WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced the appointment of Ms. Rhonda Pitka as a public member of the Federal Subsistence Board. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has concurred with the appointment.
Pitka has a strong record of public involvement in subsistence and natural resource management and currently serves on the federal subsistence program’s Eastern Interior Regional Advisory Committee. She is the First Chief of the Beaver Village Council, a federally recognized tribe, and serves on the Yukon River Panel which makes recommendations to the governments of Canada and the United States on fisheries management along the river. In addition, she is the past chair of the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, a tribal service provider to ten villages in the Yukon Flats Region.
The public member’s position became vacant in November 2016 when Secretary Jewell appointed the previous holder, Anthony Christianson, to be the Chair of the Federal Subsistence Board, which is the decision-making body that oversees the management of fish and wildlife resources for subsistence uses on Federal public lands and waters in Alaska
Created in the early 1990s, the Federal Subsistence Board is composed of the Alaska directors of the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the USDA Forest Service, and a Chair and two Public Members appointed by the Secretary of the Interior with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture.
Through the Federal Subsistence Management Program, the Federal government manages subsistence uses on Federal public lands and waters in Alaska—approximately 230 million acres, or 60 percent of the land within the state. The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, passed by Congress in 1980, mandates that rural residents of Alaska be given a priority for subsistence uses of fish and wildlife. To help carry out the responsibility for subsistence management, the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture established the Federal Subsistence Management Program.
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