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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

Some Amazing Conservation is Happening out West Despite Challenging Issues

I ventured down to Tucson, Arizona, for a few days recently for the winter meeting of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA).

Lee Metcalf NWR The landscape at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge in western Montana is just one type we manage with WAFWA. Credit: Bob Danley/USFWS

WAFWA represents U.S. states from Alaska and Hawaii to Texas and the Dakotas. Several Canadian provinces are also members. That’s almost 4 million square miles, home to more than 1,500 wildlife species.

WAFWA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked, side-by-side, on a number of conservation successes last year.

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Budget Day

Yesterday, in Washington-speak, was "budget day." The day that the President unveils his budget for the next fiscal year -- FY 2013. For agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, this is the culmination of a process that began in November 2010, so it's a long time coming.

The President’s FY 2013 budget request for the Service is 1.5 billion, that’s $72 million more than the last fiscal year.  As with all budgets, we had to make some tough choices when we made our request; tough as they were, in a time of fiscal austerity, our request reflects the good conservation work that we do.  It also furthers our goal of transforming the agency to meet the many conservation challenges of the 21st century. 

Wind TurbineThe Service’s budget includes an additional $4.0 million to support energy development including funding for enhanced studies of renewable energy projects, technical assistance in project design, and Endangered Species Act consultation. Photo: NOAA

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Finding Inspiration at the End of a Long Week

Last week was a bruising week of meetings and travel with an inspiring day at the end. 

Mondays are always full with meetings. This Monday, I met with DOI senior political staff; FWS Director's staff; and others to review the previous week, catch up from the weekend, and prepare for the week to come.   

After an evening flight to Las Vegas, on Tuesday morning I joined the NRCS Chief and USFS Deputy Chief in addressing the annual conference of the National Association of Conservation Districts. 

I spent a short day on the ground, but by nightfall, I was already flying back home for work the next day. 

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