CORVALLIS - Erik Fritzell, who has been the head of Oregon State University's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife for the past six years, has accepted a position as associate dean of OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Thayne Dutson, the dean of OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences, said Fritzell brings a valuable perspective to his new job.

"Our college and its stakeholders will benefit from having a member of its senior leadership team an individual with a professional background in natural resources and environmental stewardship," Dutson said.

Much of Fritzell's experience has been in the agricultural landscapes of North Dakota, Missouri and the Canadian prairie. His scientific expertise includes the ecology of raccoons, foxes and other carnivorous mammals; wetlands ecology, and aspects of other natural resource issues, such as Oregon's salmon recovery efforts.

"So many dimensions of Oregon life - whether in agriculture or in other fields - depend on good stewardship of the environment and natural resources," Fritzell said. "It is woven through all of the main issues facing Oregon."

As an associate dean, Fritzell initially will work with the agricultural college's units and programs that were formally assigned to Kelvin Koong, who held the associate dean position before becoming dean of OSU's College of Veterinary Medicine a year ago.

Wildlife biologist Dan Edge has been named the interim head of the Fisheries and Wildlife Department at OSU during the search for a permanent replacement.

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Roy Arnold, 541-737-0733