CPW honors Eric Odell and Reid DeWalt for their work on the wolf restoration and management planning effort

Pictured left to right: Terrestrial Section Manager Brian Dreher, DNR Executive Director Dan Gibbs, Assistant Director of Aquatic, Terrestrial and Natural Resources Reid DeWalt, Wolf Conservation Program Manager Eric Odell, CPW Director Jeff Davis, Parks and Wildlife Commission Chair Carrie Hauser, Species Conservation Unit Supervisor Dave Klute

DENVER – Eric Odell and Reid DeWalt, the leaders of the team that spearheaded Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s two-year effort to develop a comprehensive wolf restoration and management plan, were honored recently by the CPW Commission.

Odell, CPW’s Wolf Conservation Program manager, and DeWalt, CPW’s assistant director of Aquatics, Terrestrial & Natural Resources, were singled out for overcoming multiple challenges during the intense and controversial planning process.

At the May 3 Commission meeting in Glenwood Springs, after more than two years of extensive statewide stakeholder meetings and outreach, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission unanimously approved the final Colorado Wolf Restoration and Management Plan.

Odell and DeWalt were instrumental in developing a plan that incorporated the biological and social concerns of restoring wolves to a unique state with multi-use landscapes and a large human population. 

“While I know that so many of our teammates at CPW were critical to the success of this plan’s adoption, I would like to especially highlight Eric Odell and the outstanding leadership of Reid DeWalt,” said CPW Director Jeff Davis. “As you all know, wolves elicit strong responses from the public, so developing a plan that strikes a balance between what wolves need with the spectrum of values, needs and expectations of the public and policymakers is a tough task. Our CPW Team, with exceptional leadership from Eric and Reid, accomplished this goal with grace and professionalism.”

Jim Jones Outstanding Employee of the Year Award
To honor his efforts, Odell was awarded the Jim Jones Outstanding Employee of the Year Award for his exemplary work as the biological and technical lead for the wolf restoration and management planning effort. 

The Jim Jones Employee of the Year Award is named for a former Division of Wildlife employee who unexpectedly passed away in 1999. Jim Jones was an employee with a positive attitude, a good grasp on the mission, and was kind and supportive of others throughout the agency. He was good at all aspects of his job and has a state wildlife area, James Mark Jones SWA, named in his honor.

“Eric went above and beyond as he strived to understand all aspects of the wolf restoration debate, and how this effort will impact all stakeholders,” said Dave Klute, CPW’s Species Conservation Unit supervisor. “He brought a breadth of knowledge and understanding to the plan development process and used his skills to draft a plan that is both scientifically sound and socially acceptable.”

Odell worked tirelessly to complete the tasks required by the passage of Proposition 114 with rigor and honesty and educated himself in a scientific understanding of wolf ecology and restoration techniques.

“In what was often a challenging and contentious environment, Eric maintained the highest standards of professionalism and was an excellent representative, arbiter, and educator for CPW,” Klute said. “He provided information, guidance and structure to a lengthy and often confusing process. Eric was often asked, with short notice, to provide policy updates and technical recommendations to the governor, Department of Natural Resources and CPW leadership.”

Exceptional Leadership Acknowledged
Reid DeWalt was also honored at the May Commission meeting for his exemplary leadership and contributions to the wolf restoration and management planning effort. 

“There’s no doubt that the completion of this wolf restoration plan was challenging and took a team effort,” said Brian Dreher, CPW’s Terrestrial Section manager. “But every good team needs a solid leader to make hard decisions and encourage the team to keep going when things get difficult. Reid served this vital leadership role for the agency as we had to navigate the many challenges of the past few years.”

From the beginning of the planning process, DeWalt committed and encouraged the CPW team to deliver the best possible plan, and be professional in the process.

“It has been said many times in the planning process that CPW has incredible staff, and we do,” Dreher said. “But we also have incredible leadership, which was on full display by Reid DeWalt in completing this plan.”

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