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Williams confirmed to lead U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

HELENA – Martha Williams, the former director of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, has been confirmed to lead the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

PHOTO COURTESY OF U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE

The U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination Thursday night via voice vote.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is part of the Department of Interior, is responsible for protecting species listed under the Endangered Species Act and oversees national conservation efforts, including fisheries, hatcheries, migratory birds, ecological services and federal wildlife refuges.

Williams has essentially served as acting director of the wildlife agency since Jan. 20, 2021, when she was named principal deputy director.

In an interview with the Helena Independent Record after her appointment as deputy, Williams identified climate change as the most challenging issue she expects to tackle, but pointed out that many conservation issues are interwoven with other societal issues.

Williams worked as an attorney for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks from 1998 to 2011, including on the state’s effort to take over management of wolves.

She spent two years as a solicitor at the Department of Interior before returning to teach at the University of Montana law school. Williams led Montana’s wildlife agency from 2017 through early 2021.

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