W. Scott Ellis, Chairman
Jane Morton Galetto
George P. Howard
Robert Von Suskil
November 12, 2002
The Fish and Game Council today announced the appointment of Martin J. McHugh as the next director of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Division of Fish and Wildlife. As director, McHugh will be responsible for managing more than 200 professionals and overseeing the Division's $20 million budget as well as the coordination of management and research programs for New Jersey's freshwater, marine, wildlife and endangered species, and the agency's law enforcement, conservation education and land management operations.
"Marty McHugh has been an asset to the division and I'm confident that his commitment and expertise will continue to benefit the agency, New Jerseyans and the fish and wildlife resource," said Fish and Game Council Chairman W. Scott Ellis.
McHugh's career of public service spans 18 years, focusing on natural resource management and environmental protection. He has served the State of New Jersey in a range of capacities, including both the DEP and the Division of Law and Public Safety, as well as a special assignment with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce. He enters his directorship from the position of associate director for the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
"With the distinction of being the most densely populated state in the nation, the management of New Jersey's wildlife resources is a tremendous challenge," said DEP Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Balancing the needs of both people and wildlife is the DEP's primary concern. I think Marty will do his utmost to foster a mutually bene-ficial relationship between people, wildlife and habitat, as well as maintaining a positive alliance among the sporting, agricultural and urban/suburban communities."
From 1997 through 1999, McHugh served as a Natural Resource Trustee Representative for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He was responsible for coordinating federal and state fish and wildlife agency efforts to restore natural resources impacted by contaminated sites in the Great Lakes and New York/New Jersey Harbor. During his tenure there, he addressed cleanup and restoration matters for New Jersey in the Hudson River, Hackensack Meadowlands, Passaic River and Newark Bay.
Before his assignment to NOAA, McHugh established and directed DEP's Office of Natural Resource Restoration (ONRR). ONRR documents and quantifies injuries to natural resources resulting from oil spills and contaminated sites, coordinates natural resource damage assessments and settlement negotiations with co-trustees and responsible parties and oversees the restoration of injured resources with settlement funds or through oversight of responsible party restoration activities.
Also during this time, McHugh served as Chairman of the Natural Resource Damage Task Force within the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials in Washington D.C. In this capacity, he represented state cleanup officials in the effort to improve federal legislation and testified before Congress regarding Superfund and Oil Pollution Act reauthorization.
Prior to ONRR, McHugh worked in the New Jersey Division of Law, Hazardous Site Litigation Section. As a Deputy Attorney General, McHugh litigated contaminated site cleanup cases and coordinated natural resource damage claims and negotiations on behalf of the state in the Exxon Bayway, BT Nautilus, Presidente Rivera and Cibro Savanna oil spills.
McHugh started his state service as in-house counsel to NJDEP where he represented the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife in all aspects of its programs and handled a range of other DEP matters, including hazardous site cleanup negotiations, water and air pollution enforcement cases and the development of regulations governing fish, wildlife and pollution control.
McHugh received his B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies from Rutgers University and his J.D. from Seton Hall School of Law. He has lectured extensively on natural resource and restoration matters and developed a course for Cook College focusing on New Jersey natural resource policy.
McHugh replaces current division Director Bob McDowell who will retire at the end of December with 36 years of service. Director since 1990, McDowell has served in a number of positions including Principal Biologist, Bureau Chief and Assistant Director.
The Fish and Game Council, as established by law, appoints a new director with the approval of the governor.
McHugh will continue to work closely with the Fish and Game and Marine Fisheries Councils, Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee and various grass-roots conservation organizations. He will also represent the Division in contacts with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal and state agencies.