Midwest Region Welcomes New Dive Officer
January 28, 2011
After 10 years of leadership Nick Rowse from the Twin Cities Ecological Services Field Office is stepping down as the Regional Dive Officer and handing the regulator over to Scott Yess from the La Crosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office.
"Scott and I have been diving together over the last decade. He has been my dive buddy on many occasions. I know his skills under the water and I know he is a leader. I feel very comfortable with him becoming the leader of the dive team," said Rowse on his predecessor.
Yess is looking forward to the new challenge. "It has been an interest of mine to follow up after Nick," said Yess.
As Regional Dive Officer Yess hopes to shine a spotlight on the dive team to let the region know they exist as a resource. "[The dive team] brings another capability to the Service," said Yess, "in that we have the opportunity to get into the habitat, the natural environment, and see the conditions first hand."
The Midwest Region's dive team was re-established in 2000 after over a decade of inactivity. Both Rowse and Yess played an integral role in the reemergence of the team. The two were working together in 1999 and had just agreed to pay contract divers $25,000 for three weeks of work to examine zebra mussels.
"Scott and I were on the river talking about it and we were both certified divers," Rowse recalls. "We said, we could do this, and for a lot less. That's what kicked off the dive team."
In its first year back, the Midwest Region's dive team, consisting of only Rowse and Yess, operated under the auspices of the National Park Service's diving safety regulations. Today the region has 8 authorized divers and operates under U.S. Fish and Wildlife diving safety regulations, Chapter 241 FW 10, which was approved in 2006. There are 3 additional Service employees in the region that are seeking authorization status, bringing with them new opportunities.
"In the last 3 or 4 years we have gained quite a few new members," said Yess. "That opens up for larger joint projects with all or part of the team."
Though Rowse admits he will miss the camaraderie when he retires, he has high hopes for the team's future. Rowse and Yess agree that the number one goal for the dive team is safety, but beyond that both believe that the dive team can make a serious contribution to the conservation of aquatic resources and help the Service in its mission.
--Katie Steiger-Meister, External Affairs
Want to learn more about what it takes to be an authorized Midwest Region diver? Watch this video and find out!