Beginning in 1996, the Coalition has awarded the James D. Webb Award to someone in public service who has made an outstanding contribution to the Everglades.
After moving to Florida from Arizona in 1986, James Webb became one of the most devoted admirers and defenders of the Everglades. A lawyer who specialized in water and land use issues, he worked as the Florida representative of The Wilderness Society from 1986 to 1995. Under President Carter, he served as deputy assistant secretary of the interior responsible for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation.
In Florida, Webb participated in the development and passage of legislation creating both the Florida Panther and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuges, the expansion of the Big Cypress National Preserve and the related interstate land exchange. He was instrumental in the expansion of the Everglades National Park and in the authorization of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's Northeast Shark River Slough project. He participated in organizing the provisions of the Water Resources Development Act of 1992.
Known as a consensus builder, he worked to build local and national alliances on behalf of the restoration of the Everglades and Florida Bay. He was the principal author of "Everglades in the 21st Century: The Water Management Future," which outlined the Everglades Coalition's views on water management and restoration issues in the Everglades ecosystem. In 1995, Webb relocated to The Wilderness Society's Washington, D.C. office where he served as a general counsel.