Rob Harper

National Director for Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air, Rare Plants, and Subsistence in Alaska - US Forest Service

Since January 2014, Robert has been the Forest Service’s National Director for Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air, Rare Plants, and Subsistence in Alaska in Washington, D.C.   Rob has also held assignments in the headquarters office as Staff Assistant to the Deputy Chief, co-lead for work force diversity issues in the Chief’s Office and as an Assistant Director for Forest Management. During his 26 years with the Forest Service, Rob has worked in a variety of positions and locations around the country (California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota and Washington DC).   Many of his roles have included responsibilities for water, fish and wildlife as either a staff or line officer, in the Western and Eastern US.  In his current position, Rob and his team provide leadership to the conservation of water and aquatic resources, and a variety of wildlife and threatened and endangered species issues through coordination with the States, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and many partners on the Nation’s 193 million acres of National Forests and Grasslands.

Prior to arriving in Washington in 2010, Rob was the Forest Supervisor on the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota where he focused on tribal relations, forest management and travel planning issues.  He worked as a District Ranger in western Montana on the Lolo National Forest where he worked on community collaboration, forest planning and forest and restoration projects.   From the regional office in Missoula, MT, Rob also led efforts to secure federal reserved water rights in issues for the national forests in Montana.

Rob began is his professional career as a research hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Washington, DC prior to moving to northern Idaho where he learned to design and implement a variety of watershed improvement projects.   Rob holds an M.S. in the Geological Sciences, with an emphasis on glacial geology and groundwater, from Indiana University and B.S. in Geology from Lake Superior State University in Michigan. Rob worked much of his way through college as a firefighter in northern California and as a Smokejumper in Oregon and grew up near the Hiawatha National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.