WASHINGTON, D.C., April 22 -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation today announced the appointment of four new members to its board of directors and two new regional staff directors to support expanded efforts to restore and improve Gulf Coast ecosystems in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
NFWF, which has two decades of experience working on wildlife and marine conservation issues along the Gulf Coast, was named by a federal court to administer more than $2.5 billion in settlement funds from BP and Transocean for projects in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Texas.
“These new appointments represent some of the most informed and passionate voices for the Gulf Coast,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “The new board members and our additional Gulf staff will provide strong leadership as we make investments in major environmental projects that will benefit generations to come.”
The new appointees to NFWF’s 28-member board of directors include:
• Edwin R. “Rod” Rodriquez Jr. of Florida and Louisiana, a managing director at Merrill Lynch who is active in numerous civic and charitable organizations.
• R. King Milling, an attorney and life-long resident of New Orleans, who is chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Coastal Protection and Restoration and director of the Trust for Coastal Stewardship.
• Charles McCrary of Alabama, president and CEO of Alabama Power Co. and chairman of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.
• Thomas L. Strickland, a partner in the international law firm of WilmerHale, a former U.S. Attorney and former chief of staff and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
NFWF Vice President Thomas Kelsch, who has worked for NFWF for 15 years, has been named to oversee the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund, which will administer the monies from the plea agreements. NFWF also announced the appointment of Tanner A. Johnson and Michael J. Sharp as directors of the Fund.
Johnson is the former legislative director to U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.) and a member of the Louisiana Governor’s Advisory Commission for Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation. Just prior to joining NFWF, Johnson worked at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Johnson will be based in his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Sharp has been legislative director for U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) since 2010 where he had lead responsibilities in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Prior he served for eight years on the staff of former Congressman Sonny Callahan (R-Ala). He has also worked in Washington, D.C. representing an array of Alabama and Gulf coast interests.
Projects financed by the settlement monies will focus on improving the resilience of the Gulf Coast ecosystem, restoring and enhancing habitat crucial to supporting wildlife and enhancing and protecting coastal and marine fisheries.
NFWF is working with the five Gulf states and federal resource agencies to identify projects that meet those goals as established in plea agreements between the U.S. government and BP and other parties.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a Congressionally chartered non-profit corporation, is one of the largest private funders of conservation projects in the United States. It is subject to oversight by Congress and a board of directors that includes the heads of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as well as representatives from states, non-governmental organizations and industry. Its board is appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.