JULY 16, 1997

Good morning and welcome. The purpose of today's hearing is to consider the nomination of Jamie Rappaport Clark for the position of Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The President nominated Ms. Clark on July 9, and it is the Committee's intention to act expeditiously on her nomination to allow the full Senate to confirm her before the August recess.

I am delighted and honored to introduce Jamie Clark, who is accompanied by her husband, James M. Clark. Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting with Ms. Clark and during our conversation, she mentioned the interesting fact that she and her husband were married on a national wildlife refuge. This is but one example of her strong commitment to the protection of wildlife and other natural resources.

If confirmed, Jamie Clark will be responsible for developing and carrying out policies to conserve, protect and enhance the nation's fish and wildlife and their habitats. A number of challenging tasks fall on the shoulders of the Fish and Wildlife Service Director, including the management of the National Wildlife Refuge System; the implementation of the Endangered Species Act; fish hatchery management; recreational fishing programs; management of non-indigenous and exotic species; conservation and management of migratory waterfowl and wild birds; and the list of responsibilities goes on.

The breadth of management tools that the Service uses to carry out its mission is no less impressive. The Service does its job through grant programs, land acquisitions, and user fee programs, such as the receipts from the "duck stamp."

I am pleased to report that Ms. Clark is an outstanding candidate for the tasks at hand. Throughout her educational and professional experiences, she has been involved on a daily basis with the principles of fish and wildlife management.

Jamie Clark has worked with the Fish and Wildlife Service for over eight years, both at the regional level and at headquarters. For the past four years of her tenure with the Service, she has held the position of Associate Director of Ecological Services.

In her current position of Associate Director, she has worked closely with and reported directly to both the acting Director of the Service, John Rogers, and former Director Mollie Beattie in the implementation of the Endangered Species Act and habitat protection. As Associate Director, she also has overseen habitat restoration programs, wetlands protection, and other Service initiatives involving natural resource protection.

Prior to joining the Fish and Wildlife Service, Jamie Clark was the lead technical authority for fish and wildlife management on U.S. Army installations worldwide. From 1984 until 1988, she managed the Natural and Cultural Resources program within the National Guard. She also was a research biologist for the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute and worked for the National Institute for Urban Wildlife as a wildlife biologist.

Ms. Clark's educational background is equally impressive and suits her well to the position of Fish and Wildlife Service Director. She holds a master's degree (MS) in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree (BS) in Wildlife Biology.

Moreover, Jamie Clark has worked closely with Committee staff and Committee members' staff on the Endangered Species Act and other tough issues. I have heard nothing but glowing reports of her ability to work with the Administration and Congress, which will serve her well, if confirmed.

The Fish and Wildlife Service is an agency with the wonderful but difficult task of serving as advocate for fish and wildlife. It must protect these public resources in the face of much criticism and question. The Service is charged with fulfilling its own mission in light of competing and sometimes conflicting mandates of other Federal agencies. It also must address the contentious issues of private property rights, water rights, and takings. The Service has done a remarkable job in recent years of developing initiatives that deal with many of these issues. The internal guidance documents for permits; the new safe harbor, candidate conservation, and "no-surprises" policies; the policy for Native American rights; and the streamlining initiatives for federal agencies have all led to better implementation of the Endangered Species Act, better public relations and ultimately better protection for the species.

I am confident that Jamie Clark has the experience, insight, and the strength to lead the Fish and Wildlife Service to continue these initiatives and develop new ones through the challenges ahead.