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Commentaries and editorials

Thorson Takes Over as New Regional
Director for U.S. Fish and Wildlife

by Staff
Columbian Basin Bulletin, November 14, 2008

Robyn Thorson is the new regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Region, returning to Portland 23 years after beginning her federal career in the Pacific regional oOffice. The Pacific Region includes Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.

"I am very pleased to be back in this area," said Thorson, a Seattle native. "The Pacific Region has some of the Service's most exciting and challenging conservation opportunities, a great workforce and a wide range of state, tribal and private partners with whom I hope to work closely."

Thorson succeeds Ren Lohoefener, who recently became director of the agency's California-Nevada Region. Thorson assumed her new duties Nov. 3.

In her new position, Thorson will oversee Fish and Wildlife Service activities in the Pacific Region, which manages 1.3 million acres on 64 national wildlife refuges, 17 national fish hatcheries plus an additional seven state and tribal hatcheries managed through the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan, eight fisheries stations, five ecological services field offices and six ecological services sub-offices. The Pacific Region co-manages the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawai?ian Islands with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawai'i.

Since 1985, Thorson has worked in three Fish and Wildlife Service regional offices and had two separate appointments in the agency's Washington, D.C., office. Before becoming Pacific Region director Thorson served for five years as regional director of the Service's eight-state Midwest Region, based in Minnesota.

Prior to that position, she was the agency's assistant director for External Affairs, based in Washington, D.C., from 2000 until 2003. In that position, she supervised the agency's programs for Public Affairs, Congressional and Legislative Affairs, Native American Liaison and Research Coordination. She also provided Washington office oversight for the Service's National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Immediately prior to her appointment as assistant director, she worked 18 months for the U.S. Geological Survey in Seattle as the associate regional chief biologist for the USGS Biological Resources Division.

More than a third of Thorson's Fish and Wildlife Service career was in Alaska. From 1995 to January 1999, she was the deputy regional director for the Alaska Region and from 1989 to 1993 she was associate regional director, responsible for issues related to the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In between her Alaska assignments, Thorson served as the assistant regional director for Budget and Administration for the Service's Southwest Region, headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was the special assistant to the deputy director of the Service in 1988 and 1989 and before that, she worked in the regional office in Portland, in the Endangered Species Program and in Contracting.

Thorson earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of Oregon School of Law. She was an attorney for the state of Washington before starting her federal career and she maintains her license to practice law in Washington.

Thorson Takes Over as New Regional Director for U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Columbian Basin Bulletin, November 14, 2008

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