St. Johnian Beulah Dalmida-Smith was named director of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Division of Fish and Wildlife last week.
“Mrs. Dalmida-Smith comes to the department with great academic credentials and a vast amount of experience all essential to leading this division,” said DPNR
Commissioner Robert Mathes in a prepared statement.
Dalmida-Smith is a home-grown talent in every sense of the word. A graduate of the Guy Benjamin School, Julius E. Sprauve School and Charlotte Amalie High School, Dalmida-Smith went on to earn a bachelor of science degree in marine biology from the University of the Virgin Islands.
She also has a masters degree of environmental science and conservation biology from Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and is currently a PhD candidate in land use planning at the University of North Carolina.
A former commissioner of DPNR, Dalmida-Smith most recently worked for the V.I. National Park Service on St. John and Christiansted Historic Sites on St. Croix. She takes over a position vacated in March 2008 by David Olsen.
DPNR’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, completely federally funded, is charged with monitoring, assessing and implementing public awareness and other activities that help to enhance and safeguard fish and wildlife resources in the territory.
The agency is composed of three bureaus: Bureau of Fisheries; Bureau of Wildlife; and Bureau of Environmental Education. Dalmida-Smith, who will be overseeing all three branches within the division, is excited to be back home and working to protect local resources, she explained.
“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “I’ve definitely been looking forward to coming back home and working in this position. The Division of Fish and Wildlife has always been near and dear to my heart.”
“I’ve always worked toward conservation and protecting our local resources and I look forward to being able to make a real difference,” said Dalmida-Smith.
While the new Division of Fish and Wildlife director will spend a lot of time ensuring federal grant deadlines are met, Dalmida-Smith is also hoping to attract additional funding resources and protect local fishing interests, she explained.
“Since we’re 100 percent federally funded, working on the grants and meeting deadlines will be a major focus for us, and I’m hoping to work on additional grants to hopefully expand our funding,” Dalmida-Smith said. “There are also several things on the burner right now with the division. We’re working with the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council.”
“There will be some voting activity in September for annual catch limits and there may be some changes so I hope we can make the changes that will best suit us,” said Dalmida-Smith. “We want those changes to not take more away from fishermen, but really to sustain what is there.”
Dalmida-Smith is also enjoying being back home with her three children, she added.
“There is nothing like getting back home,” she said.
For more information about DPNR’s Division of Fish and Wildlife call 775-6762.