Conservation stories from one of the world’s most ecologically diverse regions.

By: Rylan Suehisa — Public Affairs Officer based out of Portland, OR

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What I Learned by Listening to Wintertime at the Leavenworth Fisheries Complex

By Julia Pinnix, Visitor Services Manager, Leavenworth Fisheries Complex

An aerial view above the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery in Washington covered in snow.
An aerial view above the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery in Washington covered in snow.
Photo: Winthrop NFH, seen from a nearby height. Photo credit, Julia Pinnix/USFWS

Fish hatcheries sound like running water. Even in winter, the sound permeates the atmosphere. But the sound palette changes from one season to the next.

As the cold bites down harder at the bottom of the year, Entiat National Fish Hatchery switches to drawing river water into its system, weaning young fish off well water. This “naturalizes the growth cycle,” said hatchery manager Craig Chisam, putting the fish on the same conditions they would experience if they were in the wild. …


Photo of a bull trout adult in water of river. Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Stock with Wade Fredenberg/USFWS
Photo of a bull trout adult in water of river. Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Stock with Wade Fredenberg/USFWS
Adult bull trout. Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Stock with Wade Fredenberg/USFWS

Authors: Steve Lewis, USFWS Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office; and Richard Visser and Scott Willey, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

My family always asks me, “So Steve, what interesting projects are you working on at your job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)?” My response? “Good question! I’m currently working with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to reestablish bull trout back into Cle Elum Reservoir.” You see, bull trout exist in the Cle Elum watershed, but the construction of the dam in 1931 to create Cle Elum Reservoir isolated bull trout from the mainstem Yakima River below the Cle Elum drainage. …


Conserving Natural Resources Through Collaboration

2020 has been a rough and tumultuous year and, like others, we are ready to move forward. But, this challenging year has also brought with it some positive changes and conservation successes. Today we are thrilled to announce and celebrate one such accomplishment.

By Jodie Delavan, Public Affairs Specialist, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, jodie_delavan@fws.gov

Deschutes Wild and Scenic River. Photo Credit: Bob Wick/BLM
Deschutes Wild and Scenic River. Photo Credit: Bob Wick/BLM
Overlooking the Deschutes Wild and Scenic River. Photo Credit: Bob Wick/BLM

The Deschutes River in central Oregon supplies fresh, clean water to people, farms, and wildlife throughout the basin. Although abundant, this precious resource must serve many purposes, including agricultural, environmental, residential, and recreational use. …


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John Nuss (far right) conducting field work in the pacific islands. Photo credit: USFWS.

People power the conservation work we do here in the Columbia Pacific Northwest Region and in the Pacific Islands. Today we are featuring the profile of John Nuss and the work he does to support the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

By Dana Bivens — A Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

John Nuss remembers the moment he got bit by the conservation bug. Eight-year-old John was reading a hunting and fishing magazine when he stumbled across a story about a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist at a nearby National Fish Hatchery. He saw himself and his future in that story. …


Photo of a bull trout adult in water of river. Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Stock with Wade Fredenberg/USFWS
Photo of a bull trout adult in water of river. Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Stock with Wade Fredenberg/USFWS
Adult bull trout. Photo by Joel Sartore/National Geographic Stock with Wade Fredenberg/USFWS

Authors: Steve Lewis, FWS Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office; and Richard Visser and Scott Willey, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

My family always asks me, “So Steve, what interesting projects are you working on at your job with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)?” My response? “Good question! I’m currently working with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to reestablish bull trout back into Cle Elum Reservoir.” You see, bull trout exist in the Cle Elum watershed, but the construction of the dam in 1931 to create Cle Elum Reservoir isolated bull trout from the mainstem Yakima River below the Cle Elum drainage. …


Twelve Shining Conservation Moments from the Columbia Pacific Northwest and Pacific Islands

A salmon in a Christmas sweater with the words “Merry Christmas” above
A salmon in a Christmas sweater with the words “Merry Christmas” above

The word “change” is inside the word “challenge.” In other words, we cannot spell challenge without change. This minor linguistic realization can help us look back on some pretty major changes we have made in conservation during the challenges of 2020. In an unpredictable year, we had undeniable successes. Take festive look back with us as we highlight some of the ways our people, partners, and programs powered conservation in the Columbia Pacific Northwest and the Pacific Islands this past year!


By: Bill Vogel, USFWS Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office.

Bill Vogel, a USFWS biologist, speaks to two students about hunting.
Bill Vogel, a USFWS biologist, speaks to two students about hunting.
Bill Vogel, right, teaching wildlife identification at the Youth Hunter Education Challenge. Photo: NRA/YHEC

“Hunting is stupid.” That’s what my friend’s 10-year old son said, and his 8-year old brother agreed whole-heartedly. This shocked me because my friend was an avid hunter. He was avid about big game, upland birds, waterfowl …everything! Like me, he was a wildlife biologist and appreciated the outdoors in many ways. My son was about 9 years old, loved shooting his bow and arrow, and could not wait to go through hunter education. Why the difference?

Now, more than ever, agencies and hunting organizations recognize the importance of the 3 R’s (recruitment, retention and re-involvement) regarding hunters and the support they bring to conservation. With all of the other interests in this world, such as video games and organized youth sports, exposing children to outdoor recreation at a young age is more likely to result in a lasting interest. We live in a world of changing demographics and values. Many children are raised in urban single-parent households and our families are geographically spread apart more than ever. Traditionally, older family members served as mentors to young hunters. While there is still a need for mentors, the role of nontraditional mentors is increasing. …


#AdventureCalendar countdown! ’Tis the season for reflection so join us here on our month-long series as we look at some of our favorite outdoor adventures on public lands from 2020.

By: Zach Radmer, USFWS Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office.

The author, Zach, stands outside on the trail with a butterfly net in one photo and holds a tiny orange butterfly

“Swoosh!” My net lay still, a colorful quarry perhaps captured after a brief sprint along the trail. Admittedly I’m more excited than you would think. It’s not every day that you catch something new. I don’t think people know that most butterflies get away. The large and sun-warmed individuals are highly motivated and will easily outpace you even into a headwind. I have carried a net for miles and caught nothing but mosquitos. But this time it’s a lustrous copper (Lycaena cupreus) that sports bright orange wings covered in dark black spots. …


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Photo: Did you know pollinators are responsible for more than 75% of what we eat? Coffee, chocolate, and pretty much all of the ingredients needed for pumpkin pie rely on pollinators so show them some love today!

When most people think about pollinators, they imagine graceful butterflies, or a busy and buzzy honey bee, pollinating crops and flowers to bring the pollen back to their hives and create honey. But pollinators include more than honey bees, as there are all different types of bees, bats, birds, and bugs that specialize in pollinating the plants native to their homes or ecosystems. In fact, some native plants and pollinators have a co-dependent relationship — meaning that one cannot exist without the other!

For example, birds like the i’iwi have long, curved beaks, perfect for drinking the nectar from flowers in places like Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge in Hawaii. …

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