New Refuge Manager at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
November 5, 2010
Curt McCasland, a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the new refuge manager of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Folkston, Georgia. He began his new duties on October 12, 2010. As project leader he oversees activities on the 402,000-acre refuge, known as the largest one in the eastern United States.
“We’re excited that Curt brings his experience of working on a vast refuge with specialized, unique habitats to Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge,” says Cindy Dohner, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “His nine years of experience at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, located in the northern Sonoran desert, have prepared him well for the opportunities here in the Southeast.”
For the past three years, McCasland served as manager at Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Ajo, Arizona. The 860,000-acre refuge is the third largest in the United States. As manager, he spearheaded recovery efforts for the endangered Sonoran pronghorn antelope and for the protection of bighorn sheep. He also led law enforcement efforts to stem the smuggling of people and contraband through the refuge bordering the United States and Mexico. He also surveyed the wilderness impacts resulting from these border issues and conducted bird surveys of the more than 100 bird species inhabiting the refuge. For three years, McCasland was the refuge’s assistant manager, and for three years he worked as a wildlife biologist there.
Prior to his refuge experiences at Cabeza Prieta, McCasland worked as an endangered species biologist with the Service’s Sacramento, California, Ecological Services Office, and as a biological technician with the U.S. Forest Service at the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research in Stoneville, Mississippi.
McCasland holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and a master’s degree in vertebrate zoology from the University of Memphis in Tennessee.
McCasland and his wife Fatima have three daughters.
Established in 1936, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is located in is located in Ware, Charlton, and Clinch Counties, Georgia, and Baker County, Florida. It protects a 438,000-acre swamp inside a saucer-shaped depression that was once part of the ocean floor. Native Americans named the area “Land of the Trembling Earth” because peat deposits cover most of the swamp floor, and these deposits are so unstable in some places that trees and bushes may tremble when someone stomps on the surface. The swamp includes a variety of habitats including marshes, prairies, cypress forests, lakes, and islands. A variety of birds and other wildlife can be seen on the refuge including red-cockaded woodpeckers, wood storks, ospreys, American alligators and bears. Visitors can enjoy boating, hunting, fishing, and wildlife observation, as well as many other activities.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Please visit the Service’s websites at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/ and http://www.fws.gov.
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