Dan Ashe was confirmed and sworn in as the 16th Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this summer just days before the Conserving the Future conference.
In one of his first official appearances as Director, on July 14, Ashe told conference attendees in Madison, WI, and those participating online across the country that "I am deeply honored to serve in this role. I want to thank you for your kind words and encouragement. I promise you my very bestand ask for your help. We have a lot of work to do together."
In an e-mail to all Service employees days earlier, Ashe said: "Our challenges are many and varied. We face resource challenges, which are national, international and, in some cases, global
in scale. Along with our state partners, and the rest of the federal government, we also face serious fiscal challenges. And we operate in an ongoing environment of political challenges to the decisions we make and the actions we take. My goal is to ensure that we will face all of our challenges head on, and draw from them not a sense of despair, but rather, inspiration and renewed motivation to improve and achieve."
In announcing Ashes confirmation in July, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said: "Dan Ashe has served with distinction and integrity in the Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 15 years...Im excited to work with him to foster innovative science-driven conservation programs and policies to benefit our nations fish and wildlife and its habitat."
During his Service tenure, Ashe has helped to craft the strategy that will guide the agencys efforts to deal with
the effects of a changing climate. That
plan outlined interagency cooperative
efforts across landscapes as the most
effective way to help fish and wildlife
populations adapt to rapidly changing
Ashe also been a leader in the
development of landscape conservation
cooperatives (LCCs), which are intended
to leverage resources and strategically
target science to inform conservation
decisions and actions.
Ashe, who had been Service deputy
director since 2009, served as the science
advisor to the Director from 2003 to 2009.
From 1998 to 2003, he was chief of the
National Wildlife Refuge System. From
1995 to 1998, he was the Service assistant
director for external affairs.
Before joining the Service, Ashe was
a member of the professional staff of
the former Committee on Merchant
Marine and Fisheries in the House of
Representatives from 1982 until 1995.
Ashe was born and spent his childhood
in Atlanta, where his father began his
37-year career with the Service. Much
of Ashes youth was spent on national
wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries in
the Southeast, where he learned to band
birds, fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors.
"My dad was a respected leader in the
Service, and, to use an old phrase, he
saved a lot of dirt during his career,"
Ashe told the Conserving the Future
conference audience. "Ding Darling in
Florida and Sevilleta in New Mexicotwo of my favorite refugesare protected
today because of his vision, energy and
courage. I am proud of the Refuge
System I knew as a boy, the System that
my father helped build, and I am proud of
the one that I have helped to lead."