Gov. Gary R.Herbert announced today that Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Executive Director Mike Styler is retiring after more than 14 years of service with the department, effective June 1.
Styler leaves DNR as the agency’s longest-serving executive director.
“Mike’s leadership has been invaluable both to the Department of Natural Resources and to our state,” said Gov. Herbert. “I will greatly miss having him as part of my cabinet, and I wish him the very best.”
Under Styler’s leadership, DNR launched the Watershed Restoration Initiative, a statewide effort to improve ecosystem health and biological diversity, water quality and yield, as well as sustainable uses of Utah watersheds. To date, nearly 2,000 projects and 1.6 million acres of land have been restored.
Among other accomplishments, Styler has proved instrumental in the forming of the Utah Water Task Force, the creation of the state’s water rights adjudication process, and the signing of two hunter access agreements with the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.
“My opportunities to serve took unanticipated paths, but it has been incredibly rewarding to work with Governor Herbert, the good people of Utah and over 1,300 DNR employees that work so hard to meet the natural resource needs of our state,” said Styler. “Utah faces a number of difficult opportunities moving forward with water, wildlife, recreation and fire particularly. DNR has amazing and dedicated people. They are up to the task of meeting those challenges.”
Styler served in the Utah House of Representatives before joining DNR. In the legislature he served as chair of both the Legislative Water Task Force and Natural Resources Appropriations Committee. He also served as a member of the Executive Appropriations Committee and the Legislative Management Committee.
A farmer from Oasis, Utah, he also served as a Millard County Commissioner and an eighth grade U.S. history teacher at Delta Middle School before joining the legislature. He still farms 400 acres of irrigated land on his family farm.
Deputy Director Darin Bird will serve as Interim Executive Director for the Utah Department of Natural Resources.
The governor is completing the interview process for Styler’s replacement and will appoint a new executive director on Monday, April 29.