Why it matters: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is the top federal agency dedicated to conserving our nation’s fish, wildlife, and their associated habitats. The FWS is also responsible for overseeing the management of the lands and waters within the National Wildlife Refuge System and National Fish Hatchery System. The Refuge System alone supports more than 2.4 million hunting-related related visits and 7.3 million fishing visits annually, making the FWS a critically important agency for sportsmen and women.
On November 1, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation and nearly 30 of the nation’s top sporting-conservation organizations sent a letter to the leadership of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee expressing strong support for the nomination of Ms. Martha Williams to serve as the next Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Ms. Williams is now in her second stint at the Department of the Interior. Currently, she serves as the Principal Deputy Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, a role that is preparing her to serve as the Director if she is to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Prior to arriving at FWS earlier this year, Ms. Williams worked for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks where she served as Director from 2017 to 2020. During her time as Director, Ms. Williams demonstrated her firm commitment to America’s 55 million sportsmen and women and her ability to navigate complex wildlife management issues. Prior to her work with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Williams worked as a Deputy Solicitor for Parks and Wildlife at the Department of the Interior from 2011 to 2013.
Given her previous experience at the Department of the Interior and her time as a state wildlife director, Ms. Williams is more than qualified to balance the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the interests of sportsmen and women across the nation. Throughout her career Ms. Williams has demonstrated her commitment to state wildlife management authority and has been a champion of hunting, fishing, and other outdoor dependent recreation.
Ms. Williams’ nomination currently waits for a hearing to be scheduled before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?