FAIRBANKS - Retirement was not a good fit for former Fairbanks state wildlife biologist Pat Valkenburg.
Valkenburg, who retired five years ago, is returning to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and this week was named the agency's deputy commissioner.
The 58-year-old Valkenburg spent 26 years working as a biologist and research coordinator for the state agency. He retired in 2003 to start his own wildlife management consulting business.
As deputy commissioner, Valkenburg will oversee the department's functions related to wildlife, habitat, subsistence, and a variety of issues that require state and federal coordination.
"Since I retired, I've done contract work for three Canadian provinces and I've also done some contract work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," Valkenburg said Wednesday.
"Being exposed to all those other agencies made me realize what a top-notch organization the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is. It's the premier conservation agency in the world," he said.
An experienced pilot, trapper and hunter, Valkenburg has specialized in wildlife survey flying, population estimates and carrying capacity analysis for key wildlife populations. He earned his bachelor's degree in wildlife science from the University of Maine in 1972 and his master's degree in wildlife management from the University of Alaska in 1976
Valkenburg, who considers himself "a conservationist in the spirit of Teddy Roosevelt," is a strong proponent of predator control and intensive management. That is the state law that requires the Department of Fish and Game to manage certain game populations important for human harvest for abundance.
"We need to get stability and predictability into these intensive management programs," Valkenburg said.
Valkenburg replaces former deputy commissioner Ken Taylor, who retired in July. He will begin his new job on Monday and will be based in Juneau.
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