USFWS Names New Head of Southeastern Conservation Efforts

ATLANTA, GA— A veteran of conservation has become the latest regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Southeast Region based in Atlanta.

Service officials announced late last month that Leopoldo “Leo” Miranda will head the Service’s Southeast Region. The tract encompasses 10 southeastern states as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Miranda succeeds Cindy Dohner, who led the region from November 2009 until her retirement in August 2017.

“I look forward to working with my Service team, state partners, and all of our friends and partners,” said Miranda, 47. “We have made great progress in making conservation programs work. I expect even more progress in the future.”

Miranda for the last seven years was the assistant regional director for ecological services, a Service program that oversees the conservation and recovery of more than 400 animals and plants across the region. In that time, Miranda put into effect an at-risk wildlife strategy using the Endangered Species Act’s (ESA) regulatory and administrative flexibility to successfully keep almost 175 fish, wildlife and plants off the ESA’s list of protected wildlife.

He and his team also are strengthening Service ties with private landowners, state and local governments, the business community and military partners to promote conservation programs. The result: money and time saved – a benefit to conservation.

Miranda began his Service career as a private-lands biologist in his native Puerto Rico where he worked closely with shade-grown coffee growers to promote conservation. Those early connections laid the foundation for his interest in later, large-scale conservation efforts such as longleaf pine restoration.

Before coming to the Service’s Atlanta offices, Miranda led the Service’s Chesapeake Bay field office in Annapolis, Maryland. There, he oversaw the work of ecological-services biologists and coordinated their work with six national wildlife refuges and one fisheries office.

He received his bachelor’s degree in marine biology from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in zoology from North Carolina State University.

An avid outdoorsman, Miranda is equally at home in a deer stand or on the banks of a stream. He has a farm near Columbus, Georgia, where Miranda puts Service policy into action: He’s managing the farm habitat for at-risk and listed wildlife including gopher tortoises and red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Miranda lives in the Atlanta metro area with his wife Jessica; his son, Pablo; and four-legged family members Venus, Bromelia, Tanna and Rex.