Albany – DEC Fisheries Bureau Chief Doug Stang has been promoted
to the long-vacant position of assistant director of DEC’s Bureau
of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources.
Stang served as DEC fisheries bureau chief for nine years and
also as acting director of the Bureau of Fish, Wildlife and Marine
Resources prior to the appointment earlier this year of Patricia
“Doug has a rare capacity for both attentiveness to detail and
an ability to strategically set big-picture goals,” Riexinger said
in announcing the appointment. “I look forward to working with him
in his new capacity as assistant director.”
The position of assistant director had been vacant for about 10
years, as bureau chiefs undertook roles and responsibilities in the
absence of the assistant director.
Ironically, the last person to hold the job was Gerald Barnhart,
who earlier this year retired as director of the Bureau of Fish,
Wildlife and Marine Resources. He served as an assistant under
bureau director Ken Wich.
Stang’s promotion has been hailed by the state’s sportsmen; he’s
an avid hunter and angler and well familiar with the issues facing
the state’s sportsmen and women today. Riexinger comes from a
hunting family and DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis is a
fly-fisherman, but Stang’s presence in DEC’s administrative makeup
eases some concern that hunting and fishing aren’t the top
priorities of the current administration.
“I have to bring myself a little more up to speed on some of the
wildlife management issues, although I have a pretty good sense of
what those issues are,” said Stang, whose wife, Kelly, is a DEC
Among the challenges facing Stang and the entire bureau is the
decline in hunter and angler numbers and a deficit-ridden
Conservation Fund, which is fueled largely by license fees.
“The Conservation Fund (deficit) is a great challenge,” he said.
“There’s going to be pain all around (in offsetting the deficit
estimated at over $20 million by the end of the fiscal year). I
don’t know if there will be a license fee increase, but I don’t see
how there can’t be a license fee increase – or we start shrinking
Stang said the dip in hunter and angler numbers isn’t what’s
putting the Conservation Fund behind the financial 8-ball.
“Costs have escalated, especially fringe benefits,” he said.
Still, hunter and angler retention and recruitment is a major
concern, he added.
“We’ve got to find more ways to make it a little bit easier for
them to participate,” he said. “There are more people who are
leaving the sports; we aren’t retaining them. One of my challenges
will be not to look at it from a hunter’s or angler’s perspective
but from a wildlife manager’s eye.”
He added that New York’s changing landscape – from farmland to
woodlots – needs to be addressed from a wildlife perspective.
“We’re already doing some of that, but we have to actively manage
for that because the landowners aren’t. We need to reach out to
private landowners and manage not just for timber production but
for wildlife as well,” he said.
Prior to heading up DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries, Stang served as a
fisheries biologist in Albany, as well as in DEC’s regions 3 and 7.
Riexinger says Stang “has exemplified a career dedicated to the
highest quality, science-based fisheries management.”
Stang received his bachelor of science degree from Virginia Tech
and a master’s degree in fisheries biology from Iowa State
University. He is a life member of the American Fisheries Society
and a member of the Northern Division and New York Chapter of that
organization. He has received a meritorious service award from that
group and has served on many professional and technical
Stang is an avid waterfowl hunter, deer hunter and fisherman –
pursuits he shares with his wife and two young sons. His salary in
the new job will be $105,464, up from his previous pay of $98,106
as fisheries bureau chief.
Stang’s departure from the fisheries bureau post opens up that
slot. That position will likely be filled later this year or early
Until the position is filled, Stang will continue to serve as
fisheries bureau chief. If there’s any delay in appointing a
permanent replacement, an acting chief will be named, he said.