Gary E. Saul, PhD, has been named director of the Inland Fisheries Division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Saul assumes his new position Monday.
“Gary has done a great job as deputy division director and more recently as acting director. He has demonstrated that he has the knowledge, experience, skills and vision to lead Inland Fisheries into the next decade,” said Ross Melinchuk, TPWD Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources. “Gary has earned great respect over the years from his professional colleagues within and outside the agency, from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and from Texas anglers for the work he’s done to assure that Texas will always be a great place to go fishing.”
Saul has been acting division director since Jan. 1 following the retirement of long-time director Phil Durocher. Prior to that, he had served as deputy division director since 2004.
The Inland Fisheries Division, with 225 employees, manages and protects Texas’ freshwater fishery – a resource that includes a range of freshwater species found in 800 public lakes covering 1.7 million acres and 191,000 miles of rivers and streams. Nearly 2 million licensed Texas anglers enjoy this resource, in the process contributing $1.5 billion a year to the state’s economy on everything from food to fishing tackle.
Saul began his career at TPWD in 1982 as finfish program director in the Coastal Fisheries Division. He held that position until 1986, when he left to teach biology at Texas State University and also worked with a private environmental consulting firm. He returned to TPWD 11 years later, this time in the Inland Fisheries Division, where he steadily advanced.
“Texas freshwater fisheries and this division both enjoy a great national reputation, and I am honored to have the opportunity to work at this level with the talented and dedicated staff in Inland Fisheries,” Saul said. “We face many challenges, including assuring the quality and quantity of water as well as maintaining or improving our declining aquatic habitats. We need to enlist anglers and boaters to help us stop the spread of invasive species, including zebra mussels and giant salvinia that can clog waterways, municipal water infrastructure and destroy fishing and boating recreation. We’ve got plenty of work to do and I am eager to get after it.”
A New Jersey native, Saul has a bachelor of science in zoology from North Carolina State University, two master’s degrees from Louisiana State University (fisheries, applied statistics), and a doctorate in fisheries and wildlife sciences from Virginia Polytechnic and State University. He and his wife Mary, who is principal of Austin’s Alternative Center for Elementary Students, have two children, Katie and Devon.
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