Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Stephen (Steve) Waste, Ph.D.

Steve is the Director of the Columbia River Research Laboratory, a facility of the Western Fisheries Research Center of USGS. Steve holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, School of Fisheries. He spent the early part of his career as a wildlife biologist and commercial fishermen in Alaska, working during the off-season for United Fishermen of Alaska and then the Alaska State Legislature. 

Research Interests:

USGS – Supervise and manage a diverse fisheries research program across the western US. Manage personnel, budget, and facilities issues; e.g., facility replacement initiative.  Provide leadership for program development and strategic planning efforts on: fish passage issues; large river monitoring; aquatic invasive species; developing a decision support tool for modeling climate change scenarios; and endangered species; e.g., salmonids, sturgeon, lamprey, forge fish, Moapa Dace. Represent USGS in regional forums such as the Sovereign Review Team for the Columbia River Treaty and the Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership. 

NWPCC – Served as the Council’s ex officio to the Independent Scientific Advisory Board, while the Board completed major reports on tributary habitat, artificial supplementation, harvest, population growth, and climate change.  Developed a “Research Plan for the Columbia River Basin,” through negotiations with diverse parties in the region.

BPA – Provided BPA leadership for the Action Agencies development of the habitat, and other, elements of five-year and annual Implementation Plans and Progress Reports for the NMFS.  Chaired the Federal Habitat Team of the Federal Caucus, coordinating efforts of all Federal agencies to implement the Basinwide Strategy for Salmon Recovery (All-H paper), including development of Federal Habitat Implementation Plans, and Federal Habitat Progress Reports. 

NMFS – Led anadromous fish and habitat conservation efforts nationally, for the division.  Advised agency head and senior departmental staff on agency and private sector initiatives critical to the conservation of anadromous fish and their habitats.  Prepared Congressional testimony and briefed the Assistant Administrator of NMFS, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy Administrator of NOAA, and the Deputy Secretary of Commerce on anadromous fish issues. Coordinated inter- and intra- agency efforts to ameliorate anthropogenic impacts on anadromous fish.  Developed national NMFS policies in support of anadromous fish conservation e.g., Fish Passage, Gravel Extraction, and Forestry/Fishery Interactions.  Led a six-year rule making by directing the development, promulgation, and publication of a NMFS/FWS Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, and a subsequent Interagency Policy for prescribing fishways under Section 18 of the Federal Power Act.  Represented Department of Commerce on various workgroups of the Interagency Task Force on Hydropower Relicensing, co-chaired by Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Hayes.

Professional Experience

  • 2008 to Present – Director, Columbia River Research Laboratory, Western Fisheries Research Center, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior

  • 2003-2008 – Manager, Program Analysis and Evaluation, Fish and Wildlife Division Northwest Power and Conservation Council (an Interstate Compact)

  • 2001-2003 – Fisheries Biologist, Policy and Planning Group, Environment, Fish and Wildlife Program, Bonneville Power Administration, U.S Department of Energy

  • 1998-2001 – Anadromous Fish Team Leader, Protection Division, Office of Habitat Conservation, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Department of Commerce

Education and Certifications

  • Certification, 2003. Watershed Management Professional, Portland State University, Portland, OR

  • Ph.D. 1992. Fisheries Management, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

  • M.P.A. 1988. Planning, Public Policy, and Management, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

  • M.S. 1985. Natural Resources (Wildlife Mgt.), Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

  • B.S. 1974. Environmental Studies, Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA

Science and Products