Deputy Chief of National Wildlife Refuge System
Office of External Affairs

Cynthia Martinez

Photo of Jim KurthCynthia Martinez became the Deputy Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System in January 2012.

Martinez is an 18–year U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service veteran and former manager at Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Desert Refuge Complex encompasses four national wildlife refuges and the Armargosa Pupfish Station, which has about 1.6 million acres of land, and includes the largest National Wildlife Refuge (Desert) in the lower 48 states. Martinez came to the Refuge System’s Washington Office in September 2010 as chief of the Division of Visitor Services and Communications, where she led the process for developing the Refuge System’s Conserving the Future vision conference and subsequent document which will guide the management and growth of the Refuge System for the next decade. 

Previously, Martinez worked as a fishery biologist and assistant field supervisor for the Southern Nevada Field Office. She began her Service career in the Student Conservation Education Program (SCEP), working as an assistant contaminants specialist in the Phoenix, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office. She was a member of the board of directors for the Southern Nevada Agency Partnership (SNAP), a multi-agency partnership of land stewardship professionals who work to conserve the public lands in southern Nevada. Martinez holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from New Mexico State University and a master’s degree in fisheries and wildlife management from the University of Arizona.

Martinez is a fifth-generation New Mexican whose family has lived in the area since the 1850s, decades before New Mexico became a state. Martinez and her husband, Kenny, have a daughter, Keisha, and a son, Marcus. Hiking and fishing are favorite family activities.

Table of Organization


Last updated: October 25, 2011
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