Fish and Aquatic Conservation

In The News

video of students relasing fish for a project

Students' semester-long project ends with fish release

By KRQE Media | May 2, 2019

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.(KRQE) - Some Albuquerque students are helping make sure our native species live on in New Mexico. 

Thursday, they released fish back into the Rio Grande after raising them for an entire semester. It's part of the "Native Fish in the Classroom program."

Around 700 students across the state care for native New Mexico fish, like red shiners and cutthroat trout, learning why they're such an important part of our state, and how we need to protect our rivers in order to protect them.

Thursday's field day was the last step for students at Monte Vista Elementary and Montessori Elementary and Middle School. 

"It's very heartwarming and encouraging to see young students taking a vested interest in their fish and the well-being of thme, and we hope that translates into them taking care of the river," biologist Angela Palacios said.

These releases will continue through May 20 involving different schools.

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photo of steelhead trout jumping into pond
Steelhead trout. Photo credit: USFWS

Dworshak National Fish Hatchery, 2019 Excellence in Aquaculture recipient, puts millions of steelhead in the Clearwater each year

by Stephen Pimpo Jr./KLEW | Tuesday, April 2nd 2019

The Dworshak National Fish Hatchery (NFH) in Orofino recently received the 2019 Excellence in Aquaculture Award.

What makes this hatchery unique, is that it is run by both the Nez Perce Tribe and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"We're all here for the same reason: for those fish,” says manager Steve Rodgers. “To bring the fish back so people in the community can catch them."

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More about Dworshak NFH

photo of Region 5 staff celebrated for migratory fish work
Dr. Bill Ardren (third from left) is shown with Northeast Regional Director Wendi Weber, Assistant Director for Science Applications Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, and acting Director Margaret Everson after receiving the Rachel Carson Award for Exemplary Scientific Accomplishment.

Standout scientists: Northeast staff celebrated for migratory fish work

March 2019

Not one, but two, Northeast Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees were honored by the agency last week for advancing conservation of migratory fish through science.

Dr. William (Bill) Ardren, a senior fish biologist in Essex Junction, Vermont, received the Rachel Carson Award for Exemplary Scientific Accomplishment. Dr. Brett Towler, a hydraulic engineer in the Northeast regional office in Hadley, Massachusetts, received the Sam D. Hamilton Award for Transformational Conservation Science.

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About the Northeast Region


photo of a Hine's emerald dragonfly
It's the aquatic stage of the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly! Credit: Ryan Hagerty/USFWS

Dragonfly Culture...A Continuing Education Species!


After working with the Hine’s emerald dragonfly for almost 20 years, both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and University of South Dakota are finding out there is still much to learn! At the beginning of the captive rearing program at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery (NFH) in 2014, there were thought to be three “absolutes” regarding the species (later found to be assumptions!)

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Genoa National Fish Hatchery

image of a culvert
Replacing poorly functioning culverts with fish-friendly culverts like this one helps increase fish passage and reduce risk of flooding during extreme weather events. Credit: USFWS

Service takes aim at restoring rivers and river systems across the Northeast

February 6, 2019

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is working with partners across the Northeast to remove aging dams, install fish-friendly culverts and bridges and eliminate other obstructions to restore rivers and river systems to their natural condition.

In the past year, FWS awarded more than $1 million in funding for restoration projects throughout the Northeast. FWS announced 22 projects funded through the Service’s National Fish Passage Program (NFPP), which is dedicated to removing barriers to aquatic connectivity and restoring healthy river habitat.

Collectively, the projects will restore 1,442 miles of river habitat, which will improve mobility for migratory fish and host fishes for mussels, reduce risks of flooding to communities and enhance recreational opportunities.

News Release

Northeast Region

Northeast Region 5 Aquatic Connectivity

photo of a child holding a fish after ice fishing
Credit: Megan Bradley/USFWS

There was Plenty of Ice and Fish For Saturday's Fishing Event

February 2019

The Genoa National Fish Hatchery, WI, hosted it’s Kids Ice Fishing Day, a tradition for the last decade.  Participants ranged from 5 to 12 years of age.  Staff made sure to auger plenty of fishing holes and gear was provided to the young anglers.  It didn’t take too long before the fish started biting.  

“When the fish was flapping it’s fin it felt like it was bigger than it is.  I caught the biggest fish in my family,” said 5 year old Kassidy.

Kids and parents/guardians alike learned about the traditional Northwoods skill of ice fishing on the hatchery pond, well stocked with plenty of rainbow trout.

In addition to the National Fish Hatchery, several other agencies made the event possible.  These included Friends of the Upper Mississippi River Fisheries Service, La Crosse Fish Health Center and the La Crosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office.

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Genoa National Fish Hatchery

photo of D.C. Booth National Fish Hatchery in 1899
1899, grounds of D.C. Booth National Fish Hatchery & Archives

Happy Birthday Fish and Aquatic Conservation!

February 2019

February 9, 2019, marks the 148th birthday of Fish and Aquatic Conservation, created under President Grant as the U.S. Fish Commission. That commission, 69 years later, morphed into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Barton Warren Evermann exemplified the scientific capabilities of early Fish Commission workers that exists among FAC staff today. Evermann described for science many new species of fish and located field stations such as present-day D.C. Booth National Fish Hatchery & Archive, South Dakota, and San Marcos Aquatic Resources Center, Texas, where fisheries conservation continues today.

The Fisheries Blog

D.C. Booth National Fish Hatchery Archives

History of D.C. Booth National Fish Hatchery

photo of a girl holding a fish
Photo Credit: Recreational Boating and Foundation

Mark your calendars for 2019 Free Fishing Days! 

January 2019

Free fishing days are a perfect opportunity for beginners to try out fishing for the first time. If you already have a fishing license, consider taking a friend or family member who has never been fishing, out on the water for the day.  

Please note that the individual states may place certain restrictions and other regulations may apply, so be sure to contact your state fish and wildlife agency for specific state regulations. 

Free Fishing Days 2019

photo of Cheri Anderson teaching a fish dissection to school students
Cheri Anderson teaches a fish dissection lesson to Portland, Ore., elementary school students as part of the Salmon in the Classroom program she created nearly 20 years ago. (USFWS photo)

Sense of Wonder Recognition

December 2018

The Rachel Carson Sense of Wonder Recognition Program recognizes a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee who has designed, implemented, or shown visionary leadership in an interpretive or environmental education program that fosters a sense of wonder and enhances public stewardship of our wildlife heritage. Early this month, Cheri Anderson, information and education specialist at the Columbia River Gorge National Fish Hatchery Complex received this national award. We could not be more proud of Cheri and, while it is impossible to list her impact on the people, places, and partnerships in the Pacific Region, here are a few of the ways she has inspired a giant, and lasting, Sense of Wonder in her 20 years with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Congratulations Cheri and to all the regional nominees!

photo of kids fishing at a pond
Students from Christodora’s Manice Education Center try their luck at the fishing pond at Berkshire National Fish Hatchery in western Massachusetts. Photo by David Eisenhauer/USFWS

Big dreams in a small pond

November 2018/ By David Eisenhauer

On a warm afternoon last August, Matt Negron stood with his toes at the edge of a mossy pond at Berkshire National Fish Hatchery in western Massachusetts. His eyes were fixed on the tip of his neon-green Zebco fishing rod. The rod twitched, twitched again, then bent down sharply.

“I’ve got one! I’ve got one!” yelled Negron, a 17-year-old from Manhattan with dark curly hair, half of which was dyed orange.

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photo of Chinook salmon swimming
Chinook salmon. Photo: Seattle Public Utilities

#GratefulFor Restoring Salmon to Their Native Stream (and mine!)

November 2018

For the first time in eight years, chinook salmon have returned to Thornton Creek, in northeast Seattle, to spawn!

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Article by, Seattle

Gila Trout: A Native Trout Conservation Story

November 2018


That’s the sound of a barbless beadhead nymph falling into a glassy glide of Mineral Creek, a headwater stream of the Gila River in southwest New Mexico. There’s a short drift over a stony run, barely time to mend your line. Then follows that transmutation of fish flesh to your forearm—the taut tug of a trout on your 3-wt. fly rod.

But it’s not just any trout. This one is yellow like a school bus. Petite black shards fleck its flanks over a hint of a pink stripe and fading oval parr marks. It’s not a rainbow trout—no, this fish is far less common. Rare, even. It’s a Gila trout, a threatened species.

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image of a zombie salmon
Illustration by Kristin Simanek/USFWS.

Lurking Freshwater Monsters

October 2018

What’s Halloween without monsters? But not all monsters live under our beds or are the stars of horror movies. Some are real-life monsters found in America’s waterways. Though they’ll never be stars of slasher films or trick-or-treater costumes, monster fish can be terrifying but in some cases, they need saving too.

There are monster-sized fish that can weigh hundreds of pounds. Some are shocking in appearance with beady eyes and mouths lined with sharp teeth. And then, there are the invasive monsters, steadily overtaking our lakes and rivers like alien monsters from outer space. Scary, yes! But each of these species are also a part of the aquatic-conservation mission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

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photo of migratory fish alewife traveling up streams to spawn
Migratory fish like alewife travel up rivers and streams to spawn. Credit: Chesapeake Bay Program/Will Parson

Nature Returns: When Dams Come Down, Fish Come Back

October 2018

This story was originally published on our new Medium blog platform

This year’s severe storms underscore the power of nature and the vulnerability of our coasts. While nature can destroy, it can also defend. Supported by federal funding for Hurricane Sandy recovery, we’re working with partners to restore and strengthen natural systems that provide not only habitat for wildlife, but also protection against rising seas and storm surge. This is the first in a series of stories highlighting results of our ongoing efforts to build a stronger coast.

“What did the fish say when it hit the wall? Dam!”

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photo of kids holding a bucket of pallid sturgeon swimming
Toledo Zoo’s first release of the native fish. Half of the released fish were raised at Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Genoa, Wisconsin. Photo by Justin Chiotti/USFWS.

Prehistoric fish swims again in the Maumee River

October 2018

Ohio’s Maumee River, which 100 years ago supported thousands of lake sturgeon, is now the center of a recovery effort for the ancient fish. We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have partnered with the Toledo Zoo, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Purdy Fisheries, University of Toledo, University of Windsor, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment and Michigan Department of Natural Resources to help re-establish this living relic in the river and Lake Erie.

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Learn About Genoa National Fish Hatchery

photo of a Puritan tiger beetle
Puritan tiger beetle. Photo courtesy of Paul Fusco, DEEP Wildlife Division.


September 2018

A large project is underway to reintroduce a small species of tiger beetle to an area they have historically referred to as ‘home’.  When the puritan tiger beetles were listed as threatened in 1990, conservation efforts began to help protect current habitats locations and keep the beetle from becoming further extirpated. 

The Puritan Tiger Beetle Recovery Project was initiated to help restore the beetle to its current and historic habitats along the Connecticut River.  The Recovery Project team utilizes the Richard Cronin Aquatic Resource Center in Sunderland, MA as the official site to conduct the necessary lab work for the project where they work together everyday to ensure the project runs smoothly.

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