Russ Norvell

Avian Conservation Program Coordinator

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources


Russ works with a great staff to advance science-based bird conservation as the Avian Conservation Program Coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources.  A field biologist at heart, he now gets to participate in strategic planning and conservation efforts like Utah's new Wildlife Action Plan, collaborate on large-scale monitoring efforts like west-wide surveys for western yellow-billed cuckoos, and cooperate with agency partners, NGOs, and the public to inform management with data through citizen science. In his spare time he likes to head for the hills with family and friends, a bike, or a pair of binoculars.  And at least one dog.

Title: A Regional Perspective View to the Conservation and Management of American White Pelicans

2:15pm - Thursday, May 12th

Abstract: The conservation of American White Pelicans can be a complicated business.  Like many piscivorous birds, wildlife and aquatics managers have a long love-hate relationship with these majestic prehistoric and predatory creatures.  American white pelicans are currently – and simultaneously – a species of greatest conservation need in many western states and provinces and a target of lethal control in at least two of these.  Pelicans are targeted for control actions based on conflicts borne of their slow and unsteady recovery from DDT-linked population depression over the past quarter century, and entrenched management perceptions.  However, their recovery is judged against the eroding baseline of continued loss of freshwater and wetlands that concentrates too few resources into too little space.  As wetlands grow ever scarcer and more intensively managed, more pressure is brought to bear as natural and unnatural conflicts arise.  There is a surprisingly thin margin of tolerance for this species, and they have long teetered between protection and persecution.  Their situation is an increasingly common scenario for land and wildlife managers, when we are forced to try and conserve multiple species in singular settings.