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New Refuge Manager Selected for Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex



June 1, 2004

Tom MacKenzie, FWS, 404/679-7291


Tom Prusa, a 26-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been selected to manage the seven-refuge Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex, headquartered in Savannah, Georgia. Prusa began his new duties on May 30, 2004

“Tom brings a great deal of field and regional experience to his new role as the manager of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex.” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Savannah Coastal Refuges is located along the Atlantic flyway and serves as an important sanctuary for thousands of migratory birds. It also provides habitat for nine federally-listed species. I am confident that Tom Prusa is the right leader to manage these important wildlife resources.”

For the last six years Prusa has served as an Assistant Refuge Supervisor in Fish and Wildlife Service’s Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia.In 1990, he became the first Refuge Manager of the newly established St. Catherine Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Natchez, Mississippi. Prusa’s first refuge manager position was at the Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge in Eagle Lake, Texas, and he also served at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw, Michigan. Prusa has worked asan Assistant Refuge Manager at Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, New York and DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri Valley, Iowa. He accepted his first position with the Service in 1978 when he became Assistant Refuge Manager at Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge in Oceanville, New Jersey. Prusa began his career with the Soil Conservation Service, a Department of Agriculture agency, in 1972.

“After my six-year assignment in our Southeast Regional Office, I am really looking forward to getting back to the field,” said Prusa. “I always hoped the opportunity would arise to return to the field as a Refuge Manager of one of our premier refuge complexes in the Southeast.”

Prusa, an Ohio native, earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture and a Master of Science Degree in Wildlife Biology both from The Ohio State University.

He and his wife, Kathy, a registered nurse, have two sons. Robert has just graduated from the University of Georgia, and Brian is a freshman at the State University of West Georgia.

The 56,000-acre Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex is comprised of Savannah National Wildlife Refuge, Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, Tybee National Wildlife Refuge, Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge, Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge, Blackbeard Island National Wildlife Refuge, and Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge. Together, these refuges span an 100-mile coastline. Located in the heart of the lowcountry, they are comprised of freshwater marshes, tidal rivers, creeks, and bottomland hardwoods.This chain of national wildlife refuges, extending from Pinckney Island NWR near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, to Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge near Darien, Georgia, provides habitat for nine federally-listed species including the piping plover, flatwoods salamander, manatee, bald eagle, alligator, leatherback sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle and the wood stork.

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.

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Tom Prusa
Tom Prusa


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