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December 1, 2022

Our Center’s Strategic Plan for the Next Five Years

I’m excited to announce that the Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC) 2023-2027 Strategic Plan is complete! This plan was developed based on input from national and regional leadership; over 20 tribal, federal, state and nonprofit partners; and our 100+ staff. It is my first as Center Director.

Now more than ever society needs strong science to guide decision making. The combined impacts of rapid climate change and unwavering human population growth are threatening our natural resources and humanity. We must implement a robust ecological science strategy, one that is focused on supporting agile management that can adjust to a changing ecosystem, protects our water and the critical species that call it home (many of which we rely on for food), and prevents public health and economic crises.

Our strategic plan establishes a framework for WFRC over the next five years. Working with national leadership and our broad suite of partners, we have identified the following goals to provide the science and innovation needed to recover, maintain, and sustainably utilize our fish and their aquatic ecosystems:

  • Understand, detect, and reduce the impacts of disease and invasive species
  • Provide the science to improve water management for fish and people
  • Integrate food web ecology into species management
  • Understand the effects of human population growth on aquatic ecosystems in our region

Our success depends on stronger partnerships, increased recognition of our role in providing the science needed for ecosystem management, new skills and technologies, well-operating facilities, a greater focus on environmental justice, and a robust science support team. We must also meet the needs of our workforce: improving our financial position; providing contemporary job flexibility; and ensuring diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility are integrated into our workplace.

We are up to the task, and we are confident that our work will make a difference.

Please also enjoy the rest of this issue of Something Fishy! This fall, we announce USGS’ signing of the Pacific Lamprey Conservation Agreement; highlight the special issue of the Journal “Animals” that was dedicated to WFRC Emeritus, Dr. Jim Winton in recognition of his distinguished career in the field of fish health; recognize our 17 staff who presented at this fall’s American Fisheries Society meeting; and show off some of the great food web ecology work our staff are doing in the Skagit Basin.

Michael Schmidt, Western Fisheries Research Center

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