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Bureau’s Bauer Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

SOCORRO, N.M. January 10, 2012 – The New Mexico Riparian Council recently honored five New Mexicans for their work to help restore and enhance the state’s rivers and streams, including a lifetime achievement award for a New Mexico Tech scientist.

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Dr. Paul Bauer, associate director and principal geologist at the Bureau of Geology, was awarded the John P. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award from the New Mexico Riparian Council for 2011.

Dr. Paul Bauer, associate director and principal geologist at the Bureau of Geology in Socorro, was honored with the organization’s John P. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to public understanding of the state’s water. The 20-year-old nonprofit organization announced the awards at a ceremony December 29 in Albuquerque.

“This was a big surprise,” Bauer said. “I didn’t think I was old enough to get a lifetime achievement award from anyone.”

Bauer is the award-winning author of the 2011 book, The Rio Grande: a River Guide to the Landscapes and Geology of Northern New Mexico. That book won the award for Outstanding Outdoor Guide Book from the National Outdoor Book Association in 2011.

Bauer was truly surprised; he did not know in advance that he would receive the award. The Council’s president, Adrian Ogelsby, invited him to attend, asking him to “just swing by over lunch.” Bauer’s wife and colleague at the Bureau, Peggy Johnson, was in on the surprise just in case Bauer decided to not attend.

“This award is from a group that does different sorts of work than what I do in my professional life,” Bauer said. “This is special in the sense that it means that some of the things I’ve done in my career, especially on rivers, have benefitted people and entities other than the professional earth scientists who I normally work with and work for.”

In honoring Bauer, the Council noted Bauer’s career highlights – his research, his outreach and his leadership roles.

In addition to his award-winning book, Bauer leads scenic river tours and spearheads educational river trips for the Rio Grande Rendezvous and Connecting People with Rivers programs. He has coordinated the Decision-Makers Field Conferences and collaborated with many state, federal and non-profit organizations.

His research interests include previously managing the StateMap program, aquifer mapping, geologic quadrangle mapping, the springs of the upper Rio Grande and water resource studies on tribal lands.

The organization also honored Susan Kelly, of the University of New Mexico School of Law. Kelly helped develop bicycle trails and managed water rights while working for the city of Albuquerque, was given the organization’s Partnership Award. Susan Dillingham was honored with the Education/Public Awareness Award. Jim Matison of WildEarth Guardians, with the Habitat Enhancement Award. Bob Parmenter of the Valles Caldera, with the Research Award.

Bauer has become a champion for New Mexico’s rivers over the years. Since 1993, Bauer has taught a river geology class at the Rio Grande Rendezvous, which caters to river guides and outfitters. That class – and his regular river trips and research – have helped him develop strong relationships with the people whose livelihood is the river.

He earned his doctorate at New Mexico Tech in geology in 1988 after earning his master’s at UNM in 1983 and his bachelor’s at the University of Massachusetts in 1978.

The John P. Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award honors the memory of John P. Taylor, a wildlife refuge senior biologist whose energy, perseverance, and foresight to apply an experimental design to land and water management activities earned him national recognition and respect. His widow is Dr. Maggie Griffin Taylor, who is an instructor at New Mexico Tech and won the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2011.

John Taylor was a wildlife biologist for the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of Socorro. He became the first Land Management Research and Demonstration site biologist in the United States. He researched, pioneered and implemented innovative techniques for the conversion of salt cedar monocultures back to native vegetation. He fine-tuned the management of sandhill crane and other migratory bird populations and feeding resources to minimize damage to neighboring private croplands. In the process, he became an expert in the application of moist soil management techniques.

In the course of his work, John wrote journal articles, delivered talks to interested groups, gave tours, and participated in several film and documentary projects. He worked extensively and effectively with other refuges, with conservation organizations, land management agencies, and universities throughout the southwest and in Mexico. John Taylor was widely known and respected for his depth of expertise and unwavering commitment to habitat conservation and restoration.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech