Our Mission

Our mission is to provide the scientific understanding and innovative technology needed to support sound management and conservation of our nation’s natural resources, with an emphasis on aquatic ecosystems, fisheries biology, and fish health. 

The mission of the WFRC is to provide the scientific understanding and innovative technology needed to support sound management and conservation of our nation’s natural resources, with an emphasis on aquatic ecosystems, fisheries biology, and fish health. Our goal is that natural resource managers, policy makers, and the scientific community will recognize the WFRC as a premier source of objective and socially-relevant scientific information. To achieve this goal, the WFRC will maintain a highly skilled and adaptive workforce and infrastructure in order to be responsive to changing and emerging issues in aquatic ecosystems and fisheries biology. A priority for the WFRC is to provide the results of scientific research to resource managers in an effort to support informed decision making.

WFRC Strategic Plan Cover

Science Plan Goals and Objectives

Our strategic plan establishes a template for our science portfolio for the next five years. After reviewing the overarching U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and USGS science objectives, as well as the research priorities of our partners, we have identified the following three strategic science directions:

  • Drivers of Ecosystem Change
  • Aquatic Animal Health
  • Restoration Ecology and Species Recovery

These directions are interrelated and often overlapping. Although this plan provides strategic direction for the next five years, clearly most of the research topics addressed within will continue into the future. The plan will be used as a road map to ensure that the WFRC is well positioned to address the next generation of science priorities.

To request a copy of the WFRC Strategic Plan contact Debra Becker.

Unique Elements

The Seattle laboratory provides Center scientists with a world-class resource unique in the USGS, if not in the U. S. research community. Unique elements include:

  • Disease containment laboratory for fish pathology investigations (aquatic biosafety level III). This specialized facility was designed for research on exotic and invasive fish pathogens, which could be dangerous to native fishes if released to the environment. The lab has specialized water and air handling equipment, negative air pressure, airlock entry, and high security access.
  • Artificial streams. Six replicate tanks 12 m by 1.2 m continuously flow with Lake Washington water. The streams can be set up with natural substrate, riffle/run/pool structure, hydrology, and even invertebrate colonization. Center scientists use the facility for behavioral studies, for example hatchery vs. wild-reared competition and predator-prey interactions.
  • Molecular and microbiology capability. Numerous specific disciplines are represented, including viral, bacteriological, and parasite research, molecular genetics, histopathology, and immunology. The research support capability includes: automated DNA sequencing, DNA and protein synthesis, cloning, and electrophoresis.

The Seattle Laboratory was designed to support FWS fishery research needs, and, after the USGS merger, still serves that bureau as its primary partner. The majority of space at the Seattle Laboratory is devoted to laboratory facilities for the following biological disciplines:

  • Virology
  • Bacteriology
  • Immunology
  • Histology
  • Ecology
  • Molecular biology/Genetics