CORVALLIS, Ore. - Dan Edge, head of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, has been named chairman of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.

This seven-member commission sets policy for the state on fish and wildlife resources, including the territorial sea. Edge, who has been on the commission since 2004, succeeds Marla Rae, whose term expired. Edge has been vice chair of the commission since 2007.

Edge's appointment comes at a time when fish and wildlife management in Oregon is particularly challenging. Acknowledging the needs of economic development and the passion for fish and wildlife expressed by many interest groups requires a delicate balancing act.

In recent weeks, issues such as the return of wolves to Oregon, and the impact of sea lions on fish in the Columbia River have gained widespread media attention as well as intense public scrutiny. The commission also must contend with invasive species, climate change, energy development, habitat fragmentation and other issues.

"Oregonians are not particularly shy about voicing their opinion," Edge said, "but that generally is a good thing. Fish and wildlife are part of the state's heritage and those voices underscore a true public interest in maintaining our natural resources. Since becoming a commissioner, I've always appreciated the thoughtful comments and suggestions we receive as we deliberated about difficult issues."

Edge, who has been at OSU since 1989, was just named a fellow of The Wildlife Society. He is president of the National Association of University Fish and Wildlife Programs and was the first Mace Professor of Watchable Wildlife at OSU.

His research emphasis has been on the effects of forestry and agriculture on wildlife. He also has received three national teaching awards and is a national leader in distance education in natural resources.

Edge was on the federal forestland advisory committee for Oregon from 2007-09, and was on the fish and wildlife subcommittee for the Governor's Climate Change Task Force in 2008.

In 2007, the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked universities in both fisheries and wildlife science, and selected OSU first in the nation in wildlife science and second in fisheries science. The university also has been ranked No. 1 in conservation biology.

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Dan Edge, 541-737-2910