Hagener steps down as Montana’s fish and wildlife chief

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks director Jeff Hagener has retired after serving under three governors over 12 years.
Hagener was first appointed to the high-profile position by Republican Gov. Judy Martz in 2001. He stayed on for Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s first term in 2005, before being replaced by Joe Maurier, the governor’s college roommate.
Current Gov. Steve Bullock brought Hagener back in 2013 to steady the agency after its relationship with legislators and landowners soured during Schweitzer’s second term.
Hagener led an initiative called ‘15 and Forward meant to set FWP’s priorities for the next decade.
He tells the Billings Gazette his successor faces challenges including invasive species, wildlife diseases and potential drawn-out litigation over the planned removal of the Yellowstone grizzly’s threatened species status. 

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