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Science/Ecosystem Focus Is Aim of New TPWD Deputy Director Position
AUSTIN, Texas — A new position called deputy executive director for natural resources at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will bring more scientific and policy expertise to help lead several agency divisions facing large-scale conservation challenges, such as water resources for people and wildlife, changing demographics of private landownership, invasive species, climate change, declining and fragmented fish and wildlife habitats, and evolving outdoor recreation trends.
Executive Director Carter Smith announced the decision to create the new leadership position, which will oversee the department’s Wildlife, Coastal and Inland Fisheries Divisions. Smith said a national executive search will begin to fill the new post as soon as possible, but which he said realistically could take months.
"At no time in our agency’s history have we faced challenges as momentous as those we’re now encountering on the natural resources and conservation funding fronts," Smith said. "Our leadership team collectively realized we need a new role to bring scientific, natural resource management and policy experiences that will help us address the future needs of fish and wildlife, as well as those of our stakeholders who use and value those resources. Those needs increasingly require operating on a landscape scale involving entire watersheds or ecological regions."
Deputy Executive Director for Operations Scott Boruff’s duties will change to oversee the Law Enforcement, State Parks, and Infrastructure Divisions, as well as the agency’s land conservation branch and international liaison affairs with Mexico. Boruff will maintain a major leadership role in department conservation endeavors and will continue to lead updates of TPWD’s strategic Land and Water Conservation and Recreation Plan, Smith said.
Deputy Executive Director for Administration Gene McCarty will continue to oversee the Communications, Administrative Resources, Human Resources and Information Technology Divisions.
A search to fill the currently vacant coastal fisheries division director position will be temporarily suspended. An executive search for that job and the also soon-to-be-vacant wildlife division director position will both begin once the new deputy executive director is hired. Clay Brewer was recently named acting wildlife division director, since outgoing Director Mike Berger is preparing to retire Oct. 31 and is overseeing the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies conference Oct. 11-15 in Corpus Christi.
"With two division director positions vacant on the natural resource side of our agency, we have an opportunity to augment our team to help meet the ambitious goals laid out in our Land and Water strategic plan," Smith said. "For this new role, we intend to make sure we find someone who also understands our state’s strong private lands traditions and major recreational issues involving fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits."
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