelly received their awards from Alaska Regional Administrator, Jim Balsiger at a recent meeting of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council. Dan Vos, from the NOAA Fisheries Habitat division in Anchorage, presented the award to Wolf at a youth appreciation day on June 8.

“Each of these individuals has dedicated their time and expertise in ways that we all benefit from” said Balsiger. “We sincerely appreciate their efforts and accomplishments which assist us in fulfilling the mission of NOAA Fisheries.”

Vice President Al Gore sent each of the Environmental Heroes a personal letter of congratulations. “I greatly appreciate your dedication in helping to protect our nation’s environment.” States Gore “…please know that by volunteering your time and energy, you are part of a large worldwide community dedicated to building a legacy that will last for centuries.”

As director of Groundfish Forum, Gauvin represents trawl companies that fish for flatfish, Atka mackerel, and Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. His initiative to promote and undertake actions to assess habitat impacts of fishing activity, reduce bycatch through effective incentive programs and innovative gear research, and his credible and professional input into the Council process has proved helpful to NOAA Fisheries and to the trawl fishery participants he represents. Gauvin has shown a recognition of the importance of resource conservation and keeping an open approach to working with regulators, government officials and the public in order to keep the fishing industry economically viable in the years to come.

Donnelly is a former commercial fishing vessel captain and founder of Northwest Food Strategies, a non-profit group that donates fish to hunger relief agencies in the Pacific Northwest. He worked with NOAA Fisheries to establish a seafood donation program made up of halibut and salmon collected as bycatch from the North Pacific trawl fishery, and previously thrown overboard under bycatch management rules. Since the program has been fully implemented in 1998, it has supplied over 1.8 million meals to people in need.

Wolf is director of the Alaska Youth Restoration Corps, a non-profit organization established in 1997 to promote environmental stewardship in local youth while restoring riparian habitat along anadromous fish streams on public lands. Increasingly popular fishing spots have contributed to severe erosion from food traffic and boat wake action. Wolf’s work with the youth helps conserve and protect one of Alaska’s greatest resources, as well as heightens the conservation ethic within communities by promoting a stewardship role for local youth who are helping to restore these anadromous fish resources.

This is the fifth consecutive year in which NOAA has recognized local citizens throughout the United States who have contributed to the protection and preservation of the nation’s environment.