February 9, 2011
Pacific Region Selects New Assistant Regional Director for Refuges
Joan Jewett, (503) 231-6211
Robin West, a 32-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been named the Pacific Region's Assistant Regional Director for Refuges, Regional Director Robyn Thorson announced today. The Pacific Region includes Hawai'i, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.
West assumes his new duties February 13. He succeeds Carolyn Bohan, who retired in January.
"With his long background in refuges and experience in other Service programs, Robin brings an invaluable perspective and impeccable stewardship credentials to the regional refuge chief's job," Regional Director Thorson said. "He will provide strong leadership in working with states, tribes and others to protect, restore and enhance fish, wildlife and other natural resources."
In his new position, West will be responsible for nearly 270 million acres of land, water, coral reefs and ocean floor on 67 national wildlife refuges and five national monuments. This includes three South Pacific national marine monuments totaling 125 million acres of land and water, and co-management of the 89-million acre Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawai'i.
"The Pacific Region's national wildlife refuges are truly special places and I can think of no better job in the world," West said. "I am humbled and excited by this new challenge."
Prior to being selected to lead the regional refuge program, West was a Supervisory Wildlife Refuge Specialist in the Pacific Regional Office, with oversight responsibility for 20 refuges in Oregon, Washington and Nevada. Before coming to the Pacific Region, West worked for 31 years in the Service's Alaska Region, where he held various refuge management positions, including 14 years as the manager of the two million-acre Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. He spent four years as the Alaska Region's Migratory Bird Coordinator, during which he worked successfully nationally and internationally on Migratory Bird Treaty amendments to provide a legal basis for managing spring subsistence hunting of migratory birds by Alaska Natives. He also was instrumental in acquiring valuable habitat for the Pacific Flyway. Before that, he worked for three years as a fishery biologist, supervising fisheries field work on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and preparing reports to Congress on possible impacts to fish and wildlife resources associated with potential oil development.
West started his career with the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1978 in Anchorage, Alaska, as a writer/photographer. He left Alaska briefly for a job at Hillside National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi. But Alaska had a strong hold on him and he returned in 1981 to take a job as a Fish and Wildlife Service contaminants biologist. In that job, he published work that resulted in changes in industrial practices at Prudhoe Bay.
While West spent most of his career in Alaska, he has been involved in many Service initiatives that have taken him in an official capacity to 44 states and several foreign countries. He is active in numerous professional organizations.
Born and raised in Grants Pass, Oregon, West has a Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University. He and his wife, Shannon, have three grown children. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, hunting, fishing, photographing wildlife and spending time with friends and family.