Skipwith confirmed as U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director

By Laura Bies

Aurelia Skipwith was confirmed by the Senate last week as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ©DOI

Aurelia Skipwith was confirmed as new director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after the Senate voted last week, filling a position that has been vacant since the start of this administration in 2017.

“We look forward to working with Director Skipwith to advance science-based wildlife management and conservation,” said Keith Norris, director of wildlife policy and communications for The Wildlife Society. “Her leadership will be critical to the success of the wildlife professionals implementing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s important mission every day.”

Skipwith was nominated in Oct. 2018 to the director role, having served as the Interior Department’s deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks since 2017. Her nomination was approved by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee last month. She will be the third female and the first African American to hold the position of Fish and Wildlife Service Director.

The Wildlife Society welcomed Skipwith to her role leading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s 9,000 employees with a letter sent earlier this week.

Skipwith holds a law degree from the University of Kentucky, an undergraduate degree in biology from Howard University and a master’s degree in animal science from Purdue University. She was previously co-founder and general counsel for AVC Global, which described itself as an “agricultural value chain platform that unites smallholder farmers with multinational buyers, and agronomy, business training, financial and input service providers to meet the growing demand for food.” Before that, she worked at Monsanto as a molecular analyst and sustainable agriculture partnership manager.

“I am grateful for the confidence that the Senate has placed in me, and I look forward to helping the Secretary advance this Administration’s priorities for the Department, for the Service and for American conservation,” Skipwith said in a statement released by the Department of the Interior. Prior to Skipwith’s confirmation, the director role had been filled by Margaret Everson, FWS’ principle deputy director.

Last month, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee also approved the nomination of Katharine MacGregor, who was chosen by the president to serve as deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior, a position vacant since David Bernhardt left the position to become secretary of the department. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Flor.) placed a hold on her nomination due to concerns he has regarding administration’s proposal to expand offshore drilling in Florida.

Laura BiesLaura Bies is a government relations contractor and freelance writer for The Wildlife Society. She has a B.S. in Environmental Science and a law degree from George Washington University. Laura has worked with The Wildlife Society since 2005. Read more of Laura's articles.

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