Schwarzenegger names new CA Fish and Game director


Mar 11, 2001
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Schwarzenegger names new Fish and Game director

DFG press release



"California's diverse wildlife is among our most treasured natural
resources," Governor Schwarzenegger said. "I am confident Donald will
continue to protect these cherished resources that make our state so

Before retiring in December 2007, Koch worked for DFG for 30 years. Most
recently, he was advisor to the directorate, representing DFG in Klamath
River negotiations. Previously, he served the department as Northern
California-North Coast regional manager from 1998 to 2007 where he
managed law enforcement and fish, wildlife and habitat conservation.
From 1990 to 1998, Koch was senior biologist supervisor, directly in
charge of implementing wildlife surveys, habitat, species and land
management, environmental reviews, public information and public use.
From 1984 to 1989, he was an associate wildlife biologist where he
directed the department's statewide black bear and elk programs. From
1981 to 1984, Koch served as a fish and wildlife assistant, conducting
wildlife population and habitat trend surveys.

"It is a great honor to serve in this important role in Governor
Schwarzenegger's Administration," said Koch. "I look forward to using
my background to protect California's vast fish and wildlife population."

Koch, 55, of Redding, earned a Master of Science degree in biological
sciences from California State University, Sacramento and a Bachelor of
Science degree in zoology from the University of California, Davis. This
position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $142,965.
Koch is a Democrat.

The department's mission is to manage California's diverse fish,
wildlife and plant resources and the habitats upon which they depend for
their ecological values and enjoyment by the public. This includes
habitat protection and maintenance in a sufficient amount and quality to
ensure the survival of all species and natural communities. The DFG is
also responsible for the diversified use of fish and wildlife including
recreational, commercial, scientific and educational uses.


Well-known member
Mar 24, 2001
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Judging by the response from Eric, I think the commission just got a winner!
It's about time someone with a wildlife background got appointed, maybe he can turn some things around.


Well-known member
Aug 3, 2007
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In all seriousness, I started in the big game program as a permanent when Don was there as bear/elk coordinator (who'd have thought you could clean up a bear biologist and make him director?); he has a great (warped?) sense of humor, yet at the the same time has been a decisive and very influential leader of DFG when "no- nonsense" is necessary -- he lives DFG, knows DFG (no training period needed), is passionate about DFG, and will defend DFG, and is perhaps the one guy in the state who regularly weighed in on just about any topic with common sense questions/recommendations.

Those who hunt tule elk in CA have Don to thank for a lot of that opportunity as he led/orchestrated the tule elk moves and RM (Roosevelt? hell i dont even know, that's sad!) elk moves to Siskiyou Co. Same with bear hunting, as he wrote the 1st environmental document in this state to justify bear hunting when we got sued in the late 80s.

Some in DFG will be concerned about this appt., others are hopeful he'll be able to accomplish much and address some of the long-term difficulties we've had... but if those were easy, they'd be fixed.


Well-known member
Dec 22, 2001
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I'm glad you are pleased, which pleases me as a hunter. Can't wait to see how things plug along.


Well-known member
Mar 19, 2001
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Bought time someone without political ties got the job. Hope he is able to accomplish many things.


Well-known member
Feb 23, 2006
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Woo hoo! I will take your word for it Eric!


Well-known member
Jan 16, 2003
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IMHO, more wardens in the field and more money actually making to the field offices is what is needed. Like all branches of state government there are too many admin and too much overhead.
Our fish and game resources are supported by our lic and tags fees, yet there never seems to be any money to do what is needed in the field.
This year there is a salmon fishing closure for all sport fishermen yet nothing has been done to address any of the other issues that have really caused the loss of this fishery, like the closing of all the hatcheries the diversions of the water into rivers flowing into the delta, the uncontrolled incidental take of juvenile fish by foreign commercial fishermen, the continued pollution of the rivers by commercial Ag operations dumping their fertilizer water back into the system, etc, etc, etc.
I for one will be impressed when the tide turns in the favor of the species, habitat and sportsmen who support this year after year. If sportsmen stopped buying fishing and hunting lic and tags I forcast a very serious problem for DFG that can't be appointed away by politicians.
We shall see how this newest political appointment works out and who really stands to gain from it...

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