Sutter Named New Director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Habitat Conservation

Statement from Sam Rauch

I am very pleased to announce that Frederick “Buck” Sutter has been named the new Director for the Office of Habitat Conservation at NOAA Fisheries. He will begin this new assignment on August 26, 2012.

I would also like to thank Brian Pawlak for his excellent work serving as the Acting Director since last October. Brian has worked tirelessly on developing the NOAA Habitat Blueprint and ensuring it was a NOAA-wide initiative. He will resume his official role as deputy for the office. I would also like to recognize and thank Jennifer Lukens for her service as the Acting Deputy Director. While on her detail from the National Ocean Service, she stepped into this challenging role and hit the ground running. She will work closely with Buck and Brian during the transition period.

Buck brings an array of management experience to his new position where he will oversee the implementation of the NOAA Habitat Blueprint and the Regional Initiatives for Fisheries, as well as managing our programs on fish passage, essential fish habitat protection, coral conservation, Restoration Center initiatives and Chesapeake Bay activities.

During the past five years, Buck has had responsibility for leading NOAA’s diverse missions related to the Gulf of Mexico. In that role, he represented NOAA on the interagency Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, serving as the Deputy Executive Director with the responsibility for the technical and science components of the overall strategy. He strongly advocated for habitat restoration and conservation as the primary focus of the Gulf of Mexico Ecosystem Restoration Strategy, working in close collaboration with the 11 federal and five state members of the Task Force.

He also led NOAA’s Regional Functional Team as part of the agency’s tactical response to the Deepwater Horizon spill where he worked directly with NOAA leadership to coordinate and implement our regional actions in response to the spill.

He was the NOAA Regional Collaboration Team Leader since its inception in October 2006, working collaboratively with all NOAA Line Offices to support integrated, regionally-tailored implementation of NOAA-wide programmatic priorities and to provide a more systematic approach to both internal and external communications in the Gulf of Mexico. He led the regional team in building powerful partnerships with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance and with Sea Grant, with a strong focus on habitat conservation and community resiliency engagement.

Please join me in congratulating Buck and wishing him well in his new role.

Samuel D. Rauch III
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs,
performing the functions and duties of the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries

Buck Sutter Biography
Buck graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Rhode Island with an undergraduate degree in Zoology. He received a Master of Science degree in Fisheries Science at the University of Massachusetts. He has published numerous papers and journal articles on fishery science. He is also a graduate of the third class of NOAA’s Leadership Competency Development Program. He and his wife, Sherry, live in Northern Virginia near the Potomac River.

Buck began his professional career in 1980 as a fishery scientist at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Mississippi, and later with the Florida Wildlife Research Institute, before joining NOAA Fisheries in 1993.

Most recently he served in NOAA Fisheries as the Acting Deputy Director in the Office of Protected Resources and, as the Acting Deputy Director in the Office of Management and Budget. From 2003 through 2010, Buck was the Deputy Regional Administrator for the Southeast Regional Office in St. Petersburg, Florida, overseeing a staff of 140.