Roger Holmes
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fish and Wildlife (retired)
St. Paul, Minnesota

Roger Holmes, who retired from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources this year after four decades of service to the agency, has been one of the state’s great conservationists and a national leader in wetland protection and management. Director of the department’s Division of Fish and Wildlife since 1990 and wildlife section chief for 18 years before that, Mr. Holmes is best known for helping create and secure passage of the Reinvest in Minnesota program. Established in 1986, the program has reinvested $135 million in state funds into more than 450,000 acres of public and private wetlands and other fish, wildlife, and native plant habitat. Along with the Reinvest in Minnesota program, Roger Holmes has said that his two other proudest achievements were to help expand Minnesota’s public wildlife management system to more that a million acres of wetlands and other habitats, and to help shape the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Conservation Reserve Program to benefit grassland wildlife.

A national expert on wetland programs and public policy, Mr. Holmes twice served as chair of the Mississippi Flyway Council, and he also chaired the National Flyway Council. In 1999, as president of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Roger Holmes worked on securing passage of the federal Conservation and Reinvestment Act. His many honors include national awards from The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, the Izaak Walton League of America, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

— Dave Schad, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, Minnesota