Nevada Department of Wildlife Director Tony Wasley announced Monday that he will be retiring effective December 2022, ending a more than 25-year tenure at the agency. Wasley has served as the agency’s director for the past nearly 10 years.
Wasley was appointed by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, under whom he served six years, and then was reappointed by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak almost four years ago.
During his tenure as director, Wasley oversaw the acquisition of important wildlife habitats, strengthened key partnerships with industry, increased the state’s wildlife management areas, oversaw the restoration of over half a million acres of wildlife habitat following the fire over the past five years, and strengthened conservation relevance in the state, better-equipped agency staff with equipment, vehicles, and training, and an increased focus on connecting all Nevadans to the state’s nature and natural resources.
“The incredible purpose, passion and professionalism of the people at NDOW have made this job and my entire career here immensely fulfilling,” said Wasley. “By working with individuals with whom I have shared the deep and meaningful purpose of conservation, this journey has felt more like a mission, goal or calling than it has ever felt like a job. I owe a great debt of gratitude to Governor Sandoval for giving me the chance to be a director and to Governor Sisolak for continuing that trust. Serving the people of Nevada, Nevada athletes and the staff of NDOW by always striving to increase the relevance and importance of conservation is an opportunity I will always be grateful for.”
Wasley, who began his career in 1997 as an NDOW habitat biologist in the agency’s Habitats Division, has served as director since early 2013, overseeing the agency’s policy, staff, funding and strategy. During his tenure, the department acquired new public land in numerous counties across the state, including Licking Ranch in Lander County, Lennar Pond in Washoe County, and Carson Lake and Pasture in Churchill County; added several key 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 by providing US dollars from the general government fund.
In addition to his work at NDOW, Wasley has served on local, regional and national conservation-related boards and advisory boards, including serving as president, chair and member of the executive committee of both the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. He is also a professional member of the Boone & Crockett Club, has served as Chair of the North American Wetland Conservation Council, and is a graduate of the National Conservation Leadership Institute.
“Tony was a consistent leader. He sees opportunity where most see walls, and he’s leaving the agency in a much better place,” said David McNinch, the longest-serving member of the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners and Conservation Representative. “Much can be said about his ability to build partnerships and work together, his advocacy for conservation and relevance here in Nevada as well as nationally, and how he has positioned the agency to understand the implications of ever-evolving social norms and expectations and to adapt to them. But what I appreciate most is that he cares deeply about wildlife conservation and has expanded the conversation about wildlife and landscapes. It has been a true pleasure and privilege to work with Tony and I would like to thank him for his dedicated service and wish him and his family a very happy retirement.”
If Wasley steps down, an acting or interim director is likely to be appointed to ensure a smooth transition as the agency works with the governor’s office to develop a longer-term strategy for finding a permanent replacement.