For Immediate Release: September 23, 2010
Contact: Dan Ritzman, cell (206) 499-5764
U.S. Rep. Norman Dicks to Receive Sierra Club Distinguished Service Award
Sierra Club lauds Congressman’s leadership on conservation, watershed and wildlife protection, and prevention of climate change
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – On Thurday, Sept. 23, the Sierra Club announced that U.S. Rep. Norman Dicks has been selected to receive the Sierra Club’s 2010 Distinguished Service Award. The Award bestows recognition to persons in public service for strong and consistent leadership for conservation, over a considerable period of time. The Award is a top honor from the Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organization of more than 1.3 million Americans dedicated to protecting our communities and the planet.
"Over the last several years, Congressman Dicks has shown tremendous leadership for conservation of the natural environment and mitigating the threats posed by climate change," said Dan Ritzman, Northwest Director of the Sierra Club. "We need more members of Congress to follow in Congressman Dicks’ footsteps by addressing the dangers of climate change with unified action by federal land management agencies."
Norm Dicks, a native of Bremerton, Washington, attended the University of Washington for both his undergraduate and Juris Doctor Degree and played on the Husky football team that won the Rose Bowl in 1961. Since 1976 he has represented the Sixth Congressional District, extending from Tacoma, across the Tacoma Narrows to Kitsap, Mason, Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Clallam Counties, encompassing the Olympic Peninsula and most of the western coast of Washington State. The Sixth Congressional District contains one of America’s natural “crown jewels,” the Olympic National Park, which annually ranks near the top of the National Park System in visitor attendance.
During his more than three decades in Congress, Congressman Dicks has been a strong advocate for preserving Washington’s extraordinary natural heritage. Notably, Congressman Dicks has led efforts to fund the removal of the two dams on the Elwha River, including one within the Olympic National Park, that have blocked salmon and steelhead from their historic spawning grounds. Due to Congressman Dicks’ effective and tenacious leadership, the dams will start to come down next year in 2011, restoring important spawning grounds for all five species of Pacific salmon and the natural integrity of the iconic Elwha River.
"As a fly fisherman, I am indebted to Norm Dicks for championing efforts to protect and restore critical salmon and steelhead habitat here in Washington State and the Olympic Peninsula," said Dave Bailey, Olympic Peninsula resident, Sierra Club member and President of the Gray Wolf Fly Fishers.
Congressman Dicks has also served on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee during his entire tenure in Congress. In 1984, he was primarily responsible for a key addition to the National Wilderness Preservation System – the Clearwater Wilderness– which was included the Washington Wilderness Act. He also supported the full million plus acres of wilderness designations in Washington State.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Congressman Dicks was involved in the regional effort to develop a response to the Endangered Species listing of the Northern Spotted Owl, which eventually resulted in significant reduction of timber harvesting then taking place on federal lands. During the Clinton-Gore Administration, Congressman Dicks worked alongside federal agencies to launch a federal assistance program for affected forest workers and timber communities, which has totaled more than $1.2 billion and continues today.
Moreover, Congressman Dicks is the prime sponsor of Legacy Roads and Trails Initiative; a major program aimed at downsizing the National Forest system’s old, destructive road network, by performing important restoration work to restore watershed integrity and wildlife habitat. This program is key to restoring Washington watershed habitats for endangered salmon and steelhead. Finally, Congressman Dicks has also worked closely with the conservation community in the restoration of the Skokomish watershed on the Olympic Peninsula.
Recently, Congressman Dicks also attached some of the first language directing federal agencies to address climate change, as part of updating their management plans, into appropriations legislation.
Congressman Dicks will receive the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award on Saturday, September 25, during the Sierra Club’s Annual Dinner in San Francisco.
For more information on the Sierra Club awards program, visit www.sierraclub.org/awards.
The Sierra Club is America’s oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 1.3 million members and supporters nationwide. The club works to protect the health of our environment and to preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying and litigation.