What We Do
Education and Outreach
As stewards of northeast aquatic resources, the Fisheries Program staff is well aware of our obligations to the public. People have a vision of us working outdoors tagging three foot long Atlantic sturgeon in all weather. Hands-on management of resources is an important part of our work, one that we make a big effort to share with the public. We are reaching out to share these experiences and to encourage community stewardship through a variety of venues including volunteer and internship programs, hands-on classroom educational programs, visitor centers, hatchery tours, videos, podcasts, websites, Scout Jamborees, and Veteran’s fishing events.
Dam removal, culvert replacement, fishway construction and restoration of stream dynamics are an important part of conserving the Region’s fisheries. Fisheries Program staff are working at completing these sorts of projects directly. Fisheries is also expanding the agency capability by provides funding to other state, federal, municipal agencies, universities, and non-government organizations to help implement habitat restoration projects. This approach promotes local ownership of projects, leverages existing federal funding with partner funding expanding the scope and number of projects, and accelerates out progress in restoring Northeast rivers. The funding programs are coordinated in the regional Office and open to the public. They include: the National Fish Passage Program and the National Fish Habitat Action Partnership.
Aquatic Invasive Species
Zebra mussels, Eurasian ruffe, and snakehead are a few of the aquatic invasive species that the Service is working with States, partners and field staff to manage. Management includes prevention, early detection, rapid response to control infestation, long term monitoring, and education.
This work is important because invasive species threaten natural resources across state and international boundaries. They threaten nearly half of the listed endangered species in the United States. The impacts of infestations are the second leading cause of declining biodiversity, after habitat destruction. They reduce fishing and aquatic recreation opportunities, lower property values, and cost the country $120 billion annually. Threats from these nuisance species are expected to increase as a result of global climate change which is already opening new transmission pathways, compromising native species, shifting species distribution, reproductive timing, and behavior.
Interns sample lake trout at White River National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS
For questions, contact the Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator:
Lower Great Lakes Fishery Resources Office
405 North French Road
Amherst, NY 14228
For more information:
Field equipment maintenance, infrastructure rehabilitation, and construction projects in the Fisheries Program are planned, designed in coordination with the field stations, and overseen by both the field stations and the Facilities Management Team which is based in the Regional Office. The Team also provides emergency response to fix unexpected break downs and outages, storm damage, and other catastrophes that require immediate action. This Team includes a civil engineer, an architect, and a biologist. Taking care of the $300 million in existing Fisheries property assets requires inventory, yearly condition assessments, maintenance and construction planning that forecasts required work and needed funding up to five year in advance.
The Fisheries Budget Team develops the annual funding plan for the Fisheries Program in the Regional Office and Fisheries field stations, manages those budgets, and forecasts future funding and budget requirements. This includes everything from distributing the funds the way Congress and the President intended to paying the bills and accounting for the outcomes. Keeping the numbers straight requires good communications between headquarters and the field stations and within the Regional Office.
National Fish Hatcheries
A dozen federal hatcheries in the Northeast support actions to conserve and maintain important aquatic trust species including:
- Providing safe shelter for freshwater mussels jeopardized by in-river construction or pollution;
- Freshwater mussel production and release to enhance wild population numbers;
- Production and distribution of disease-free rainbow trout eggs as needed to minimize disease in hatchery produced trout and to prevent loss of wild trout resources across the country, part of the National Broodstock Program;
- Production and release of Atlantic salmon fry, parr, and/or smolts in tributaries throughout the Saco, Connecticut, Merrimack and Pawcatuck River watersheds;
- Recovering wild, endangered Atlantic salmon in eight of Maine's smaller rivers, as well as the Penobscot, Kennebec and Androscoggin Rivers;
- Annual production and release of over 660,000 lake trout yearlings in Lakes Erie and Ontario; and
- Production of American shad fry for release in the Charles and Merrimack River restoration programs as well as rivers within the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices
Seventeen offices in eight northeastern states protect, maintain and restore aquatic habitat, monitor fisheries populations, protect the health of aquatic creatures and develop and share new technologies for fisheries management through various activities including:
- Controlling the spread of invasive exotic species like water chestnut and zebra mussels;
- Surveying both hatchery and wild fish populations for disease;
- Assessing the genetic diversity of fish populations as a means of evaluating fitness, resiliency, and movement patterns, all key to hatchery and habitat restoration work;
- Working with Tribes, partners and private landowners to remove dams, replace culverts and restore free-flowing streams requisite for addressing declining fish populations and defragmenting America’s rivers;
- Monitoring fish populations to develop population trends as needed for sound and consistent management decisions; and,
- Assisting agency regulatory staff with developing prescriptions for hydro-electric dams to ensure the passage of fish both up and downstream of dams that block passage and movement of fishes thus depriving upstream inhabitants of access to these trust resources.
Learn more about what we do.
Biologist sampling fish health. Credit: USFWS
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mission is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people."
"In the 21st century, American shad could become a bellwether of ecosystem health, managed not only for fisheries, but also to indicate the status of the connectivity and environmental quality of watersheds and coastal oceans."
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
2007 Terms of Reference & Advisory Report of the American Shad Stock Assessment Peer Review Panel
Highlights for the National Fish Habitat Action Program
Highlights for the National Fish Passage Program
Highlights for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative- Fiscal Year 2012
Control of Aquatic Invasives
Aquatic Invasive Species Highlights - Fiscal Year 2012
Aquatic Invasive Species Highlights - Fiscal Year 2011
Facilities Management Accomplishments
Regional Office / Station Fiscal Year 2010 Budget (Excel Spreadsheet)
Reports & Publications
Net Worth: The Economic Value of Fisheries Conservation - Fall 2011 (pdf - 8.16MB)
Fisheries Program Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2009 - 2013 (pdf - 4.72MB)
Strategic Plan Supplement (pdf - 1.04MB)
Fisheries Economic Assessment (pdf - 505KB)
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