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FY 2016 Program Highlights


Mary Bayer, Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery Manager
Mary Bayer, spawning day at Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery

In the spring of 2010, Mary Bayer accepted the position of hatchery manager at Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery (NFH). For Mary, this achievement served as a personal landmark, emblematic of her passion for working with natural resources that date back to Mary’s childhood, fishing alongside the Hudson River in southern New York. Following her service in the military, which included active duty in Desert Storm, Mary set her sights on a career working with nature as a form of both employment and therapy. Mary overcame immense challenges in this pursuit, namely returning to college to get a master’s degree in public administration.

When asked about this experience, Mary spoke jovially of the inherent struggle of perusing a new career and returning to school, “It’s hard to start a second career as a combat disabled veteran, especially when you have to get a second degree with people in your college classes that are half your age.”

As daunting as it was, Mary finished her schooling and developed a series of qualities that she is actively implementing in her management of the Warm Springs NFH. One of these qualities is workplace communication, when asked to share some insight on the daily events at Warm Springs NFH, Mary commented, “We start with a daily kick off meeting to discuss the activities to be done for the day..." Mary places a high value on healthy workplace communication, where the voices of all members, no matter their position, are heard and respected.

When Mary is not managing the hatchery she enjoys a very active home life. "My ‘free time’ is consumed with helping my husband run Bear Butte Acres, our ranch in Klickitat, WA. We have a combination of domestic fowl, pigs, sheep, and goats.” In addition to the ranch, Mary also manages lumber production at her 160-acre family forest. Clearly, Mary has a work hard, play hard outlook as seen in both her tireless management of Warm Springs NFH and her commitment to keeping the ranch going. On the rare occasions when Mary is not hard at work, she enjoys traveling and getting to know new places and their cultures.

The impact of Mary’s character and leadership are far-reaching and move past the Warm Springs NFH facility. Mary has a fondness for her community, as seen by the role Warm Springs NFH fish play in that community. When asked to describe a perfect day Mary recalled Memorial Day 2015, when the hatchery distributed 1,000 excess spring Chinook to a group of smiling Warm Spring tribal members. For Mary, experiences like this galvanize her efforts and commitment toward conserving these fish for generations to follow. Conservation, as defined by Mary, “Means the saving of something, implying that we are afraid it will disappear.." Mary sees her work at the hatchery as an opportunity to live out this definition of conservation, to save what we have been given, and to educate the next generation on why it is worth saving.

Characteristics such as, Mary’s bravery in returning to school, her sacrifices in the service of her country, her longstanding affinity for nature and her incredible work ethic make her such a vital member of this agency. Mary’s tireless efforts to maintain and rehabilitate fish populations for future generations, her exemplary leadership, and undeniable resilience are only a few of the qualities that make her a face of conservation and a cornerstone of our fisheries system.

--Ben McLean, Pacfiic Region Fish and Aquatic Conservation Program

Mary Bayer

Years with the Service
What She Does
Manages Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery
What She Loves
Working with her husband on the family ranch. Traveling and getting to know new places and their cultures.
Quotable Quote

“Conservation means ‘the saving’ of something, implying that we are afraid it will disappear."

Last Updated: April 12, 2017
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