Longtime Olympia resident Joe Stohr, who has served as deputy director of Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) for more than a decade, has been named the agency’s acting director.
Stohr, 61, will begin the interim position on Feb. 8. He replaces Jim Unsworth, who announced his resignation last week after serving three years as director of the department. Unsworth described his time at the agency as a “challenging, educational, and often rewarding experience.”
During that time, though, the agency has been marked by workplace conduct scandals and controversy over the its handling of bear- and wolf-hunting practices.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission plans to initiate a national search for a permanent director soon, according to chair Brad Smith.
“In the meantime, we know we are leaving the agency in very capable hands by placing Joe in charge,” Smith said in a news release that was issued Friday afternoon. “His leadership and extensive experience will be very helpful as we begin the search for a new director.”
Stohr joined WDFW as deputy director in 2007. Before that, he spent 21 years at the state Department of Ecology, and four years at the state Department of Health.
Stohr has appointed Amy Windrope, the agency’s regional director for northern Puget Sound, to fill in as deputy director while he serves as acting director.