News Release
Southeast Region


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New Project Leader for Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee and Choctaw National Wildlife Refuges

April 27, 2012


Steve sits smiling in uniform on a streambank

Steve Reagan. Photo: Tom MacKenzie, USFWS. Download.

Dr. Steve Reagan is the new project leader for both the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge near Starkville, Mississippi, and the Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge in Gilbertown, Alabama. He began his new duties on April 23.

"I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to manage two great refuges," Reagan said. "Having the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge renamed for Sam, my former Southeast Regional Director and later our agency's director, makes my new position even more special."

Reagan worked with the National Wildlife Refuge System during his entire 12-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For the past three years, as a Deputy Area Supervisor in the Service's Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta, he helped lead more than 250 staff members on 39 national wildlife refuges in Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

"Steve has a wide range of experience in refuge management," said Cindy Dohner, the Service's Southeast Regional Director. "He has done everything from starting a Friends Group for Bayou Teche Refuge in Louisiana, to developing a scientific research program on the Southwest Louisiana Refuge Complex, to participating in rescue efforts following Hurricane Katrina. His hands-on experience will really benefit these two refuges."

“In his previous position, Steve served as an exceptional leader for a four-state area of the Southeast Region," said David Viker, Southeast Regional Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System. "His common-sense approach on Region-wide issues, such as heavy equipment fleet management review, organizational change, and budget reductions planning, has earned him well-deserved respect from our field leaders.”

Prior to his leadership position in Atlanta, Reagan worked as the Deputy Project Leader for White River National Wildlife Refuge in St. Charles, Arkansas; Acting Refuge Manager of the Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana; Supervisory Biologist for the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex, and Refuge Operations Specialist at Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana, where he started his Service career in 2000.

Originally from Massachusetts, Reagan also has worked for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Park Service. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science, from the University of Massachusetts, A Master of Science degree in Wildlife Science from the University of Tennessee, and a Doctorate from Louisiana State University in Wildlife and Fisheries Science.

His wife, Janet Ertel, also is a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist. In his spare time, he enjoys wood-working, hiking, hunting, fishing, and doing home improvement projects.

Located near Brooksville, Mississippi, the 48,000-acre Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge was established as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. It also is managed for the red-cockaded woodpecker, federally listed as endangered. A quarter-mile Woodpecker Trail goes through an active red-cockaded woodpecker cluster, offering an excellent opportunity for visitors to see the bird. The refuge's office and visitor center are located at the edge of Bluff Lake. See

The 4,218-acre Choctaw National Wildlife Refuge is located in southwest Alabama along the Tombigbee River, north of Mobile. The refuge provides wood duck brood habitat and a protected wintering area for waterfowl. Up to 200 broods of wood ducks are produced annually in the refuge's artificial nest boxes, and wintering waterfowl numbers can exceed 10,000. Following a successful bald eagle hacking program in the early 1990's the refuge has played host to a nesting pair of eagles each winter. During the summer months wood storks can be found resting and feeding in the back-water sloughs and moist soil units. The refuge is divided into three units by Okatuppa and Turkey Creeks, making a large portion of the refuge accessible only by boat. Due to its location along the Tombigbee River, the refuge is subject to spring flooding. See


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Last updated: April 20, 2012