24 Mar 2014

In Memoriam—Carlos M. Fetterolf Jr.

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Carlos M. Fetterolf Jr.

Carlos Fetterolf died March 22, 2014Carlos Fetterolf, a well-known, international figure in fisheries, died on March 22, 2014, from complications due to a fall in Chelsea, Michigan. He had a long, distinguished career during which his good health and high spirits kept him active in fisheries and environmental causes to the end. His last years were devoted to protecting local streams and lakes.

After serving in the military during the waning days of World War II, Carlos entered the University of Connecticut where he earned a B.S. degree, but not before becoming a three-year all-American and captain-elect of its soccer team, which won a national championship in 1948.  Next, he received from Michigan State University in 1952 a M.S. in Fisheries under the tutelage of two elders of our tribe, Peter Tack and Robert Ball. While at Michigan State he became a member of AFS.

Prepared now to move mountains and brimming with enthusiasm, two traits that did not diminish with his age, Carlos worked on reservoirs for the state of Tennessee, where he was successful in negotiating water levels and discharges that benefited black bass and tail-water trout. While in Tennessee he became active in the Southern Division of AFS, including service as president (1952-1957). Accepting employment in 1958 with the Michigan Water Resources Commission to lead a large, professional staff conducting water-quality appraisals, Carlos shifted his focus from fisheries and soon found himself in the vanguard of governmental efforts to restore the nation’s waterways.

His efforts in Michigan resulted in acceptance of an invitation from the Environmental Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences to serve a two-year term in Washington D.C. as science coordinator for establishing the water-quality criteria that were to become the basis for Water Quality Criteria 1972, popularly known as the “Blue Book.” Release of the Blue Book was a milestone in setting national standards for waste-water treatment and was certainly one of his proudest accomplishments. Returning to Michigan in 1972, Carlos became the chief environmental scientist for the Michigan DNR. No longer leading a field team, he devoted his time to counseling agency staff, including policy makers, on environmental issues, and to representing the state’s Bureau of Water Management on interagency committees and groups dealing with water management.

The year 1975 brought about yet another new career focus as Carlos became executive secretary of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, headquartered in Ann Arbor. During his tenure with the commission, which lasted until 1992, its program of fishery research expanded greatly, it supported several international symposia, the proceedings of which are still foundational, it invigorated collaboration with the International Joint Commission, where he was already a member of its Water Quality Board (renamed the Science Advisory Board), and it produced A Joint Strategic Plan for Management of Great Lakes Fisheries, a seminal document that formalized working arrangements among fishery agencies, including tribal organizations, with responsibilities for the Great Lakes. While executive secretary, the commission’s program of research aimed at improved control of the sea lamprey expanded considerably, and control operations shifted more to an integrated pest management approach.

Carlos’s involvement with professional societies was extensive, and included service as president of the Michigan Association of Conservation Ecologists (ca 1965), the Midwest Benthological Society (1966), the International Association of Great Lakes Research (1976-1977), the Water Quality Section of the AFS (1983), and the AFS (1991). Among the honors bestowed on him were memberships in Pi Alpha Sigma and Sigma Xi. The honor he most likely cherished, however, was induction in 2013 into the National Freshwater Fisheries Hall of Fame, because, among other things, it put him in the company of Izaak Walton, Earnest Hemingway, and Ole Evinrude.

Carlos was preceded in death by his loving wife, Norma, after 54 years of a marriage that produced four children. Carlos was a remarkable person who would have been successful in any endeavor that he undertook. We are grateful that he chose our profession as his passion.

Randy Eshenroder (randye@glfc.org)