The National Achievement Award is the highest honor presented by the National Rivers Hall of Fame to those people who are making significant contributions to America’s waterways. The National Rivers Hall of Fame with members in 36 states is the only national museum telling the stories of the people of America’s rivers.
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Honored in 2000
B.E.M. (Ben) Skerrett, III of Lafayette, Louisiana, is known for his leadership in preserving the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest riverine overflow swamp in the United States. Mr. Skerrett has been a strong, effective advocate of aquatic habitat conservation and improved water quality management in the Atchafalaya Basin for over three decades.
Currently, Mr. Skerrett is directing his efforts to restoring the fresh water flow in Buffalo Cove, one of the most scenic and productive areas in the Atchafalaya Basin. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources have joined in this effort.
Mr. Skerrett serves as chairman of the water management committee of the Atchafalaya Basin Advisory Board, and for years has been the chairman of the Acadiana Waterways Committee.
Recently, the Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, recognized Mr. Skerrett’s contributions by presenting him with its Commander Award for Civilian Service. The accompanying citation reads in part, “He has consistently demonstrated an exemplary blend of determination and diplomacy while building support with key agencies, elected officials, sport and commercial fishing interests, business leaders, civic groups, and conservation organizations . . . Mr. Skerrett has been the undisputed champion in the effort to save the Atchafalaya Basin.”