Division of Wildlife becomes Dept. of Wildlife


Mar 11, 2001
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Division of Wildlife becomes Department of Wildlife



For state agencies throughout Nevada, the beginning of the new fiscal year is normally a day of fanfare. This year, the Nevada Division of Wildlife (NDOW) had a particular reason to celebrate - as July 1 was also the beginning of a new era in the agency’s history.

On July 1, 2003, the Nevada Division of Wildlife officially began operating as the Nevada Department of Wildlife.

A dedicated group of sportsmen spearheaded the drive to change the state’s legislation so that NDOW could once again be a stand-alone agency. They felt that it was important that wildlife be an executive cabinet level agency.

According to NDOW Administrator, Terry Crawforth, “Department of Wildlife consumers probably won’t notice much difference in the way we perform as an agency. As in the past, we will continue to focus on our mission, to protect, preserve and enhance wildlife resources in the state of Nevada and insure safe recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women.”

The agency will continue to work on improved coordination and communication with other state natural resource agencies.

For more than 50 years, NDOW has undergone several name changes. From the advent of statehood until just after World War II, management of fish and game, if it was done at all, was a county by county matter. In 1949, the Nevada Fish and Game Commission, agency to a state agency, was created to take advantage of existing federal funding available only for state agencies. This Commission was made up of a 17-member board of directors, one commissioner from each county.

The Fish and game Commission evolved into the Nevada Department of Fish and Game, and the agency assumed responsibility for all wildlife, not just game and fish animals in the state. Eventually, the Fish and Game Commission became known as the Department of Wildlife.

In the early 1990s, there was a movement across the country and in Nevada to consolidate state agencies. The Department of Wildlife was moved into the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Department as a division, where it remained for the past 10 years.

Thanks to the commitment of Nevada’s sportsmen and women, the state’s legislature and our governor, we are sending the message to Nevada’s citizens and visitors that wildlife is indeed important to our great state.

Maureen Angel is a public information officer for the Nevada Division of Wildlife. If you have an issue you’d like to see her address, email her at mangel@ndow.state.nv.us

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