About Bert Bowler

I am a fisheries biologist who has worked in the Columbia basin for 40 years. My career actually started in 1964 as a summer employee of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game [IDFG]. My first job was operating a summer chinook salmon trap and holding facility in Stolle Meadows, near Warm Lake, in the upper South Fork of the Salmon River drainage. My second job was walking the tributaries of Bear Valley Creek and the upper Salmon counting spring chinook salmon nests called redds.

As a kid who grew up in Idaho fishing for salmon and steelhead with his dad - where you usually only see the fish at the end of your fishing line - I was amazed at how many of the gargantuan salmon were spawning in the upper tributaries of the Salmon Basin. It reminded me of the tales about Idaho salmon - they were so plentiful you could walk across the stream without getting wet.

During the last 10 years with IDFG, before retiring, I worked in the position of Columbia River Policy Coordinator. My job was to coordinate activities among states, tribes and federal entities that worked on salmon in the Northwest and specifically Idaho.

During my 29-year career with the IDFG, I worked with different Idaho Governors - some were advocates for the fish and wildlife resources of the state – some were indifferent toward those resources - some worked against those resources.

My trepidation of the current condition in the state of Idaho is the politicization of salmon and salmon science. IDFG staff is not allowed to speak their minds concerning the best available science as a tool to promote salmon recovery. State political leaders work against good science and are heavily influenced by the federal government’s salmon policies and BPA’s checkbook. In 1993 IDFG was at the forefront in Federal Court advocating good salmon science.

What a better way to recognize the importance of Idaho’s salmon and steelhead legacy than the Great Seal of the State of Idaho that has within it – Esto PerpetuaMay it Endure Forever.

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