Inside Region 3
Midwest Region
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Steve Lewis.  Photo by USFWS.
Steve Lewis. Photo by USFWS.

Migratory Birds Staff
Bid Farewell To Steve Lewis

After 31 years of Federal service – all of them with the Fish and Wildlife Service – Steve Lewis retired on June 30. Steve began his career in 1984, working for the Division of Refuge Management in Washington, DC. He later moved to the Migratory Bird Management Office, which was developing a national program focusing on nongame bird conservation and Steve was fortunate to be one of the people to help get that effort off the ground.

In 1987, then-Director Frank Dunkle wanted to downsize the Washington Office and that offered Steve and his wife Lynn, who is with the Ecological Services program in the Regional Office, an opportunity to come to the Midwest Region. In his early days in the Region, Steve assisted with some of the planning that fed into the then-new North American Waterfowl Management Plan. He also spent two enjoyable years at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, and was there when the refuge transitioned to the “new” Visitor Center in 1989.

In 1990, Steve returned to the Regional Office and assumed the job he would have the rest of his career as the Region’s Nongame Bird Coordinator. In that capacity, he has worked with Regional field stations, other Service Regions, and outside partners to develop a coordinated approach to the conservation and management of nongame birds in the Upper Midwest as well as other places “our” birds go in the non-breeding season.

With the establishment of the Partners in Flight landbird conservation initiative and, later, similar efforts for shorebirds and waterbirds, the program grew. In 2001, two outstanding biologists - Bob Russell and Tom Will – were hired to enhance Region 3’s nongame bird program. Katie Koch joined the team in 2008, bringing much-needed coordination to Regional bird monitoring and data management activities.

Steve says that it has been a real privilege working with these colleagues and others to address the challenges faced by the several hundred nongame bird species that occur in the Midwest Region at some point in their annual cycle. He appreciates the support that nearly 20 Regional Directors, Assistant Regional Directors, and Division Chiefs, as well as many field station managers and biologists, have given him (and the birds) over the years.

Steve's official last day in the office was June 30th, but he also plans on doing some volunteer work moving forward along with a lot of bike riding! Steve will be greatly missed by the Migratory Bird Program family and everybody who had the pleasure of working with him! I am confident that his passion for conserving and better understanding migratory birds will continue into his retirement.

By Tom Cooper
Regional Office – Migratory Birds

Last updated: June 8, 2020