Mike Livingston has been named director of the southcentral region for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Livingston, who has been the district wildlife biologist in the Tri-Cities since 2003, will begin his new job in Yakima Thursday, overseeing the department’s efforts in Kittitas, Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties.
The 45-year-old Livingston replaces Jeff Tayer as the head of Region 3. Tayer retired at the end of August.
Shrub-steppe habitat management has been Livingston’s focus since he worked as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Army’s Yakima Training Center from 1996-2000, and for the Yakama Nation from 2000-2003.
As a state wildlife biologist, Livingston played a leading role in securing grants to restore wildlife habitat at the Sunnyside Wildlife Area and acquiring wetlands for waterfowl and upland birds at Mesa Lake.
He also has worked with farmers and other agencies in the Tri-Cities area to conserve habitat for the ferruginous hawk and the burrowing owl. The first is listed as a state threatened species and the second is a candidate for listing.
Managing the growing number of elk in the Hanford area is another issue Livingston expects to tackle. He has worked with agency staff and landowners to solve damage problems, with hunters to provide harvest opportunities, and with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct annual surveys.
Livingston has a master’s degree in wildlife science from New Mexico State University, a bachelor’s in fisheries and wildlife science from Michigan State University, and a bachelor’s in conservation science from Northern Michigan University.