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 This content is intended for historical reference only and not as a representation of current Service policy or opinion.

Headed to the Sooner State

Dan and OK Secretary of Environment Gary Sherrer at Woodward, Oklahoma meeting.

It's been a busy day and a half.

Over the last 36 hours, I travelled to both Woodward and Edmond, Oklahoma to participate in meetings hosted by Sen. Inhofe and Oklahoma Secretary of Environment Gary Sherrer focused on the lesser prairie-chicken. At least 3 other Oklahoma Cabinet Secretaries, private landowners and industry representatives spoke at the meetings.

It was encouraging to hear about the innovative lesser prairie-chicken conservation efforts currently underway. These efforts include those supported by the Great Plains LCC and the WGA to develop common population assessment methods, and hopefully, a common population objective among the five range states.

The partnership between our employees and the people and business leaders in Oklahoma was inspiring. This was especially true with our strong partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

While the lesser prairie-chicken faces a number of threats it was clear from the two Oklahoma meetings that there was a commitment to work together to build on existing efforts while identifying new means of conserving the chicken. 

Dan, Dr. Benjamin Tuggle and Richard Hatcher, Director, OK Dept of Wildlife Conservation at Edmond, Oklahoma meeting

For me, the meetings reemphasized the important role of working landscapes and private lands, and the promise of the LCC network in supporting landscape-scale conservation.

The people who attended and spoke at these two meetings were firm in stating their beliefs and concerns. While firm, they were also courteous, respectful and kind to a person. 

I also had the pleasure of joining ODWC Director, Richard Hatcher, and Regional Director, Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, for breakfast.  They are both providing outstanding leadership on this and many other issues. Importantly, I had the chance to spend some time with a few of our field employees, and I owe special thanks to Ken Collins, Heather Whitlaw, Gary Mowad, and Lesli Gray for their time and expertise. 

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