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Washington Fish And Wildlife Director To Resign

Washington Department and Fish and Wildlife Director Jim Unsworth is resigning after three years on the job.

Washington Department and Fish and Wildlife Director Jim Unsworth is resigning next month after three years on the job. He presided over a tumultuous time at the department.

In his resignation letter, Unsworth said the past three years have been “challenging, educational, and often rewarding.”

Unsworth came to Washington from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Since then he’s dealt with numerous high profile issues including: controversial wolf hunts and the shutdown of salmon fishing on Puget Sound because of disagreements with tribes.

He also had to deal with the fallout from two outside investigations into workplace culture at Fish and Wildlife—one of which found an “extremely sexualized culture” at a fish hatchery on the Columbia River. Four employees were fired and Fish and Wildlife lost its contract to operate that hatchery for a local public utility district.

In a statement, Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission Chair Brad Smith, said Unsworth had “done an outstanding job of guiding the department through” complex challenges.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."