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The Mississippi Flyway Law Enforcement Council recently named Iowa DNR Conservation Officer Steven Griebel as its 2018 Officer of the Year.
Officer Griebel was selected from a vast field of candidates throughout the entire flyway, including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Wisconsin and the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. He won with the highest number of first place votes ever recorded for the Officer of the Year award.
Officer Griebel was recognized for his contributions in waterfowl education, wetland protection, youth waterfowling, participation with waterfowling organizations and his enforcement activity. He spends a great deal of time interacting with hunters in the field, answering their many questions involving season and zone setting criteria, Iowa DNR wetland management strategies, waterfowl habits, offering advice on how to be a more successful hunter, and routinely helps hunters find birds with his dog enhancing the department’s image.
Officer Griebel organizes and oversees the Waterfowl School for new officers and works alongside local biologists and other conservation agencies to restore wetland areas. He spends time recruiting young hunters into the sport of waterfowling and instilling a love for the activity. He often loans his own personal decoys, shells, dog training supplies, boats and blinds to young hunters, and by far his largest impact on local youth has been his mentored hunt and youth waterfowl challenge.
Officer Griebel has developed a handicapped accessible waterfowl blind and is working with the local Ducks Unlimited Chapter, DNR wildlife management staff, and county conservation board to fundraise and implement the structure. He maintains a proactive and balanced law enforcement program which includes spending a great deal of time educating hunters about regulations. His efforts maximize and improve the positive opportunities available to hunters in Iowa and ensure that the hunting heritage continues to be supported and enjoyed by future generations.
“We are extremely proud of his efforts to protect and enhance the habitat for migratory game birds making for a rich environment and quality hunting opportunities,” said DNR Law Enforcement Bureau Chief Jeff Swearngin. “Steve’s commitment not only to the resource, but introducing youth to waterfowl hunting is impressive. It is humbling to see that his peers and leaders in the area recognize and applaud him for his efforts as well.”
This is the first time an Iowa DNR conservation officer has won this prestigious award. Officer Griebel will be formally recognized at the Flyway Council’s meeting in August in Duluth, MN.
Officer Steve Griebel has been working in conservation law enforcement for nearly 20 years. He began his career in the state and county park systems providing safe outdoor recreation and enforcing fish and game laws, as well as protecting timber, prairie, and wetland ecosystems. Since joining the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Bureau in 2007, Steve has worked tirelessly to protect and promote the waterfowl resource. A life-long waterfowl hunter, Steve recognizes the balance of recruiting and educating new hunters, protecting waterfowl producing habitat, providing hunting opportunity, dedicating personal time to enhancing the resource, and holding those who seek to abuse our natural resources accountable.
The Mississippi Flyway Council was organized in 1952 and contains representatives from each state and provinces listed above, that have management responsibilities for migratory bird resources in the Flyway. The Council was established to coordinate the management of migratory game birds in the Mississippi Flyway and to promote those activities of its members that serve the long-term benefit to the resources as and the Flyway as a whole.