U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe recently announced the appointment of Gregory Siekaniec as the agencys Deputy Director for Policy. Siekaniec, a career Service employee, has served as the Assistant Director for the National Wildlife Refuge System since 2009.

In his new capacity as Deputy Director for Policy, Siekaniec will provide strategic program direction and develop policy and guidance to support and promote program development and fulfill the Service mission.

Greg has done an outstanding job leading the Refuge System during challenging times, and Im excited to have the opportunity to work with Greg as part of our leadership team. I know his more than two decades of field and Washington experience will continue to be an invaluable asset for us as we move forward with the Service’s conservation agenda, said Ashe.

Siekaniec has led efforts to prepare the Refuge System to meet the challenges of the 21st century. He oversaw a months-long process to create a reinvigorated vision to guide the National Wildlife Refuge System for the next decade. Americans submitted more than 10,000 comments on the vision, which was ratified last week at the Conserving the Future conference in Madison, Wisconsin.

Just before taking the helm of the Refuge System, Siekaniec spent eight years as the refuge manager of Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, one of the Refuge Systems most remote and far flung units. Alaska Maritime Refuge encompasses more than 2,500 islands and nearly five million acres.

Among his many achievements at Alaska Maritime Refuge, Siekaniec is credited with developing a host of restoration partnerships with national conservation organizations to restore island biodiversity and ridding islands of destructive invasive species-foxes and rats-that had nearly eradicated native seabirds and other wildlife. Alaska Maritime Refuge provides nesting habitat for approximately 40 million seabirds, about 80 percent of Alaska’s nesting seabird population.

Siekaniec started his career at J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge as a refuge clerk and moved up into management positions in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming in addition to Alaska. He served as deputy chief of the Refuge System before taking over leadership at Alaska Maritime Refuge in 2001.

Siekaniec earned a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology from the University of Montana. He completed the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program in 2008, the same year that he completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at Harvard Universitys John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Siekaniec and his wife, Janelle, and their two children credit his work with the Fish and Wildlife Service for the opportunities to live a rural subsistence lifestyle and, at other times, be immersed in an urban area with a rapidly growing population. Greg and family continue to relish their time outdoors and are enjoying the recreational opportunities found in the immediate area and look forward to returning on occasion to the wilds of Alaska.