Fish & Wildlife | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Emily Jo Williams Returns to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region as Migratory Bird Chief

By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Release
By: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Release

June 7, 2011 -

Emily Jo ‘EJ’ Williams is returning to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region in Atlanta, as Chief of Migratory Birds where she will be responsible for migratory bird-related programs, permitting, and coordination.

“I am extremely happy to have EJ back with the Service here in the Southeast,” said Cynthia Dohner, Southeast Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Her expertise and knowledge of both the region’s people and wildlife are a big plus for us all.”

EJ is a native Georgian who grew up in Waynesboro with a strong connection to the outdoors and small town community activities. She attended the University of Georgia at Athens, earning Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science degrees in Wildlife Biology from the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. She is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and a graduate of, and coach for, the National Conservation Leadership Institute.

“I’m thrilled to be able to join the Fish and Wildlife Service as the Migratory Bird Chief for the Southeast. Bird conservation is my passion and working in the Southeast is exciting and rewarding. I think my experiences in the West and as part of a conservation non-profit organization have broadened my perspectives and will allow me to contribute substantially to the mission of the Fish and Wildlife Service.”

In her new position she will be responsible for supporting the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, national Flyway Councils, technical and regulatory aspects of migratory bird conservation, and promoting migratory bird conservation on private lands by facilitating the delivery of the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program and Bird Habitat Joint Venture partnerships. She will also promote science-based management of migratory birds on Southeast Region units of the National Wildlife Refuge System and through involvement with Landscape Conservation Cooperatives.

EJ rejoins the Service after serving as executive director for The Longleaf Alliance where she worked to restore the longleaf pine ecosystem across its range. At The Longleaf Alliance, she developed organizational policies and procedures to expand capacity in the areas of restoration and management, landscape partnership support, understory restoration, and regional coordination. She expanded the funding portfolio with the addition of over $1.3 million in grants, donations and funding agreements, and initiated a comprehensive update of their strategic plan. She also represented the organization regionally and nationally and participated in the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative.

Prior to joining The Longleaf Alliance, EJ worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 2004-2009, as the Assistant Regional Director for Migratory Birds and State Programs in the Southeast Region in Atlanta and the Mountain Prairie Region in Denver, Colorado. She was active in strategically addressing the Service’s responsibility to conserve and manage migratory birds including waterfowl, land birds, shorebirds and waterbirds through implementing national and international bird conservation plans. She provided leadership and guidance for eight Joint Venture partnerships that bring together partners and their resources to accomplish the landscape level planning, conservation design, and management needed to ensure healthy and sustainable populations of migratory birds. She supervised the Federal Assistance program that administers and supports over 14 grant programs to State Wildlife Agencies. EJ was a member of the National Advisory and Acceptance Team that evaluated and facilitated implementation of the 56 State Wildlife Action Plans.

EJ also worked for 14 years for the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division, first as a Regional Biologist in mountainous northeast Georgia and then as the state Partners in Flight Coordinator. There she developed and contributed to a swallow-tailed kite initiative, an international bird conservation partnership with the Cayman Islands, Forestry for Wildlife program to encourage stewardship of wildlife habitats by forest corporations, a statewide bird monitoring program, outreach and education programs, and acquisition of significant lands for wildlife conservation.

EJ is married to Detective John Murphy, Putnam County Sheriff’s Department. Their daughter Jessica is a recent graduate of the School of Nursing at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) and works as an Emergency Room Nurse at MCG Hospital in Augusta. Their Labrador retriever, Brac, is a valued hunting and all around companion, and their German Shepherd, Aska, helps John with narcotics investigations.


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