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ECHO Award

2014 ECHO Award Goes to R. John Dawes

On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, OSMRE Director Joe Pizarchik presented the 2014 ECHO Award to R. John Dawes, Executive Director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds. Dawes has served as Executive Director since 1994, overseeing more than 150 grants to environmental and watershed groups throughout Pennsylvania. The funds are distributed as seed grants to attract government and private money to address polluted waterways. The Foundation estimates that its funding has generated more than $110 million of project work in the last two decades.

Director Pizarchik and ECHO Award Honoree R John Dawes

Director Pizarchik and ECHO Award Honoree R John Dawes

Read the OSMRE News Release.

Read Director Pizarchik's remarks at the award ceremony.

OSMRE named the award the ECHO to signify the most common principles behind the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). Namely, the Environment, Community, Humanity and Ownership. The 2014 ECHO Award is the third to be awarded by OSMRE. In 2012, the bureau first began recognizing individuals for their contributions to support and strengthen SMCRA, the law designed to protect people and the environment from the adverse effects of coal mining while providing for the Nation’s energy needs.

Please view the following video from the award ceremony:

ECHO Award Logo

OSMRE chooses the annual honoree based on the individual’s demonstration of one or more of the following attributes:

  • Public Service: has shown a dedication to public service
  • Sustained Engagement: has accepted difficult challenges requiring strategic, long-term efforts
  • Non-partisan: has worked in a non-partisan manner
  • Major Contribution: has made a significant and/or unique contribution to carry out SMCRA
  • Advocate of the Law: dedication to improved implementation of SMCRA
  • Protection of Society: dedication to improving protection of society
  • Innovative Solutions: has a record of seeking and achieving positive solutions
  • Environmental Protection: dedication to improving protection of the environment
Perpetual ECHO Award, which resides in OSMRE Headquarters

Perpetual ECHO Award, which resides in OSMRE Headquarters

The honoree receives a brushed stainless steel award in the shape of an octagon, which represents each attribute as well as the shape of the Office of the OSMRE Director at OSMRE headquarters. To retain a record of honorees who helped carry out the spirit of SMCRA, a similar version of the award will reside in OSMRE headquarters with the name of each awardee inscribed on its surface.

2015 ECHO Nominations

OSMRE will accept nominations for the 2015 ECHO Award until May 1, 2015. To nominate an individual for the award, prepare a short (2-3 pages) written summary of the candidate’s contributions and explanation as to how he/she exemplifies the award's criteria. Anyone can submit a nomination. Please email nominations to Chris Holmes (, by Friday, May 1, 2015. View the 2015 Nomination Brochure.

Previous Awardees

2012 - David Clark

David Clark, a state regulatory official and ecologist from New Mexico, received the inaugural ECHO Award in 2012 for his continued work to enhance environmental protection and coal mine reclamation. At the time of the award's presentation, Mr. Clark had served in SMCRA-related positions in Montana and New Mexico for more than two decades and had led the development of geomorphic mine reclamation, a cost-effective and environmentally sound method that returns previously mined land to more closely resemble its closest form and function before mining occurred.

2013 - John Husted

The recipient of the 2013 ECHO award was John F. Husted, former Chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mineral Resources Management. Mr. Husted served the Ohio Division of Mineral Resources Management for 35 years, working his way from Reclamation Inspector, to Manager of the Ohio Abandoned Mine Lands Emergency Program, to become Chief of the Division. Throughout his long career, he worked and managed all aspects of SMCRA from the State perspective, earning respect for his problem-solving skills and ability to inspire others. Mr. Husted passed away in 2013, prior to receiving the award.

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 5/26/15

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