Mississippi River Basin Habitat Management for Interjurisdictional Fishes

The waters of the Mississippi River Basin (Basin) annually provide more than $19 billion of recreational fishing value. This economic value derives in part from species that require Basin habitats managed by two or more government agencies, including tribal governments. These “interjurisdictional fishes” require cooperation at multiple levels of government to sustain resilient populations and the habitat critical to key life stages. The Mississippi River Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (MICRA) identified implementation of aquatic habitat enhancement or rehabilitation projects in the Basin as a critical component of agency habitat rehabilitation programs to meet the life history needs of interjurisdictional species. Numerous completed projects within the Basin demonstrate the feasibility of implementing large scale habitat improvement. This symposium will use examples to share insights from Basin-wide project implementation and completion and describe progress of projects soon to be completed for the benefit of interjurisdictional fishes and other species.

Supported by:

  • MICRA
  • MN DNR
  • WI DNR

Organizers:

  • Neil Rude, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, [email protected]
  • Jeffrey Janvrin, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Modeling Linkages Between Clean Water Act Administration and Fisheries Management

The Clean Water Act supports a variety of designated uses, fisheries are one of the most pronounced in terms of their ecological and socio-economic value.  Therefore, administrators of the Clean Water Act have an interest in enumerating linkages necessary to mend water quality habitat models (e.g. TMDLs) with commercial, recreational, and conservation fisheries models used by natural resource agencies. Coupling water quality and fisheries management models can be done by identifying: (1) regulatory initiatives (e.g., environmental justice, toxins in fish tissue, stormwater management), (2) natural resource policies and (3) data generated by these activities.  This symposium will seek to cultivate these three links between Clean Water Act administrators and fisheries professionals.  If there is enough interest, sessions will be broken out by waterbody type (small lakes and impoundments, large lakes and impoundments, streams and rivers, estuaries, open ocean, etc.).

Supported by:

  • Association of Clean Water [Act] Administrators (ACWA)

Organizers:

  • Jonathan Leiman, Maryland Department of the Environment
  • Paul Kusnierz, Avista
  • Henriette Jager, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

NONGAME: Underappreciated Fishes and their Management in the United States

For generations, management practices prioritizing game fisheries have been detrimental to native, traditionally-nongame fishes in the United States. The expansion of new fishing techniques such as bowfishing and others in addition to new life history research on native fishes warrants a reappraisal for sustainability. Fundamental challenges to sustainability include lack of harvest protection for many species targeted, lack of funding, and archaic attitudes on the social value of native species historically regarded as “other” to game species. This symposium will aggregate new research and review perspectives on topics relevant to appreciation and management of native, historically-nongame fishes: 1) life history, 2) species social value, 3) fisheries pressuring these species (i.e., bowfishing, commercial, microfishing, etc.), 4) funding challenges and solutions, 5) stakeholder perspectives or collaborations, and 6) novel approaches incorporating these topics for sustainable management of native fisheries.

Organizers:

  • Jason D. Schooley, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, j[email protected]
  • Dennis Scarnecchia, University of Idaho
  • Alec Lackmann, University of Minnesota
  • Solomon David, Nicholls State University

North American Sturgeon and Paddlefish: Challenges to Adaptive Management During Ecosystem Change

Sturgeon and Paddlefish possess life history characteristics that pose both challenges and advantages to management in the face of anthropogenically-mediated ecosystem perturbations. These species are iteroparous and highly fecund, but exhibit delayed sexual maturity and long generation lengths which effectively slow the rate of genetic adaptation in response to changed conditions. Natural recruitment is negatively impacted by altered habitat and associated changes to the historically-reliable environmental cues that once successfully directed critical life events. Dams and other fish passage impediments reduce the quality and quantity of accessible spawning habitats and serve to fragment populations, thereby reducing gene flow and lessening the populations’ resilience. Management efforts are also impeded by an ever-evolving spectrum of social, economic, and environmental constraints. This symposium will draw attention to emerging threats and challenges broadly impacting sturgeon and paddlefish species across their range and will highlight the implementation of innovative adaptive management strategies.

Supported by:

  • North American Sturgeon and Paddlefish Society

Organizers:

  • Kim Scribner, Michigan State University, [email protected]
  • Jennifer Johnson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Laura Heironimus, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Ken Lepla, Idaho Power Company
  • Douglas Larson, Michigan State University
  • Jason D. Schooley, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

Offshore Wind, Fish, and Fisheries – Emerging Knowledge and Applications

U.S. offshore wind development is expected to create 30 gigawatts of generation capacity by 2030, requiring more than 2,000 turbines on fixed or floating foundations. Commercial-scale leasing activity in U.S. waters has included 23 lease areas in the Atlantic and five in the Pacific, with two projects currently under construction. Lease areas are expected to be auctioned in the Gulf of Mexico by 2024, with additional Wind Energy Areas to be established throughout the U.S. in future years. Feasibility for offshore wind development in the Great Lakes is also underway. This symposium will broadly address interactions of offshore wind with fish, and commercial/recreational fisheries. Presentations may address but are not limited to: emerging ecological and socioeconomic research, oceanographic and meteorological interactions, innovative methods for assessment, scale considerations, current regulatory processes, cooperative research, management practices, empirical studies, laboratory investigations, modeling, monitoring design, human dimensions, or survey recommendations. Of particular interest is lessons learned that can inform coexistence of wind and fisheries.

Supported by:

  • Tetra Tech
  • BOEM
  • NOAA Fisheries
  • NYSERDA
  • ROSA
  • RODA
  • National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium
  • The Nature Conservancy

Organizers:

  • Brian Dresser, Tetra Tech, Inc., [email protected]
  • Mike Pol, Responsible Offshore Science Alliance
  • Ursula Howson, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  • Morgan Brunbauer, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
  • Douglas Christel, National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Fiona Hogan, Responsible Offshore Development Alliance
  • Andrew Lipsky, National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Elizabeth Methratta, NOAA NMFS NEFSC
  • Lisa Pfeiffer, National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Angela Silva, National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Sam Guffey, Tetra Tech
  • Lyndie Hice-Dunton, National Offshore Wind Research & Development Consortium
  • Brendan Runde, The Nature Conservancy

Ready, Set, Hire: Building a Sustainable and Diverse Workforce through Training and Pathways Programs to Increase Fish Careers

The NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service (Fisheries) National Program Office for EEO and Diversity, is honored to bring back the Ready, Set, Hire Symposium.  This session is an open forum for students and professionals to engage with NOAA professionals about obtaining employment within the fisheries and wildlife traditional and non-traditional disciplines.  Participants will benefit from hearing about the many opportunities, including those from a diversity, equity and inclusive lens, that translate into federal and non-government employment.

Supported by:

  • NOAA Fisheries EEO and Diversity Office

Organizers:

  • Melissa Johnson, NOAA Fisheries, [email protected]
  • Andrew Green, National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Natalie Huff, NOAA Fisheries
  • Christopher Baron, NOAA Fisheries
  • Shivonne Nesbit, NOAA

Research to Inform Walleye Management: Native, Introduced, and Invasive Aspects

Walleye Sander vitreus is one of the most sought after game fishes in North America. Walleye management goals differ dramatically among waterbodies and regions, from restoration efforts in its native range to support of put-and-take recreational fisheries and invasive species control elsewhere. This session will focus on research that is being used to inform this broad array of walleye management strategies. Talks will emphasize management-actionable science outcomes and cover a range of topics including tribal fishing rights, hatchery supplementation strategies, controlling walleye as an invasive species, inter-jurisdictional management, and how over a century of managing Walleye in the United States and Canada has influenced future prospects for this important species.

Organizers:

  • Jared Homola, USGS Wisconsin Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, [email protected]
  • Peter Euclide, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University
  • Erik Cristan, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Should They Stay or Should They Go? Managing Dams as Agencies

Natural Resource agencies across North America are driven by mission statements to conserve, protect, and manage natural and cultural resources for current and future generations, but it’s not uncommon to own infrastructure, like dams, that may conflict with that mission. While the original intents for these dams may have included provision of recreational opportunities, managing water levels, etc., in many cases these benefits have waned as the dam has aged. Dams pose a significant burden to safety of people and property and alter and fragment habitats. As problems rise, agencies are eager to find ways to reduce the inventory of obsolete dams they own and potentially remove them.  While funding is increasingly available for removal, the opportunities to provide funding to agencies to repair their aging dams is sparse. This symposium will share experiences from different agencies and their partners across North America as they manage their dam infrastructure.

Supported by:

  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division

Organizers:

  • Dana Castle, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Habitat Management Unit, [email protected]

Soft Skills for Enhancing the Success of Early Career Professionals

This symposium provides an overview of soft skills and navigating the early career ladder that improve young professionals’ ability to establish themselves in the fisheries field. Presentations on how-tos, tips and tricks, and personal experiences will be given by fisheries professionals. These presentations may include networking, time management, public speaking, conflict resolution, navigating interviews, among others. These are skills that Early Career Professionals and students must often develop outside their formal education but may not have the resources available to learn them. The session will conclude with a panel discussion with an open-ended question-answer format concerning the information presented and other helpful soft skills.

Organizers:

  • Jason Fischer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Christine Mayer, University of Toledo
  • Dana Castle, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Habitat Management Unit
  • Matthew Acre, Columbia Environmental Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia, MO