Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Pacific Region Selects Dr. James Unsworth as Assistant Regional Director – Science Applications

February 11, 2019

Contact(s):

Pacific Region, Office of External Affairs - 503-231-2264 


Dr. James (Jim) Unsworth has been named Assistant Regional Director for Science Applications in the Pacific Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Credit: Dan Graham

PORTLAND, Oregon -- Long-time natural resources manager Dr. James (Jim) Unsworth has been named Assistant Regional Director for Science Applications in the Pacific Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unsworth succeeds Dr. Stephen Zylstra, who retired from federal service.

Unsworth has immense experience in conservation in the Pacific Northwest.  Most recently, he served as Director of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, where he managed over 1,600 employees, 900,000 acres of habitat, and an biennial budget of half a billion dollars.  Prior to that role, Unsworth spent over three decades working for Idaho Fish and Game, departing in 2015 as Deputy Director for Field Operations. 

“The science portfolio of the Pacific Northwest is in excellet hands,” said Robyn Thorson, Pacific Region Director.  “The Service, our partners and the public will benefit from Jim’s proven leadership skills and collaborative approach to conservation. Dr. Unsworth’s state experience and impressive science credentials will continue our positive momentum on partnership-based landscape conservation.”

Unsworth will assume his new duties later this month. Based in Portland, his staff provides technical guidance, collaborative landscape-level conservation, and science-related funding opportunities to partners throughout the Pacific Region, which includes Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands, including America Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. As a member of the Regional Directorate, Unsworth will serve as the senior scientist in the agency’s largest and most biologically diverse region. 

 “The opportunity to serve in a host of positions within State conservation agencies has been rewarding and instructive, and it has been my honor to serve the people of Washington and Idaho,” Unsworth said.  “This opportunity to use my experience to provide effective, impactful, collaborative conservation to the American public will be as rewarding as it is challenging.”

Unsworth earned his Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management from University of Idaho, a Master’s degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Montana State University, and Doctor of Philosophy (Forestry, Wildlife and Range Sciences) from University of Idaho.

Unsworth and his wife Michele, currently live in Olympia, Washington, and enjoy hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching.


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 www.fws.gov.

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