Secretary Salazar Lauds President's Intent to Nominate Sam Hamilton as Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today praised President Obama's announcement that he intends to nominate Sam D. Hamilton to be the next Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hamilton, a career senior biologist and manager with the Service, currently is director of the agency's Southeast Region, The nomination requires Senate confirmation.

“Sam has vast experience with every aspect of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's mission, making him an ideal nominee to direct the agency,” Salazar said. “Throughout his career, he has been an innovative leader in developing new conservation initiatives and resolving complex and controversial environmental issues. He will be a strong advocate for sound science and effective management of our nation's fish and wildlife.”

Hamilton, who has been with the Service for 30 years, was appointed Southeast Regional Director in Atlanta, Georgia in 1997, serving as senior operating executive with full strategic planning and management responsibility for a $484 million budget and a 1,500-person work-force that operates in 10 states and the Caribbean.

As regional director, Hamilton has been responsible for the oversight and management of more than 350 federally listed threatened and endangered species and 128 national wildlife refuges. He has provided leadership and oversight to the department's restoration work in the Everglades, the largest ecosystem restoration project in the country, and oversaw recovery and restoration work following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which devastated coastal wetlands, wildlife refuges, and other wildlife habitat along the Gulf of Mexico.

Hamilton's leadership fostered creative solutions and innovation that led to the establishment of a carbon sequestration program that has helped biologists in the Southeast restore roughly 80,000 acres of wildlife habitat. His emphasis on partnership bolstered the Service's fisheries program and helped establish the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership to restore vital aquatic habitats across the region. This partnership is a key piece of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan.

Prior to becoming regional director, Hamilton served as assistant regional director of the ecological services in Atlanta and the Service's Texas state administrator in Austin.

Hamilton graduated from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 1977.

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