DNR officer rewarded for waterfowl work
A waterfowl award for just doing his job was an unexpected feather in the cap for Ottawa County Widllife Officer Reid Van Cleve.
Van Cleve said he was surprised to learn he was named Mississippi Flyway Waterfowl Protection Officer of the Year for Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
The Mississippi Flyway Council recognizes full-time law enforcement officers who make outstanding contributions to the protection of waterfowl.
“Ottawa County has some of the best waterfowl hunting in Ohio, and Reid takes his responsibility of enforcing waterfowl hunting regulations very seriously.” said Kevin Newsome, Field Supervisor for the ODNR Division of Wildlife, in a news release.
Ottawa County is home to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Toussaint Wildlife Area, Turtle Creek Wildlife Area, Little Portage Wildlife Area and East Harbor State Park, all of which, according to the DOW, offer some of the best public waterfowl hunting in the state. Ottawa County is also home to many private duck-hunting clubs.
Van Cleve said the honor was a surprise. "I didn't know until my supervisor informed me," he said. "I love to go to work," he said.
And it shows.
Van Cleve was able to make nearly 1,500 hunter and angler contacts in the field this past year. Many of these contacts were waterfowl hunters, and Van Cleve logged 11 waterfowl related arrests, ranging from over-bag to shooting trumpeter swans, a state threatened species, according to the news release.
He also took part in local conservation activities including: youth events, International Migratory Bird Day at Magee Marsh, assisted with controlled waterfowl hunt drawings, and hunter-education courses as well as keeping conservation clubs up to date on conservation issues, the DOW said in a news release.
Among the more unusual waterfowl Van Cleve has seen on Lake Erie recently was Arctic sea ducks known as oldsquaw or long-tailed ducks.
DOW naturalist Jim McCormac photographed a number of long-tailed ducks that showed up on Lake Erie all the way to the Ohio River during an Arctic freeze last winter. Long-tailed ducks are known to dive for their food from a height of 200 feet, McCormac wrote in his nature column published in The Columbus Dispatch .
The National Audubon Society estimates about 40 percent of North America's waterfowl spend at least part of their lives in the Mississippi Flyway. The flyway extends from Canada's tundra to as far south as Patagonia at the southern end of South America.
In addition to Ohio, the Mississippi Flyway is composed of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin; and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, according to its website.
More information about the nation's migratory bird flyways can be found by clicking on the Internet link at http://www.flyways.us/