U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service veteran manager David Viker has been named the new chief of the Southeast Region’s National Wildlife Refuge System, Southeast Regional Director Cindy Dohner announced today.
He will lead more than 750 employees on 130 national wildlife refuges in 10 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“The two transformational challenges of our time are climate change and a people increasingly disconnected from nature,” Dohner said. “The National Wildlife Refuge System plays a key role in our effort to respond to climate change impacts by planning and implementing appropriate land protection, restoration and management. The system also provides extraordinary opportunities to connect birders, hunters, anglers and those Americans simply seeking solitude to the outdoors.”
Viker has served since 2005 as chief of the Southeast’s Division of Migratory Birds.
“As a young boy, I was the self-appointed steward of the woods, creeks, ponds, and trails behind my home,” Viker said. “Within one hour of stepping foot on Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge as a teenager, I knew what specific job I wanted to serve in for the rest of my life.”
“Like so many people and organizations, tough budget years are in the near-term forecast for us,” Viker added. “An unparalleled conservation mission and exceptional staff will see us through as we work with a strong and diverse conservation community rallying together like never before to accomplish our most important conservation goals.”
An 18-year veteran of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Viker studied wildlife ecology at the University of Florida while volunteering at Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. After graduation, he worked at 10 national wildlife refuges. He moved from the field to the Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta in 2002 to serve as a Deputy Refuge Supervisor.
As chief of the region’s Migratory Bird program and an active member of the regional leadership team, Viker has served as an expert consultant on many Service migratory bird-related programs and other issues; helped stand up Landscape Conservation Cooperatives; and helped coordinate the Service’s response to preserving wildlife threatened by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
A resident of Canton, Georgia, Viker and his wife Mary have two children. The family enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and water recreation. Viker has also coached more than 30 youth baseball, basketball, softball and soccer teams.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Please visit the Service’s websites at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/ and http://www.fws.gov.