WVDNR staff honored for contributions to expanded public lands

Gary Foster and Cliff Brown received a SEAFWA Special Recognition Award
West Virginia
Left photo: J.D. Strong (left), Director, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation; Cliff Brown (center), Award Recipient; Eric Sutton (right), President, SEAFWA 
Right photo: J.D. Strong (left), Director, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation; Gary Foster (center), Award Recipient; Eric Sutton (right), President, SEAFWA 

Two retired West Virginia Division of Natural Resources staff members were honored this week by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies for their work expanding wildlife management areas in the state by more than 100,000 acres.

Gary Foster, retired assistant chief of game management, and Cliff Brown, retired environmental resource analyst, received a Special Recognition Award this week at the association’s conference in Charleston. 

"Gary Foster and Cliff Brown were primarily responsible for the success of major land acquisition and conservation efforts in West Virginia and we are proud to see them get the recognition they deserve for their years of hard work and service," said Paul Johansen, chief of the WVDNR's Wildlife Resources Section.

Foster was responsible for acquiring and enrolling more than 87,500 acres of public lands into the state's wildlife management area program, which resulted in the creation of 11 new WMAs, expansion of 22 existing WMAs and expansion of an existing state forest. This included fee acquisition and conservation easements at a cost of approximately $47.8 million.

Brown worked with natural gas pipeline developers to negotiate approximately $29.3 million in voluntary mitigation contributions designed to offset impacts associated with interstate pipeline development to core forest habitats, migratory birds and selected species of bats. He also worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, Dominion Energy Transmission, Inc., TC Energy and The Conservation Fund to to acquire more than 17,000 acres of public land and expand WMAs in the state.

West Virginia manages 95 wildlife management areas, which are open to the public for hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation. For more information about hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities at each WMA, visit WVdnr.gov.