WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today praised the Senate's confirmation of Sam D. Hamilton as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
"Sam is a veteran manager, innovative leader, and strong advocate for sound science," Salazar said. "His three decades of experience with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's mission, responsibilities and programs will enable him to firmly guide the agency in its critical work conserving our nation's wildlife and its habitat and addressing the impacts of climate change."
A career senior biologist and manager with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hamilton had been director of the agency's Southeast Region in Atlanta, Georgia, where he was responsible for the oversight and management of more than 350 federally listed threatened and endangered species and 128 national wildlife refuges. As senior operating executive, he had 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.
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.
Hamilton 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.
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.