Former WDFW director gets new position with U.S. Fish and Wildlife

February 19, 2019

James Unsworth, the former director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, has been named assistant regional director for science applications in the Pacific Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Unsworth succeeds Dr. Stephen Zylstra, who retired from federal service.

Unsworth was the WDFW director from 2015 until 2018. He had a tumultuous tenure at WDFW, one marked by workplace scandals and controversy over the handling of bear and wolf hunting practices.

Prior to coming to WDFW, he worked for Idaho Fish and Game.

Based in Portland, his staff will provide technical guidance, collaborative landscape-level conservation, and science-related funding opportunities to partners throughout the Pacific Region, which includes Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, according to a news release.

“The opportunity to serve in a host of positions within state conservation agencies has been rewarding and instructive, and it has been my honor to serve the people of Washington and Idaho,” Unsworth said in a news release. “This opportunity to use my experience to provide effective, impactful, collaborative conservation to the American public will be as rewarding as it is challenging.”