Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Goodbye Andy. Goodbye Andy.
Midwest Region, January 31, 2011
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No, that title isn’t a typo. Columbia FWCO recently said goodbye to both Andy Starostka and Andy Plauck.

Both have moved on to new jobs far from Columbia, Missouri, and we would be remiss if we didn’t write a short farewell story in their honor.

Andy Starostka was one of the original “Missouri River Cowboys”. He worked at Columbia FWCO from 2002 to 2010 and during that time served in many different capacities, most notably as Team Leader for the Habitat Assessment Monitoring Program. Starostka was always innovative and resourceful, and used these skills to help develop new river sampling gears. Quick to help, Starostka relished the opportunities to tinker with motors and modify boats.

His knowledge of the Missouri River, fish, boats and a little bit of everything was an asset to those who worked for him. After paying his dues, Starostka was rewarded with a permanent biologist position with the USFWS in Reno, Nevada. His new duties will include restoration of native trout populations.

Good luck to Andy, and we are sure he will enjoy the hunting opportunities of the West and running ultra-marathons through the mountains.

Andy Plauck worked at Columbia FWCO from 2005 to 2011, serving mainly as the lead biologist on the Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Project. Plauck possessed an almost photographic memory of the Missouri River, knowing where each shallow sandbar was and even remembering the capture location of individual fish.

He was always willing to share his knowledge of the river with new employees and volunteers, and served as a mentor to me when I first began operating the stern trawl boat. Plauck was also a leader in outreach and education. Just to show us he still had the touch, Plauck caught nine pallid sturgeon on his last day leading a crew on the Missouri River – an impressive feat.

Expanding his horizons, Plauck has taken a job at the Regional Office working on fish passage issues. We wish Andy the best of luck with his career and expect to see many pictures of the monster smallmouth bass he will surely catch in Minnesota.

Contact Info: Colby Wrasse, 573-234-2132 x30, colby_wrasse@fws.gov
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