(Revised 10/24/12 to include information about Jeff Tayer)
YAKIMA – Mike Livingston has been named regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) southcentral region, based in Yakima.
Livingston, who has been WDFW’s district wildlife biologist in the Tri-Cities since 2003, will begin his new job Nov. 1 overseeing all WDFW work in Kittitas, Yakima, Benton and Franklin counties.
“Mike’s experience with challenging issues in the Tri-Cities district, along with his earlier work with tribes and the federal government, has prepared him well for this new role,” said WDFW Deputy Director Joe Stohr.
Livingston succeeds former regional director Jeff Tayer, who retired in September after serving in the position for 18 years.
Shrub-steppe habitat management has been Livingston’s passion since he worked as a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Army’s Yakima Training Center from 1996 to 2000, and for the Yakama Nation from 2000 to 2003.
As a WDFW wildlife biologist, Livingston 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.
He also has worked with local farmers and other agencies in the growing Tri-Cities 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.
“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.
“The challenge is providing quality opportunities for hunters and wildlife watchers, while at the same time implementing solutions to landowner conflicts,” Livingston said. “On this and other issues, I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Livingston has a Master of Wildlife Science degree from New Mexico State University, a Bachelor of Fisheries and Wildlife Science degree from Michigan State University, and a Bachelor of Conservation Science degree from Northern Michigan University.
Link to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife photo of Mike Livingston holding a burrowing owl: