DOUGLAS J. AUSTEN, Ph.D.
Since 2004, Dr. "Doug" Austen has been the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). He was recently named chairman of the Wild Resource Conservation Board. Dr. Austen has nearly 30 years’ experience in fisheries and natural resource management in a variety of top-level positions.
Before coming to PFBC, Dr. Austen held professional positions with the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources. He earned a Doctorate from the Iowa State University, Dept. of Animal Ecology, in 1992. He is a member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Pa. Environmental Quality Board, Water Resources Council and an ex officio member of the Boating Advisory Board and the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.
How did someone raised near ultra-urban Chicago find himself at the helm of the Pennsylvania agency overseeing fishing, boating and aquatic natural resources?
Dr. Austen was no stranger to fishing while growing up in the Windy City, bicycling to nearby ponds as a kid, for bass, carp and bluegills.
"The work done by the WRCP is very much in line with the mission of the Fish and Boat Commission," says Dr. Austen. "We both embrace the goal of protecting and restoring rare species, not just threatened and endangered, but also those that likely could be heading down the path of being classified as threatened and endangered. Having a resource like WRCP allows us to create conservation projects that leverage our funds, or others that we can obtain, alongside WRCP dollars. This stretches our limited funds far beyond what they would be able to do as separate programs."
"Personally, I have always supported and have been interested in the work of WRCP. I’m excited about having a more official role, which will enable me to be even more involved."