Faculty and students in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife acquire, integrate, and disseminate knowledge about fish and wildlife at all levels of biological organization. We focus on resource systems influenced by human activities. Our goal is to provide people with the knowledge needed to make wise decisions on issues of conservation, sustainable use, and ecosystem restoration. We accomplish this through a combination of undergraduate and graduate education, scholarly research, extension education, and public outreach.
History of Department
The Department of Fish, Game and Fur Animal Management was established in
1935 at Oregon Agricultural College during the conservation fervor that swept the country in the wake of the Depression and dust bowl eras. The department was established and directed by R. E. Dimick for 28 years. At the same time the department was established, the Oregon Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit became the second unit
in the country among the original nine units established under the enabling legislation.
The name of the department was changed to Fish and Game Management in 1936 and to Fisheries and Wildlife in 1964.
Enrollment in the department has fluctuated substantially during the program’s history. Almost 100 students enrolled in the program the first year and the first class graduated in 1938. The program was virtually closed in 1943 and 1944 because of WW II. Peak enrollment was reached in 1974 with 391 undergraduates. Five years later the largest class of 98 students graduated. The department has had the largest or second largest undergraduate program in the college since it was established, and for many years has had one the largest graduate programs in the university.
The undergraduate curriculum has changed several times during the department’s history. The major thrust of these revisions was to provide more flexibility and individual choice through a number of specialty options. A major revision was completed in 1996 as a result of new leadership and the last 10-year program review. The current BS curriculum includes experiential (internships) and collaborative learning (group problem solving) components and a requirement for each undergraduate to design an individual specialization.
The department has had only five permanent leaders since its inception: R. E. Dimick (1935-1963), T. G. Scott (1963-1973), R. A. Tubb (1975-1993), E. K. Fritzell (1994 2001),
and W. D. Edge (2001-present). C. E. Warren (1973-1975) and L. R. Curtis (1993 1994) served as interim department heads.
Federal cooperators are an integral part of the department. The Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit has been a major component of the department’s research and graduate training for most of the department’s history. The Wildlife Unit, which began in 1935, was terminated in 1959 and reestablished 1971. The Fish Unit was established in 1966 and the two units were later combined. We have been fortunate in having a four scientist unit almost continuously since 1971. A fisheries biologist from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and a fisheries scientist from NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Science Center are also housed in the department. Courtesy faculty from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW); U.S. Forest Service, Forest Research Laboratory; U.S. EPA; and USGS, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center collaborate in department research and teaching programs.
The department has established or participated in several major collaborative research programs over the years. The Oyster Research Lab on Yaquina Bay, a forerunner to Hatfield Marine Science Center, was established in 1941. The Pacific Cooperative Pollution and Fisheries Research Laboratory (later Oak Creek Laboratory of Biology), established in 1953, was one of the leading centers for aquatic toxicology in the nation until it disbanded in 1994. The Hatfield Marine Science Center was established in 1965; the department has had faculty conducting marine research at the site since, and now has seven faculty members housed at the center. One or more faculty in the department have participated in the H. J. Andrews Coniferous Forest Biome Project of the International Biological Program and its successor LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research Program) since its inception in 1969. The Fish Performance and Genetics Laboratory at Smith Farm was established in 1975. Two or more faculty have been science team members in the Cooperative Forest Ecosystem Research program since it was established in 1995. The Oregon Hatchery Research Center, a collaborative research venture between ODFW and the department opened in October 2005.
Student clubs also have a long history with the department. The first college Fish and Wildlife club in the nation was formed in 1935 at OSU and named the Ding Darling Wildlife Club, in honor of the noted conservationist. The name was subsequently changed to the Fin and Antler Club and later to the Fish and Wildlife Club. The Club is currently a student chapter of both The Wildlife Society and the American Fisheries Society. The Fish and Wildlife Graduate Student Association was established in 2002.