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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
CNO holds Aquatic Species Symposium in Conjunction With the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in San Francisco
Region 8, September 5, 2007

Taking a unique opportunity to showcase California and Nevada aquatic species research, the California and Nevada Operations (CNO) Water and Fisheries Resources program hosted a one day symposium at the end of the 137th annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) in San Francisco, Calif.

 

The CNO Symposium called “Challenges and Lessons Learned: Conserving Aquatic Species in California and Nevada” included 17 presentations by CNO employees, opening remarks by Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Assistant Director Mamie Parker and is the first time the Service has coordinated such an event with AFS.

 

However, the Aquatic Species Symposium continued a tradition CNO started last year when a similar meeting was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology.  Hosting these symposia and encouraging Service employees in California and Nevada to attend these meetings helps emphasize and support the importance of science, partnerships, and the continuing professional development.  Holding this symposium with the American Fisheries Society serves to highlight that fish and aquatic species are central to our mission to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants for the continuing benefit of the American people. 

 

The theme of this year’s symposium, was also particularly appropriate as conservation agencies in the West face serious challenges in our missions to protect and conserve wildlife and their habitats.  Our region is experiencing explosive growth, increasing demands on our natural resources – particularly water. Climate change also presents new challenges.  We also face tremendous economic and social pressure trying to balance the fish and wildlife, industrial, agricultural, and municipal needs of the eighth largest economy in the world. 

 

The symposium served to highlight several important points.  The Service is clearly a different agency today than it was back when the original purposes were to ensure the existence of game and waterfowl for hunting and to expand the range of game fish for food.  The Service is now an agency that must think “downstream and down current” to identify strategic habitats in need of conservation ranging from high deserts to coastal estuaries.

 

Through the breadth of the presentations, the symposium brought home the extent to which we can benefit from working cross-programmatically and what great things we can accomplish when we work together..  The meeting covered almost the entire range of Service programs – National Wildlife Refuges, Ecological Services-Endangered Species, Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Contaminants, and Fisheries.

 

It is clear that California and Nevada Operations has many valuable lessons from which we, others in the Service, and our partners can learn.  Our success stories encompass a wide variety of management activities, from using environmental water to protect fish in the San Francisco Bay-Delta to implementing Safe Harbor Agreements to conserve aquatic species in the Nevada desert.  We are engaged in protecting and recovering a wide variety of aquatic resources, from pond turtles and frogs, and fish species that range from salmon and native western trout, to small fishes endemic to desert springs.  And we are addressing conservation of listed aquatic species in the highly urbanized environment of southern California and studying the effects of contaminants in areas ranging from the high Sierra to the San Francisco Bay.

 

 

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov