Lincoln Fedderson studied fisheries technology at Mt. Hood Community College and has reeled in a new career. The 47-year-old member of northeastern Washington's Colville Confederated Tribes - a member of the Rho Theta Honor Society - has landed a new job at the tribe's $43 million fish hatchery near Chief Joseph Dam.
'I've worked with the tribal fish and wildlife department since 1993,' he says, 'and this hatchery is a great new opportunity, both for the tribe and myself.'
Fedderson is the first of several tribal members who will graduate from Mt. Hood and go on to work as fish culturists at the hatchery, construction of which will be completed in mid-2012.
The facility hopes to raise as many as 2 million summer Chinook and 900,000 spring Chinook for release into local tributaries as yearling juvenile fish, which are better able to survive the dams and predators they face on their way to the sea.
Todd Hanna, fisheries instructor, says Fedderson is well prepared to move into the role at the new hatchery.
'He took his studies very seriously while at MHCC and his future is very bright,' Hanna says.
'I've had a great experience at MHCC,' Fedderson says, 'and I'm looking forward to helping to bolster the salmon and steelhead runs. They need all the help we can offer - 50 percent of the young fish can be lost due to the many dams, then there is human harvesting and natural predators on their way back. Only a small percentage of the fish make it back to spawn. I am excited about using my education and training to try to improve those survival rates.'
The college's fisheries technology program has been in operation since the early 1970s and is the only one of its kind in Oregon. State, federal and tribal agencies, as well as private fisheries companies, employ graduates.