KODIAK (AP) -- Leslie Kerr, the refuge manager of Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, has been named the new manager of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge.
She will fill the position left vacant by Jay Bellinger who retired six months ago after 16 years on the job.
Kerr's previous job stationed her 26 miles north of the Arctic Circle. She said she's looking forward to her new assignment.
''It's practically the tropics,'' Kerr said.
Mike Getman, the acting refuge director since Bellinger's retirement, said Kerr came highly recommended by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's regional office.
Kerr said Bellinger was her mentor when she came to Alaska in 1982, and she has since met and worked with many of the current Kodiak refuge staff during her 20-year Alaska career.
As manager of the 2.2 million acre Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, Kerr expanded the refuge's biological program and visitor services.
In the 1990s, she also produced award-winning conservation plans for the Nowitna and Alaska Maritime national wildlife refuges, according to Fish and Wildlife.
Kerr said it's an exciting time to be a land-use planner because agencies are taking a more cooperative approach to planning. She's looking forward to working at the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, which is updating its 10-year-old comprehensive conservation management plan.
She also is anticipating studying the new draft Kodiak Brown Bear Management Plan that state and local user-groups produced.
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