Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 24, 2022


Sophia Ressler, (206) 399-4004,

Gov. Inslee Makes Three New Appointments to Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission

OLYMPIA, Wash.— Gov. Jay Inslee appointed three new members to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission today. These new commissioners — Tim Ragen, John Lehmkhul and Melanie Rowland — will complete the nine-member body that makes decisions regarding management of the state’s fish, wildlife and other resources.

One of the appointments fills an empty commission seat left after Fred Koontz resigned in December. The other appointments fill one available seat and one expired position open for over a year.

“We applaud Gov. Inslee for appointing commissioners with science and environmental policy backgrounds,” said Sophia Ressler, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re hopeful that these new commissioners will be champions of our state’s wildlife and wild places.”

Tim Ragen is a retired scientist residing in Anacortes who most recently served as the executive director for the Marine Mammal Commission; he has a doctoral degree in oceanography and has dedicated both his career and life to conservation of marine species such as Steller sea lions, Southern Resident killer whales, Hawaiian monk seals and vaquitas.

John Lehmkhul, a resident of Wenatchee, has a bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology, a master’s in wildlife ecology, and a doctoral degree in forest science from the University of Washington. He is a lifelong hunter and angler who stated in his application to the commission that he believes in the “sound scientific management of fish and wildlife in Washington.”

Melanie Rowland, a resident of Twisp, was an attorney at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s office of general counsel for more than 15 years. Her work focused on the Endangered Species Act as well as issues surrounding climate change.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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