Fish and Aquatic Conservation


In The News

photo of a sea lamprey
Sea Lamprey a parasite native species in the Great Lakes. Photo by Karla Bartelt/USFWS.

An Unnatural History: Sea Lamprey Control In the Great Lakes

August 2018, Fishing Tackle Retailer, Written by Craig Springer, USFWS

The sea lamprey as its name implies is naturally at home in the salty waters of the Atlantic. But the unintended consequences of connecting the Great Lakes more directly to the seaboard for commerce via the Welland Canal essentially put the invasive lamprey in this otherwise bucolic scene.  Their invasion into the Great Lakes dates to 1829, and by the late 1930s, they populated all of the Great Lakes. A saltwater fish swims in the tiniest of freshwater upland farm creeks ringing much of the Great Lakes basin.

The lamprey is a fish. On the evolutionary scale, it’s primitive–without scales and without bones. Its slightly cone-shaped circular mouth is loaded with rings of sharp raspy teeth. It’s a parasitic pest that makes a living by grating onto its host, sucking blood and body fluids as it clings along for the ride.

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photo of Neosho National Fish Hatchery porch
The porch at Neosho National Fish Hatchery visitor center is an inviting place to relax. Photo by Bruce Hallman/USFWS.

The United States’ oldest operating federal fish hatchery turns 130!

August 2018

Neosho National Fish Hatchery just turned 130 years old, and we at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are celebrating the history of the hatchery. Established in 1888 in southwest Missouri, Neosho is the oldest operating federal fish hatchery in the United States. The hatchery has played a major role in the restoration efforts of endangered aquatic species such as paddlefish, lake sturgeon, Topeka shiners and pallid sturgeon, as well as conservation of the Ozark cavefish.

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photo of Middle Oconee River dam being removed
Southeast region Aquatic Habitat Team hard at work removing a dangerous dam in Georgia for passage of fish and the safety of the community. Photo by Sara Gottlieb

Passage cleared on Middle Oconee River as dam is removed

July 2018, Athens Banner-Herald

Workers with an elite federal team are removing most of a century-old dam across the Middle Oconee River in Georgia.

The University of Georgia-owned White Dam is just above the confluence of the Middle and North Oconee Rivers. It is managed by UGA's Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

The work is being carried out by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Aquatic Habitat Restoration Team, which specializes in removing small dams and replacing culverts to improve life for creatures in rivers.

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The National Fish Passage Program


a photo of an Apache tribal member holding an Apache trout
Apache tribal member handles a large Apache trout. Photo by Craig Springer/USFWS.

Bolstering rare captive trout brood stock – through ‘cryopreservation’

July 2018

The biological clock never ceases ticking, and all living things die. But that clock can be frozen, and decay ceased indefinitely. The implications to fish conservation are large.

Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery, situated amid the ponderosa pine-studded hills of the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, harbors gold: the only captive Apache trout brood stock in existence.

This hatchery, one of 70 other national fish hatcheries, turns 80 years old this year. It’s a product of the New Deal era – a hatchery built on Apache lands under the auspices of the White Mountain Apache Tribe for the express purpose of raising trout for fishing. Trout fishing, then as now, helps fuel a rural and tourism-based economy in the White Mountains.

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a photo of a stream simulation culvert
Stream simulation culvert in Tyonek. Photo by Ash Adams

Road-Stream Crossings

Wildcards for Alaska’s transportation infrastructure and fish

July 2018

Putting a road across a stream in Alaska is a lot like going on an adventure. Survival of road and traveler alike hinges on careful planning and weighing risks.

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