Greg Sheehan

Former Division of Wildlife Resources director Greg Sheehan was appointed to lead the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in June 2017.

Greg Sheehan, former director of the Utah Division of Wildlife, has stepped down from his post directing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke appointed Sheehan as Principal Deputy Director of the service almost a year ago, in June 2017. Despite promising the secretary he'd serve a full term, Sheehan resigned from the position Thursday, The Hill reports.

Sheehan apparently plans to return to Utah to spend more time with his family, per the Hill. The Standard-Examiner has not independently confirmed Sheehan's departure.

Sheehan spent more than 20 years working for Utah DWR, including five as the division's director. 

RELATED: DWR director brings his love of Utah wildlife to new job

After moving from Utah to Washington, D.C. to take his new role at the helm of USFWS, Sheehan worked to open more than 100,000 acres of national refuge lands to anglers and hunters. He also quickly became controversial.

In November 2017, his agency lifted an Obama-era ban on elephant trophy imports. After swift public backlash ensued, the Trump administration appeared to back off of the issue but then officially lifted the ban on a "case-by-case basis" in March.

Sheehan also issued a memo in May easing enforcement of the Migratory Bird Act to the dismay of local and national wildlife conservationists. 

RELATED: Migratory bird advocates file suit to stop feds from easing protections

According to a 2012 profile, Sheehan graduated from Weber High School and Utah State University. He has lived in Layton for more than two decades. His USFWS bio page calls him an "avid hunter, fisherman, and wildlife photographer."

His deputy director post was a new position created by the Trump administration.

Contact Reporter Leia Larsen at 801-625-4289 or llarsen@standard.net. Follow her on Facebook.com/LeiaInTheField or on Twitter @LeiaLarsen. 

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