Humphries appointed to lead the new DNRE

Lansing – Rebecca Humphries has been appointed director of the
new Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment
(DNRE).

Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced in October her commitment to
combining the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of
Environmental Quality. Part of that plan took the authority to
select the DNR director away from the state Natural Resources
Commission and made it a political appointment by the governor.

The combined department, the DNRE, became official on Jan. 17
with Humphries at the helm.

“The Department of Natural Resources and Environment ushers in a
bold, fresh approach to the way Michigan manages and protects our
state’s treasured environmental and natural resources,” Granholm
said in a public statement. “With her sound understanding of
today’s environmental and conservation challenges, her wealth of
experience, and her proven ability to bring people to the table for
critical discussions, Becky Humphries is the right person to guide
the department.”

Former Gov. John Engler split the DNR into two departments -_the
DNR and DEQ – in 1995.

Combining the DNR and DEQ is part of Granholm’s bigger plan to
streamline state government.

The mission of the new DNRE is to conserve, manage, protect and
promote Michigan’s environmental, natural resources, and related
economic interests for current and future generations. This
includes implementing an ecosystem-based strategy for resource
management, effectively using natural resources in a sustainable
manner, and providing for continuous improvement in Michigan’s air,
water, and soils while facilitating and encouraging economic
growth.

Humphries began her career with the DNR in 1978. She worked in
the Real Estate Division, Land and Water Management Division, as a
wildlife biologist and as the chief of the Wildlife Division before
taking over as the director in 2004.

“It is a privilege to be entrusted with leading the Department
of Natural Resources and Environment – a forward-thinking agency
that is home to people who are extraordinarily dedicated and
knowledgeable about their programs and resources,” Humphries said.
“Our new department will build on the past successes of both the
DNR and DEQ while capitalizing on new opportunities to work
creatively with stakeholders and citizens to sustain and restore
the state’s natural resources, environmental and economic
health.”

State conservation organizations are lining up in support of
Humphries.

Although the Michigan United Conservation Clubs opposes
transferring the authority to select the director from the NRC to
the governor, it supports the appointment of Humphries.

“We look forward to working with Director Humphries to create a
department that is more transparent, user-friendly, and effective,”
MUCC’s Executive Director Erin McDonough said in a release. “As we
work to build a foundation for the future of conservation, wise
use, and science-based management of Michigan’s natural resources,
it is essential that we have a director with the leadership skills,
commitment to resource management, and passion for our outdoor
heritage that Rebecca Humphries possesses.”

A big concern about the merger for many sportsmen is how
restricted funds (license and permit fees) will be spent within the
new department.

“Director Humphries has frequently displayed a commitment to
making sure restricted funds generated by license fees are spent
appropriately,”_McDonough said. “In an era where budget slashes are
the norm instead of the exception, MUCC is confident that Director
Humphries will defend attempted diversions of these restricted
funds.”

“Becky Humphries has been a tremendous asset to Michigan’s
conservation community for many years,” said Robert Hoffman,
director of Ducks Unlimited’s Great Lakes/Atlantic Regional Office.
“Her stewardship of our natural resources has been thoughtful and
farsighted, and it comes from her deep appreciation for the
outdoors. DU looks forward to working with the director and the new
department.”

Humphries is a graduate of Michigan State University and holds a
degree in fisheries and wildlife. She has completed coursework
toward her MBA through the University of Wisconsin. She was awarded
an honorary Ph.D. in public service from Central Michigan
University in December 2004. Humphries is also the chair of the
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency’s Fish and Wildlife Health
Committee.

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