Director of U.S. Fish and Wildlife resigns

WASHINGTON, D.C. Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton today
announced the resignation of Steve Williams as Director of the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service. Williams will become President of the Wildlife
Management Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific
wildlife management, effective March 20, 2005.

In a letter to Williams, Secretary Norton thanked him for his service and
noted his many accomplishments in conserving wildlife habitats, expanding
opportunities for fishing and hunting, and advancing cooperative
conservation partnerships. "As I have traveled the country, I heard over
and over how you were rekindling the spirit of cooperation among state
and federal agencies and private partners," she said. "Countless refuge
managers, biologists, sportsmen, and landowners complimented your
leadership, management style, effectiveness and great humor."

"The past three years, serving as Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, have been the most rewarding of my 20 years in fish and wildlife
conservation," said Steve Williams. "I leave the Department of Interior
with hesitation about leaving behind the many dedicated and skilled Fish
and Wildlife Service employees and the Administration, but I believe it
is in my best interest both personally and professionally."

Richard E. McCabe, Executive Vice President of the Wildlife Management
Institute said his organization would benefit substantially from
Williams' expertise. "The Wildlife Management Institute is delighted
that Steve Williams will take the helm of this organization and bring to
it his considerable administrative experience and talent, as well as his
proven dedication to the conservation and professional management of
wildlife resources," McCabe said.

Williams was confirmed in his current position in January 2002. He
previously served as Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and
Parks and held positions in the Pennsylvania Game Commission and
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Williams earned a
doctorate in forest resources at Pennsylvania State University,
University Park; a master of science degree from the University of North
Dakota at Grand Forks; and a bachelor's degree in environmental resource
management, also from Pennsylvania State University. He is a member of
the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Wildlife
Society, and other professional and conservation organizations.

The Department will name an acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service when Williams departs at the end of next week. A permanent
replacement must be nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S.