West Virginia

Wildlife mandate in statute

“It is declared to be the public policy of the State of West Virginia that the wildlife resources of this state shall be protected for the use and enjoyment of all the citizens of this state. All species of wildlife shall be maintained for values which may be either intrinsic or ecological or of benefit to man. Such benefits shall include (1) hunting, fishing and other diversified recreational uses; (2) economic contributions in the best interests of the people of this state; and (3) scientific and educational uses.”

The Commission:

  • Name: West Virginia Natural Resources Commission
  • Regulatory or advisory: Hybrid
  • Number of voting members: 7
  • Term length: 4 years, each commissioner may not serve more than two consecutive terms
  • How selected: Appointed by Governor
  • Senate confirmation required: Yes
  • Selection criteria per statute

The commission shall be composed of seven members, known as commissioners, one from each division of natural resources district and the remainder from the state at large, and shall be appointed to provide the broadest geographic distribution possible…The members of the commission shall be citizens and residents of the state, and shall be selected with special emphasis on his or her interest in the conservation of the natural resources of the state.”

  • From the Commission’s website

“The Natural Resources Commission is to serve as an advisory body to the Director of the Division of Natural Resources on issues related to conservation of the state’s natural resources, including the protection of fish and game.”

The Agency:

  • Name: Wildlife Resources Section (of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources)
  • Type: Subagency within the Division of Natural Resources 
  • Title of Agency Director: Director
  • Selection process: Appointed by Governor
  • Mission statement from agency website:

“It is the statutory mission of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to provide and administer a long-range comprehensive program for the exploration, conservation, development, protection, enjoyment, and the use of the natural resources of the State of West Virginia.”

“The primary objective of the (Wildlife Resources) section is to maintain and perpetuate fish and wildlife at levels compatible with the available habitat, while providing diverse opportunities for recreation, research, conservation and education.”

Find Your State

America’s Wildlife Values was an extensive 2018 nationwide survey led by Colorado State University of public attitudes towards wildlife. Findings were compared with a 2004 survey to identify trends. Researchers also surveyed personnel at state wildlife agencies. Reports are available for national, state and agency results. (Some state agencies did not participate.)

State Report

Agency Culture Memo

National Report