Science Excellence

Science Awards

The Science Awards were established to recognize that effective wildlife management and conservation is founded on innovative scientific inquiry and principles. As the Service faces increasingly complex challenges, the value of current scientific information is rapidly increasing. The awards are meant to recognize the outstanding efforts of the agency’s scientists and technical staff.

View all rules/regulations and submit a nomination on the SharePoint submission site (FWS employees only):

Link to non-FWS site. View photos of 2013 Science Award winners on Flickr. (2014 winner photos coming soon).

Rachel Carson Award for Scientific Excellence (Individual) – 2014
Name: Nathan Eckert

Photo of Nathan Eckert. Credit: USFWS

Nathan Eckert, mussel biologist at Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin, is recognized for his creativity and tenacity in developing new techniques for rearing imperiled freshwater mussels. Nathan’s advances in freshwater mussel recovery include the discovery of alternate host fish species for endangered mussels such as the sheepnose and development of alternative rearing systems that have allowed previously uncultured mussels to be successfully cultured, such as the fawns foot and pistolgrip mussel. Nathan is also contributing to an ongoing study to test a new biocide that selectively kills zebra mussels while not affecting freshwater mussel populations, which will give us a new tool to safely combat the invasive zebra mussel in the presence of freshwater mussels. Since arriving at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery, Nathan has helped produce nearly 15 million mussels of 17 species, including 4.7 million mussels of four federally listed species. Learn more.


Rachel Carson Award for Scientific Excellence (Group) – 2014
The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Broodstock and Lake Reintroduction Team

Photo of The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Broodstock and Lake Reintroduction Team. Credit: USFWSThe Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Broodstock and Lake Reintroduction Team is recognized for their efforts to conserve the Lahontan cutthroat trout, the largest trout species on the planet. Their work includes a sophisticated mating protocol in the hatchery designed to maximize genetic diversity of the broodstock in order to preserve the species’ unique traits. The team’s impressive work with several partners has successfully reintroduced the species into lake and stream habitats where it once existed prior to extirpation. Lahontan cutthroat trout reproduced naturally in the Tahoe Basin in 2012 for the first time in over 70 years and in the Truckee Basin in 2014 for the first time in 76 years. Learn more.

Science Leadership Award – 2014
Name: Julian Fischer

Photo of Julian Fischer in a boat full of swans. Credit: USFWSJulian Fischer, project leader for the Migratory Bird Management Waterfowl Division in Anchorage, Alaska, is recognized for his outstanding science leadership in managing a diverse team, engaging in countless partnerships and collaborations, mentoring younger scientists, and demonstrating a selfless commitment to his staff and the long-term mission of his division and the Service. Julian’s holistic and long-term perspective prioritizes people and their talents, which results in a team that successfully implements complex missions and contributes invaluable data to the scientific community on a wide variety of avian conservation issues. Learn more.


Last updated: January 21, 2016

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