Posted on September 9, 2021
She brings more than 20 years of experience in Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act issues.
Today, NOAA Fisheries announced Ms. Kim Damon-Randall as the director of the Office of Protected Resources. She will assume her new duties on August 29. Ms. Damon-Randall began her career with NOAA in 2001, serving in a series of positions at the Greater Atlantic Regional Office. Her roles have included heading the Endangered Species Branch and Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources. Most recently, she has served as GARFO’s Deputy Regional Administrator. She succeeds Ms. Donna Wieting who retired in March.
“Kim is a great choice for this position,” said NOAA Fisheries’ Assistant Administrator Janet Coit. “She has the right skills and experience to drive us forward in the conservation, recovery, and management of protected marine species, one of our core mission areas at NOAA Fisheries.”
In her new role, Ms. Damon-Randall will head the agency’s Office of Protected Resources, which focuses on:
- Endangered Species Conservation and Recovery—Responsible for the conservation, protection, and recovery of more than 150 endangered and threatened marine species under the Endangered Species Act
- Marine Mammal Conservation and Management—Responsible for the conservation, management, and protection of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions under the Marine Mammal Protection Act
- Sea Turtle Conservation and Management—Leads the conservation and recovery of sea turtles in the marine environment for NOAA
- Marine Life Health and Stranding Response—Responsible for coordinating networks of professional, authorized individuals and organizations to respond to reports of sick, injured, entangled, or dead marine animals
- Permitting and Authorizations—Issues permits and authorizations for important activities that are compliant with the ESA and the MMPA
- Consultations with Federal Agencies under the ESA—Conducts federal agency consultations on activities that may affect endangered and threatened species or their habitats are required under section 7 of the ESA
- Funding and Grant Support—Manages several grant programs that fund projects that assist us with the agency’s mission, including Species Recovery Grants (to states and tribes) and the John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program
Ms. Damon-Randall has extensive experience in the conservation, recovery, and management of protected species. She has worked on issues ranging from responding to petitions to list species under the Endangered Species Act to designating critical habitat. She has coordinated focused outreach efforts to raise awareness about threats to endangered species through initiatives such as the International Year of the Salmon and Species in the Spotlight campaigns.
“Kim has already helped us grapple with some of the most difficult species recovery issues the agency faces on a regional level, including North Atlantic right whale and Atlantic salmon. That experience will serve her well in her new job,” said NOAA Fisheries’ Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, Sam Rauch.
In her previous roles at the agency, she has managed budgets and worked to streamline the agency’s response to consultations under the Endangered Species Act. She is the Federal Commissioner and Head of the United States Delegation to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization. She is currently serving as the organization’s vice president.
“Serving as the Director of the Office of Protected Resources is my dream job. Protected species conservation and recovery has always been near and dear to my heart, and I am very much looking forward to working with the incredibly dedicated and talented staff in the office on the important issues and challenges facing species in the United States,” said Damon-Randall.
Before joining the agency in 2001, Ms. Damon-Randall worked on marine conservation and outreach at the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium and J.L. Scott Marine Education Center.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in biology and a Master’s degree in Marine Affairs, both from the University of Rhode Island.
Ms. Damon-Randall is originally from Deep River, Connecticut. As a child, she used to visit the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, on a regular basis. She actually met her idol—the Shark Lady herself, Dr. Eugenie Clark—when she did a presentation on sharks at the Aquarium. Kim is married and has two children: her son is a U.S. Marine and her daughter is a freshman at Suffolk University in Boston.