The Northwest Region is led by Regional Administrator, William Stelle, and Deputy Regional Administrator, Barry Thom. Together, the regional leadership administers fisheries, endangered species, and marine mammal programs in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
William Stelle was appointed as the Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Northwest Region in May 2010, and began serving in June. Before joining the Obama Administration, he was a partner at the law firm of K&L Gates. His practice concentrated on projects involving complex federal and state environmental regulatory challenges, specializing in freshwater and marine habitat issues and endangered species, CERCLA, CWA and NEPA issues. He served as NOAA Fisheries' Northwest Regional Administrator from 1994 until 2000, where he managed the listings of salmon and steelhead populations under the Endangered Species Act in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California. He has extensive experience in state, Tribal and Congressional relations.
Before settling in the Northwest, Will held a variety of policy positions dealing with a range of environmental and natural resource programs in Washington, D.C. Within the Federal Executive Branch, he served as the Associate Director for Natural Resources with the White House Office on Environmental Policy overseeing federal forestry and natural resource policies. Before that he was Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Interior where he helped promulgate and implement major changes to western federal land management under the Northwest Forest Plan. Prior to entering the Executive Branch, Will served in the Legislative Branch in both the Senate and the House for a decade under both Democratic and Republican chairmen in fish and wildlife, coastal environmental, and Tribal affairs.
Will received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award in 1997, and the NOAA Administrator's Award in 2000. His education includes: LL.M., Marine Resource Law, University of Washington School of Law, 1981; J.D., Coastal and Marine Law, University of Maine Law School, 1978; B.A., Boston University, 1974 (magna cum laude, philosophy), and the Brooks School, 1970 (cum laude, with distinction in latin and greek). He also studied the United National Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III) and international marine resource law at Canada's Dalhousie University Law School in Halifax, Nova Scotia.