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Director's Corner

Dan Ashe served as FWS Director from June 2011 until January 2017. The following is an archive of blogs authored by Director Ashe during that time. This content is intended for historical reference only and not as a representation of current Service policy or opinion.

Finding Inspiration at the End of a Long Week

Last week was a bruising week of meetings and travel with an inspiring day at the end. 

Mondays are always full with meetings. This Monday, I met with DOI senior political staff; FWS Director's staff; and others to review the previous week, catch up from the weekend, and prepare for the week to come.   

After an evening flight to Las Vegas, on Tuesday morning I joined the NRCS Chief and USFS Deputy Chief in addressing the annual conference of the National Association of Conservation Districts. 

I spent a short day on the ground, but by nightfall, I was already flying back home for work the next day. 


A River of Grass

I'm finishing up a great trip to Florida this week. Tuesday morning, I was with Secretary Salazar and Senator Bill Nelson, along the Tamiami Trail.

No, it's not actually a trail.

It's basically a fill causeway through the heart of the Everglades that was constructed in the early 1900s, connecting Tampa and Miami; hence "Tamiami."

It constricts water flow through the Everglades, and a major part of the Everglades restoration is a project to elevate a 1-mile stretch of the road, allowing water to flow more naturally and letting the "River of Grass" behave more like a river.

But we weren't there to celebrate that project.  

We were there to announce our new Lacey Act rule to list 4 species of large constrictor snakes, including Burmese python as injurious and to ban their importation and movement in interstate commerce. Believed to be derived from discarded or escaped pets, there is now a wild, naturally reproducing population of Burmese pythons likely totaling in the tens of thousands.

They can grow to over 20 feet and exceed 200 pounds. On Tuesday, we had a relatively small one on display for a battery of media cameras; a mere 13-footer, weighing about 90 pounds. Plenty of snake for me, thanks very much!  

Photo Credit: (Tami Heilemann/Department of Interior)


Dan Visits Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge

Today, Dan visited the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge located in our Midwest Region. This is Dan's first visit to a field station since he was confirmed as the Service's 16th Director on June 30th.

Dan Ashe visits Detroit National Wildlife Refuge with Ken Salazar 

Dan (left) was joined by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar (center) and Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius (right). Secretary Salazar was visiting the refuge to announce recent land acquisitions that will protect valuable habitats and provide recreational opportunities for the urban community that surrounds the refuge.

The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge is the only International Wildlife Refuge in North America. The refuge includes islands, coastal wetlands, marshes, shoals, and waterfront lands along 48 miles of Detroit River and Western Lake Erie shoreline. Its location is unique -- situated in the heart of a major metropolitan area.

Learn more about the Refuge at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/detroitriver/.  

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