Maine DEP Biologist Receives International Environmental Stewardship Award

June 7, 2011

Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Spokesperson/Director of Education and Outreach / 287-5842 (office) or 592-0427 (cell)

-Susan P. Davies, of Oakland, was presented with the 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award from the Society for Freshwater Science for her commitment to understanding and protecting freshwater habitats-

AUGUSTA –A biologist with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has been honored by an international scientific society for her work in furthering the protection of freshwater habitats.

Susan Davies, a senior biologist who serves as the water quality standards coordinator for the department in its Bureau of Land and Water Quality, was presented the 2011 Environmental Stewardship Award by the Society for Freshwater Science at their annual meeting last week in Providence, Rhode Island.

Formerly the North American Benthological Society, the recently renamed Society for Freshwater Science is an international scientific organization whose purpose is to promote further understanding of aquatic ecosystems and in particular, the role of plant and animal communities in lake and stream bottoms in the larger wellbeing of the watershed. It is made up of 1,800 members from more than 40 countries.

The society’s annual Environmental Stewardship Award is given to a member or non-member who has worked successfully to translate scientific knowledge into the public arena, through avenues like regulatory reform, research or public outreach in science education. Winners must also have demonstrated exceptional service in activities that implemented conservation or rehabilitation of aquatic ecosystems; developed a strategy to conserve, rehabilitate, or ecologically manage aquatic ecosystems; or promoted science as the basis for making decisions regarding management of aquatic resources.

Davies was specifically cited for collaborating with Susan Jackson of the federal Environmental Protection Agency to develop a model or “yard-stick” of freshwater biological condition, termed the Biological Condition Gradient, that helps to simplify complicated ecological changes that take place when freshwater habitats are damaged by disturbance. While the model is largely based on Maine’s biological approach to managing rivers and streams, the method has been increasingly used across the country and internationally.

“Receiving this distinguished award from an international committee shows Susan’s talents in this field have gone far beyond improving water quality in Maine and are making waves nationally and even internationally,” said Teco Brown, director of the Bureau of Land and Water Quality. “Maine is fortunate to have someone with her outstanding credentials and creditability working on behalf of the department to restore and maintain the integrity of our waters that Mainers –and those lucky enough to visit here– so appreciate.”

A 28-year veteran of the department, this is not the first time Davies, an Oakland resident, has been recognized for her environmental leadership. In 2003, she and fellow Maine DEP biologists David Courtemanch and Leon Tsomides were recognized with an Environmental Merit Award for Lifetime Achievement from Region 1 EPA.

For more information about the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s biomonitoring efforts, visit or for more information about the Maine DEP, visit or call (207) 287-7688.