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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 This content is intended for historical reference only and not as a representation of current Service policy or opinion.

Dan Ashe Confirmed as New Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today praised the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Daniel M. Ashe as the 16th Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ashe, a career employee of the agency, will assume his duties immediately.

"Dan Ashe has served with distinction and integrity in the Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 15 years. He has worked tirelessly to prepare the Service to meet the resource challenges of the 21st century, and his leadership and vision have never been more necessary," said Salazar. "I’m excited to work with him to foster innovative science-driven conservation programs and policies to benefit our nation’s fish and wildlife and its habitat."

On December 3, President Obama formally nominated Ashe, who has served as the service’s deputy director for policy since 2009, to be the agency’s director. As deputy director, Ashe developed policy and guidance to support and promote program development and fulfill the service’s mission.

"I’m humbled by the trust that the Secretary and the President have placed in me, and most of all, by the responsibility of leading the finest wildlife conservation organization in the world," Ashe said. "As director, I will strive to create an atmosphere where we can bring to bear our collective imagination, our tenacity, and our commitment to public service to address today’s challenges to the future of our nation’s fish and wildlife heritage."

Dan Ashe, Smiling

During his tenure with the service, Ashe has helped to craft the strategy that will guide the agency’s 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 environmental conditions. Ashe also been a leader in the development of the agency’s Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, which are intended to leverage resources and strategically target science to inform conservation decisions and actions.

President Obama awarded Ashe a Presidential Rank Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his outstanding service.

Prior to being named deputy director, Ashe served as the science advisor to the service’s director from 2003-2009, providing leadership on science policy and scientific applications to resource management.

Ashe served as the chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System from 1998 to 2003, directing operation and management of the 93 million-acre system, and the service’s land acquisition program.

From 1995 to 1998, he served as the Fish and Wildlife Service’s assistant director for external affairs, where he directed the agency’s programs in legislative, public, and Native American affairs, research coordination, and state grants-in-aid.

Prior to joining the Service, Ashe served as a member of the professional staff of the former Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1982 until 1995.

Ashe was born and spent his childhood in Atlanta, Georgia, where his father began his 37-year career with the service. Much of Ashe’s childhood was spent on national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries in the Southeast, where he learned to band birds, fish, hunt and enjoy the outdoors.

He earned a graduate degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington, where he studied under a fellowship from the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation. He is very active in local civic affairs in Montgomery County, Maryland, where he and his family reside. He is an avid waterfowl hunter, angler and tennis player.

Great news. Welcome Dan!
# Posted By Geary Hund | 7/5/11 7:56 PM

Congratulations Mr. Ashe!! Your going to be great!
# Posted By | 7/6/11 3:46 PM

My name is Nancy Hynes. I’m contacting you from Fort Worth, Texas, to let Director Dan Ashe know that I’m outraged by the Fish and Wildlife Service’s support for Wyoming’s wolf "management plan." This proposal is unscientific and unconscionable and would allow wolves to be shot on sight in most areas of the state outside Yellowstone National Park. This animal is on the endangered species list, as you know, though the dept list excludes the wolf from the endangered list in MT, it's home territory.
# Posted By | 7/7/11 6:06 PM

“My name is Emily Ellis and I’m from Redondo beach, CA.,to let Director Dan Ashe know that I’m outraged by the Fish and Wildlife Service’s support for Wyoming’s wolf management plan. This proposal is unscientific and unconscionable and would allow wolves to be shot on sight in most areas of the state outside Yellowstone National Park.”
# Posted By Emily Ellis | 7/7/11 6:12 PM

Sir, congratulations on your appointment. I saw your resume and you sound like a perfect fit for the scientific-based professional leadership needed at USFW. But, I fear your decision to support Wyoming's wolf management plan may prove more destructive than constructive. It seems more of a wolf eradication plan than a bio-balanced ecologically sound diversity plan needed to regenerate our National Parks and create safe federally designated inter-state corridors for migrating wildlife. I do not oppose responsible hunting. As a Native American, I endorse hunting where hunters track and hunt to eat a humane kill. I grew up with migrating wolves and their pups. They do not attack children or people if left unmolested. They are solitary hunters who maintain the natural migratory patterns of other wildlife needed to renew our meadowlands and maintain healthy wild populations. "States-rights" and outdated fears should not trump wildlife rights to life. Please educate rather than eradicate.
# Posted By | 7/7/11 6:47 PM

Congratulations Mr. Ashe on your new appointment as the Director of the U.S. Fish & Game Service. I hope you will be committed in protecting all our nations wildlife, including the wolf wherever it may roam. I also hope that you don't give in to the political lobbyist for the oil companies, NRA, mining companies, sportsman organizations and ranchers. Instead, please listen to the biologists in the field and the research based on solid facts before you make any decision that would not be in the better interest to our nations wildlife. Over the past few months I have seen attacks on the EPA,Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act. You must not allow the same people who are trying to eliminate these important acts for the soul purpose of greed by big business. There is absolutely no reason why our nations wildlife, air and water should be sacrificed or compromised by the lobbyist in Washington who will try to "persuade" you to make the right decision. Be strong Mr. Ashe, be strong!
# Posted By Frank Stockmal | 7/7/11 6:58 PM

Please keep in mind our endangered species and that taxpayers want animals treated humanely as you go forth in you new office. Thank you.
# Posted By Anonymous | 7/7/11 8:35 PM

Please don't start your tenure with the FWS by approving the proposed wolf management plan in WY. The plan is unscientific and inhumane, and would allow wolves to be shor on sight. Please put a stop to this unacceptable plan.
# Posted By | 7/7/11 9:17 PM

Way to go, one of your first acts as Director is to allow Wyoming's gun-slinging cowboys to shoot wolves on sight?? Way to go, nothing like undoing years of wildlife recovery efforts in a few short days! I'm outraged at the ongoing mentality that loves to kill wild things.
Disgusted in Ohio
# Posted By J Myers | 7/8/11 1:04 PM

Congratulations, and now please do the right thing for wolves in America, and deny support for Wyoming’s wolf management plan. This proposal is unscientific and unconscionable and would allow wolves to be shot on sight in most areas of the state outside Yellowstone National Park. Thank you!
# Posted By Beverly | 7/10/11 11:39 AM

Director Ashe, I am outraged by your policies on the wolf population in the United States! Specifically, the recent removal of wolves from the endangered species list in Wyoming. This country spent a lot of money and effort repopulating wolves in "the lower 48" and now you wish to reverse that. I wonder sir, if you are doing what is best or returning a favor.
# Posted By Camille | 9/4/12 10:28 AM

Dear Mr. Ashe,

"Conserving the Nature of America"

That is your posting on "Director`s Corner"

Do wolves not belong to America`s Nature? Why are they hated so much? They are God's creatures and we have to respect them!

Antje Göttert
# Posted By Antje Göttert | 3/26/13 8:33 AM

Congratulations on your appointment. I am writing to urge you to reconsider the delisting of our gray wolves. This ESA protection may not be popular but is ciritcal to survival of this species. As you know, sixteen prominent wildlife scientists have sent you a letter denouncing the proposal as scientifically unsound. The public has not heard answers to these and other serious questions. And lastly, a national poll of Americans support continued protection.

Please reconsider the science and the voice of our citizens to reinstate the ESA protection for our gray wolf population.

Michele Chalice, Keene NH
# Posted By Michele Anne Chalice | 7/26/13 2:02 PM

Dear Mr. Ashe,
Have you ever heard of Adolph Murie? Mr. Murie spent his entire scientific career studying the wolf population in McKinley National Park (now Denali).
He spend thousands of hours tracking, recording and understanding the ecological balance of wolves and their environment. He did this without the benefit of what we consider modern technology, beginning in the 1920's. If you are not familiar with Mr. Murie's work, I strongly encourage you to research him. Thank you for your consideration.
# Posted By Ellen Friel | 2/12/14 11:13 PM

Please be the best leader you can be which encompasses not only humans but over all living things that are affected by your decisions. Please fight for the Wolves.
# Posted By | 9/18/14 11:58 AM

I want to thank you for your stand on the Gunnison sage grouse and for standing up to Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper.
# Posted By C. Vetesy | 11/14/14 8:32 AM

Six states now some with open season on wolf and coyote until March. Our wildlife although "managed" in a very biased way towards the rancher, poacher, outfitters, businesses, hunter and so called conservationist, is not being protected. It is being slaughtered left and right unmercifully and unscientifically with lies and deceit. Those observers of this massacre with watchfull eyes cannot accept nor tolerate your words and proposal on the side of expanding business to resign ourselves to, as you put it, live with less wildlife, in the name of overpopulation, while masking the decimation in the name of science and technology. This I believe is irresponsible and criminal. Stop the open season now with a moratorium on hunting and trapping until all the numbers are in. Your biased policies are causing more harm than good. At this moment one wonders if you are still really on the job or if you have dictated a policy and taken a permanent vacation.
# Posted By Mercedes | 1/20/15 3:13 AM

I support wild animals & the trophy ban.
# Posted By | 3/29/15 3:20 PM

Dear Mr. Ashe,I do not know you, or any of your policies .I am writing to you as a concerned visiting hunter to your country. Me and a few buddies have been upland bird hunting in Montana for the last 12 years. We arrive faithfully every year to pleasant town folk and great bird hunting at the Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge. Over the last 4 or 5 years we have talked to a lot of the staff on the refuge and wondered why you are cutting and burning all of the Russian Olive trees. These trees, as indicated in the Montana game bird enhancement program , are an important component for winter survival of Native Sharp Tail grouse and Non native ringneck pheasants. These birds are what all the visitor to the area hunt. It has gotten so bad that we could hunt all day and not see as many birds now as we did in 20 minutes back 12 years ago. It is not hatches it is the direct destruction of the environment that is to blame. The town is now dead as a result and we will not be visiting any more.SAD
# Posted By Darren Prout | 7/26/15 2:03 PM

Dear Mr Ashe,

Please reclassify African elephants as two separate species and protect them both as "endangered" under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The New York Times had an article on Sunday, July 26th outlining the differences between the "forest" and "savannah" elephants.

Thank you.
# Posted By Johanna Coxeter | 7/31/15 5:55 PM

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