TPWD News Release — May 6, 2009
AUSTIN, Texas — Ross Melinchuk has been selected to lead the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s natural resource divisions as Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources. Melinchuk has more than three decades of experience in the field, most recently as Director of Public Policy for Ducks Unlimited (DU), where he was responsible for providing strategic direction for public policy and state grant activities for a 15 state region, including Texas.
The Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources position was created by TPWD Executive Carter Smith to bring additional scientific, natural resource management and conservation policy expertise to the table to help lead several agency divisions facing large-scale conservation challenges. These challenges include water resources for people and wildlife, changing demographics of private landownership, invasive species, climate change, declining and fragmented fish and wildlife habitats, and evolving outdoor recreation trends. Melinchuk will oversee the department’s Wildlife, Coastal and Inland Fisheries Divisions.
"At no time in our agency’s history have we faced challenges as daunting as those we’re now encountering on the natural resources and conservation funding fronts," said executive director Carter Smith. "Ross Melinchuk brings a unique set of qualifications and an informed and experienced perspective on conservation related issues that will be an asset to the Department. He has a proven track record developing and implementing large scale conservation projects and building successful public-private partnerships. Not only is he a lifelong sportsman who understands the perspective of hunters and anglers, he is also skilled in interacting with scientists, landowners, policymakers and other conservation partners as well."
Melinchuk, 55, has been with DU since 1992. Prior to his promotion to Director of Public Policy, he served as Director of State and Federal Coordination from 1995-2003. From 1992-1995 he was the liaison to state agencies involved in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). Prior to his 17 year career with DU, he served as NAWMP coordinator for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies from 1990-1992. He began his professional career at the Saskatchewan Environment Agency, working his way up from wildlife biologist in 1981 to NAWMP coordinator, the position he held in 1990 when he left Canada to work in Washington D.C. He graduated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology and earned a Master of Science degree in 1983 from Lakehead University.
"I am truly honored to accept this position," said Melinchuk. "Texas Parks and Wildlife has an international reputation for executing programs based on sound science, policy and resource stewardship. That reputation has been fostered in large part by the professional and highly talented wildlife and fisheries staff who work at TPWD. I look forward to joining their ranks and supporting their efforts."
Melinchuk will join Deputy Executive Director for Operations Scott Boruff and Deputy Executive Director for Administration Gene McCarty as part of the executive management team. After he arrives at TPWD, Melinchuk will lead efforts to fill division director positions for the Coastal Fisheries and Wildlife divisions.
With Melinchuk’s arrival, Boruff’s duties will change to oversee the Law Enforcement, State Parks, and Infrastructure Divisions, as well as the agency’s land conservation branch and international liaison affairs with Mexico. Boruff will maintain a major leadership role in department conservation endeavors and will continue to lead updates of TPWD’s strategic Land and Water Conservation and Recreation Plan.
McCarty will continue to oversee the Communications, Finance and Administrative Resources, Human Resources and Information Technology Divisions along with Internal Affairs.
Melinchuk’s first day on the job will be June 8, 2009.