Policy Update May 11, 2021

Position on the nomination of Shannon Estenoz as DOI Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks

NPCA sent the following letter to Senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee ahead of a hearing scheduled for May 12th, 2021. 

We write to urge you to support the nomination of Shannon Estenoz as Department of the Interior (DOI) Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. Our national parks are symbols of conservation, historic preservation and our shared heritage. In the last four years, as we witnessed weakened protection for cultural resources, wildlife, waterways and the list goes on, the highest level of protection was not afforded to these incredible places. We can and must do better. The Biden-Harris Administration must address climate change head-on, ensure the federal government – and the park system – is welcoming to diverse communities, and reverse damaging policies that put at risk the water, air, wildlife, cultural and other resources that make our parks world-renowned.

Shannon Estenoz comes to this nomination with nearly three decades of environmental protection experience, much of it with the Department of the Interior. Whether working directly with stakeholders or coordinating across multiple federal agencies, Estenoz has demonstrated a consistent commitment to working collaboratively while protecting some of the country’s most precious natural resources. Estenoz has also established herself as a professional with technical expertise on the protection of the Everglades, working previously as DOI’s Director of Everglades Restoration Initiatives as well as DOI’s Executive Director of the South Florida Ecosystem Restoration Task Force. During her tenure at DOI, Estenoz oversaw Everglades restoration projects like the building of the Tamiami Trail bridge, which required extensive conservation, tribal and other community considerations. Estenoz consistently prioritizes community and stakeholder needs and tribal consultation, ensuring that federal projects provide the public transparency so crucial to their success.

Estenoz also has a long record of bipartisan conservation work, previously serving in appointed positions under Florida Governors Bush, Chiles and Crist. Further, NPCA has special insight into Estenoz’s commitment to our national parks ecosystems, as she previously served as Regional Director of our Florida-based regional office. In that role, she enhanced our Florida Bay fisheries program to better engage the angling community and work with them to further protect critical fish habitat. In her role with NPCA, Estenoz handled some of the more challenging visitor use issues that face our National Park System. Whether balancing the needs of hunting and off-road users with resource management or launching a boater education course focused on habitat protection, Estenoz has upheld the Park Service’s mandate to preserve resources for future generations.

The full story of America cannot be contained in a textbook or housed within a museum. The over 400 national parks, preserves, historic sites, seashores and more that comprise the National Park System begin to tell the story of the United States and its people. It is America’s legacy to future generations and to the world. But this story is still incomplete, and its chapters often face revision at the hands of environmental, ideological and human threats. We look forward to working with Shannon Estenoz to ensure the best future for our national parks.