Governor appoints new WDFW Commission Members

OLYMPIA – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed three new members to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.

The Commission is a nine-person citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The Commission is comprised of three members from Western Washington, three from Eastern Washington, and three “at-large” members who may reside anywhere in the state.

Dr. John Lehmkuhl, a former research wildlife biologist with the U.S. Forest Service from Chelan County who has also served on WDFW’s Wildlife Diversity Advisory Council since 2015, fills a vacant Eastern Washington position.

Melanie Rowland, an environmental attorney from Okanogan County who previously worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service Office of General Counsel to implement the Endangered Species Act for salmonids and marine mammals in the Northwest, fills one of the at-large positions.

In addition, Dr. Tim Ragen, a former executive director of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission from Skagit County, will fill the Western Washington position previously held by Commission Chair Larry Carpenter, also of Skagit County.

Carpenter’s most recent appointment expired in late 2020, but he continued to serve on the Commission while several seats remained unfilled. He was re-elected as chair by his fellow commissioners in December 2021. Vice-chair Molly Linville will assume the responsibilities of Commission chair until a new Commission vote on leadership positions takes place.

Carpenter, a longtime fishing advocate and enthusiast as well as a former boat dealer, served on the Commission for over a decade, first appointed by then-Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2011.

Commissioners are appointed to six-year terms; appointees are subject to confirmation by the state Senate, which is currently in session. However, members are official upon appointment and serve as voting members on the Commission while awaiting Senate confirmation