Fish and Aquatic Conservation

In The News

a young boy holding fish eggs
Leland Banish, 3, son of Service fish biologist Nolan Banish helps deliver eyed trout eggs to a local Klamath Falls school for their Trout in the Classroom project. Credit: Akimi King/USFWS

We Thrive With a Little Help From Our Friends


A group of students peered through the cold glass of the small aquarium at 100 pea-sized fish eggs rolling gently on the bottom of the tank. The unblinking black eyes of the orange orbs inside appeared to stare back.

The eggs were delivered as part of the popular program “Fish Eggs to Fry in the Classroom,” offered to public, private and after-school classes in Klamath County for more than 10 years, according to Akimi King, biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Klamath Falls, Oregon.

The program helps promote the state of Oregon’s hatchery goal of stocking catchable trout while educating local students about healthy fish habitat, endangered species and water quality.

This year, Kara Contreras’ seventh grade elective ecology class at Brixner Jr. High School was one of a dozen schools receiving Redband trout eggs, a species native to the Klamath Basin.

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The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership 2020 Request For Proposals is Now Open!

+++ Deadline to Apply September 27, 2019 +++

The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership (DFHP) and our partners are proud to announce our 2020 request for project proposals.  As one of 20 federally recognized National Fish Habitat Partnerships (NFHP),  DFHP is a collaborative effort between 11 western states, federal agencies, sovereign tribes, and private conservation groups that seek to cooperatively conserve native desert fish species by protecting, restoring, and enhancing  aquatic ecosystems across their historic range.  While DFHP is supported by several different entities and partners, project funding is made available to grantees annually through the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

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New culverts improve fish habitat in Mat-Su

By Heather Hintze • June 26, 2019

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough is working to increase salmon runs by improving local habitat.

Over the past few years staff have focused their efforts on replacing culverts that posed obstacles to both adult fish returning to spawn and juveniles heading to sea.

It’s part of a collaborative effort of the Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership that includes local, state and federal agencies.

“A lot of road designs in the past weren’t thinking about fish so much. They were trying to move vehicles across the roads, trying to get water underneath those roads,” said Trent Liebich with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We’re learning over time moving adults upstream is one thing but we also need to be able to move those juveniles as well.

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photo of USFWS employee holding a small lake sturgeon on a boat
Justin Chiotti with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service holds one of the smaller Lake Sturgeon caught during the day. LESTER GRAHAM / MICHIGAN RADIO

Saving the Great Lakes' biggest and oldest fish, the lake sturgeon


The U.S. and Canada are working to restore populations of a prehistoric fish in the Great Lakes that was nearly wiped out. We went out with a crew of researchers to see what they’re doing to bring the sturgeon back.

On the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service vessel, the N’me, researchers are crowded on the small boat. They're headed to Lake Huron at the St. Clair River. Lake Sturgeon gather there.

We weren’t on the water long before a River tour ship packed with grade school kids pulls alongside.

USFWS Researcher: “Who knows what we’re doing out here today?”

Kids: “Fishing!”

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photo of silver carp jumping out of the water
Silver carp jumping in the Fox River. Photo credit: Ryan Hagerty/USFWS

Creature Feature: Holy Carp!

Nancy Henderson

As fish tales go, this one is a catch: In Southeastern rivers and lakes, schools of large catfish-like bottom feeders are terrorizing anglers, boaters and skiers by leaping out of the water, sometimes 10 feet in the air, and smacking them with the force of their heavy bodies.

The strange part about this tall tale is that it’s no exaggeration, but a true story about silver carp, one of four invasive species causing major issues for native fish, other critters and folks trying to enjoy a laidback day on the water.

“You’ll see [the carp] mostly when boating traffic is in there,” says Allan Brown, assistant Southeast regional director of Fish and Aquatic Conservation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Whether the motor in the water triggers their jumping, we don’t know. But those [videos and photos] are not photoshopped, unfortunately. … And if one of those 70-pound fish hits you, it can do some damage to you.”

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photo fishing event
Photo: "Reel"-y great volunteers and partners made the art of angling accessible during this event at Mason Lake.

Remembering #MyFirstCatch to Connect Anglers of all Abilities with Theirs

June 2019

Blogger’s note: The joy of fishing - casting a line and feeling that telltale tug - is one of life’s simple pleasures. Ensuring that everyone gets the chance to experience it, however, can be a bit more complex. The extra effort and coordination, as our staff at USFWS Washington Fish and Wildlife Office and our Puget Sound Olympic Peninsula Fisheries Complex will tell you, is always worth it. Here, our biologists Molly and Dan share how a day with future fisherman connected them to their past angling experiences during the Special Needs Kids Fishing Day at Mason Lake in Washington State.

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Congaree Creek Dam Removal

May 21, 2019

On May 21, 2019, crews successfully removed a sheet pile dam from Congaree Creek to restore the natural flow of the creek. The restoration will result in improved habitat for aquatic species, as well as removing safety hazards for boaters. This is the 12th dam to be removed in South Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources partnered with American Rivers, Congaree Riverkeeper, USFWS and the City of Cayce to work toward the goal of improving natural resources and human interactions in the area.

photo of winter run chinook salmon
Winter-Run Chinook Salmon Courtesy: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region

Endangered Winter-Run Chinook Salmon return early, a good sign for the species

by Briona Haney | May 17th 2019

RED BLUFF, Calif. — U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Biologists are welcoming a surprise in the Sacramento River this spring. Some of the endangered Winter-Run Chinook Salmon have returned early and it is a good sign for the future of the species.

Biologists found that at least 13 male juvenile Winter-Run Chinook Salmon have already returned after being released into Battle Creek one year ago. These fish were part of a group of 214,000 released into the river last year.

Experts say it is exciting news because the only place this species of fish exists is in the Redding area.

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photo of D.C. Booth hatchery, ice house, and rearing ponds in 1899.
D.C. Booth hatchery, ice house, and rearing ponds in 1899.

'A Day of Recognition' at DC Booth Fish Hatchery

By Kaija Swisher Black Hills Pioneer | May 18, 2019

SPEARFISH – In addition to the visitors touring the grounds, a group gathered near the historic icehouse at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives Thursday for “A Day of Recognition.” 

Community members, families of those involved at the hatchery through the years, and representatives from the Booth Society, the nonprofit friends group that supports the hatchery; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); and American Fisheries Society-Fish Culture Section were present, and the first order of business was to recognize the 30th anniversary of the Booth Society.

“Thank you for 30 years of partnership, support, and contribution to the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery and Archives,” Mayor Dana Boke said. “Through your guardianship … and commitment to conservation and education, you have really built a legacy that we are truly grateful for, and your ongoing diligence and servanthood has made a huge impact on our community.”

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photo of Historic Cooper Mills dam
Historic Coopers Mills dam in operation. Photo courtesy of the Whitefield Historical Society

My hometown: Charting a course for a river’s future

May 2019

Standing near the former site of the Coopers Mills dam in Maine, where the Sheepscot River narrows a bit before passing under a bridge, you’d be hard-pressed to realize the years of effort it took to remove the dam, number of people who became involved, or the many ways a river can be part of a community.

I grew up just five miles from the dam. I remember the excitement of watching river herring traverse the fish ladder, and how, each spring, fishermen would scoop up alewives returning from the sea to spawn.

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sign of the Tribal Lands Youth Conservation Project Fishing Derby
Welcome to the Tribal Lands Youth Conservation Project Fishing Derby 

Introducing Aquatic Animals to Yankton Sioux Tribal Youth

By Sam Stukel, Biologist, Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery (Yankton, SD)

Outreach and education is an important part of what we do at Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery.  Through public events, speaking engagements and hatchery tours we reach more than 4,000 people annually. This year we added an especially rewarding event to our outreach and education efforts.

The southeast corner of South Dakota has a rich history involving the Yankton Sioux Tribe.  Their connection to local wildlife goes back for centuries.  However, like many other groups, the tribe has seen participation in outdoor activities dwindle in recent years.  To reawaken that connection to the natural world, the Tribal Lands Youth Conservation Project (TLYCP) was created. They host many events each year featuring different pieces of outdoor recreation and conservation.

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photo of a young girl holding a fish
Stephanie’s daughter Isla fishes from her grandpa’s dock.

How to help a child learn to fish

by Stephanie Vatalaro | June 2019

If your kids are like mine, they’re probably counting down the days until summer vacation. But often, it seems like the moment the school year ends, the kids are already looking for something to do.

When summer boredom sets in, coming up with family-friendly pastimes that don’t add screen time can be a challenge. One great way to switch things up, though, is to learn a new outdoor activity together.

A family fishing adventure is one of my favorite antidotes to summer restlessness. Growing up in Florida, I developed a love for the water early on. Now that I’m a mom, I love getting to share the water with my daughter.

Even if you’re a first-timer, it’s easy to get the kids outdoors with a family fishing trip. Here are some great ways to get started.

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photo of a young girl holding a let's go fishing book and badge
Receiving a Junior Ranger “Let’s Go Fishing!” Program certificate and badge. Photo credit: USFWS

Adventure Is Out Your Front Door

By Larry Miller, Project Leader, Allegheny NFH, R5 | June 2019

Snow danced in a random furry as the wind blew cold and damp. However, that did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance at the Spring into Nature event hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and their Friends group, with co-hosts Lower Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Coordination Office and the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery.

The Spring Into Nature event offers a great introductory opportunity to get kids and families outdoors. They can learn about the benefits of outdoor recreation while creating wonderful memories in the process. At this year’s event, Hatchery staff presented the Junior Ranger “Let’s Go Fishing!” program and activity booklet. The activities introduce kids and their families to fishing and encourage safe, healthy, and responsible outdoor recreation. After working through the activity booklet, youth attendees received a Certificate of Achievement and the official Junior Ranger Angler Badge.

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photo of Longear sunfish
Photo: Longear Sunfish taken by Craig Springer

Fishing Memories: We Want to Hear Yours

Denise Wagner | June 2019

Growing up in rural Oklahoma, fishing was part of life — something I took for granted and didn’t fully appreciate until many years later. One of my first fishing memories is sitting on the bank of one of our farm ponds with my dad and grandpa, watching my bobber quiver nervously on the water’s surface. I could feel the anticipation even as my grandpa whistled a little tune. The only other noises were those of cows mooing, birds singing and all the great outdoor sounds you hear living in the country.

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