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The Policy Column

POLICY COLUMN: Drought, Flow, and Aquatic Resources

This column has many inspirations, including a drought discussion this past February organized by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the March 2016 White House Water Summit, my own worries about how new hydrologic patterns will affect fish, and a talk by Ellen Gilinsky, senior policy advisor in the US EPA Office of Water. Read More

POLICY COLUMN: Instream Flow

By Thomas Bigford By definition, water is a vital factor in maintaining an aquatic ecosystem, especially one with abundant fish. But that simplistic statement obscures the complicated realities of a healthy water body. Each species needs its predetermined blend of water quantity, quality, and chemistry. When aquatic systems are compromised by human intervention or natural... Read More

POLICY COLUMN: Walls, Aquatic Habitat, and Fish

If walls and fish could talk, I suspect they’d have a strained conversation. Unfortunately, neither fish nor walls were interviewed for this column, so the following is based on 40 years of my personal observations. There has been much talk in recent years about living shorelines, which trend toward using natural materials and native species... Read More

POLICY COLUMN: Climate Change and Fish

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference recently concluded in Paris, and developed countries are now charged with implementing an environmental agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a perfect setting for us to ponder how well positioned “we” might be for change that might be reflected in U.S. fish programs. With a clearer vision... Read More

Emerging and Legacy Fish Worries

I was one of perhaps 25 AFS members who attended the 23rd biennial Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (CERF) meeting in November 2015. The general theme of “Grand Challenges in Coastal and Estuarine Science: Securing Our Future” included a series of presentations on new and lingering threats to fish habitat. The conference theme was coastal... Read More

January 2016: Revisiting the Protection/Restoration Debate

This column coalesced around four actions last October. First, as a frequent partner with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the American Fisheries Society (AFS) was invited to a presentation on the agency’s river restoration efforts, land-use planning, and regional mitigation strategies in the Arctic. Second, President Obama announced plans to pursue two new... Read More

November 2015: Traditional Knowledge and Biodiversity

This month’s column is about the intersection of human and biological diversity with history. According to McGinley (2014), “[s]pecies diversity is a measure of the diversity within an ecological community that incorporates both species richness (the number of species in a community) and the evenness of species’ abundances.” Beyond biology, and bridging the social and... Read More

October 2015: A Blue-Ribbon Effort to Identify Creative Financing

Fish and wildlife programs in the United States are suffering from a financial wasting disease of staggering proportions. Governments struggle mightily to sustain basic research, management, regulatory, and education programs, losing each year in the battle for citizen support and discretionary dollars. Against that backdrop, former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal and Bass Pro Shops CEO... Read More