Statement on selection of Kelly Susewind as new director of WDFW

Statement on selection of Kelly Susewind as new director of WDFW

ConservationNWAdmin / Jun 19, 2018 / Restoring Wildlife, WDFW

In response to the announcement that the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has unanimously selected Kelly Susewind as the new director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Conservation Northwest issued the following statement:

“We thank the Fish and Wildlife Commission for carefully deliberating on the choice of a new director,” said Mitch Friedman, Conservation Northwest Executive Director. “We look forward to working with Director Sussewind on conserving the state’s full suite of biodiversity and ensuring that the agency has the financial capacity and social resilience to meet the needs of our growing human population.”

Kelly Susewind, Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Photo: WDFW

“Director Susewind takes over at a critical time for the agency, which is responsible for natural resources that are a core part of Washington’s identity, heritage and lifestyle, as they are at risk from our booming population and rapidly-changing state,” said Friedman. “The Department needs a director who can bring people together behind WDFW’s vital mission and persuade the state legislature to provide sufficient funding for it to succeed.”

Earlier this year, we sent a letter to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission outlining qualities that we feel are essential in the new Director, as well as sharing perspectives on the continued need for the Department to conserve and restore our state’s biodiversity to advance its mission to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

Conservation Northwest has substantial interest in the Department, its success in executing its mission in the years ahead, and therefore in the abilities of its next director to lead into a challenging future. The commission’s director choice is a monumental decision.

Among other qualities, the person must have great vision to see the path forward, great management ability to design the needed changes and sustain/build agency moral through the transition, great communication skills to keep stakeholders on board while building new constituencies and broader public support, and the transparency and trustworthiness to build the needed political capital on the hill.

Read our full March 2018 letter to the Commission here. Learn more about our work for Washington’s wildlife on this page.