Natural Resources Department biologist James Evans was promoted to acting director this week by Sanibel City Manager Judith Zimomra after director Dr. Robert Loflin submitted a retirement notice after more than 20 years of service.
"Dr. Loflin has been a stellar employee," said Zimomra. "As director he leaves a unique stamp on the island environment due to his personal effort in securing grants. He leaves a legacy of environmental conservation and protection as a rare and rich gift to future generations."
Loflin's retirement is effective June 29.
Incoming Natural Resources director James Evans stands with retiring director Dr. Robert Loflin in their natural habitat.
"I plan to stay in the area and teach college part time and do more fishing and kayaking," said Loflin.
Evans has been employed by the city since 2000, starting out as conservation officer. A promotion to environmental planner followed in 2003 and to his current position as environmental biologist on health and water quality in 2006.
"Evans has extensive knowledge of biology," said Zimomra. "He has worked his way up through the ranks and I believe he is prepared to serve the residents of Sanibel equally well."
Evans earned a bachelor's degree in environmental studies in 1999 and a master's degree in environmental science in 2011, both from Florida Gulf Coast University.
He serves on Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council's water qualify functional assessment method interagency "A Team" and is a board member on the Southwest Florida Watershed Council, where he was a past chairman of the board.
"I'm looking forward to the challenges of working with the city and focusing on water quality in the estuary," said Evans. "We have a lot of projects moving along with the Sanibel bayous and improving habitats."
Evans was active duty U.S. Army from 1992-1995, followed by several years in the Ohio and Florida National Guard. His military career ended with the rank of Sergeant.
"With the help of the city's partners at the USFWC, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Lee County and city staff, we have changed the course of mighty rivers, breached long clogged tidal passes, planted tens of thousands of native trees, removed thousands of acres of exotic plants and reestablished the endemic habitat for numerous species of Sanibel birds, fish and wildlife during my 20-plus years of service," Loflin said.
Loflin's list of achievements include revegetation of the Periwinkle Way corridor and city beach parks after Hurricane Charley. Clam Bayou and Dinkins Bayou connection and support for opening Blind Pass.
Loflin also guided the Brazilian pepper and other exotic plant eradication to its 99 percent completion.
"I wish the best of luck and success to all of Sanibel's residents and its exceptional city employees," says Loflin. "May they continue to make the best decisions to preserve, protect, enjoy and cherish one of the truly special places in the world."