Fish and Aquatic Conservation


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In Memoriam


Maegan Spindler, 1988 – 2013
Credit: Mark Gocke/Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Maegan Spindler, 1988 – 2013

Dr. Robert Klumb and Maegan Spindler will be forever missed by family, friends, and colleagues. Klumb was the Project Leader and Spindler a biological technician for the Great Plains Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office in Pierre, South Dakota. The two were tragically killed on July 8, 2013.

Maegan Spindler was born February 28, 1988 in Cazenovia, New York. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Science from State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York in 2010. She continued her education receiving a technical certificate in Fisheries and Aquaculture from Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, in 2011. Prior to arriving in Pierre, South Dakota, Spindler worked for two summers with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department on native trout research near Pinedale, Wyoming. She planned to continue her education in fisheries, with an interest in native fish conservation.

Klumb was born May 27, 1967 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received Bachelor of Science degrees in both Biology and Biological Aspects of Conservation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1990. In 1997, he earned his Master of Science in Natural Resources—Fisheries from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Klumb completed his education with a Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resources-Fisheries from Cornell University in 2003. His dissertation was titled The role of embayments and nearshore habitats of Lake Ontario as nursery grounds for young-of-the-year alewives, Alosa pseudoharengus, and other species.

Dr. Robert Klumb, 1967 – 2013.
Credit: Dane Shuman/USFWS
Dr. Robert Klumb, 1967 – 2013.

Klumb was always a mentor to his students, staff, and colleagues and demonstrated a sincere passion for fisheries management and research. His expertise enabled him to author or co-author 21 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, 34 reports and non-refereed articles, 74 oral presentations, 10 invited presentations, and 17 posters. He served as a reviewer for 30 scientific journal articles written by other scientists. Along with leadership positions in professional societies, Klumb was an Assistant Professor and later an Associate Professor at South Dakota State University in Brookings from 2004 until the time of his death; he advised six Master of Science students and three Doctoral candidates.

The two scientists shared many traits: they were both avid gardeners, humanitarians, compassionate toward the creatures they encountered, and passionate about the natural resources they were proudly protecting. Their passions and their ideals were infectious; they will be forever missed.


Initial approval for immediate-release sedative getting closer


AADAP logo

If a fisheries professional wants to sedate a fish and release it back into the wild, one must hold the treated fish in captivity for at least 21 days. That's required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership Program (AADAP) has worked for the last five years with others to obtain an initial approval by the FDA to legally allow use of an immediate-release sedative for fish, AQUI-S20E. This drug will make field sedations much easier for fishery biologists who will be able to release the fish directly back into the wild. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that drugs used on food-producing animals, including fish, be approved by FDA to ensure that the drug is safe and effective when used according to the label and that fish treated with a drug that are harvested for human consumption are safe for people to eat. The approval process usually takes 10 to 15 years and can cost up to $20 million dollars. However, due to efforts by the drug sponsor (AQUI-S New Zealand, Ltd.), AADAP, the U. S. Geological Survey's Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, and others, an initial approval for AQUI-S20E could be obtained from FDA within seven years and at a much lower cost due to collaborative efforts to prove that this drug is safe and effective. AADAP is proud to be involved in an effort that will benefit fishery biologists throughout the country.


Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery


Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery works to re-establish naturally reproducing populations of paddlefish, a species of special concern.
Credit: USFWS
Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery works to re-establish naturally reproducing populations of paddlefish, a species of special concern.

Where: Tishomingo, Oklahoma

When: Established 1928

Then: The hatchery was originally established as an "Auxiliary Fish Cultural Station to Neosho, Missouri," for the purpose of propagating food fish indigenous to the region—primarily bass species.

Now: Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery focuses on imperiled aquatic species such as Arkansas River shiner, a threatened species; paddlefish, a species of special concern; alligator snapping turtle, which has been petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act; and alligator gar—generally accepted as imperiled throughout its native range. Hatchery biologists investigate life histories and develop captive propagation techniques for these species, and re-introduce them into the wild to re-establish self-sustaining populations. Success stories include development of captive spawning techniques for Arkansas River shiners; re-establishment of naturally reproducing paddlefish populations above four impoundments in Oklahoma; and re-introductions
of captive-reared alligator snapping turtles in two states.


Historic newspapers reveal important data


Historic newspaper articles help researchers understand the conditions of fish populations from years past. Credit: Virginian Enterprise
Historic newspaper articles help researchers understand the conditions of fish populations from years past. Credit: Virginian Enterprise

Old newspapers have their use, and it may not be what you first think. One person's "fish wrapper" is another's treasure trove of historic records.

Two fisheries researchers in Wisconsin, with the assistance of several student helpers from Saint Norbert College and Saint Mary's University, waded chin-deep into the microfiche. What they netted were historic accounts of lake sturgeon reported in the news of yesteryear. What they found and how they found it was published in the peer-reviewed journal Archives in Natural History published by The Society for the History of Natural History in London, England. The lake sturgeon is a large-growing, long-lived fish that has decreased in abundance throughout its range in the U.S., including the Great Lakes.

Dr. Philip Cochran, a biology professor at Saint Mary's University and Robert Elliot, a fish biologist in the Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, delved into the historic newspaper reports of lake sturgeon caught by anglers and commercial fishers as part of an attempt to identify the original distribution and former abundance of the species in Lake Michigan. They surveyed several newspapers from De Pere and Green Bay, Wisconsin, but relied primarily on accounts published in De Pere, roughly from 1871 to 1915, when sturgeon harvest was outlawed.

They learned that the various newspapers reported such items inconsistently between titles. The researchers noticed that the nature of the historic newspaper accounts changed over time and showed "that sturgeon declined from a profitable commodity to a curiosity, symbolic of the good old days." They found that accounts in one newspaper told a story on small scale that mirrored the decline of sturgeon at a national scale. Moreover, their techniques proved useful and may help other researchers in their own similar inquiries.

On a national scale, several U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service field stations conduct lake sturgeon conservation projects—from the Warm Springs Fisheries Center in Georgia, to Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin.


Learning with Lahontans


Children get hands-on experience learning about conservation with staff from the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery. Credit:Tim Loux/USFWS
Children get hands-on experience learning about conservation with staff from the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery.

The Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex, in Nevada, participates in a variety of youth based education and outreach programs that inspire awe, awareness, and pride in a big fish—the Lahontan cutthroat trout. It is the largest of 13 cutthroat subspecies. The programs bring young people into the world of their local, native trout. They learn about the trout's habitat needs, how they use the lakes and rivers, and the fun and enjoyment of fishing for this fish that grows really big: 60-plus pounds. Raising awareness of this native fish through education and outreach has increased support and appreciation for its conservation and recovery. Interactive games and hands-on activities teach children the basic biology and habitat needed for "their" fish to grow, survive and thrive. Just as important as educating the future biologists of tomorrow is strengthening partnerships through outreach activities for a more coordinated and diverse approach to restoring this native, lake-dwelling Lahontan cutthroat trout.


Fish hatchery a premier birding site


Aptly named, the Painted Bunting brings color to the grounds of Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery. Credit: USFWS
Aptly named, the Painted Bunting brings color to the grounds of Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery.

What do you think of when you hear the words National Fish Hatchery? Fish, naturally. In contrast, Sherry Bixler, a member of the Friends of Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery, a Texas Master Naturalist, and active with the Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower Society, thinks of something else: birds. She and several other birders began surveying the environs around Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery in March 2013. In just three months they documented about 100 different bird species that they have seen or heard. Bixler expects the list of documented birds to surge upwards to 200 different species after the winter birds come through.

Why so many birds? It's habitat. The hatchery is set on about 100 acres of central Texas Hill Country land, with only 30 acres used for fish culture. The remaining diverse acreage is attractive to birds, and three species commonly found on the hatchery, according to Bixler, are on the Audubon Society's Watchlist: the Painted Bunting, Northern Bobwhite quail, and the Bell's Vireo. These birds have been sighted frequently by birders, and given their apparent affinities to the hatchery, the facility will be seeking designation as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.


Notes from D.C. Booth Historic
National Fish Hatchery and Archives


Wooden pipes in the stave style are preserved in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's archives at D.C. Booth. Credit: Craig Springer/USFWS
Wooden pipes in the stave style are preserved in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s archives at D.C. Booth.

In these energy conscious times, we evaluate materials used for recyclability, durability, and ease of use. Plastic pipes are common on hatcheries today. It's easy to use. Many of the choices in the past were more difficult to use—soldering copper pipe, cutting and threading iron pipe, moving lengths of heavy metal, even bending and riveting, or welding heavy sheet metal into pipe sections. But, imagine pipe made of wood.

Hatcheries commonly used wooden pipe. It worked well. Available in sizes from two inches to several feet in diameter, wood could transport water for most all hatchery needs. Smaller sizes, up to a few feet in diameter, were shipped in from the manufacturer. The very large pipe could be built on site. Most piping was stave style, somewhat like a barrel construction. Edge cuts notched together as the long boards were assembled into lengths of pipe. Wire or flat metal wraps kept the sections tight. Ends could be tapered or hollowed out, fitting together, sometimes with a collar to hold the joints together. Ten-foot lengths were common. Another type of pipe was bored out from a solid section of wood.

Wooden pipe lasted well in use. Out of use, and buried, it usually returned to the soil. The wire banding takes longer to disappear by rusting, and can make a large snarl when encountered by a backhoe. Wooden pipes fell out of favor in mid-1900s, and today are an interesting artifact of the plumbing past.


Change in all Things is Sweet

Tablet, smartphone, desktop or laptop, Eddies is readable on any device.
Credit: Craig Springer/USFWS
Tablet, smartphone, desktop or laptop, Eddies is readable on any device.

Aristotle wrote that "Change in all things is sweet." We're changing the way we deliver Eddies. You'll still get all the same news, departments, and feature stories, the quality writing and quality photos, but not in paper and ink. We're going entirely digital and you can read it on any device.

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If you have any questions or concerns see the masthead on the inside cover for our contact information. We love hearing from our readers.

Thanks for your continued interest in Eddies and fisheries conservation.

Last updated: January 13, 2014