America's Bountiful Waters: 150 Years of Fisheries Conservation

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Hardcover, 278 Pages.

Provides a detailed perspective on how fish and fishing spawned the beginning of the conservation movement. The 278-page coffee table book offers a valuable historical reference for how the predecessor to what is now known as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) began in 1871. Edited by FWS fisheries biologist and writer, Craig Springer, the book includes full color and historical images and engaging storytelling of this important piece of conservation history.

Early pages of the book focus on the history of fisheries declines and the development of fish propagation techniques. The book starts with a conservation-minded Roosevelt, not the often-credited conservationist Theodore but rather his uncle Robert Barnwell Roosevelt, an avid angler who founded the New York State Fishery Commission in 1867 and served as fish commissioner from 1868-1888. While serving as a member of Congress, he envisioned a federal bureau comparable to the state entity and worked to pass legislation forming the U.S. Fish Commission in 1871, the agency that ultimately became the FWS. Throughout the book are stories of the many similar characters who all played important roles in understanding aquatic ecology, fish hatcheries, fish habitat restoration, and the recovery of declining freshwater fisheries. The stories of conservation and restoration of more than 50 different species, not just those familiar sportfish but also darters and salamanders and turtles that benefited from the improved aquatic environment, are told by the biologists who know them best.

Fish and Aquatic Conservation (FAC) in the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is the direct descendant of the U.S. Fish Commission, founded in 1871. In 2021, FAC marks its 150th anniversary, the oldest conservation agency in history. To commemorate this milestone, the USFWS published a compelling history to celebrate the broad-thinking scientists, writers, and artists who led us through the gilded age of American ichthyology into the present day.

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