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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery: 125 Years of Innovation

Craig Brook
A leaping salmon statue graces Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery. Photo credit: Atlantic Salmon Federation

This week we celebrate a significant milestone – the 125th Anniversary of Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery (NFH) in Maine. Since 1889, Craig Brook has been the linchpin of efforts to conserve Atlantic salmon across the Gulf of Maine watershed.

In a larger sense, Craig Brook’s evolution over the past 125 years mirrors the continual evolution and reinvention of wildlife conservation in the United States. Like the Fish and Wildlife Service, the hatchery has continually innovated and reinvented itself to adapt to changing conservation needs and values. 

Craig Brook began by raising and stocking salmon in the nearby Penobscot River.

Craig Brook
Charles Atkins transferring salmon at Whitemore’s Point, on Penobscot Bay. Photo credit: USFWS

The groundbreaking experiments and observations done by Charles Atkins, the first hatchery manager, laid the foundation for modern salmon hatchery science and greatly expanded scientific knowledge about the complex life cycle of Atlantic salmon.

As Atlantic salmon populations continued to decline in the face of rapid industrial development and dam construction along nearly every waterway feeding into the Gulf of Maine, the hatchery expanded its operations to support conservation on multiple rivers across the state. Today, Craig Brook is one of the most advanced fish hatcheries in the world, applying cutting edge research and technology to aquatic conservation in ways that would amaze Atkins and his contemporaries. 


By Crushing Ivory, We Began Building Hope for Africa’s Elephants


The largest forest fires can start with a single spark. The same is true for revolutions – not just in the political sense, but also in the way we view and approach the world.

One year ago, the United States sparked the imagination and conscience of the world when we crushed more than six tons of seized illegal elephant ivory at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado on November 14, 2013.


Congressman Dingell: Unwavering Advocate for Conservation

Rep Dingell
Congressman Dingell has been a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission since 1969.

It’s not often that we can feel history being made as it happens. The significant events in our lives usually pass by in a blur, their importance understood only when we revisit them years later.

That wasn’t the case today – the last day that Congressman John Dingell held a seat on the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission. Everyone in the room understood that an era was ending, the likes of which we probably won’t see again. 

In a few days, Congressman Dingell will likewise end his long tenure in the House of Representatives, confronting us with the nearly unimaginable reality of a United States Congress – and a conservation movement – without him. 

His retirement means that for the first time since 1933 – when his father, John Dingell, Sr. was sworn in – that a John Dingell won’t represent Michigan in Congress. Congressman Dingell succeeded his father, John Dingell Sr. in 1955. His departure, along with that of Congressman Ralph Hall of Texas, also leaves Congress without any World War II veterans in its ranks for the first time in nearly 70 years. 

We have all been extraordinarily privileged to work with Congressman Dingell, who has done as much as anyone in the past century to ensure that our nation’s fish and wildlife resources are sustained for future generations. Through his leadership and hard work, millions of Americans are able to hunt, fish and observe wildlife every day at thousands of wildlife refuges, parks, nature reserves and other amazing places across the nation. 


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