Fish and Aquatic Conservation
sockeye salmon up close
Sockeye salmon. Photo credit: Lisa Hupp/USFWS


Celebrating 150 years!  

Our conservation roots run deep. In 1871, people recognized that America’s fisheries were in trouble and called on congress to act. The United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries was formed on February 9, 1871. Their charge was clear - to determine if America’s fisheries were declining, and if so, to figure out how to protect them.  

Fast forward 150 years. Our name may have changed and the species we work with - it’s not just fish any longer - but one thing remains the foundation of all we do. We work to keep fish and other aquatic species safe, healthy, and productive for you, the American people. Read more » 


Cupped hands hold about a dozen small brown mussels near the surface of a river.

Making Waves in Conservation Technology

Through the years, advances in technology have dramatically impacted the conservation landscape. In the fisheries field, this rapid evolution of new research helps us to better understand and protect aquatic resources. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fish and Aquatic Conservation program is advancing cutting-edge technologies across the country that will shape the future of aquatic conservation for years to come. 

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New Pilot Project at Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Thinks Outside the Raceway

July 2021 | By: Amanda Smith, USFWS Columbia Pacific Northwest

Icicle Creek is an iconic stream in central Washington State that runs through the heart of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest into the Wenatchee River, providing life-giving resources to the surrounding communities. From supporting domestic water supply and agricultural irrigation to providing habitat for wildlife and recreation for people, Icicle Creek is in high demand. This hardworking waterway also provides water for Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, ensuring the creation of millions of salmon annually.

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Icicle Creek flows down from the Cascade Mountain range to join the Wenatchee River in Leavenworth, WA.
Icicle Creek flows down from the Cascade Mountain range to join the Wenatchee River in Leavenworth, WA. Credit: wta.org

Combating a Great Lakes invader with new technologies: The fight against invasive sea lamprey

From land to waterways, we at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service work alongside partners to combat self-sustaining populations of invasive species, such as sea lamprey. Our invasive species efforts are a critical component in native species conservation and our research is essential in our conservation outcomes.

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Biologists remove adult sea lamprey from a trap on the Manistique River in Michigan.
Biologists remove adult sea lamprey from a trap on the Manistique River in Michigan. Photo by Lynn Kanieski/USFWS.

Finding the unfindable in our waterways: Biologists use DNA to locate invasive and endangered species

Fisheries biologists are using environmental DNA, known as eDNA, to determine the presence of invasive, threatened and endangered species to inform management decisions. All it takes is a small sample of water.

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Biologists prepare tubes for water samples during an eDNA sampling event.
Biologists from the La Crosse Fish and Wildlife Office in La Crosse, Wisconsin prepare tubes for water sample collection during an invasive carp eDNA sampling event on the Mississippi River. Photo by Kyle Von Ruden/USFWS.

A person with latex gloves holds a rack of large plastic cylinders.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is opening up new tools in the fight against invasive species.

Environmental DNA sampling is a new technology that could give us the ability to tell what species are present in a river or lake just by sampling the water.  By sampling waters that could potentially be invaded by these species, the detection of their DNA can indicate the potential presence of the fish itself.

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Hundreds of pink fish eggs under water. The eggs are reflected on the surface of the water.

The Ocean’s Mysterious Vitamin Deficiency

When staff at Coleman National Fish Hatchery noticed their fish becoming disoriented, in early January 2020, it triggered a far ranging investigation that had ramifications far beyond the hatchery. 

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A silvery fish with blue speckled fins barely breaks the surface of the water.

Engineering Solutions help to build better for wildlife

Getting fish past dams that power electrical grids, under highways or around irrigation systems is no easy task. It requires a blend of biology, engineering and hydrology to build a passage that fish will swim through.

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JOBS
Fish Biologists Shawn Nowicki, Cheryl Kaye and Mary Henson check sea lamprey traps in the Grand River, Ohio.
Fish Biologists Shawn Nowicki, Cheryl Kaye and Mary Henson check sea lamprey traps in the Grand River, Ohio. Photo by Joanna Gilkeson/USFWS

Do you have a passion for science, conservation, outreach, or research? A career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program just might be for you. Learn more »


ARTIFACTS
Early wooden tongs used for picking out dead fish eggs by hand.
Early wooden tongs used for picking out dead fish eggs by hand.
Credit: Sam Stukel, USFWS.

Preserving the History of Conservation


PODCAST
Fish of the Week Podcast

Fish of the Week! Join us every Monday for this new podcast


Hatchery History
Orangeburg South Carolina Fisheries Station

Today there are 18 national fish hatcheries in operation that are more than a century old. Here are a few of our hundred-year-old hatcheries that are still paving the way for conservation today! Learn more »


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