Maine DIFW Advisory Council has New Chairs

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The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's Advisory Council named a chair and vice chair at its recent meeting, according to Commissioner Roland "Dan" Martin.

Joseph Clark, a former legislator from Millinocket, was named chair after serving the last year as vice chair, and Mike Witte of New Harbor was named vice chair.

According to statute, the Advisory Council selects a chair and vice chair annually at its May meeting. The Council advises the Commissioner and the Department on regulations and policies, bringing public comments and suggestions to each meeting.

R. Leo Kieffer of Caribou was Advisory Council chair during the last year and will continue his service as a member.

"On behalf of the entire Department, I would like to thank Leo for his service as chair of the Advisory Council," Commissioner Martin said. "We're fortunate that his trusted insight will still be shared during Advisory Council discussions as he continues his appointed service to the group."

Mr. Clark, an avid hunter and angler, was confirmed on the Advisory Council in April 2006. He served in the Maine Legislature for eight years, and six of those years he was on the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. He said he's looking forward to the next year as Advisory Council chair.

"As a council member and now as chair, I want to be the ears and eyes for the Commissioner," Clark said. "I like to listen to the sportsman and woman of this state and relay their messages to the Department, Council and Commissioner. By listening and responding to outdoor enthusiasts, we can make informed decisions to protect the resources so that my children – and their children -- can enjoy the same opportunities that I had while I was growing up."

Mr. Clark and his wife, Missy, live in Millinocket with their children Casey, 20, and Michael, 5.

"Joe's legislative experience as a member of the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife shows that he is a strong advocate of the Maine outdoors, and he's been a valued advisor to the Department," Commissioner Martin said. "I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role as Chair of the Advisory Council."

Mr. Witte, also an avid outdoorsman, retired 13 years ago from the DuPont Co. after 25 years in its Medical Radiology Division. Presently he works as an animal damage control agent, serves as deputy animal control officer in three Maine communities, and is an active member of the Bristol Fire and Rescue.

Mr. Witte and his wife, MaryEllen, have two grown children and two grandchildren.

"Mike's passion for the outdoors is apparent by his frequent contributions to biologists for their weekly fishing and wildlife reports," Commissioner Martin said. "His knowledge of hunting, fishing, trapping and canoeing is often shared – and valued – at Advisory Council meetings."

The Advisory Council consists of 10 members representing the 16 counties in Maine. Members of the Advisory Council are appointed by the Governor, and are subject to review by the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and confirmation by the Legislature. Appointments are for a three-year term, and members are eligible for two consecutive terms.