Melissa Laser Fish Habitat Conservation Award
The Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership (ACFHP) is seeking nominations for its annual Melissa Laser Fish Habitat Conservation Award. The award is bestowed upon individuals deemed to further the conservation, protection, restoration, and enhancement of habitat for native Atlantic coastal, estuarine-dependent, and diadromous fishes in a unique or extraordinary manner. The award was established in memory of Dr. Melissa Laser, who was a biologist with the Maine Department of Marine Resources where she worked tirelessly to protect, improve and restore aquatic ecosystems in Maine and along the entire Atlantic Coast.
Melissa was an astute strategic thinker, editing and coordinating the Strategic and Operational Plan for the Restoration of Diadromous and Resident Fishes to the Penobscot River. She coordinated fish passage projects, working with barrier owners on management options, writing grants to fund projects, and tracking and prioritizing connectivity projects.
As a leader, she managed and oversaw the biological field staff for the Maine Western Region and was the Bureau of Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat Program lead for habitat restoration studies and projects. She was also an effective champion for Atlantic salmon, directing and coordinating Endangered Species Act-related actions pertaining to the species. She assisted the Bureau Director with development of the Atlantic Salmon Decision Making Framework. She was looking forward to working with migratory striped bass in a new capacity as Maine’s representative on the ASMFC Striped Bass Technical Committee.
Melissa brought her smiling dedication and enthusiasm to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Habitat Committee and Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership’s Steering Committee, catalyzed by the Commission in 2006. Her contributions to these committees and to her home state were tremendous. She is deeply missed.
Past Award Recipients
Jeff Beal, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Bonnie Bick and Jim Long, Mattawoman Watershed Society
Deb Wilson, Nobleboro, Maine fish habitat activist
Emily Greene, ERT Contractor, NOAA Fisheries
William Goldsborough, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Dr. Wilson Laney, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service