From Arkansas to Massachusetts: Bill Peterson new manager at Parker River Refuge

Join us as we welcome Bill Peterson to the Northeast Region! Bill will be the new refuge manager at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts and comes to us from Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. Bill brings great partnership expertise to this new position and is looking forward to working with groups and surrounding communities to make sure Parker River National Wildlife Refuge benefits wildlife and is enjoyable to visitors. Learn more about Bill and his goals for managing Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in this blog interview.

8-5-14 Bill Peterson Photo

Bill Peterson will serve as the refuge manager at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Massachusetts.

What is your professional background and experience with the Service?

I began working for the Service in 1994 as a summer intern at Sherburne National Willdlife Refuge in Minnesota. I’ve always loved exploring the outdoors and this internship motivated me to pursue a career in conservation. I received my Bachelor’s degree in fisheries and wildlife biology from the University of Minnesota and Master’s degree in wildlife biology from Louisiana State University.

I was hired as a wildlife biologist at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin in 1999, then I worked as a biologist for our Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in 2002, and returned to Necedah as a refuge operations specialist in 2003. I’ve been the manager of Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas since 2009 and have managed bottomland hardwood forests for wintering waterfowl, overseen construction of a new visitor center, and expanded birding, hunting, and fishing opportunities. I’ve had a wonderful variety of experiences with the Service including restoring prairies for Karner blue butterflies and prairie chickens, removing dams from brook trout streams, and leading kayak tours through old-growth cypress swamps.

What are your goals as the new manager?

My primary goal is to complete the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge comprehensive conservation plan (CCP), the refuge’s management plan for the next 15 years. I’m also excited to implement the salt marsh hydrology restoration project and expand visitor opportunities so that people can enjoy all of the national wildlife refuges that fall under management of Parker River.

What can the community look forward to regarding the draft CCP for Parker River?

We are working on this document and will need a lot of community input when the draft is released for initial comments. I encourage everyone to participate in this planning process; Parker River is your refuge.

How will you bring your partnership experience to the refuge?

I’ve partnered with private landowners, local governments, tribes, conservation organizations, and other stakeholders to conserve our resources and increase recreation opportunities in refuges and the surrounding landscapes. I’m looking forward to building on Parker River’s ongoing partnerships to improve the refuge and Great Marsh for wildlife and the community.

Bill will begin working as the refuge manager at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on September 21, 2014. He can be reached at or at 978-465-5753 once he begins.

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