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Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges Welcome New Prescribed Fire Specialist


December 8, 2004

Bonnie Strawser, 252-473-1131


Mike Bryant, Refuge Manager for Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges, announced today that Greg Suszek has been hired as a Prescribed Fire Specialist to assist with prescribed burning and wildfire suppression on eastern North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges.

Suszek was born and raised in southern New Hampshire and attended high school in Metheun, Massachusetts. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fishery Biology from Colorado State University in 1996 where he also worked as a Fishery Technician. From there, he moved to Ohio where he worked as a Forester with the Davey Resource Group, to Merced, California, where he was employed as a Fish Biologist with the Dutchman Creek Fish Farm and was also an instructor of Anatomy and Physiology at Merced College. In October 1998, Suszek moved to Ten Sleep,Wyoming, to work with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as a Fish Culture Specialist. While there he also served as a volunteer firefighter with the local fire department responding to range, forest, and structure fires.

In September 2001, Suszek was hired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in the Florida panhandle. His primary duties there involved supervising fire control operations including wildfire prevention, detection, and suppression; dispatching; prescribed burning, and other activities to support the refuge fire management program. He has gained a great deal of knowledge and skills in the past three years and will be a tremendous asset to fire operations at both Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges.

“Our goal with adding this new position is to enhance our prescribed burning efforts on the Refuges in Northeastern North Carolina to reduce the potential for catastrophic wildfires that could impact local communities, and also to help create and maintain high quality habitat for wildlife” said Refuge Manager Bryant. “Greg’s primary duty here will be to familiarize himself with the pocosin and marsh habitats in eastern North Carolina and write plans to enable safe, effective prescribed burning on refuge lands, including wildland/urban interface areas where the refuge connects to adjacent communities such as Manns Harbor, Cedar Island, Lake Phelps, Mackay Islan, and Stumpy Point” he said.

In his free time, Greg enjoys fishing, snow skiing, and traveling.

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 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management 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 Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

Greg Suszek has discovered he already enjoys Outer Banks fishing.
Greg Suszek has discovered he
already enjoys Outer Banks fishing.

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