New Manager at Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges
October 3, 2011
Andrew Gude, a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is the new refuge manager for Florida’s Lower Suwannee and Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuges located in Dixie and Levy counties. He began his new position on September 26, 2011.
“I am very pleased with the selection of Andrew for this position,” says Elizabeth Souheaver, the Service’s Area Manager for national wildlife refuges in Florida. “Andrew's past field and national experiences will be invaluable as the refuge continues to address habitat restoration and climate change issues. Additionally, I look forward to Andrew sharing current national resource priorities and experiences with his staff, colleagues, and conservation partners.”
Andrew began his Service career in 2001 working in the Florida Keys. Most recently he served as the Service's Liaison to the Department of the Interior's Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks in Washington, D.C. working on a wide range of Service policy issues. He was involved with DOI priority projects including National Ocean Policy and America's Great Outdoors. Prior to this, Andrew served as the Ocean and Coastal Refuge Coordinator in Washington. Andrew has considerable experience as a fishery, wetlands, and wildlife biologist; commercial fisherman; diving instructor; vessel captain; fishing guide; environmental educator and project leader for the Corps. All of that experience plus his knowledge stemming from working in Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Pacific Islands led to him becoming a key player in the task of securing the four large Pacific Ocean Marine National Monuments as Service-managed areas. By early 2009, those 305 million-acre monuments increased the refuge system’s holdings by more than 50 percent.
“I am honored to be chosen for this position and look forward to working with the refuge staff and the community in furthering conservation efforts,” Gude says.
The Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge is located southeast of Chiefland with 36,000 acres of wetlands and 16,000 acres of uplands providing important habitat for wading and shore birds, ospreys and swallow-tailed kites. It offers walking trails as well as an interpretive bicycle and auto trail. Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge is a cluster of delicate coastal islands just off the village of Cedar Key, Florida. Since 1929, Cedar Keys has had noteworthy natural and cultural resources from pre-historic and historic times. The refuge presently comprises 13 islands ranging in size from 1 to 120 acres, totaling 762 acres. Ancient Indians once used these lands as camps, eventually making a living off the land thanks to nearby food and supplies. Wading birds, shorebirds, fishes, manatees, bald eagles, crabs and reptiles are frequent visitors to the islands and marshes that make up the refuge.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Gude earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology at Fairleigh Dickinson in New Jersey and a master’s degree from Portland State University. In his spare time, Andrew enjoys spending time outdoors with his two children.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.