Nick Bean, Fisheries Biologist
Q: Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town in southern Idaho with roughly 800 people but moved away when I was 18. Due to the extensive agriculture in the area, we had a fairly large rural population. In fact, my High School graduating class had over 350 seniors. Although I enjoyed growing up in southern Idaho, I really like where I am now – A little further into the pacific northwest.
Q: How long have you worked for KNRD?
I started as a fisheries Technician back in 2007 while an undergraduate at Eastern Washington University. Following the completion of my Bachelor and masters programs (also at EWU), I secured a permanent fisheries biologist position in 2009 and have been with the tribe ever since.
Q: What Department do you work in and what does your workday look like?
I work in the kalispel natural resources department, specifically in the fisheries conservation program. Depending on the time of year, my workday varies widely, but is generally comprised of field and/or office duties. We have a substantial number of fisheries technicians working on our projects each year, so a typical spring – fall workday would be providing direction for the field crews, then heading out to one of many project sites for the day. Our projects center on the conservation of native fish species such as westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout, which are both important trust resources for the kalispel tribe. As a project example, We are currently implementing a long-term effort that involves the removal of non-native fish in a large watershed (nearly 20 stream miles). We use backpack electrofishing techniques that allow us to temporarily stun and collect fish in the stream, remove the non-native’s, and put back all the native fish. Simply put, this project decreases the pressure imposed by non-native fish, allowing the native fish population to survive and ultimately flourish. This is one of several projects i oversee, yet each one has a similar, direct benefit to native fish, which is personally very rewarding and important to me.
Q: What do you like the most about working for KNRD?
Aside from my colleagues, I would say that the family-centric atmosphere is one of the primary benefits of working for the tribe and KNRD. My wife (Jami) and two young sons (Cooper-8 and Rowan-11) are the most important part of my life. Having the flexibility in my job to be there for my family, knowing my employer supports me in doing so, is a real benefit of being employed by the Tribe.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
My family and I enjoy all aspects of outdoor recreation. We spend a significant amount of time hiking, camping, kayaking, paddle-boarding, skiing and snowboarding. My favorite thing to do with my boys is a toss-up between hiking and fishing. We salmon fish with their grandpa on the Columbia river each year and fish other lakes and rivers for a variety of other species. My personal favorite thing to do is Mule deer hunting. I get to enjoy this with family and friends and as a bonus, my wife has recently become a successful hunter, which i thoroughly enjoy. I look forward to the days when i can instruct my children and watch them grow as ethical young sportsmen.
More recently I took up a new, rewarding hobby. During the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, we were in quarantine for a couple of months and i decided that i would invest in a mountain bike and begin riding trails and local downhill runs. This has been one of the best experiences I’ve undertaken and only wish i hadn’t waited until i turned 40 to start!
Q: What is your favorite food?
Q: Last but not least, what is your favorite event that the Kalispel Tribe puts on?
This is a split between powwow and the 4th of July fireworks show. The powwow is really special, and this event offers me, as well as the local community a better glimpse of Kalispel culture. the fireworks show is truly spectacular. I have watched numerous large shows and this one is the best and loudest – plus one of our fisheries Technicians (Rod Haynes) runs the show!