AUSTIN, Texas – Southeastern Oklahoma State University alumnus Tim Birdsong has been selected as Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) next Inland Fisheries Division director. Birdsong has served as interim division director since July, following the promotion of Craig Bonds to chief operating officer.
Birdsong is a 2002 Southeastern graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Biology – Biological Health Sciences. He then earned his master’s degree in fisheries science from Louisiana State University. He is also a graduate of the National Conservation Leadership Institute (2022), Governor’s Center for Management Development – Senior Management Program (2020) and TPWD’s Natural Leaders Program (2010). Birdsong was born in Denison and graduated from Rock Creek High School in Bokchito.
He grew up fishing, boating, swimming and camping on Lake Texoma and other rivers and reservoirs in the region. Birdsong resides with his wife and two high school-age sons in Wimberley, Texas, and considers the Blanco River, Canyon Lake and Guadalupe River to be his home waters.
Birdsong is a 17-year veteran of TPWD, having served within the Inland Fisheries Division as deputy division director and habitat conservation branch chief. Prior to joining TPWD, Birdsong was a fisheries biologist and data program leader with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“TPWD is an inspiring and impactful organization, and daily I’m struck with feelings of purpose and gratitude for the opportunity to contribute to this great mission,” said Birdsong. “It’s an honor and privilege to be selected as the next Inland Fisheries Division director. The division is recognized nationally as a progressive leader among state fisheries programs, routinely taking risks to develop new and innovative solutions to challenges facing freshwater fisheries resources that are science-based, cost-effective, scalable and transferable.”
The Inland Fisheries Division provides quality fishing opportunities for 3.1 million freshwater anglers on Texas’ 1,100 public lakes and 191,228 miles of streams, creeks and rivers.
“Whether it’s preserving Texas native species and freshwater biodiversity promoting sportfishing or serving up a wild-caught, healthy source of protein to feed Texas families, the Inland Fisheries Division plays essential roles in managing and conserving public freshwater fisheries resources to meet the needs of all Texans,” said Birdsong. “We exist to sustain thriving populations of fish and other aquatic species, and to sustain recreationally, commercially and economically important fisheries. Simply put, people need fish and fish need the Inland Fisheries Division.”
In 2022, anglers spent an estimated $11.1 billion on food, lodging, transportation and equipment while fishing Texas freshwater and coastal waters, and fishing supported an estimated 51,380 jobs in the state.
Birdsong’s contributions to the management and conservation of the state’s public freshwater fisheries resources have been recognized at state, national and international levels. He has garnered multiple honors, including the Conservation Award from Fly Fishers International (2021), National Fish Habitat Award (2014), Texas Parks and Wildlife Conservation Award (2015), James A. Henshall Warmwater Fisheries Award (2016), Sport Fish Restoration Outstanding Project Award (2016, 2020) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Outstanding Team Award (2020). Birdsong was also named Outstanding Texas Fisheries Worker of the Year by the Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society two different times during his TPWD career (2013, 2020).
“Tim has a passion for fishing, aquatic resources stewardship, building collaborative partnerships and for TPWD,” said David Yoskowitz, Ph.D., TPWD executive director. “He has a knack for bringing teams together, identifying creative solutions and leveraging funding and other resources to put a vision into action. Tim consistently exhibits integrity and demonstrates the talent, experience and competency to lead the Inland Fisheries Division to an even brighter future.”
Photos and release information courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department