Principal Deputy Director
Office of External Affairs

Greg Sheehan

portrait photo of Greg Sheehan

Greg Sheehan was appointed Principal Deputy Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the nation's principal Federal agency dedicated to the conservation of fish and wildlife and their habitats, on June 17, 2017. A career conservation professional, Sheehan served for 25 years in the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources – the last five years as the agency’s Director.

Sheehan’s lifelong passion for fish and wildlife – and his years of wildlife agency leadership – have given him a deep understanding of the issues and complexities involved in wildlife management.

As Principal Deputy Director, Sheehan has led continuing efforts to expand public access for hunting and fishing across the National Wildlife Refuge System and other lands managed by the Service. In the first year of the Trump Administration alone, the Service opened more than 100,000 acres of refuge lands to hunting and fishing. At both the state and federal level, Sheehan has focused on keeping hunters and anglers active. This is a vital priority for state wildlife agencies, which rely heavily on license revenue for funding, as well as broader partnership-driven wildlife conservation efforts across North America dependent on billions of dollars annually generated by sportsmen.

Sheehan has worked tirelessly to involve the Service in state-level hunter and angler retention and recruitment efforts, supporting youth hunting and fishing days and hundreds of other events nationwide on refuges and hatcheries that introduce families and children to these lifelong pastimes.

Since joining the Service, Sheehan has focused on rebuilding the infrastructure of the National Wildlife Refuge System, whose roads, bridges, trails, buildings and other infrastructure continue to crumble as the number of annual visitors has increased by over 40 percent. He was instrumental in creating the Restoring the Refuges Initiative, which helped lead to significantly increased funding to address the system’s maintenance backlog. Sheehan also played a key role in enlisting the support of the White House and Secretary Zinke to propose the Public Lands Infrastructure Fund, which would dedicate billions of dollars in revenue from energy development to infrastructure improvements in the nation’s national parks and refuges.

As Utah State Director, Sheehan worked extensively with the Service and other federal and state agencies to recover threatened and endangered species protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), one of the agency’s principal authorities. He has brought the same proactive approach to implementing the ESA at the federal level. Under his leadership, the agency is working to accelerate species recovery and delisting efforts by strengthening and expanding partnerships with state and tribal wildlife agencies, and by expanding financial, technical and regulatory assistance for landowners to encourage voluntary conservation efforts on private lands. During his tenure at the Service to date, multiple species have been delisted due to recovery, including the black-capped vireo and lesser long-nosed bat; many more species have been proposed for delisting due to recovery or for downlisting because of their progress.

In his years with the Utah Division of Wildlife, Sheehan supported landscape-scale habitat restoration; highway fencing and underpass construction; translocation of deer, bighorn sheep, bison, and mountain goats; selective predator management; restoration and rebuilding of the state fish hatcheries and extensive research. As a result, during the last four years of his tenure, Utah's mule deer population increased by more than 100,000 animals, leading to increased hunting and viewing opportunities for the public.

Sheehan oversaw development of prudent, state-based management plans for the greater sage-grouse, Utah prairie dog, and other native species. He was a key liaison between the states and the Service on ESA issues, chairing the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies’ Threatened & Endangered Policy Committee and sitting on the Service’s Federal/State Joint ESA Task Force. He chaired national committees focused on private land conservation and access and increasing angling and boating participation, among others.

Sheehan earned a bachelor’s degree at Utah State University and later received an MBA. Greg and his wife have been married for 32 years, and have two sons. He is an avid hunter, fisherman, and wildlife photographer.

Table of Organization



Last updated: June 6, 2018
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