|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 1998
|Diana M. Hawkins or
Vicki M. Boatwright
|U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Regional Director
Sam D. Hamilton has named Steve Thompson, an experienced Service veteran with more than
two decades of service with the National Wildlife Refuge System, as Assistant Regional
Director for Refuges and Wildlife for the Southeast region in Atlanta, Georgia.
"Steve has dedicated his career to the conservation of wildlife and its habitats and brings to the Southeast an impressive battery of leadership skills. We are happy to welcome him to Atlanta to join our Region's management team," Hamilton said, noting that during his career, Thompson has been singled out for a number of prestigious awards including Refuge Manager of the Year for 1994, presented jointly by the National Wildlife Refuge Association and the National Audubon Society.
In his new position, Thompson will be responsible for ensuring policy oversight for all refuge programs in the Southeast that work to conserve wildlife habitats and populations of fish and wildlife that depend upon them for survival. In accordance with an "organic" law passed by Congress, October, 9, 1997, which Thompson helped to shape, the business the Service conducts through these programs also includes:
In addition, as the Region's Geographic Assistant Regional Director for Area III, Thompson will oversee -- in accordance with the Service's ecosystem approach -- the activities of five ecological service field stations and one national fish hatchery in three Southeastern states and the Caribbean.
In the Southeast, the National Wildlife Refuge System consists of a diverse national network of public lands and waters set aside for the conservation, management and restoration of fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats. These lands which collectively cover 3.2 million acres make up 116 separate wildlife refuges scattered throughout Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A native of Nevada, Thompson began his career in 1976 as a range conservationist with the Bureau of Land Management in Boise, Idaho, and in Burns, Oregon. He is a graduate of Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, where he earned a B.S. in wildlife management.
The author of 25 published papers on golden eagles, sandhill cranes, raptors, wading birds and shore birds, Thompson comes to his new assignment in Atlanta from the Service's Washington, D.C., office, where he served two and a half years as branch chief, Resource Management, National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. Prior to that, he served for 6 years as refuge manager of the 45,000-acre Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge near Harlingen, Texas.
Thompson has earned a solid reputation as a coalition builder. He does not shy away from difficult resource challenges and is excited about coming to the Southeast. "I am anxious to work with Service employees, the States, non-government organizations, and private citizens on the tough resource issues that confront us in the Southeast," he said.
Thompson and his wife of 24 years, Renee, are parents of two college-age daughters Jenna and Maya. For relaxation, he says he enjoys birdwatching, hunting, fishing, running and swimming.
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Release #: R98-001
1998 News Releases