Bryan Witte, Fisheries Bilogist
Associates in Arts and Science: Big Bend Community College, Moses Lake, WA (2012)
Bachelor of Science in Biology: Eastern Washington University, (2015)
Master of Science in Biology: Eastern Washington University, (2017)
Q: Where did you grow up?
Q: How long have you worked for KNRD?
Since June of 2017, or shy of three years.
Q: What got you interested in natural resources
Growing up I spent most of my free time outside fishing and hiking. My interest in natural resources stems from an early age long before I started school. As I was finishing high school and became aware that there are jobs that largely work with fish and wildlife, I knew that was the path I wanted to follow.
Q: What do you like the most about working for KNRD?
I would say the people I work with and the work that we do is what I like most about working for KNRD. Being out in Pend Oreille County in spectacular scenery with my colleagues and handling cool fish is very rewarding.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
Q: What is your favorite food?
Q: What is most rewarding project that you have worked on during your time working for the Kalispel Tribe?
The most rewarding project that I have worked on during my time working for the Kalispel Tribe is the project I currently spend most my of time on and that is The Sullivan Creek Nonnative Fish Suppression Project.
To briefly summarize, this project’s goal is to reduce nonnative fish species to benefit native fish species in the Sullivan Creek Basin just west of Metaline Falls, WA. This project is funded by Seattle City Light, has 12 seasonal technicians, and has been going on since 2016. The bulk of the work is done by backpack electrofishing and is mainly focused on removing nonnative Brook Trout to benefit Westslope Cutthroat Trout. Westslope Cutthroat Trout have declined in their native range partly due to competition and displacement from Brook Trout. Suppressing Brook Trout Populations is seen as a way to help maintain the long term persistence of Westslope Cutthroat. Our work takes place July – October each year over around 15 miles of stream and requires us to camp out in the field each week.
This project has been rewarding to me in a number of ways. The first has been working with and seeing technicians become excellent field workers. The seasonal technicians are mostly age 18 – 24 and some may have their first fisheries field work experience on this project. My colleagues and I provide training to the technicians before the onset of the project. Working out there I am happy to see people that struggled in training to keep their feet under them in a stream become proficient electrofishers and netters during the season. Watching people become great at this job by doing it is something I’m always excited to see.
The second way this project has been rewarding to me has been the ability to make a difference with the native fish. When I was in school, I read about fisheries management. A typical scenario I read time and time again was fish get introduced into a waterbody outside their native range and end displacing the native fish in their new found home. This nonnative fish issue is something that is worldwide. Rather than sitting back and not doing anything, this project provides a way to actually do something meaningful and not let native fish be pushed out like they have in so many other places. The ability to actually do something to that is beneficial to native fish is something I find especially rewarding. Not only is this work beneficial to native fish, but it in turn benefits the ecosystem and the people that depend on it.
Q: Last but not least, what are you doing to cope with the Covid-19 Quarantine?
I have remote access to the department drive, so Monday – Thursday I am doing what I can from home for office work. Lately, this has been working on budgets, reports, and planning for this upcoming field season. I have been checking in with my supervisors as this quarantine continues. As for the weekends I remain at home. I have been doing some homemade bread baking as well as playing the guitar.