Mike Oetker, a fisheries biologist with extensive experience in interstate water issues, will be the new deputy regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta.
Mr. Oetker, a 13-year Service veteran, has been the assistant regional director for the Fisheries Program in the Service’s Southwest Region since 2008.
“Mike has a track record of cultivating strong, effective partnerships, particularly in the controversial and complex Colorado River Basin,” Southeast Regional Director Cindy Dohner said. “I’m excited to bring his leadership, expertise and partner experience to the Southeast. He will fit in wonderfully, helping us continue a proud tradition of building rock solid relationships and producing conservation results with our State and Federal partners, as well as Tribes, non-governmental organizations and private landowners.”
In the Southwest Region, headquartered in Albuquerque, N.M., Mr. Oetker developed collaborative approaches to manage shared resources such as combating invasive quagga and zebra mussels throughout the western United States. He was heavily involved in negotiations with numerous agencies over water management, recovery of federally listed species, water transfers and movement of injurious species.
“I enjoy working in areas where unique ecosystems and species are faced with competing demands on those resources,” Mr. Oetker said. “I am also a longtime hunter and angler and know I will feel at home in the Southeast where these values are strong.”
Mr. Oetker got his start in natural resource management and policy development as a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow, working for the Committee on Natural Resources in the U.S. House of Representatives. While there, he worked on the reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration Program championing an effort to restore more than $135 million to State agencies.