PIERRE — South Dakota has announced a new interim Department of Game, Fish and Parks secretary.

Kevin Robling, who is the GF&P's deputy secretary, will be the interim position-holder once current Secretary Kelly Hepler retires on Dec. 15. The announcement was made by Gov. Kristi Noem on Monday, Nov. 16.

“I am excited to announce that Kevin will serve the state in this capacity,” Noem said in a statement. “Kevin has a great understanding of our natural resource and conservation priorities, and I look forward to working together to protect and promote all the outdoor opportunities that South Dakota has to offer.”

Hepler's retirement was announced on Nov. 12.

Robling received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from South Dakota State University and began his career with the department in 2011, when was hired on as a resource biologist in Sioux Falls and was promoted to a big game biologist in 2012 out of Rapid City.

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In 2017, he transitioned into a leadership role under Hepler working as a special projects coordinator, coordinating with the GF&P Commission and the state Legislature to enhance recreational opportunities and simplify regulations that have significantly reduced barriers to outdoor participation. Robling was promoted to deputy secretary of the department in April 2019.

“I am honored to serve as the department interim secretary for Gov. Noem and the great people that enjoy the incredible outdoor resources we have here in South Dakota,” Robling said. “I want to personally thank Secretary Hepler for his leadership and dedication over the last five years and I look forward, under Gov. Noem’s direction, to ensure that South Dakota’s strong outdoor heritage continues to remain a top priority for current and future generations.”