| March 20, 2010
Denby Lloyd, Commissioner
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
P.O. Box 25526
Juneau, Alaska 99802-5526
Dear Commissioner Lloyd:
We the undersigned are all former biologists or supervisors for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Wildlife Conservation, and we have a life-long commitment to Alaska and its wildlife. Collectively, our service on behalf of the state of Alaska represents more than 760 years of department experience.
We are deeply concerned about the direction the Division is heading in managing Alaska’s wildlife resources. Those concerns have been heightened by the recent appointment of Mr. Corey Rossi as Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation. Mr. Rossi appears to be a single issue advocate who lacks the education background necessary for an entry-level biologist position with the Division. A background with federal animal control does not qualify Mr. Rossi to lead an organization of professional wildlife biologists, research scientists, biometricians, and other wildlife professionals. An effective director must have sufficient background and scientific training to command the respect of these staff and to ensure that wildlife management is based on a foundation of sound science.
We are concerned that this high-profile leadership change is a signal that professional management will be replaced by a simplistic abundance management model where maximum production of wild game meat is the State of Alaska’s single, overriding objective (as articulated in Mr. Rossi’s Compass article in the Anchorage Daily News on Feb. 21st, 2009). Science, rather than politics, should be the guiding philosophy of professional leadership which should also include appropriate academic training and professional experience. Intensive management is only part of the responsibility of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, and an effective Director must also be able to lead the Division in other matters such as habitat protection, biodiversity conservation, endangered species management, and watchable wildlife.
This appointment marks a departure from the standard of science-based management for which the Department has always been recognized. We believe this appointment will erode staff morale, result in resignations, reduce broad public support for state wildlife management, and potentially jeopardize some wildlife resources that the division manages for all citizens of the state. We urge you to keep the science of wildlife management separate from the politics of wildlife management. The science should be reserved to a professional staff with appropriate technical training, and the latter reserved to a politically appointed Game Board.
In summary, we do not have confidence in the new leadership of the Division of Wildlife Conservation and urge you to reconsider this decision. We would appreciate a written response to our concerns.
CC: Governor Sean Parnell
Alaska Chapter of The Wildlife Society
Local contacts include:
13240 Mountain Place
Anchorage, AK 99516
907-276-3041 W; 907-345-7994 H
P.O. Box 80843
Fairbanks, AK 99708
P.O. Box 81743
Fairbanks, AK 99708