From a press release – After three years as director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), Dr. Jim Unsworth today informed the state Fish and Wildlife Commission that he will resign his position effective Feb. 7.“This has been a challenging, educational, and often rewarding experience,” Unsworth said in a letter to Commission Chairman Brad Smith. “It is now time for me to pursue other professional and personal goals in wildlife and natural resources management.”Smith said the Commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for WDFW, will name an interim director as soon as possible and will initiate a national search for Unsworth’s replacement.“Over the last three years, Jim has done an outstanding job of guiding the department through the complex challenges that come with managing natural resources in Washington,” said Smith. “We greatly appreciate his contributions to the department and wish him well in his future endeavors.”Shortly after becoming WDFW director, Unsworth initiated a multi-year initiative to strengthen the department’s relationships with communities, increase support for conservation and outdoor recreation, and help ensure WDFW programs and services meet the public’s needs.Those discussions helped launch several efforts to improve the department’s customer service and responsiveness, including the simplification of fishing rules, the development of a more user-friendly website, and creation of a fishing regulation application for smartphones and other mobile devices.Unsworth expressed his appreciation to WDFW staff members in an email message. “I have had some great experiences as director,” he told them, “but by far the best part of the job has been getting to know many of you. I appreciate your professionalism, work ethic, and passion for fish and wildlife.”Unsworth joined WDFW in February 2015 after serving more than 30 years in wildlife management with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, including several years as the agency’s deputy director. He previously held several management positions for the Idaho department, including wildlife bureau chief and state big game manager.