Michael Pillow

Michael Pillow
Fish Biologist

2500 S Pine Knoll Drive
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
United States

Contact Michael Pillow

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About Michael Pillow

Mike Pillow started working for Arizona Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (AZFWCO) in Flagstaff in the summer of 2009. Originally from northern Indiana, he attended Manchester University (North Manchester, Ind.) where he was introduced to the field of aquatic biology. While at Manchester, he also studied journalism and ran on the cross country and track and field teams. After college, Mike interned on a fisheries stream survey team in his hometown of Elkhart, Ind., and then worked for an environmental consulting firm as a fisheries technician on a couple of projects located in Michigan and Oregon.

Mike’s fascination with the life histories of the native freshwater mussels (Unionidae) in the lakes and streams of the Midwestern United States and his interest in endangered species conservation grew during his time at Manchester. That interest led him to pursue graduate studies in aquatic biology at Missouri State University (Springfield, Mo.). While at Missouri State, he worked in Dr. Chris Barnhart’s freshwater mussel research lab on a variety of projects related to mussel conservation, including propagation and grow-out, stream surveys, and toxicology studies.

With Arizona FWCO, Mike’s primary focus has been conducting spring and fall Humpback Chub (Gila cypha) population monitoring trips in the canyon-bound reaches of the Little Colorado River (LCR) near Grand Canyon. These remote, 10-day, mark and subsequent recapture trips are used to generate annual estimates of the LCR Humpback Chub population size. He also leads annual Humpback Chub translocation trips within the LCR that are meant to augment the LCR chub population. Volunteers are essential to the success of this remote field work, so Mike recruits and coordinates with volunteers on the Arizona FWCO LCR project. Aside from the LCR work, he also participates in native fish population monitoring trips in the mainstem Colorado River in and around Grand Canyon National Park. While at AZFWCO, Mike has produced several videos highlighting AZFWCO’s work in the canyon and in the White Mountains.

Mike lives in Flagstaff with his wife, kids, horses, dogs, and chickens. He continues run and competes in many trail and road races, from 5K to marathons, including the Boston Marathon. In addition, Mike enjoys travelling, camping and hiking adventures with his family, growing plants in his garden, and researching family histories.

Listen to this episode of Fish of the Week! to learn more about the humpback chub featuring Mike as a guest. 

Additional roles
Volunteer Coordinator
Collateral Duty Safety Officer
Areas of expertise
Population Monitoring
Fish Translocations
Fieldwork Logistics
Information Technology

From The Library

Monitoring Humpback Chub in the Colorado River in Grand Canyon During fall 2021.pdf

Each fall, AZFWCO and partners study populations of endangered Humpback Chub (Gila Cypha) on the mainstem Colorado River in Marble and Grand Canyons. This report documents the fall 2021 trip in the context of past findings and future recommendations.