Good News for a Good Organization

California Waterfowl, America’s largest state waterfowl and wetlands organization, announced today that John Carlson, Jr., has been named as the new President.  Carlson is a lifelong outdoorsman and is widely respected for his passion for and dedication to California’s natural resources.  Carlson will continue to serve as the Fish and Game Commission Executive Director until he officially begins his new position on July 8.  Carlson was selected by the Board of Directors during a North American search to replace Dr. Robert McLandress, who stepped down from the position at the end of 2009.
“John has a unique blend of qualities and experience that make him the ideal leader for California Waterfowl,” explained Bill Wright, Chairman of the Board of Directors, “he is a biologist with a penchant for leadership.  His extensive experience is critical for advancing our mission:  the preservation, protection, and enhancement of California’s waterfowl resources, wetlands, and hunting heritage.”
Carlson is leaving a distinguished career with the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG), where he dedicated over 21 years to the conservation and management of the state’s fish and wildlife.  He served in several leadership roles, overseeing both game and non-game birds and mammals, and eventually was appointed as Chief of the Wildlife Programs Branch.  In this position, Carlson oversaw all DFG hunting programs, including waterfowl.  In 2006, Carlson’s expertise in biology and policy were recognized, and he was appointed as the Executive Director for the California Fish and Game Commission.
California Fish and Game Commission President, Jim Kellogg, stated, “The Commission’s loss is California Waterfowl’s gain.  I will miss John’s dedication and expertise, but I am pleased he will lead a great conservation organization in achieving its important mission!”
DFG Director, John McCamman, also acknowledged Carlson’s impact.  “This is a significant loss to our Department, and we appreciate his 21 years of service to the people and wildlife of California.  However, I am pleased for California Waterfowl and John and look forward to continuing our work together on issues involving waterfowl, wetlands, and our hunting heritage.”
Carlson was born in Illinois and began hunting pheasants and ducks with his father as soon as he was strong enough to carry a shotgun.  He moved to California in 1981 to work and pursue a degree in Wildlife Management at Humboldt State University.  Upon graduating in 1987, he landed a job with California Waterfowl leading a mallard nesting study at Honey Lake and Ash Creek Wildlife Areas in northeastern California.
“California Waterfowl’s cooperative research with DFG on nesting mallards starting in 1985 was innovative and inspiring and it started my sincere appreciation of the Association’s important role in California,” recounts Carlson.  “Back in those days our state was largely recognized primarily as a wintering area.  The results from those studies clearly showed that California produced many of its own mallards.”
Carlson’s interest in nesting waterfowl inspired him to attend graduate school at Iowa State University.  He studied pintail in the heart of the Prairie Pothole region with leading scientists from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  His resulting Master’s thesis was one of the first attempts to use computers to model breeding pintail.
“I am honored and humbled to be given this great opportunity to join the California Waterfowl team.  In addition, I am really looking forward to being able to focus my efforts on waterfowl and wetlands conservation and hunting heritage issues once again,” admits Carlson, “especially alongside the dedicated members, volunteers, staff, and partners of California Waterfowl.”

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