Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) Director Tony Wasley announced today he will retire effective December 2022, ending an over 25-year tenure with the agency. For the last nearly 10 years, Wasley has served as the agency’s Director. Wasley was appointed by Republican Governor Brian Sandoval, under who he served six years and then was reappointed by Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak nearly four years ago. During his tenure as Director, Wasley guided acquisitions of key wildlife habitat, strengthened critical industry partnerships, increased the state’s inventory of wildlife management areas, oversaw the post-fire rehabilitation of over a half million acres of wildlife habitat in the last five years, bolstered conservation relevancy in the state, better equipped agency staff with equipment, vehicles, and training, and brought a heightened focus on connecting all Nevadans with the outdoors and the state’s natural resources.
“The incredible purpose, passion, and professionalism of the employees of NDOW has made this job and my entire career here immensely fulfilling,” Wasley said. “Working alongside individuals with whom I have shared the deep and meaningful purpose of conservation, has made this journey feel more like a mission, a purpose, or a calling, than it has ever felt like a job. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Governor Sandoval for giving me a chance as director and to Governor Sisolak for continuing that faith. To serve the residents of Nevada, the sportsmen and women of Nevada, and the employees of NDOW, in always endeavoring to elevate the relevance and importance of conservation, is an opportunity for which I will always be grateful.”
Wasley, who began his professional career in 1997 as a NDOW Habitat Biologist in the Habitat Division of the agency, has served as director since early in 2013, overseeing policy, personnel, funding, and strategy for the agency. During his tenure the department has acquired new public lands in numerous counties across the state, such as the Licking Ranch in Lander County, Lennar Pond in Washoe County, and Carson Lake and Pasture in Churchill County; added several important new staff positions within the agency; procured new facilities such as Las Vegas, Winnemucca, Ely, Fallon, and Reno office locations; created the Nevada Outdoor Connection Program; and secured significant new funding for urban wildlife programs through the dedication of state general fund dollars.
In addition to his work at NDOW, Wasley has served on local, regional, and national conservation-related boards of directors and advisory councils, including as President, Chairman, and executive committee member of both the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies as well as the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. He is also a Professional Member of the Boone & Crockett Club, served as Chairman of the North American Wetland Conservation Council, and is an alumnus of the National Conservation Leadership Institute.
“Tony’s been a consequential leader. He sees opportunity where most see walls and he is leaving the agency in a much better place,” said the longest serving member of the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners and Conservation Representative David McNinch. “A lot can be said about his ability to build partnerships and collaborate, his advocacy for conservation and relevancy here in Nevada as well as nationally, and how he has positioned the agency to understand and adapt to the impacts of continuously evolving social norms and expectations. But the thing I appreciate most is that wildlife conservation is deeply personal to him, and he’s broadened the conversation surrounding wildlife and landscapes. It’s been a real pleasure and my privilege working with Tony and I want to thank him for his dedicated service as well as wish him and his family the best in retirement.”
As Wasley steps away, an acting or interim director will likely be named to ensure a smooth transition as the agency works with the Governor’s Office in developing a longer-term strategy in seeking a permanent replacement.