Celebrating Glenn Elison’s Conservation Legacy

Rising up on the shore of Lengthy Island Sound in Connecticut, my brother and I usually performed the sport “If you happen to needed to be stranded on a desert island with just one different individual, who would it not be?” We might see a number of islands from our home—Plum Island, Gardiners Island, Fishers Island—and I’m positive that was what helped stimulate our imaginations. Properly, half a century later, I can inform you with out reservation who that individual can be now—Glenn Elison.

Glenn Elison DSC 0192 editedGlenn Elison. Picture courtesy Wilson Hughes.

Glenn is probably the most resourceful, resilient, educated, and entertaining individual I do know. He’s as sturdy as an ox and as intellectually curious as an Oxford Don. He has a eager thoughts for problem-solving and boundless creativity. And on high of that, he’s enjoyable and real in a means that too few persons are.

These traits made Glenn a superb chief contained in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and, after he came visiting to The Conservation Fund, as our State Director in Alaska. As well as, as many have skilled, they made him some of the succesful wilderness leaders on the planet. Those that have labored with him to preserve massive elements of Alaska, particularly within the Arctic and in Bristol Bay, or have been on a float journey with him on a number of of the rivers of southwest Alaska, certainly are nodding their heads proper about now.

Glenn Elison IMG 8613Larry Selzer (left) sits tying flies whereas board member Wilson Hughes (middle) and Glenn Elison (proper) take pleasure in a break from their fishing journey on the Center Fork of the Goodnews River in Alaska. Picture courtesy Larry Selzer.

Even the way in which he got here to the Fund was inventive—an IPA, or Intergovernmental Personnel Act, task from the USFWS. After serving because the Refuge Supervisor for the Arctic Nationwide Wildlife Refuge for a decade, Glenn was promoted to supervise all of the Nationwide Wildlife Refuges in Alaska. In that capability, he labored very intently with the founding father of our Freshwater Institute, Dr. Robert Putz, who additionally spent a profession on the USFWS earlier than coming over to The Conservation Fund. Glenn and Bob accomplished many conservation acquisitions collectively, together with defending via easements almost 275,000 acres of native-owned land on Kodiak Island utilizing cash from the Exxon Valdez settlement.

Glenn Elison ArcticNationalWildlifeRefuge Alaska USFWS 01Arctic Nationwide Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Picture by USFWS.

Coincidentally, Bob Putz additionally was my first boss at The Conservation Fund after I graduated from enterprise faculty in 1990. He had simply gotten the primary scoping grant to create what’s now the Freshwater Institute and wanted somebody to assist handle the monetary and administrative aspect of the enterprise. My first title was “Affiliate Director of the Spring and Groundwater Sources Institute,” proving unquestionably that even probably the most fertile scientific minds on the planet ought to stick with their day jobs and depart advertising and marketing to the professionals.

Glenn arrived on the Fund in Might 2001 and, working intently with Brad Meiklejohn who led the Alaska workplace on the time, set about to design and implement a salmon conservation plan throughout the Bristol Bay area. The Bristol Bay area encompasses greater than 27.5 million acres of land and 12.5 million acres of marine water, and is the best salmon manufacturing space wherever on the planet. Bristol Bay is also house to 7,400+ residents, lots of whom keep the subsistence life of their Yup’ik, Alutiiq, and Dena’ina ancestors. Whereas a lot of the area is now protected, land alongside the main salmon rivers was privately owned and being offered off at an alarming price. Subdivision and inappropriate improvement had been growing quickly.

Glenn designed a brand new panorama scale program for buying in charge or easement native owned land on main salmon rivers when it got here available on the market. Main funding got here from the Goldman Basis, which Brad helped safe, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Basis, which Tom Macy helped safe. Over the following decade Glenn acquired greater than 100,000 acres throughout nearly each main salmon drainage within the area, thereby securing perpetually the magic and majesty of the Bristol Bay ecosystem. His legacy with the USFWS and The Conservation Fund is broad, deep and highly effective. Exceptional actually.

As Glenn rides off into the space, which truly appears to be like so much like a bit of state land behind his home in Lewistown, Montana that is stuffed with pheasants and sharp-tailed grouse, with Cunning and Kiska at his aspect, allow us to elevate a glass of high quality single malt scotch (maybe Oban, Glenfarclas or Bunnahabhain) and say, “Thanks, Glenn, for all that you’ve got finished for the magnificent pure sources of this nation, particularly the miracle that’s Alaska.” You’re certainly one of a form, and I for one, am a much better individual for having the nice fortune to spend so much of time in your organization.

After all, along with your retirement you’ll have extra time to take me fishing within the spring creek under your own home, and you may present me “yet one more time” learn how to fish whereas smoking a cigar with out melting via the fly line when the neighbor’s yellow lab jumps off the financial institution on high of me…

Written By

Larry Selzer

Larry Selzer is President and CEO of The Conservation Fund. Appointed in 2001, he has led the Fund via vital development whereas advancing its environmental and financial objectives.

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