American Rivers Head Tapped for Assistant Secretary Fish, Wildlife and Parks

WASHINGTON, DC, June 8, 2011 (ENS) – President Barack Obama today announced his intention to nominate Rebecca Wodder to be the next Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the Department of the Interior.

Since 1995, Wodder has been president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit American Rivers, directing strategic, programmatic and financial operations.

During her time at American Rivers, Wodder led efforts to help dozens of communities restore the health of their rivers through innovative conservation measures such as the creation of river trails, the removal of obsolete and dangerous dams, and the implementation of green infrastructure solutions to safeguard clean water.

Rebecca Wodder, 2010 (Photo courtesy American Rivers)

“Rebecca’s extensive experience and notable accomplishments in natural resource management make her an outstanding choice for this key position on our departmental leadership team,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, under whom Wodder will work if confirmed by the Senate.

“Her lifelong work to conserve and restore America’s lands and waters will be invaluable in carrying out Interior’s strategic vision for our wildlife and park conservation programs and initiatives,” Salazar said.

If her nomination is confirmed, Wodder would replace Tom Strickland, who returned to the private sector in February, after serving two years as the Assistant Secretary. Currently, Interior’s Principal Deputy Solicitor Rachel Jacobson is serving as acting assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks.

At American Rivers, Wodder led collaborations with federal, state, tribal, and local governments, business and industry, and grassroots groups to achieve consensus solutions to competing interests in rivers and freshwater resources.

For 26 years, American Rivers has sounded the alarm on hundreds of rivers through its America’s Most Endangered Riversv report. Naming the top 10 most endangered rivers mobilizes the public to take action, saving rivers from urgent threats like pollution, mining, and dams.

The report emphasizes solutions to secure a better future for the rivers, their fish and wildlife, and communities.

In 2010, Wodder was recognized as one of the Top 25 Outstanding Conservationists by “Outdoor Life Magazine.”

From 1981 to 1994, Wodder served at The Wilderness Society in several capacities.

Prior to joining The Wilderness Society, Wodder was legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin on environmental and energy issues, from 1978-1980, participating in negotiations on water and energy resource development programs and projects, and the Alaska Lands Act. Senator Nelson is credited as the Founder of Earth Day in 1970.

Wodder began her career as an environmental planner for the Leo A. Daly Company, Architects, Engineers and Planners, preparing environmental impact statements and developing environmental components of large-scale engineering projects.

A native Nebraskan, Wodder holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Environmental Studies from the University of Kansas. She also holds masters degrees in Landscape Architecture and Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Copyright Environment News Service,ENS, 2011. All rights reserved.