WA Department of Fish and Wildlife director to step down at end of year

Phil Anderson plans to resign as director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at the end of the year. He’s held the post for nearly six years.

The hunt for his replacement will begin in the next few weeks according to a statement released by the WDFW.

“Deciding when to move on is a difficult decision,” Anderson said in a prepared statement. “But after 20 great years with the department, the time is right for me to step aside.”

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor, will recruit Anderson’s replacement.

“Phil has done a tremendous job leading the department through some difficult and challenging issues over the past several years,” said Miranda Wecker, the commission chairwoman. “His strong conservation ethic, dedication to sound fiscal management and expertise in intergovernmental relations have greatly benefitted the department and the state’s fish and wildlife resources it protects and manages.”

The WDFW’s statement announcing Anderson’s resignation said he “guided the department through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. During the unprecedented budget shortfall, state General Fund support for WDFW declined by nearly $50 million – 45 percent – threatening department operations and fishing and hunting opportunities throughout the state.”

Anderson, 64, joined WDFW in 1994 and was appointed director in 2009.