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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Selects Manager for New Vieques Refuge


December 6, 2001

Elsie Davis, 404/679-7107

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has selected Oscar Diaz as the first manager of Vieques National Wildlife Refuge in the Caribbean Islands. The new refuge was acquired by the Service in May 2001.

“Oscar Diaz is exactly the type of manager that we look for when starting up a new refuge, someone who is a seasoned and dedicated biologist with a varied and diverse track record of leadership,” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director.

Since 1999, Diaz served as the Fish and Wildlife Conservationist at the largest U.S. Naval Station in the world, Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, Puerto Rico. Diaz earned special recognition for his response to a major oil spill where his participation on the Damage Assessment Team provided the protection that was needed for several listed species.

Before his stint at Roosevelt Roads, Diaz worked as a biologist at Wayne National Forest in Ohio where he made history as the first and only person to be selected for an International Fire Assignment to teach firefighters in Spain. From 1991 to 1994, he worked as a biologist in the Ocala National Forest in Florida and conducted the first population estimate of the threatened Florida Scrub Jay. Diaz's career has led him to contribute his skills to various research projects at the Caribbean National Forest, the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.

Diaz was born the second of six siblings in the rural central mountains of Puerto Rico. His family later moved to Bayamon near the city, where he lived from his from middle school years until his graduation from the University of Puerto Rico, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1981.

“During my career as a biologist, I have made many friends including my wife, Rosemarie, who is a botanist from Ohio,” said Diaz. The Diaz's, who are very excited about this excellent and challenging opportunity, have two sons: Pablo Jose, 4, and Manuel Antonio, 2.

Vieques is a refuge with wildlife resources that Diaz says he knows very well. The 3,100-acre refuge is the home of several listed species such as the endangered brown pelican and the endangered manatee. Vieques is a beautiful landscape of beaches, coastal lagoons, mangrove wetlands and upland forests.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System that encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at Our national home page is at:

Atlanta, GA 30345

Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

2001 News Releases

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