The Atlantic Salmon Federation presented Richard (Rick) J. Warren, editor and publisher of the Bangor Daily News, with its highest award for wild Atlantic salmon conservation on Nov. 13 at ASF’s annual directors’ dinner in New York.
The Lee Wulff Conservation Award is presented by the federation annually in the memory of Wulff, an angler, artist, author and filmmaker who dedicated 60 years of his life to conserving wild Atlantic salmon and advocating catch and release angling to help safeguard their future.
“Joining the company of past recipients whose environmental and conservation accomplishments are immense is humbling,” said Warren.
“When I was young in Bangor, the [Penobscot River] was a municipal and industrial wasteland,” he added. “We were not allowed near it. Building upon the network of Sens. [Edmund] Muskie and [George] Mitchell to restore the river has been a rewarding challenge.”
Warren joined the board of ASF (U.S.) in 1995, and over the years has been active on several committees. With his expertise in publishing, he chaired the federation’s Education and Communications Committee for several years.
In 2005, he became chairman of ASF (U.S.), and since then has provided leadership and guidance as ASF addressed critical conservation issues, such as the challenges of restoring endangered Maine salmon. The November meeting was the last he will chair.
Sen. Michael Meighen, chairman of ASF Canada, presented the award, a fish-shaped trophy that was originally sculpted by Wulff.
“Rick [Warren] is the first ASF chairman from Maine, which is particularly fitting considering the significant role ASF has played over the past 13 years in restoring Maine’s Penobscot River,” said Meighen in a prepared statement. “Over the past five years, Rick has co-chaired the project’s private capital campaign, which to date has raised more than $25 million to buy and remove three dams.”
“When dam removal is complete, wild Atlantic salmon and 10 other species of sea-run fish will have renewed access to 1,000 miles of habitat in streams throughout the watershed that has been blocked by dams for close to two centuries,” he added. “This year, the Great Works dam was decommissioned and removed from the river. The massive Veazie Dam at the head of tide is slated for removal next year.”
In 2005, Warren was honored with the New Brunswick Lieutenant Governor’s Award for his long-time work to conserve wild Atlantic salmon.
He is the member of several angling clubs, including Anglers’ Club of New York, and the Eddington, Penobscot, Ristigouche, Veazie and Kedgwick salmon clubs.
Warren is the president and director of the Bangor Publishing Company, director of the Northeast Publishing Company out of Presque Isle, and member of the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Maine Daily Newspaper Publishers’ Association. He has served on many boards, including The Forest Society of Maine and Land for Maine’s Future. He currently serves on the Roosevelt Campobello Park Commission.
A graduate of Trinity College and Harvard Business School Small Company Management Program, Warren resides in Bangor with his wife, Elizabeth. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Warren isn’t the first Mainer to receive the prestigious award. In 2009, Dr. Ray B. (Bucky) Owen Jr. of Orono was presented the honor, which also was bestowed for his leadership in the Penobscot River Restoration project.
ASF is dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon and the ecosystems on which their survival depend. The federation has a network of seven regional councils that cover the freshwater range of the Atlantic salmon in Canada and the U.S. They are council regions are New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, western New England and Maine.