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600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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August 29, 2018
Contact: Ben Anderson, 360-902-0045

Kessina Lee named WDFW regional director
for southwest Washington

OLYMPIA – Kessina Lee has been named regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) southwest region based in Ridgefield.

Lee has worked as an aquaculture specialist for the state Department of Ecology since January 2017. She will begin her new job Sept. 1, overseeing all WDFW work in Region 5, covering Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Lewis, Skamania, and Wahkiakum counties.

"We're thrilled to bring Kessina aboard, and have no doubt she'll be able to address the complex issues unique to southwest Washington," said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. "She brings a deep understanding of the region to the role, and a readiness to work closely with our partners there."

With the Department of Ecology, Lee served as agency lead on the interagency investigation into the August 2017 collapse of an Atlantic salmon net pen in Puget Sound. She also led a team of hatchery water-quality permit managers statewide.

Before arriving at Ecology, Lee was a Sea Grant policy fellow engaged in ocean and coastal issues with the Oregon Legislature's Coastal Caucus and for the office of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. She also spent nearly a decade studying marine mammal strandings in the Pacific Northwest, as well as interactions between fish and sea lions on the Willamette River.

Lee said she is eager to develop productive relationships with WDFW's stakeholders and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges the region faces.

"I'm excited to learn from people, and to listen," Lee said. "What I really relish is the opportunity to confront 21st-century conservation challenges like elk-hoof disease or sea lion predation on salmon that are, in many ways, more complicated than anything we've faced before."

Lee holds a master's degree in biology from Portland State University in Portland, Ore., and has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1989.