O’Neill named natural resources deputy

Bill O’Neill has more than 31 years of experience with the DNR. Since January 2012, he has served as chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division.

MARQUETTE — Michigan Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh announced that Bill O’Neill has been named natural resources deputy for the agency, effective Aug. 13. Current natural resources deputy, Bill Moritz, is leaving his position with the DNR to work for the Wildlife Management Institute.

O’Neill has more than 31 years of experience with the DNR. Since January 2012, he has served as chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, except for a brief stint in early 2016 when — on an interim basis — he took on the role of resources deputy while Moritz filled in as DNR director during Creagh’s assignment at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

While with the DNR, O’Neill has taken on many roles, including Michigan Civilian Conservation Corps camp director, land manager for several forest management units, district manager for the Eastern Lower Peninsula District and FRD field coordinator, administering the largest state forest system in the continental United States.

As DNR natural resources deputy, O’Neill will administer the divisions that oversee Michigan’s wildlife and fisheries, state forests and state parks, minerals and law enforcement.

“Bill Moritz has been a thoughtful and tireless advocate for Michigan’s natural resources and the people who enjoy and appreciate them,” Creagh said in a news release.

O’Neill currently serves as president of the Northeast Area Association of State Foresters, is on the National Association of State Foresters executive board, and is a Department of Forestry board member at both Michigan Technological University and Michigan State University. His past affiliations include the Wildlife Society as a member, the Montmorency Soil and Water Conservation District on its board of directors and the Huron Shores Writing Institute, also on its board of directors.

“Our state is home to some of the most magnificent woods, water and wildlife found anywhere in the world, and I am honored to take on this role for the Department of Natural Resources and for the people of Michigan,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry and a master’s degree in forestry with an emphasis on business management from Michigan State University.