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Wetlands Expert in EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region Wins Prestigious National EPA Award

Release Date: 06/19/2008
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 / heron.

PHILADELPHIA (June 19, 2008) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented the Edward T. “Red” Heinen Wetlands Award to Wetlands Scientist Jeff Lapp, of Hilltown, Pa., at a joint national meeting of the EPA and the Army Corp of Engineers in San Diego on May 19.

The award, named after a highly respected leader from the formative years of EPA’s wetlands program, was established by Dave Davis, former director of EPA's Office of Wetlands Protection. It is presented annually to the person in EPA's regional wetlands program who best exemplifies the high standards and personal dedication to wetlands protection that characterized Red’s years with EPA's wetlands program. It acknowledges those special people who are a source of inspiration to others in the program, and whose work and attitude best contribute to our environmental and public service goals.

Lapp, who has worked at EPA for 19 years, plays an important role in the mid-Atlantic region.

“Wetlands protection has become Jeff’s passion and the entire wetlands program relies on him for his expertise, his historical knowledge and the relationships he has developed with the Army Corp of Engineers and his wetlands counterparts with state agencies,” said Randy Pomponio, director of the regional Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division.

Lapp started out at EPA as an inspector working with EPA attorneys to investigate potential enforcement cases. And now he is involved with all areas of wetlands protection. He reviews and comments on public notices, participates in mountaintop mining decisions, helps draft and issue legal agreements, tracks data on wetlands and stream impacts as well as restoration, compensation and mitigation. He also collaborates with other regional scientists to develop storm water enforcement policies. Two years ago, he was appointed to oversee the region’s oceans program, which includes monitoring ocean waste disposal, preparing trend reports and providing input to the National Coastal Condition Report.

In addition to his official duties, Lapp is the volunteer coordinator of EPA’s annual exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show, winning many Best in Show awards in the process. When the former coordinator retired four years ago, Jeff, took over as exhibit manager. Not only does Jeff coordinate and direct the actual construction of the exhibit, he grows many of the plants and flowers for the exhibit in his green house at home, a year round endeavor, and truly a labor of love.

Lapp, who graduated from Emmaus High School in 1978, received a bachelor’s degree in marine science from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 1982.

Lapp said that this award is an affirmation of the hard work and dedication that everyone in the wetlands program brings to their jobs. “I think that a belief in an ideal and dedication to improving the health of the planet has merit,” Lapp said. “Receiving this award is the greatest compliment and highest honor I can think of.”

EPA’s mid-Atlantic region includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.