John Dawes Receives PA Land Trust Assn. Lifetime Conservation Leadership Award

John Dawes, Executive Director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, received the PA Land Trust Association’s 2015 Lifetime Conservation Leadership Award during its annual Conference in Gettysburg Thursday.

Dawes has provided Pennsylvania with environmental and conservation leadership for more than 25 years.  He advocates for conservation in Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg, supports conservation initiatives across the Commonwealth and personally practices conservation.

As Executive Director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds since 1994, Dawes has supervised small grants to over 300 environmental and watershed associations throughout the state.  These grants provide seed money to allow local groups to better access state agency funding.

Dawes should be particularly recognized for his success in the reauthorization of the federal Abandoned Mine Lands  Fund.  He was relentless in his effort to secure funding to reclaim Pennsylvania’s 5,200 miles of biologically dead streams and 200,000 plus acres of mine-scarred land.  The reauthorization provides $6 billion nationally and more than $1.4 billion to Pennsylvania.

For five years Dawes was a consultant to the Heinz Endowments Environmental Program where he supervised grants to regional watershed groups pursuing a DCNR Rivers Conservation Plan.  Other duties included participation in sustainable forestry round tables, and the facilitation of a statewide watershed advocacy group-- the PA Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.

Recognizing the need to strengthen Pennsylvania’s community watershed organizations, Dawes secured funding from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Richard King Mellon Foundation to spearhead a capacity building project for those groups.

With the assistance of expert consultants, the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University and the Western PA Conservancy, this project aims to help watershed organizations become stronger and more effective.

Dawes fought for the prevention of the development of more than 50 miles of unnecessary and destructive high-voltage transmission lines proposed for construction in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  These lines would have increased demand for coal-fired power plants, therefore increasing emissions and pollution associated with these plants.

Dawes is engage in a variety of other conservation efforts: serving on the Governor’s Board for the Chesapeake Bay Commission; supporting wetland restoration projects that have helped the Juniata River Basin reach its goals in the reduction of nutrients as part of its TMDL; and advocating for the renewal of the Growing Greener Program.

Since 1970, Dawes has owned and managed a purebred Angus farm in Huntingdon County where conservation practices have been implemented, including streambank fencing, forest stewardship planning, a 10kw windmill for electric power production, and spring development using photo-voltaic panels.

In 2007, Dawes earned a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for farming excellence and incorporation of Best Management Practices.

Other awards bestowed on Dawes include--

-- 2006 Susquehanna River Basin Commission William W. Jeanes, Sr. Award for Environmental Excellence;

-- 2007 PA Environmental Council Western PA Environmental Award;

-- 2007 PA State Conservation Commission Conservation Leadership Excellence Award;

-- 2006 PA Association of Environmental Professionals Karl Mason Award; and

-- 2014 Federal Office of Surface Mining ECHO Award.


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