Adair’s Outstanding Contributions to Sea Lamprey Control Program
BY MARA KOENIG, REGIONAL OFFICE-EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Midwest Regional Director and Great Lakes Fishery Commissioner Tom Melius (left) with Bob Adair, recipient of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's Vernon Applegate Award for Outstanding Contributions to Sea Lamprey Control. Credit: Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
Adair dedicated more than forty years of his life to protecting the natural resources of the United States. His career with us spanned Fisheries, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration and Ecological Services Programs. He brought extensive knowledge and experience to the Sea Lamprey Control Program, which he began leading in 2007.
The Commission's Vernon Applegate Award is named after the father of sea lamprey control, Vern Applegate, who was perhaps best known for demanding excellence in science.
Below is an excerpt of remarks made by Midwest Regional Director and Great Lakes Fishery Commissioner Tom Melius as he presented the award to Bob:
In the spirit of Vern, Bob relied on science to deliver the most effective sea lamprey control possible. His exemplary dedication to sea lamprey control is best displayed by his steadfast perseverance and unwavering commitment to deliver a field program based on sound science, safely delivered and achieved an intended outcome of sea lamprey suppression.
Under his leadership, Bob made consistent efforts to treat during optimal control windows, without severe impacts to non-target species. Specifically, Bob supported on-the-ground research in coordination with sea lamprey experts to understand the source of increased sea lampreys in Lake Erie. He reviewed strategies to assess untreated portions of the Conneaut River, in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and streams within the Huron-Erie corridor to ascertain their role in the increasing sea lamprey populations. Bob used the breadth of control information available to develop a sound approach to address sea lamprey populations and ensured effective delivery of large-scale treatment strategies across the lakes. While we still have a ways to go in Lake Erie, every indication is that we are heading in right direction and it is, in large part, due to Bob's contributions.
Bob also helped lay solid groundwork in the sea lamprey barrier, aquatic habitat connectivity and selective fish passage arenas. He involved partners from federal, state, provincial and tribal agencies and set the stage for effective collaboration. He persevered through difficult administrative processes to ensure seamless delivery of the U.S. program. Bob ensured the critical components of sea lamprey control were never compromised despite sequestration, government shutdowns and hiring restrictions.
Not only did Bob leave a lasting legacy of leadership for the Sea Lamprey Control Program, he left big shoes to fill. He shared his invaluable knowledge with many during his tenure – from interns in the field to senior managers in DC. We are indebted to him for his guidance and will certainly miss him.
We congratulate him on a job well done!