The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Chief of Fisheries Mark Fowden is retiring after 39 years with the department, five of those as chief.

Fowden began his long career with the Wyoming Game and Fish in 1979 in Casper with the Reservoir Research and Fish Population Crew. He transferred to Laramie in 1982 as a fish population biologist. He was promoted twice in 1987 and 1996 and became assistant chief of fisheries in 2001. Fowden’s work, along with retired chief Mike Stone, is credited in getting The Wyoming Aquatic Invasive Species Act passed by the state legislature.

Game and Fish Assistant Chief of Fisheries Dirk Miller said that Fowden will be missed.

“He has been well respected in the division and well known in the state and region,” Miller said. “He was well respected in the circle of fish administration.”

Fowden became chief of fisheries in 2012, during that time he helped broker a lease agreement between Game and Fish and Johnson County to secure adequate water in lake DeSmet for fishing, boating and other recreation for 99 years, according to a news release.

Fowden’s last day with Game and Fish is Jan. 3, 2017.