News from the DNR Office of Communications

Chief Counsel Joe Gill Named New DNR Deputy Secretary as Eric Schwaab Accepts Appointment to NOAA

Annapolis, MD (February 11, 2010) — Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary John Griffin today announced the appointment of Assistant Attorney General Joe Gill as the agency’s new Deputy Secretary. Effective Wednesday, February 18, Gill will replace outgoing Deputy Secretary Eric Schwaab, who has been appointed Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at NOAA by President Barack Obama, upon the recommendation of Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco. The position heads the National Marine Fisheries Service.

“This is an outstanding achievement and extraordinary career opportunity for Eric, and a boon for our national fisheries management,” said Secretary Griffin in a message to staff and stakeholders. “As much as we will miss Eric, we are extremely fortunate that Joe Gill, who has served as DNR’s Chief Counsel for 14 years, has agreed to bring his experience, talent and energy into one of our agency’s most critical roles.”

Schwaab began his career with the agency in 1983, holding seven different positions before taking a brief hiatus to work for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. He returned to the agency as deputy secretary in 2007, bringing unprecedented resources management experience. Over the past three years he contributed to many major initiatives of the O’Malley-Brown Administration, including GreenPrint, BayStat, and sustainable forestry and fisheries policies.

“Eric has done an absolutely remarkable job for this Administration and the citizens of Maryland as we have worked to advance our natural resources mission and create a smarter, greener more sustainable future for our State,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This opportunity is well deserved and we look forward to working closely with Eric in his new national role.

“I am both honored and excited to take on this new responsibility at this important time for our nation's fisheries,” said Schwaab. “At the same time, I regret that taking on this new challenge requires that I leave DNR and the O’Malley-Brown Administration at a time when, despite our difficult budget circumstances, significant progress is underway on a number of pressing conservation issues.”

Incoming Deputy Secretary Joe Gill has served as DNR’s Assistant Attorney General for 14 years, managing a team of nine lawyers who represent the department and its employees on all legal issues.

“I am also extremely pleased to congratulate and welcome Joe Gill to his new role,” continued Governor O’Malley. “Joe is a brilliant legal mind, whose extensive natural resources experience and reputation as a consensus builder will be a perfect fit for this important position.”

"I have been privileged to serve under Attorneys General Gansler and Curran for the past two decades and look forward to helping my colleagues at DNR in a new role," said Gill.

During his tenure Gill has played a key role in many of the agency’s most significant programs and policies, from development of the Rural Legacy Program in the 1990s to most recently driving the development of a more aggressive penalty system for natural resources violators.

"Joe Gill has given a voice to our natural resources that may have otherwise been silent," said Attorney General Doug Gansler. " While the Office of the Attorney General will miss Mr. Gill's legal acumen, we are comforted knowing that he will still be working diligently to protect Maryland's natural resources."

Gill is also well known for his community service, including leading the effort to fund and build the Annapolis Lighthouse Shelter.

   February 11, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2009, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 467,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at