Pheasants Forever biologist recognized for wetlands work

ST. PAUL, MN -- Pheasants Forever's (PF) Barth Crouch, of Salina, has been named the Wetland Community Leader by the Environmental Law Institute as a part of their 2005 National Wetlands Awards. The award recognizes Crouch's leadership in the conservation of Kansas' wetlands. Crouch will receive the award and be honored at a Capitol Hill presentation on May 18 in Washington, D.C.

The National Wetlands Awards Program celebrates individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary dedication, innovation, or excellence in wetlands conservation. Overall, there will be seven people recognized as part of the awards program. Crouch is the first PF staffer to be recognized by the program that is co-sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Federal Highway Administration, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Crouch was recognized with the Wetlands Community Leader Award for his work in promoting wetlands in Kansas. He is the secretary/treasurer and co-founder of the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) as well as a board member and vice-chairman for the Playa Lakes Joint Venture (PLJV). Over the years, Crouch has helped KAWS and PLJV expand the scope of their missions and impacts on playas. Recently, Crouch spearheaded a successful effort to pass a new Conservation Reserve Program practice -- CP23a -- which allows wetlands outside the 100-year floodplain to be enrolled in the program. This practice is expected to have long-term benefits for playa lakes and other non-floodplain wetlands.

Crouch currently serves as PF's regional wildlife biologist for Kansas. He joined PF in 1990, serving PF chapters in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana. In Colorado, he helped PF to forge a partnership with the Colorado Division of Wildlife known as Pheasant Habitat Improvement Program (PHIP). PHIP's habitat cornerstone is the planting of plum thickets for winter shelter belts. These thicket plantings have been extremely beneficial for Colorado's wildlife. He currently works with PF's 37 Kansas chapters, helping them raise and expend funds to improve wildlife habitat in Kansas. Crouch is also active in PF's support for the conservation component of the Federal Farm Bill.

Crouch is a Wall, South Dakota, native. He received a B.S. from South Dakota State University in wildlife and fisheries sciences. Prior to joining PF, he worked for the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department as an assistant regional supervisor 15 years. He currently lives in Salina.
For additional information about Pheasants Forever, go to their website, www.pheasantsforever.org .