photo of Greg Siekaniec
Greg Siekaniec

Greg Siekaniec has been named deputy director for policy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, leaving the position of chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a post he held since 2009.

In his new capacity, Siekaniec will provide strategic program direction and develop policy and guidance to support and promote program development and fulfill the Service mission.

"Greg has done an outstanding job leading the Refuge System during challenging times, and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with him as part of our leadership team. I know his more than two decades of field and Washington experience will continue to be an invaluable asset as we move forward with the Service’s conservation agenda," said Service Director Dan Ashe in announcing the appointment in late July.

Siekaniec has led efforts to prepare the Refuge System to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and he oversaw a process to create a reinvigorated vision to guide it for the next decade. Americans submitted more than 10,000 comments on the vision, which was ratified at the Conserving the Future conference in July.

"We face a host of conservation challenges of a magnitude we have rarely seen," said Siekaniec. "But the Refuge System has risen to equal challenges in decades past. With a new vision as its beacon, the Refuge System will again overcome challenges to add to America’s conservation legacy. I won’t be overseeing the Refuge System on a day-to-day basis, but, rest assured, I will always have my eye on the Refuge System."

Refuge System deputy chief Jim Kurth will be acting chief until Siekaniec’s successor is named.

Before taking the helm as chief, Siekaniec spent eight years as the refuge manager at Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Siekaniec

Refuge, one of the Refuge System’s most remote and far-flung units. Alaska Maritime Refuge encompasses more than 2,500 islands and nearly five million acres.

Siekaniec started his career at J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota as a refuge clerk and moved up into management positions in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming in addition to Alaska. He served as deputy chief of the Refuge System before taking over leadership at Alaska Maritime Refuge in 2001.