Kay Brown may be new to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Restoration & Enhancement Board, but for her the work feels very familiar.
That’s because Brown brings with her a lot of budgeting know-how and more than 30 years of ODFW experience, most of them as a fish biologist and operations manager.
“I wanted to connect with the agency. And I wanted to do something meaningful,” Brown said. “I was looking for something that would be helpful for the agency.”
Brown, who lives in Columbia City near St. Helens, is excited to be able to share her experience. She said her background in working with fish and wildlife budgets and personnel has prepared her well.
“I felt like I was uniquely equipped to do that, since I had done that most of my career,” Brown said.
With a bachelor’s degree in fisheries from Oregon State University, Brown first started working for ODFW as a license clerk. Later, she was promoted to a biologist position working mostly on fishing regulations. She recollects that she was one of the first women hired as a fish biologist for the ODFW.
Brown retired in 2003 from her job as operations manager.
In her free time, she is constructing a functional, strip-built kayak. She also enjoys helping others get closer to a career in fisheries or in forestry through an OSU Foundation scholarship fund she started with her late husband for Oregon State University students.
Since January, Brown has filled the public-at-large position on the seven-person R&E Board, which also has representatives from recreational fisheries, commercial gillnet and troll fisheries, and the fish processing industry.
The R&E Board studies potential projects that benefit sport or commercial fisheries, and makes funding recommendations. Projects include those that help with fish passage, produce fish that stock lakes and rivers and get kids excited about science, Brown said, and she is happy to be contributing to that.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out and taking a look at the projects that are being funded and helping with determining which ones are our priorities and which ones are good for how we want to spend our money,” Brown said.