Jim Leach, a veteran natural resources manager with deep ties to the state’s conservation community, will be the next director of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ Fish and Wildlife Division.
For the past 16 years, Leach has been the wildlife refuge supervisor for Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He was stationed in Bloomington, Minn. He has been with the Fish and Wildlife Service for 35 years.
“Jim is an excellent collaborator at all levels of government and has a strong network of relationships in the Minnesota conservation community,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Moreover, he started his career as a field biologist, so he has first-hand experience on how on-the-ground conservation gets done.”
As DNR Fish and Wildlife Division Director Leach, 62, will oversee a $139 million annual budget and a staff of 575 employees. The division includes the sections of wildlife, fisheries, outreach and administration. It establishes fishing, hunting and other wildlife-related regulations; carries out census, survey and research projects; and promotes habitat protection and development on public and private lands.
Leach starts his new DNR job on April 18.