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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Selects New Refuge Manager for Gulf Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex


October 31, 2005

Tom MacKenzie, 404/679-7291
Lloyd Culp, 229-497-632

Lloyd Culp, a 31-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the new refuge manager for the Gulf Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex that includes the Mississippi Sandhill Crane and Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuges headquartered in Gautier, Mississippi, and the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

“Lloyd has a great deal of experience working on refuges from Florida to Massachusetts, including some of the largest refuges in the eastern United States with active fire management programs.” said Sam D. Hamilton, Southeast Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Culp has served as refuge manager of the 111,000-acre Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia and North Carolina for the last 17 years. This refuge is the largest refuge administered by the Northeast Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the primary mission of restoring and protecting a unique ecosystem that includes fire-dependent habitats. He left Great Dismal Swamp as the refuge began implementing a major fuel-reduction and forest restoration project to restore Atlantic white cedar forests that were destroyed by Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

Culp began his career on refuges in 1974 as a student-trainee in wildlife science at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. He continued his service in student trainee or assistant manager positions at St. Marks NWR in Florida, Eufaula NWR in Alabama, and Tennessee NWR through 1984. Culp’s first assignment as refuge manager occurred in 1984 when he transferred to the Great Meadows NWR in 1984, serving refuges in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In 1988, he accepted the refuge manager’s position of the Great Dismal Swamp NWR, where he served until his recent transfer to Gulf Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

“I reported for duty at the Gulf Coast Complex at a difficult time for the refuges and their neighboring communities, as we all struggle to recover from the devastation created by Hurricane Katrina,” Culp said. “My first priority will be to work with our team and neighbors to restore some normalcy to daily life, and I look forward to working with our
neighbors in Mississippi and Alabama to be good stewards of the wildlife resources supported by the refuges. I am impressed with the resilient spirit of the people I have met, so I have no doubt that we will get back on our feet and continue to make progress in partnership with our neighbors.”

Culp holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from Auburn University. His wife, Nora, has a degree in fisheries biology from Auburn University and has taught high school chemistry, biology, and physiology in Georgia. The Culps have one daughter, Lauren, who recently began her second year of studies as a music education major at Auburn University.

Mississippi Sandhill Crane NWR was established in 1975 for the primary purpose of restoring and protecting habitat for the endangered Mississippi sandhill crane. The Grand Bay NWR was established in 1992 to maintain and support diverse rare habitats including pine/savannah wetlands. Both refuges incorporate habitats that require maintenance with prescribed fire. Bon Secour NWR was established by Congress in 1980 to preserve fragile barrier features along the rapidly developing Alabama Gulf Coast. The Refuge is comprised of four separate units on the Fort Morgan Peninsula and Little Dauphin Island in coastal Alabama. Habitats include a diverse assemblage of beach, coastal dunes and associated uplands, salt marsh, and wetlands at the mouth of Mobile Bay and within the Gulf of Mexico. These habitats support a variety of threatened and endangered species, such as the Alabama beach mouse, piping plover, and green, loggerhead, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. More than 370 species of migratory birds inhabit the refuge during migrations.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife, 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 545 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.

Lloyd Culp
Lloyd Culp

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