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A Message from Center Director, Michael Schmidt

Welcome to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC).

Image of WFRC Center Director
Western Fisheries Research Center, Center Director, Michael Schmidt, spending time with his dog, Echo, doing their version of outdoor activities “in the backyard” during a peak in COVID cases.

Since the 1930s, we at the WFRC have provided objective science to support the management of  fish and other aquatic species throughout the western United States (take a look at our history). We leverage expertise, innovation, and strong collaborative relationships to improve our understanding of impacts related to climate change and human population growth to our aquatic resources. We provide tools to help us manage our aquatic resources better.

Our primary focus is on:

  • Factors that control the distribution and severity of disease,
  • Fish and ecosystem responses to impacts such as climate change, dams, invasive species, agriculture, mining, and urbanization.
  • The outcomes of restoration actions such as estuary recovery and dam removals.

Our scientists currently work from four laboratories located in the Pacific Northwest: along Lake Washington in Seattle; on Marrowstone Island in Puget Sound; in Cook, Washington along the Columbia River Gorge; and on the Klamath River in Klamath Falls, Oregon. We are one of sixteen USGS science centers engaged in biological research on critical natural resource issues facing the nation.

Ultimately, our goal is to support healthy aquatic ecosystems for generations to come. The public plays a crucial role in the future of our fish and the streams, rivers, lakes and oceans they call home. While we at WFRC can build the knowledge base and tools to improve the management of our resources, its ultimately up to everyone to learn and respond by changing how we interact with the world around us.

Please take this opportunity to learn more about what we are doing and learning by touring our website!


Michael Schmidt