Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Headquarters
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Headquarters History


Northern Pintail Drake at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge

The Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Program was conceived and initiated in Iowa by the cartoonist, political satirist, and conservationist J. N. "Ding" Darling. In the early 1930s, Darling was the commissioner of the Iowa Fish and Game Commission when he created the cooperative wildlife research unit as a joint venture of Iowa State College and the Iowa Fish and Game Commission.

In 1934, Darling was appointed director of the Federal Bureau of Biological Survey. In this position, Darling lobbied Congress for support of a nationwide cooperative wildlife research unit program. With commitments from land-grant universities, state natural resources agencies, and ammunition companies, units were established in nine states that represented the breadth of ecosystems across the country (Oregon, Utah, Texas, Iowa, Maine, Connecticut, Virginia, Alabama, Ohio).

The Cooperative Units Act (P.L. 86-686) was passed by Congress in 1960, which authorized the unit program as a separate budget item within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This act also established cooperative fishery units. The Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Program has evolved over the years, including the addition of several new units. Other significant programmatic changes included combining disparate wildlife and fisheries programs into single units in the 1970s, and moving the unit program from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the U.S. Geological Survey in the 1990s.

The Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units are truly cooperative ventures of federal and state governments, and non-governmental organizations.


Name Position Start Year End Year
Cartagirone, Suzanne Administrative Operations Assistant 2004 2017
Childs, Dawn Headquarters Staff 2015 Current
Coulby, Shana Administrative Officer 2015 Current
Croston, Brenda Administrative Specialist 1998 Current
Dennerline, Don Biologist 2000 Current
Fennell, Shannon Headquarters Staff 2006 2008
Fleming, Walker Supervisor 2007 2014
Fleming, Walker Deputy Chief 1998 2007
Geary, Derek Administrative Program Specialist 2016 Current
Gelsomin, Amanda Administrative Specialist 2016 Current
Goforth, Reid Headquarters Staff 1983 1999
Grand, James Supervisor 2017 Current
Gruber, Melissa Headquarters Staff 2000 2006
Haines, Lynn Headquarters Staff 1980 2004
Linton, Terry Program Support Assistant 2000 2015
Margraf, F. Supervisor 2009 2016
Mundey, Vivian Headquarters Staff 2000 2004
Nichols, Lindsay Headquarters Other 2006 2009
Organ, John Chief 2014 2019
Oris, Nicholas Administrative Specialist 2018 Current
Raines, Rita Administrative Officer 2007 2015
Reis, Kathryn Headquarters Other 2005 2008
Shanks, Bernard Headquarters Staff 2004 2009
Soto, Kim Headquarters Staff 2000 2006
Sparrowe, Rollin Headquarters Staff 1976 1983
Thode, Melissa Program Analyst 2016 Current
Thompson, John Chief 2019 Current
Thompson, John Deputy Chief 2014 2018
Tome, Michael Supervisor 1992 Current
Van Den Avyle, Mike Headquarters Staff 2000 2007
Von Erden, Jennifer Headquarters Staff 2010 2015
Weant, Shari Headquarters Staff 2000 2010
Whalen, Kevin Supervisor 2013 Current
Whalen, Kevin Deputy Chief 2006 2013
Williams, Byron Chief 1997 2013
Winkelman, Dana Headquarters Other 2019 2020
Winn, Nancy Administrative Program Specialist 2007 2010
Zukowski, Shana Headquarters Other 2003 2006