[Tweeters] Slightly off topic, but relevant: Editorial in today's Olympian regarding WDFW Executive Director position

Denis DeSilvis avnacrs4birds at outlook.com
Fri Dec 5 10:04:20 PST 2014


(The following info, which I've paraphrased in part, was forwarded by a
colleague who's on the Washington Wildlife Diversity Advisory Council.)

I want to share this morning's editorial in The Olympian, which was prompted
by the open Executive Director position at WDFW. For your convenience, I
have copied it below.

The editorial seems consistent with the idea that the next Director needs to
have a broad perspective toward all of Washington's wildlife diversity.
Especially relevant to all of us interested in non-game wildlife and species
at risk is the line: "If the Fish and Wildlife Commission selects a
change-agent who understands the important role of biodiversity in
sustaining human life, it would bring the department back together and
re-energize its legion of passionate young biologists."

For those of you that agree with this viewpoint, please consider sharing it
today with your social networks or colleagues; the editorial also encourages
the public to let the Commission know of this broader perspective. Link:
dership.html?sp=/99/109/&rh=1#storylink=cpy> &rh=1#storylink=cpy or
<http://tinyurl.com/qf78vvg> http://tinyurl.com/qf78vvg.


The Olympian, Editorial

State DFW needs visionary leadership

December 5, 2014

One of the most difficult challenges of the 21st Century is how to sustain
life on our ever more crowded planet for many generations into the future.
It's a daunting task because it requires us to confront issues ranging from
population growth to climate change to the importance of biodiversity in our

On the biodiversity front, the state of Washington has an immediate
opportunity to create a paradigm shift within the Department of Fish and
Wildlife (DFW) by hiring a visionary director who will lead the state toward
a sustainable future for all species.

The department's current director, Phil Anderson, is retiring at the end of
this year after slightly more than five years in the position. The state's
independent nine-member Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will select
Anderson's successor.

It's a critical appointment that should not be rushed.

Since its creation in 1890 as a Fish Commission, the department has been
focused on animals people hunt, fish and eat. Much later, species protected
by the Endangered Species Act were added to the mix.

It wasn't until 1921 that the Legislature abolished the Fish Commission and
created a separate Department of Fisheries that focused on salmon caught
commercially, and a Department of Game and Game-Fish. In 1987, the
Department of Game was changed to the Department of Wildlife. And in 1994,
state lawmakers merged the two departments into one Department of Fish and
Wildlife, overseen by a commission that sets policy and goals.

It's questionable whether these two cultures - fish and wildlife - have ever
been effectively merged. And there is lingering tension between the
biologists who see the value of all species and the hunters, fishers and
ranchers who want wildlife managed to serve their own interests. Some
current and former employees say that tension is the reason a recent survey
of state agencies ranked morale in the DFW near the bottom, just above the
Department of Corrections.

If the Fish and Wildlife Commission selects a change-agent who understands
the important role of biodiversity in sustaining human life, it would bring
the department back together and re-energize its legion of passionate young

Other states, such as Missouri and Florida, have moved away from the
antiquated fish and game model to focus on protecting all species. Young
biologists today recognize that less charismatic animals play a key role in
our planet's ecosystem and that we can no longer futilely attempt to pack
all the nature we need into parks. We must preserve diverse wildlife in
diverse ecosystems.

But the DFW seems to be moving in the opposite direction. That is evident in
the department's mismanagement of wolf hunts in northeastern Washington,
where it catered to the small percentage of ranchers who refuse to abide by
the state's wolf conservation plan.

It's important for the public and elected leaders to voice their concern to
the commission - it meets Dec. 12 -13 in Olympia - that the DFW should join
the broader effort toward sustainable living for all creatures, great and

May all your birds be identified,

Denis DeSilvis

Member, Wildlife Diversity Advisory Council

Roy, WA

avnacrs4birds at outlook dot com

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