As the Assistant Chief of the Wildlife Section at the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), Elise supervises the terrestrial and semi-aquatic wildlife biologists, working behind the scenes to help launch important conservation and management projects that protect New Mexico’s wildlife.
NMDGF’s mission is to conserve, regulate, propagate and protect the wildlife and fish within the state of New Mexico using a flexible management system. While the department focuses primarily on public lands — about 50 percent of land in New Mexico, mostly in the western part of the state — being a member of the PLJV management board has been enlightening for Elise as she has had the opportunity to engage more in private lands management. Learning from other board members how to effectively work with private landowners, NGOs and other government entities has been valuable and something she says would have been difficult to obtain without the structure of the board.
This knowledge, along with the collaborative focus of the board, has led to partnership opportunities and enabled NMDGF to engage in playa and grassland conservation in a meaningful way. For Elise, seeing projects implemented on the ground, and building relationships for future restoration activities, is very rewarding and would not have happened without her involvement on the board.
Prior to her current role, Elise worked as the Carnivore and Small Mammal Program Manager where she supervised the bear and cougar, furbearer, non-game mammal, and terrestrial species recovery programs. She also developed spatial mark-recapture studies for mesocarnivores and worked to improve the mandatory trapper/hunter harvest reporting system for furbearer harvest. Her initial job with NMDGF was as a bighorn sheep biologist, where she worked towards maintaining healthy populations of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and recovering state-listed desert bighorn sheep. She has a master’s degree in wildlife sciences from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in forestry and wildlife management from the University of California, Berkeley.