Utah Wildlife Leader Tapped For National Agency

Jun 5, 2017

Utah’s top wildlife official is headed to a new job in Washington with the Trump administration.

Greg Sheehan's always worked in Utah -- for the past five years as leader of state’s Division of Wildlife Resources. On Monday, the U.S. Interior Department announced he has been named deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“This will definitely be a new habitat for me,” says Sheehan, “but it’s exciting.”

In Utah, he oversees dozens of employees and millions of dollars in spending in Utah. In his new job, he’ll be responsible for thousands of employees and a budget of more than a billion dollars.

His move also comes at a time of proposed budget cuts and possible changes to the Endangered Species Act. Sheehan says he’ll focus on alliances with state wildlife agencies and stakeholder groups.

“It’s important that we continue to acknowledge and strengthen the roles that the hunters and anglers play in our society,” he says.

Collaboration has been a big theme of Sheehan’s efforts in Utah. He’s a lifelong hunter and fisherman who’s increased fish and game numbers. He’s also expanded habitat for species for people who enjoy birdwatching or wildlife photography, which he also does.

“He understands the Western point of view, and I think that’s part of why he’s been asked to serve in this position,” says Brett Prettyman, a spokesman for Trout Unlimited, one of the groups Sheehan’s partnered with.

Sheehan will be the Fish and Wildlife Service’s acting director for now. No one has been nominated for the agency’s top job, which also requires congressional confirmation.