The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has named Chris Conklin as the new director of its Coastal Region, and he comes with local ties.

Conklin has worked with WDFW since 2013, most recently as deputy director of the Department’s Habitat Program. He began his career with WDFW as a habitat biologist working out of the Coastal Region office in Montesano, before becoming the assistant regional habitat program manager there.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity to return to Montesano and tackle the many diverse opportunities there as well as enjoy the natural beauty found in the region,” Conklin said. “I’ve spent my career working extensively on forestry, habitat restoration, and fish and wildlife conservation issues, and our Coastal Region deals with those same issues every day.”

Conklin assumed his new role beginning July 1. Conklin will serve as the lead for regional issues in Grays Harbor, Pacific, Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce and Thurston counties.

“Chris has shown himself to be a strong advocate for all of our state’s fish and wildlife species, and especially committed to habitat restoration and species recovery, which are critical issues in this biodiverse region,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. “I’m confident that he’ll be a strong leader and effective communicator with the many invested stakeholders of the region.”

Before joining WDFW, Conklin worked as a fishery technician at the Idaho Panhandle National Forest and a fish habitat biologist with the Quinault Indian Nation, as well as a forester for the Washington Department of Natural Resources. 

Conklin holds a bachelor’s degree in fishery resources from the University of Idaho. In his free time, he enjoys volunteering for search and rescue, working around his property with his son and wife and recreating near the water or in the hills above Naches.

Conklin said he looks forward to getting out whenever possible to connect with tribal partners and people in their own communities, to better understand their needs and learn how WDFW can help. 

WDFW also noted that Conklin is a member of #TeamClamShovel.