Published since 1946
America’s Bountiful Waters Explores History of Fisheries Conservation
While many think of the conservation movement starting early in the 20th century, the history of fisheries conservation in the United States began far earlier and served as the foundation for future efforts. A recently released book, America’s Bountiful Waters: 150 Years of Fisheries Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 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 The 278-page coffee table book offers a valuable historical reference for how the predecessor to what is now known as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) began in 1871.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.
Publisher Stackpole Books writes: “America’s Bountiful Waters is biography, evocative memoir, natural history, and human history supported by fresh dramatic photography and compelling historic images from the National Fish and Aquatic Conservation Archives.” The book is an excellent addition to the library of those with a passion for fish and conservation. The hardback book is available through many online retailers for $49.95.