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The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you.

The Midwest Region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Find a location near you and plan your visit today »

Conserving the Nature of America

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Regional Director

Tom Melius scouting locations for a youth waterfowl hunt. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.
Scouting locations for the youth waterfowl hunt. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.

Tom Melius is the Midwest Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). Melius has lead the Midwest region since October of 2008.┬áPrior to his Midwest region post, he completed a successful watch over the vast, rugged expanse of the Service’s Alaska region.

In the Midwest, Melius leads a region that employs more than 1,000 people, manages 1.47 million acres of land and has field offices in eight states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Aside from his duties as Regional Director, Melius stewards natural resources in several other capacities. Under his direction, the Midwest Region is leading the Service’s national effort to conserve the North American monarch butterfly and working internationally with Canada and Mexico to ensure a future filled with monarchs. Melius also represents the Service on the Monarch Joint Venture, which brings experts and conservation groups together to help monarchs. Melius also gets his hands wet with underwater vampires like the invasive sea lamprey. In 2014, Melius was appointed as a U.S. Commissioner on The Great Lakes Fishery Commission. As one of eight commissioners (four from the U.S. and four from Canada), Melius advises the sea lamprey control program, one of the most successful invasive species programs in the history of international conservation. To top it off, Melius is also the co-chair of the Plains and Prairie Pothole Landscape Conservation Cooperative.

Tom Melius joins students who are snowshoeing at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.
Snowshoeing at Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.

A native of the Great Plains, Melius brings a diverse background and a wealth of experience to the Midwest. Prior to his stewardship in Alaska, he served as Assistant Director for External Affairs in the Washington D.C. Office from March 2003 to April 2006. He oversaw the national programs for Public Affairs, Congressional and Legislative Affairs, and the office of the Native American Liaison. He also provided oversight to the Service's National Conservation Training Center located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Prior to his time in External Affairs, Melius served as Assistant Director for Migratory Birds and State Programs. In that position he developed policy, advised the Directorate, and served as its representative on issues relating to the conservation and management of migratory birds, implementation of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and wetlands programs, Federal Duck Stamps, federal grant programs, and conservation partnerships. He was responsible for and directed the offices of Migratory Bird Management, Bird Habitat Conservation, Conservation Partnership Liaison, and Federal Aid.

Tom Melius helps a fishing derby participant get an up-close look at monarch caterpillars. Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS.
Getting an up-close look at monarch caterpillars. Photo by Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS.

From July 1997 to October 1998, Melius was the Director of Conservation Policy and served as Senior Advisor at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. From January 1995 to June 1997, he was a senior professional staff member on the U.S. Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, where he formulated policy for fishery management with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Coast Guard; and for coastal programs with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He also advised the Committee on international conservation matters involving wildlife trade, marine mammals and endangered species.

From 1985 to 1995, Melius was a professional staff member on the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries in the U.S. House of Representatives. There he advised the Committee on issues concerning fish and wildlife legislation.

In 1973 and 1975, Melius earned his bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology and a master’s degree in fish and wildlife science from South Dakota State University. His broad range of experience, both within and outside the Service, has well qualified him to deal with the challenges and conservation stewardship opportunities across our diverse Midwest landscape.