U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Names Richard Leopold to new position

Robert Blackford/Editor

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that Mr. Richard Leopold has been selected as the Midwest Region’s Assistant Regional Director for Science Applications.  Leopold is currently the Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  Leopold is tentatively scheduled to report for his new position on Sep. 12, and will be stationed at the Midwest Regional Office in Ft. Snelling, Minn. 

 “We have been conducting a long-term, national search for the right person to fill this senior position within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius.  “Richard’s extensive knowledge of, and experience with, state and national conservation agencies, as well as with nongovernmental organizations made him the ideal person for this critical new position.”

 “I’d like to thank Governor Culver for the opportunity to lead the Iowa DNR during the past several years,” said Leopold.  “It has been a great honor to work with him and all the DNR staff to help protect Iowa’s natural resources.  I now look forward to working together with all the states, federal agencies and other organizations across the Midwest to help address the many landscape level challenges our nation’s natural resources face.”

The Midwest Region oversees U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service activities in the eight states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.  As Assistant Regional Director for Science Applications, Leopold will be responsible for providing effective leadership, direction, and coordination in the development and execution of high-priority science activities, including those involving climate change, adaptive resources management, structured decision analysis, and landscape conservation, particularly Strategic Habitat Conservation. 

Leopold will also provide leadership and supervision for Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, which are landscape-scale conservation-science partnerships between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other conservation agencies and organizations.  He will play a critical role in multi-state, cross-program, cross-ecosystem, cross-regional, and cross-agency integration and coordination for all scientific activities.

Leopold has served as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Director since January 2007.  Prior to that position, he held senior and field-level positions with several agencies and organizations including the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service.

More information on the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, along with Landscape Conservation Cooperatives and other conservation priorities can be found at:

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit