Head of the Fish and Wildlife Service dies on ski trip

Sam D. Hamilton, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, died suddenly on Feb. 20 while skiing in Colorado the day after the agency's regional leadership meeting ended. The cause was an underlying heart problem. He was 54.

Hamilton, a 30-year veteran of the agency, which conserves fish, wildlife and habitats and is part of the Interior Department, became its 15th director on September 1, 2009. He oversaw habitat recovery efforts after hurricanes Katrina and Rita and helped establish the nation's largest ecosystem restoration project at the Everglades in Florida.

Prior to assuming directorship, Hamilton led the service's Southeast Region, managing a $484 million budget and a 1,500-person workforce that operated 128 national wildlife refuges in 10 states and the Caribbean.

Although criticized by civic groups for failing to stop development projects and reduce further panther habitat loss in Florida, Hamilton's commitment to creative green solutions won him praise as "a visionary leader" from Larry Schweiger, President of the National Wildlife Federation, the largest wildlife conservation group. Schweiger said on Monday that "the conservation world has suffered a great loss with the passing of Sam."

Hamilton pushed for the establishment of a carbon sequestration program that helped biologists in the Southeast restore about 80,000 acres of wildlife habitat. An advocate of collaborative green solutions, he also helped set up the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership to restore marine habitats across the region.

"His forward-thinking approach to conservation -- including his view that we must think beyond boundaries at the landscape-scale -- will continue to shape our nation's stewardship for years to come," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.