News Release
Southeast Region


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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Appoints New Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator

September 14, 2012


  • Tom Buckley, (505) 248-6455,


Two young whooping cranes strut across wetlands

Two juvenile whooping cranes feed at Wheeler national Wildlife Refuge. Photo: Bill Gates, USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Wade Harrell as the new Whooping Crane Recovery Coordinator.   Wade will become a member of the Region 2 Recovery staff in Albuquerque, but he will be based on the Texas Coast at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.  Wade brings a rich variety of skill and experience in developing strong partnerships to advance wildlife conservation, and is excited about the opportunity to work with the wide array of partners advancing the continued recovery of this flagship endangered species. 

Wade is a fifth generation native Texan, born in Corpus Christi. He spent his formative years exploring and fishing the marshes and beaches of the Gulf Coast and hunting in the thorn scrub region of South Texas. These early experiences led to a great interest in wildlife conservation. Wade received a B.S. in Wildlife and Rangeland Science from Texas A&M Kingsville. He earned both his M.S. and PhD from Oklahoma State University in Rangeland Ecology.  His graduate research involved the importance of ecological disturbance, particularly fire, in maintaining wildlife communities in grassland and shrub land ecosystems of the Great Plains.

Wade has served with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program coordinator for the Austin Ecological Services office since 2009, leading a team of biologists in restoring and maintaining diverse wildlife habitats, from Desert grasslands in the Trans Pecos of Texas important for wintering migratory birds, springs and creeks important for rare and listed aquatic species, forest and shrub land ecosystems on the Edwards Plateau of Central Texas that are key for the survival of the endangered Golden cheeked warbler and Black capped vireo, sub-surface karst & cave environments that host a number of listed endemic species and pine-oak forests in east-central Texas that provide habitat for the endangered Houston Toad.

Prior to coming to work for the Service, Wade was employed by The Nature Conservancy of Texas, serving as the Coastal Prairies Project Director for 6 years. During his time with TNC, Wade provided science support and direction for the Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes ecoregion, led diverse stakeholder groups in the development of landscape scale conservation plans, initiated and directed the successful Attwater’s prairie chicken reintroduction program on private lands, assisted private landowners with grassland habitat management and managed land acquisition and conservation easement programs along the Texas Gulf Coast.


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 Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at


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Last updated: September 13, 2012