The Bulletin

Strickler to step down as natural resources secretary

By: - September 22, 2021 2:51 pm

The Virginia Capitol at sunrise. (Ned Oliver/ Virginia Mercury)

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler is stepping down from his post in the waning months of Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration. 

A release from the governor’s office said Strickler, a former Democratic congressional policy adviser on natural resources and legislative assistant to then-Sen. Northam, will be “pursuing new opportunities.” 

He will be replaced by Ann Jennings, deputy secretary of natural and historic resources for the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to serving in the administration, Jennings served as Virginia executive director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and as a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Matt Strickler. (

Jennings is expected to be sworn into office Sept. 27, ahead of the 2021 Chesapeake Executive Council meeting scheduled for Oct. 1 in Virginia Beach. According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, during this meeting the council will announce the adoption of a climate change directive for the program and discuss how climate change is impacting the watershed. 

In a statement, Northam touted his administration’s record funding for Chesapeake Bay restoration, clean energy initiatives and support for coastal resilience and environmental justice.

“Ann Jennings has been a leader in this work, and as secretary, she will make sure Virginia continues this momentum,” he said.

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Sarah Vogelsong
Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is the Mercury's environment and energy reporter, covering everything from utility regulation to sea level rise. Originally from McLean, she has spent over a decade in journalism and academic publishing. She previously worked as a staff reporter for Chesapeake Bay Journal, the Progress-Index and the Caroline Progress, and her work has been twice honored by the Virginia Press Association as "Best in Show" for online writing. She was chosen for the 2020 cohort of the Columbia Energy Journalism Institute and is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact her at [email protected]