Skip to main content
Unsupported Browser Detected

Internet Explorer lacks support for the features of this website. For the best experience, please use a modern browser such as Chrome, Firefox, or Edge.

Outstanding Habitat Champion Recognized Through 2022 Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award

December 05, 2022

Ciona Ulbrich received the award for demonstrating exceptional achievement and dedication to habitat conservation through her work with the Maine Coast Heritage Trust restoring fish passage in coastal Maine.

Ciona Ulbrich receiving a glass trophy from Carrie Robinson on stage at the Restore America's Estuaries Coastal & Estuarine Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana Ciona Ulbrich (left) receiving the 2022 Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award from NOAA Fisheries' Office of Habitat Conservation Director Carrie Robinson (right) at the Restore America's Estuaries Coastal & Estuarine Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

NOAA and the American Fisheries Society are thrilled to honor Ciona Ulbrich with the 2022 Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award. Throughout her career, Ms. Ulbrich has been a champion for habitat conservation. Notably, she has brought together countless partners—including landowners, local communities, and conservation groups—to restore fish passage to waterways in coastal Maine.

Ms. Ulbrich is a Senior Project Manager at the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and has been working in Midcoast Maine for the past 24 years. The Trust is a nonprofit land conservation organization. Its main goals are to mitigate the impacts of climate change, protect vulnerable plants and animals, expand access, and serve communities on Maine’s coast.

Ciona in a kayak on the water with a forest behind her
Ciona Ulbrich, 2022 Dr. Nancy Foster Award winner. Credit: Ciona Ulbrich

During her time with the Trust, Ms. Ulbrich has completed 170 habitat conservation projects, including several high-profile fish passage restoration efforts. These projects have been particularly economically and culturally beneficial to the many fishing communities in Midcoast Maine. As a result of her leadership, the Bagaduce River watershed is now the first watershed in the state with fully restored alewife passage. In the spring of 2022, alewives were seen returning to all five Bagaduce ponds for the first time in 50 years.

Ms. Ulbrich was also integral to the protection of land along the Ducktrap River. The Ducktrap River is one of eight Maine rivers with remaining runs of native Atlantic salmon, an endangered species. Overall, Ms. Ulbrich has played a major role in the conservation of more than 11,000 acres (an area roughly 13 times the size of Central Park) of land in Midcoast Maine. Through work protecting and restoring critical wildlife habitat, she is helping local communities to thrive. Congratulations!

About the Award

Winners of the Dr. Nancy Foster Habitat Conservation Award must demonstrate exceptional achievement and dedication to habitat conservation in the coastal, riverine, or marine environment. Ms. Ulbrich joins 25 previous winners of this prestigious award. 

Dr. Nancy Foster founded NOAA’s Office of Habitat Conservation, Restoration Center, and Chesapeake Bay Office. In her 23 years at NOAA, she created a legacy as a pioneer and visionary in understanding coastal and marine ecosystems and their conservation. NOAA’s habitat conservation work spans some of the largest and most valuable ecosystems and supports the nation’s fisheries, protected species, and coastal communities.

Last updated by Office of Habitat Conservation on December 07, 2022