Williams sworn in as director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Martha Williams sworn in as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Posted at 1:07 PM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 15:10:22-05

HELENA — Martha Williams, the former director of Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, was sworn in as director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) on Tuesday by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

Williams had been serving as Principal Deputy Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service since January 20, 2021, exercising the delegable authority of the Director.

“Martha’s decades of experience in conservation, wildlife management, and natural resources stewardship have been a crucial asset as the Department of the Interior tackles the dual climate and biodiversity crises,” said Secretary Haaland. “Her strategic vision and collaborative approach will be key in her role as Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service and as the Department works to conserve, connect, and restore America’s lands, waters and wildlife for current and future generations.”

Williams was confirmed by the Senate last month by voice vote last month. In January, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public works approved her nomination as director of USFWS in a 16-4 vote.

“It’s an incredible honor to serve the American people as Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service at a time when the challenges and opportunities to maintain healthy ecosystems and wildlife have never been greater. I look forward to continuing my life’s work of collaborating with local communities and stakeholders to tackle conservation efforts and the tough wildlife and resource management issues facing the country,” said Williams.

Montana's U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R) and Jon Tester (D) both expressed their support for Williams when she was nominated by President Joe Biden in October.

Daines said in a news release: "Wildlife conservation is integral to Montanans’ way of life and outdoor economy. Having spent the majority of her career at the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and as a fellow Montana sportsman, Ms. Martha Williams knows that first hand. I believe Montana and the country would be well-served with her at the helm of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Tester said in a news release: "As a Montanan and former director of the Fish Wildlife and Parks, Ms. Williams has demonstrated time and again her ability to bring folks together to find lasting solutions - to collaborate, to find common ground. She has spent her entire a career standing up for our public lands and proven herself to be a thoughtful, nonpartisan steward who works collaboratively with folks on the ground to make positive change."

Williams was appointed to head FWP by former Governor Steve Bullock and served as director from 2017-2020. She was the first woman to head the department.

Prior to heading FWP, she taught at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana, working for a time as a solicitor at the U.S. Department of Interior, and was a lawyer at FWP from 1998 to 2011.