January 15, 2004
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that Russell Watson, a 29-year Service veteran, has been selected as the new Field Supervisor of the Ecological Services Program Field Office in Lafayette, Louisiana. Since 1991, Watson has served as Assistant Field Supervisor of that office. He replaces David Fruge who has retired.
“Russ has played a key role in increasing the Lafayette Field Office’s capability to protect Louisiana’s nationally significant fish, wildlife, and coastal wetland resources for many years, “ said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “He will maintain needed continuity at that office through his strong support for collaborative partnerships between the Service, other federal and state agencies, local government representatives, and private individuals and organizations.”
Watson began his Service career in 1974 as the first Ecological Services biologist to be stationed in Puerto Rico. While there he worked on wetland permits, Coastal Zone Management Act Planning, and Endangered Species Act issues in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In 1978, Watson transferred to the Vicksburg, Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office where he worked with the Vicksburg, Memphis, and Little Rock Corps Districts’ Civil Works and Regulatory Programs, as well as the Service’s private lands initiatives.
“I am pleased and honored to be the new supervisor of the Louisiana Field Office, and I look forward to serving the public efficiently and effectively in carrying out the Service’s diverse mission here in sportsman’s paradise,” said Watson.
“Louisiana’s culture and natural resources are unique,” continued Watson. “I believe that nurturing our existing relationships and creating new working partnerships with development and conservation interests, based on open communication and sound science, are key to our continued success and credibility. I am fortunate to work with a dedicated, highly professional staff, and we are committed to helping to balance fish and wildlife resource conservation with public and private needs throughout the State.”
Watson and his wife Mary have four children and six grandchildren. They are active in local community service organizations and enjoy outdoor activities, especially fishing and hunting. Watson graduated from Alaska Methodist University, now University of Alaska - Anchorage, with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology in 1974.
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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 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.
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