For Immediate Release: January 25th, 2022

Wildlife for All commends Governor Jay Inslee for appointing three qualified Commissioners with substantial professional expertise in wildlife science and policy to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. As in most states, the Commission sets wildlife policy for the state. 

  • Melanie Rowland is a retired environmental attorney, who spent 15 years as a senior attorney for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  
  • Dr. Tim Ragen is the retired director of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission. He has a Ph.D., in oceanography. 
  • Dr. John Lehmkuhl is a lifelong hunter and angler and a retired research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service. He has a Ph.D. in forest science and an M.S. in wildlife ecology.  

These appointments by Governor Inslee reflect Wildlife for All’s mission to reform wildlife management in the U.S. to be more ecologically-driven, democratic, and compassionate. On January 11th, 22 organizations from our coalition sent a letter to Governor Inslee urging him to immediately fill the vacant seats on the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission with individuals who “understand and value science, work for the environment, and are responsive to the broad public interest in wildlife.”

“Our wildlife and ecosystems cannot sustain the traditions of the past. Governor Inslee’s appointments are a breath of fresh air into a system that has long been dominated by privileged special interests. I am hopeful that Washington state will now be a strong leader in much-needed wildlife governance reform.” – Brenna Galdenzi, President of Protect Our Wildlife (VT)

“We applaud Governor Inslee for appointing Fish and Wildlife Commissioners with such superb backgrounds. We look forward to seeing these well-qualified candidates address the ongoing issues faced by the agency including bullying by some members of the Commission and Department management, illegal and unethical activity by Department staff, and the failure to make policy recommendations based on the best available science.” – Samantha Bruegger, Executive Director at Washington Wildlife First

“The extinction crisis is real. Wildlife everywhere is under threat. With these appointments, Governor Inslee has demonstrated that he takes the responsibility to protect Washington’s wildlife seriously.”  – Kevin Bixby, Executive Director of Wildlife for All

By making these appointments, Governor Jay Inslee has shown that he is committed to protecting wildlife as a public trust in the state of Washington. We encourage other governors to follow his example and put people who value wildlife, democracy, and science in charge of state wildlife management.