U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell has named Northern Regional Forester Leslie Weldon the deputy chief of the agency.

Weldon will move to Washington, D.C., early next year to take over the position, which has been vacant since Joel Holtrip retired two months ago.

Weldon has overseen 15 national forests and four national grasslands in the states of Montana, Idaho and North Dakota since 2009. She took over Tidwell's job as regional forester when he was named the agency's chief.

Tidwell says Weldon's management, community involvement and partnership skills were key considerations in her promotion.

He says her experience, judgment and leadership will serve the agency well.

Associated Press