The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Management has a new director. Wayne A. Laroche, who has spent his career working in wildlife and fisheries science – including nearly eight years directing the operation of the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife – started in the position Aug. 3.
Laroche replaces interim director John Dunn, who recently retired. The bureau has not had a permanent director since Cal DuBrock retired last year.
The Bureau of Wildlife Management is responsible for managing the state’s 480 wildlife species, and conducts research and monitoring for about 60 game animals to provide sustainable populations for recreational uses including hunting and trapping.
Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said Laroche’s extensive background well prepared him for his role, and he has hit the ground running in his first weeks with the agency.
“In Vermont, Wayne dealt with many of the same issues we face here,” Hough said. “He worked with hunters and trappers to help establish antler restrictions, developed procedures to address threats posed by chronic wasting disease, white-nose syndrome and tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease, and he served on many state, regional and international committees that manage wildlife collaboratively.
“And it doesn’t end there,” Hough said. “Wayne has decades of field experience working in wildlife and fisheries science, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have him aboard.”
Laroche said he is proud to serve in this capacity.
“The Pennsylvania Game Commission is one of the nation’s top agencies of its kind, and is recognized nationally for its top-notch staff,” Laroche said. “It is an honor to serve in this position. The diversity and complexity of tasks and programs engaged in by the agency will make the job exciting.
“I hope that my experience and skills will enhance the management of wildlife resources for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” he said.
Laroche directed the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife from 2003 to 2011, and was part of the Vermont Threatened and Endangered Species Committee. More recently, he worked as staff scientist for Lake Champlain International Inc., in Colchester, Vt., where his work helped to protect water quality and fisheries in the Lake Champlain Basin. Laroche also worked as fisheries and ichthyological consultant for Stonefish Environmental and Taxonomic Services in Enosburg Falls, Vt., from 1985 to 2002. There he operated a consulting business, with contracts and jobs dealing with fish and fisheries investigations.
Laroche is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Forestry with a bachelor’s of science in Wildlife Management, and received his master’s of science in natural resources, fisheries option, from the Humboldt State University School of Natural Resources in Arcata, Calif.
Laroche grew up in northern Vermont in a family of hunters, anglers and trappers. His interest in wildlife management began at a young age and has shaped the course of his life. He is an avid white-tailed deer hunter.
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