Mike Livingston has begun work as the new regional director for the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife's southcentral region, overseeing work in Benton, Franklin, Yakima and Kittitas counties.
He was the state's district wildlife biologist in the Tri-Cities since 2003.
Livingston succeeds former regional director Jeff Tayer, who retired in September after serving in the position for 18 years.
As a state wildlife biologist, Livingston worked with local farmers and other agencies in the Tri-City area to conserve habitat for the ferruginous hawk and the burrowing owl. The first is listed by the state as a threatened species and the second is a candidate for state listing.
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"I'll still be involved in those issues as regional director, but in a different capacity," Livingston said. "I think those years in the field have given me a solid understanding of the fish and wildlife issues facing this part of the state."
Managing the growing number of elk in the Hanford area is another issue Livingston expects to be involved with for some time.
As a wildlife biologist, he worked with agency staff and landowners to solve damage problems, with hunters to provide harvest opportunities and with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct annual surveys.
Livingston also played a leading role in securing grants to restore wildlife habitat at the Sunnyside Wildlife Area and acquiring wetlands for waterfowl and uplands for game birds at Mesa Lake.