Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Aurelia Skipwith Steps Down

January 19, 2021


Today, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Aurelia Skipwith announced her resignation effective January 19, 2021.  As the first African American Director of the nearly 150-year old U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), Skipwith was first nominated by President Trump in 2018 and re-nominated in 2019 before being confirmed to the position on December 12, 2019. 

“I am truly amazed and humbled for the opportunity I had to serve the American people doing what I love the most – taking care of our lands, the fish, the wildlife and engaging with people who are at the forefront of conservation, said Director Skipwith. As a kid growing up, I could not have imagined a greater honor.”

“I owe a huge debt of gratitude to President Trump, Secretary Bernhardt, the Congressional leadership, organizations and numerous individuals who supported me in this position, which enabled me to work hard on the behalf of all Americans,” said Skipwith.

She added, “From my science and legal background, every decision the Service made was based on sound science and the rule of law. With my experience in the private sector, I was committed to ensuring the practicality of our decisions and working with the communities impacted by our decisions.”

Within the last year as Director, she traveled to over 25 states and visited over 40 refuges and hatcheries, meeting with the dedicated and talented staff working in offices, conducting fieldwork, and engaging with the service’s’ partners to achieve the mission of the Service.

Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, the Service continued to accomplish its mission. “I am extremely proud of our collective achievements and this video represents a small glimpse of everyone’s hard work in 2020,” Director Skipwith stated. “I couldn’t be prouder of all of the Service’s employees and their commitment to delivering for people, wildlife, plants, and their habitats. We set a new foundation of engaging with new audiences, leveraging technology to revolutionize systems for the American public, and implementing processes for employees to continue to excel.”

Skipwith continued, “I am forever grateful to the Service’s law enforcement officers, wildlife officers and analysts who put their lives on the line every day for our freedoms and protecting our natural resources. I laud their work which is frequently under-appreciated. Additionally, maintenance staff have been at the forefront in keeping our refuges and hatcheries open in 2020, helping ensure these lands serve as a place of continued conservation, connection and refuge for the American people.”

“Today I leave the office with admiration and thankfulness. I am deeply grateful and blessed to have served in this role. Thank you to the Service for having me for all that we accomplished together.”

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. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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