Fish and Aquatic Conservation

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Rachel Carson Award for Scientific Excellence (Individual) – 2014

Name: Nathan Eckert

Nathan Eckert, mussel biologist at Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin
Nathan Eckert, mussel biologist at Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin

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.

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

Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex: Derek Bloomquist, Daniel Boone, Stephanie Byers, Melissa Conte, Alvin Duncan, Lisa Heki, Roy Hicks, Thomas Hogan, Erik Horgen, Corene Jones, Tim Loux, David Miller, Adam Nanninga, Roger Peka University of Nevada, Reno: Mary Peacock Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe: Albert John, Denise Shaw, Nancy Vucinich

The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Broodstock and Lake Reintroduction Team is recognized for their efforts to conserve the Lahontan cutthroat trout. The fish is the largest of 13 living cutthroat trout subspecies, reaching 60 pounds. 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.

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NISAW logo

Fisheries and Aquatic Conservation is please to announce recipients of the 2015 National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) Awards. These non-monetary awards will be granted on February 25, 2015 in conjunction with an Invasive Species Fair at the USDA Whitten Building in Washington, DC. The coveted awards recognize what people and organizations have done raise awareness of the serious conservation issues posed by invasive species. The NISAW Awards Program features three award categories each with an aquatic and terrestrial component. 

This year’s award winners are:

Lifetime Achievement/ Aquatic Award
Al Cofrancesco, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, MS
Robert McMahon, University of Texas at Arlington, TX  

Lifetime /Terrestrial Award
Gordon Brown, retired National Invasive Species Council, DC

Leadership / Aquatic Award
Steve Kendrot, USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services, MD

Leadership/ Terrestrial Award
Cathy Lucero, Clallam County Noxious Weed Control Board, WA

Outreach/Aquatic Award
Bob Wiltshire, Invasive Species Action Network, WI

Outreach/Terrestrial Award
Christy Martin, Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, HI

Volunteer/ Aquatic Award
The Volunteers, NH LAKES Lake Host Program, NH

Volunteer/Terrestrial Award
Mark Imlay, Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Council, MD

The Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, the National Invasive Species Council, and the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds have made these awards since 2011.  To learn more, visit

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Last updated: March 13, 2015