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New Hampshire Citizens Receive Earth Day Honors with Prestigious Regional EPA Environmental Award

Release Date: 04/22/2008
Contact Information: Paula Ballentine, (617) 918-1027

(Boston - May 22, 2008) - Three Granite Staters and one New Hampshire group were honored today in Boston’s Faneuil Hall as EPA presented the 2008 Environmental Merit Awards. Recognizing significant contributions to environmental awareness and problem solving, the New Hampshire awardees included two lifetime achievement winners, one individual merit award winner, one for state government and one business merit award winner.

The merit awards, given out since 1970, honor individuals and groups who have shown particular ingenuity and commitment in their efforts to preserve the region's environment. This year's competition drew approximately 77 nominations from across New England.

“These awards are among the highest honors EPA can bestow to recognize environmental accomplishments,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA’s New England Office. “The work of these individuals, organizations and businesses reflect the best attributes of New Englanders, working to find solutions to environmental issues. I offer my gratitude for their extraordinary contributions in protecting the environment.”

The winners from New Hampshire were among 38 from across New England. Awards were given in the categories of individual; business (including professional organizations); local, state or federal government; and environmental, community, academia or nonprofit organization. Also, each year EPA may present lifetime achievement awards for individuals. Environmental Merit Award Winners from New Hampshire are:

Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:
Michael J. Bartlett

Upon leaving military service more than 37 years ago, Mike Bartlett began his civilian tenure as a staff biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For the past ten years, Mike served as Supervisor of the Service’s New England Field Office in Concord, New Hampshire, with responsibility for wetlands and hydropower regulation; endangered species recovery; fish and wildlife protection and restoration; and natural resource damage assessment at Superfund sites and oil spills. Previously, he spent 17 years as the Deputy Assistant Regional Director in the Service’s Northeast Regional Office in Hadley, Massachusetts. After an illustrious career, Mike will be retiring next month. For his entire career with the Service, Mike has been a stalwart protector of fish and wildlife resources, especially here in New England. From Indiana bats to Atlantic salmon, New England cottontail rabbits to bald eagles, and piping plovers to Canada lynx, he fought for protection of key habitat across the New England landscape. On numerous challenging regulatory projects, whether highways or hydropower dams, Mike took strong stands to guard the region’s important fish and wildlife. Many times, Mike’s FWS Field Office and EPA New England stood shoulder-to-shoulder to hold the line on important policy and technical issues to prevent the loss of significant wetlands and other water resources in the New England states. The outcome of his nearly four decades of leadership can be seen in many ways – the removal of the Edwards hydropower dam in Augusta, Maine, to create unimpeded fish passage on the Kennebec River; thousands of acres of restored wetlands at agricultural sites through the Service’s Partners in Wildlife program; and the protection of important wetland systems across the region, such as Sears Island in Maine and within the Route 6 corridor of central Connecticut. Mike intends to teach, fish, and spend time with his children and grandchildren. We thank him and wish him well.

Lifetime Achievement Environmental Merit Award:
Richard Mallion

Richard Mallion is well-known in New Hampshire as a tireless advocate of the environment. After 29 years in the U.S. Army, Dick retired as a brigadier general and began life fly-fishing in streams near his hometown of Whitefield in rural northern New Hampshire. As a member and recently chair of the Whitefield Conservation Commission, Dick has led efforts to create a town-wide inventory of natural resources, worked to protect the town’s water resources and built coalitions with neighboring conservation commissions. He was instrumental in establishment of the Pondicherry Division of the Silvio Conte National Wildlife Refuge. Dick also played a lead role in the Cooperative Extension Advisory Board for Coos County and the Weeks State Park Board of Directors. He chairs the board of the Nature Conservancy’s New Hampshire chapter, working to clean major blowdowns from trails, carrying heavy timbers to construct bog bridges and monitoring the forests condition. He is as willing to share his ideas as his labor. His dedication has left treasured natural places in New Hampshire better protected for generations to come.

Local, State or Federal Governmental Environmental Merit Award:
NH Volunteer Lake Assessment Program

Two volunteers began the New Hampshire Volunteer Lake Assessment Program in 1985 to play a role in protecting one lake. By 2007, the organization was enlisting more than 500 volunteers to protect some 175 lakes and ponds. The organizations make it possible for state biologists to assess long-term quality of the state’s lakes and to help residents and visitors play a part in protecting water quality in the lakes they use. By sampling water regularly, volunteer monitors help create data and a history of the water quality that is critical for protecting and improving these bodies of water. Before the NH Volunteer Lake Assessment Program, 50 lakes and ponds were sampled every 15 to 20 years, making it impossible to determine long-term trends. More than 20 years of data has let the state and local lake associations develop long-term water quality trends, identify pollution sources and put in place ordinances and management systems to protect the state’s water and its future.

Individual Environmental Merit Award:
Edward Murdough
New Hampshire Department of Education

Edward Murdough in the New Hampshire Department of Education has led the state’s effort to ensure public schools are as safe and healthy as possible. As administrator of the Bureau of School Approval and Facility Management, Edward has been key in forming and sustaining the indoor air quality Tools for Schools program and the Health School Environments Assessment Tool. He was instrumental in passage of a law establishing incentives for schools to promote indoor air quality and energy efficiency. He has built relationships with electric utilities to help schools become more energy efficient, raising awareness among educators and officials and increasing cooperation among those involved in school environmental health. And he has done this without any outside funding. As far as results, already six school districts with 38 buildings are using the HealthySEAT software allowing facility managers to evaluate and manage environmental health and safety issues. More than 20 New Hampshire schools with more than 10,000 students and staff have used EPA’s indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools. Edward has earned the trust of school officials by giving non-judgmental help and making state government a help rather than a hindrance.

Business, Industry and Professional Organizations Environmental Merit Award
New Hampshire Water and Wastewater Agency Response Networks (WARNS)

About 1,500 public water supply systems were hurt by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the south. New England has recently faced flooding that threatened the safety of our own supplies. The New England State Water and Wastewater Response Networks involve utilities, associations and states establishing mutual aid programs in each state. These programs will allow groups to exchange information and work together when an emergency hits. Based on lessons learned, the federal government recognizes timely responses must happen first at the local and state levels. Utilities helping utilities in mutual aid is clearly the most expeditious way to deal with water emergencies. When Bethel, Maine lost its water supply in a landslide, Auburn’s Water District came to its aid with staff and tractors to build a temporary impoundment. This case study will now be played out throughout New England as mutual aid programs start up in each state. No other part of the country took on the challenge of simultaneously establishing response networks in all states. Because of this progress, New England was designated a national pilot to develop the first Inter-State WARN.

More Information: Environmental Merit Awards (epa.gov/ne/ra/ema)