Announcing the USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center

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The U.S. Geological Survey recently announced completion of the merger between the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (PWRC) and Leetown Science Center (LSC). The combined center’s name is the USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center (EESC).

The PWRC and LSC each had a rich history of contributing to the conservation and management of the nation’s fish and wildlife resources dating back to the 1930s. The EESC will continue the world-class science that was conducted at the LSC and PWRC by combining expertise on fish and wildlife, population dynamics, ecological patterns and processes, animal health diagnostics, and quantitative methods and decision science into a single center.  

“While the missions and names of PWRC and LSC have changed over time, their identities were based on the quality of their science and scientists,” said Tom O’Connell, center director of the EESC. “This will not change under the EESC name. In fact, I know the hard work and dedication of EESC staff will continue building on the rich history of the predecessor centers.” 

The EESC is now the largest of USGS’s 15 ecosystem science centers. The vision of the EESC is to be recognized as a world leader in fish, wildlife and associated ecosystem science through scientific excellence and responsiveness to society’s needs. Through its comprehensive scientific expertise, the EESC is well-positioned to address increasingly complex ecosystem-level management challenges natural resource managers are facing to conserve, manage, and restore fish and wildlife. 

The driving force behind merging the centers was to achieve scientific excellence and financial sustainability. The reorganization of the two centers into the EESC enables more funding to go toward the center’s scientific research as well as partner development activities by significantly reducing management and administrative costs. Increased partner engagement is a priority of EESC to ensure the center’s science investments are aligned with the highest priorities of partners responsible for the conservation and management of our nation’s fish and wildlife resources for generations of today and tomorrow.  

“Strong partnerships are an essential ingredient to the success of a USGS science center,” said O’Connell. “Our team’s commitment to understanding and being responsive to the science needs of partners will contribute to the EESC’s overall financial viability and scientific excellence.” 

Most EESC team members are located in the Eastern U.S. at the center’s three owned facilities, retaining their existing duty stations, with additional team members co-located at other partner offices or labs. Recognizing the value employees and partners placed on preserving a part of the center’s history, the EESC’s three site locations will be referred to as the Eastern Ecological Science Center at the Patuxent Research Refuge in Laurel, Maryland; Leetown Research Laboratory in Kearneysville, West Virginia; and S.O. Conte Research Laboratory in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. 

For questions and/or additional information, please contact Tom O’Connell, Center Director, EESC at toconnell@usgs.gov or 304-620-3759, or Andrea Ostroff, Deputy Center Director at aostroff@usgs.gov or 703-338-2544. 

To stay updated on USGS EESC activities and developments, please follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/USGSEESC/. We anticipate launching a new website for EESC in the next few months and in the meantime you can find more information about the programs previously associated with PWRC and LSC at https://www.usgs.gov/centers/pwrc  and https://www.usgs.gov/centers/lsc, respectively.