Fish And Wildlife Director Picked

Salem, Ore.—The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has chosen Curt Melcher as its choice to be the next director for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Commission’s decision was announced during the Commission’s regular meeting in Salem. Melcher has served as ODFW Interim Director since September 2014.

Commission Chair Mike Finley and Melcher will meet to discuss the terms of his employment later this month.

Melcher was among three finalists being considered for the position following a national search for candidates. The other finalists were Edward Bowles, Fish Division Administrator, ODFW; and Krystyna Wolniakowski, former Director, Western Partnership Office, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation.

“We are very pleased at the prospect of having Curt as the new director and are confident he is the right person to lead this premiere fish and wildlife agency,” said Mike Finley.

On Thursday, the public was invited to attend a question and answer session with the finalists. A representative sampling of the questions were selected by the Department of Administrative Services, and the same questions were then asked of each of the candidates.

As director, Melcher would report to the Commission and manage a department with more than 1,100 employees, and a biennial operating budget of $345 million.

Melcher is a native Oregonian, who graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S. degree in Biology. He has devoted 28 years of his career to the protection and management of Oregon’s fish and wildlife. Melcher has served as the Deputy Director for ODFW, accountable for all Fish & Wildlife programs leading over 1,200 employees. He was appointed the Interim Director in September 2014.

“I’m excited and humbled at the thought of this opportunity,” Melcher said. “It would be a great honor to lead the dedicated, professional staff at an agency that has so much to offer the State of Oregon.”

Additional background on Melcher can be found on the ODFW website at

Melcher would replace Roy Elicker, who retired in September 2014 after serving seven years on the job.

In other business, the Commission amended rules for ODFW’s annual art contests for habitat conservation, waterfowl and upland game bird stamps so that there is consistency between the three contests in regards to submission guidelines, due dates, prize award amounts. With the Commission’s action, the rules are now all within the same administrative rule division.

Commissioners were also briefed on the Mule Deer Initiative; an effort to address Oregon’s declining mule deer populations through habitat improvement, predator and travel management and other strategies.

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