Jacqualyn Halmbacher

A grayscale U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service logo
Lead Fish Biologist

345 Clay Young Rd.
Burnet, TX 78611
United States

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About Jacqualyn Halmbacher

I am a San Diego native but grew-up just north of Columbus, Ohio. Constantly surrounded by farms and fields my parents were always taking my siblings and I on trips back to the coast, and that’s how I came to love the water. My dream as a child was to always be an artist but when it came time to choose a career path, I decided to study Freshwater, Marine and Environmental Biology at Ohio University.

My sophomore year I received my open water SCUBA certification and shortly after, started working in the university dive shop helping teach classes. I now have a master diver certification and am on the Region 2 dive team. Upon graduating college, I became a Research Associate at The Ohio State University. I conducted research in a partnership with the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium at their Freshwater Mollusk Conservation and Research Center. Throughout the seven years I worked at the university, I released 18,000 federally endangered mussels and propagated 40 species. While there, I also developed an in vitro program, transforming mussels without a fish host.

In 2020 I accepted a position with USFWS as a Malacologist at Inks Dam NFH and moved to Texas! Not only does Inks Dam have a freshwater mussel program, propagating five native species, the hatchery also raises channel catfish for Native American tribes in the Southwest and propagates an endangered species of fish called Clear Creek Gambusia.

 I am now the station’s Lead Biologist and am loving the job and the state. I try to get down to the coast as often as I can in the summer as well as participating in many of the unique experiences Texas has to offer. USFWS has given me so many opportunities to travel, see other hatcheries, gain new experiences, and meet new people. My favorite thus far is getting to help with the Humpback Chub monitoring program in the Grand Canyon.

In 2021, I convinced by sister to move to Texas, and I go on many of my adventures with her. We both love to travel!  Every year we plan a trip together to visit at least one new country. Since 2016 we have been to twelve countries and are already planning our next adventure! Every place we visit is so unique and always a different experience from the last.