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Director's Corner

Meet Service Director Dan Ashe.

A Year to be Thankful – and a Future to be Hopeful

Dan Ashe
Dan Ashe talks at an event about rhino horn trafficking. On his left is Jean Williams, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environmental and Natural Resources Division. Photo Credit: USFWS

Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Fortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is blessed with employees who would make Edison proud. Challenge and opportunity are two sides of the same coin, and you respond to both the same way: by rolling up your sleeves and working hard. The results are as inspirational as they are incredible. Below are just a few highlights of those successes:


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.


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